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    dkirschner's Devil May Cry 4 (PC)

    [September 27, 2011 03:41:49 AM]
    Fantastic game. I've never played a DMC game before. I watched Daniel play either DMC 2 or 3 way back when, and it didn't seem like something I'd particularly enjoy. But, he always did have the tendency to lose his temper playing games, so perhaps I thought it would be more frustrating than it turned out to be. I picked up DMC 4 because it got good reviews and I was curious about actually playing one in the series. So, some expectations I had: overly difficult, convoluted storyline, tons of fighting with some kind of combo system...

    From reviews and from watching Daniel in previous games, I thought it would be really hard, which I was scared about since I'm not the best at fighting games or pulling off combo moves. I set it on "Human" difficulty, which is the noob level, and it wasn't that bad. I only died a handful of times on some of the later bosses.

    Lots of Japanese games tend to have convoluted storylines, and especially games in long series like DMC. What am I supposed to know by game 4? Well, luckily for me I was wrong. Some of the characters are staples from past games, but the game did a real good job of putting it in context. This was probably aided by the fact that the main character of this game isn't Dante, the hero of all the rest, but a new guy named Nero. The story was good, definitely interesting, and a little cliche. Having just played We <3 Katamari, DMC 4 is another instance of playing to the fans. About 3/4 of the way through the game, you switch and pay as Dante for a while, which was just a total thanks to series fans. All he does is spout bad-boy one-liners, which is what he does best, along with killing demons.

    I was correct though about the fighting and the combo system. I typically find combo systems and fighting games a little challenging for me because I don't want to put in time to practice my moves. I just want to get through the story mode and put it down, not try for high scores and perfect missions and all this. So my motivation to get really good at the more complicated combo games isn't there. This wasn't too bad though! I was happy to see that I could actually remember and pull off almost everything. So, a big nod to the control scheme! Basically, Y was for swords, B was for special weapons, X was for guns, and A was for jumping. So whatever you had equipped, there was a lot of overlap among the directional control + RB or whatever, then you just add in Y if you want to attack with a sword, X with the gun, and so on. I really liked it, and it was very smooth feeling.

    I tore through the game in 12 hours, which according to is 1 hour longer than average. I must be getting slower in my old age. Still, a good way to spend a couple days. This was also my first time hooking up my laptop to the HD TV to play a PC game on the big screen. It worked flawlessly and looked incredible. Like I said in my Gears of War log, HD is the way to go. It makes 3,4,5 year-old games look like they were made yesterday. Comparing my laptop monitor to the TV, the difference was clear. I will definitely be trying to play some other PC games via the TV now! DMC is set up that way. It actually assumes an Xbox controller. Mirror's Edge I think was the same way. A couple other games are too, but what I'm going to need to do for those that don't have a controller option is see if I can't get a longer HD cable or an extension, or a USB keyboard, and wire the whole system so I can sit back further from the TV.

    Back to the game proper. The cut scenes were incredible and there was some badass choreographed fight sequences. At the very beginning, it opens with a woman, Kyrie, singing in a church. Nero runs through the city streets fighting off demons to make the performance. Kyrie finishes her song, and His Holiness, the leader of the Order (of the Sword? or I'm making that up...the Order something something) gives a speech and leads a prayer for the congregation. In the middle of the prayer Dante crashes through the glass-domed ceiling and assassinates His Holiness. Seriously one of the coolest fight scenes I've ever seen happens next as Nero tries to subdue Dante. Dante escapes, and the Order sends Nero off to hunt down Dante. Meanwhile, Dante is off to find the source of the demons. Meanwhile, high-ranking members of the Order begin their diabolical world-domination plans. Meanwhile...Okay, there are a few things going on at once. The game really does a nice job making it clear everyone's relationship to one another and why this or that person is doing what s/he is doing. There are just a handful of main characters, most interesting and fleshed out a bit. My favorite was Agnus the researcher. He had a stuttering problem that resulted in my favorite line from the whole game. When Nero fights Agnus for the first time, Nero uses some insulting language, and Agnus says he'll have to kill him and his foul mouth. Nero fires back something like, "Funny, you wanting to kill me for the way I t-t-t-talk." It was real clever writing! I appreciated the barbed dialogue back and forth between Nero/Dante. I guess Capcom's had years and years to make it not suck. Kind of like Gears of War, DMC does badass pretty well. It's more over-the-top, but doesn't take itself too seriously, and makes the characters almost lovable.

    There were so many special moves in the game it was impossible to learn them all. Literally, you have to spend points to learn moves, and there's no way I could learn but about half with the amount of points I accumulated. You do get more points for being "stylish," which involves disposing enemies with variation and grace. I probably averaged a B, which isn't bad, but some levels I got C or D and didn't get hardly any ability points. Kind of odd because it in a sense withholds upgrades that might make you better if you don't do well. On the other hand, it rewards you for doing well. Anyway, I got enough cool moves to play with, and since you can unlearn moves with no penalty and redistribute your points, you can screw around with all the moves if you really want to. Some moves and items were utterly useless though. The shield move was one. You can take an enemy as a shield. Pointless, never even tried it. Dante gets "styles," so he can switch between being a sword expert, gun expert, defense expert, or movement expert. Defense and movement: pointless. The goal is to kill stuff, not defend or move fast!

    Dante's sword can 'rev' for more damage, but I never used it because it took too much time to bother. Nero's special on the other hand was amazing. He has a 'demon arm' that he can use to grab enemies, pull them, smash them, and so on. It was cool.

    The items are for the most part cool though. Each boss you defeat, you get something useful and particular to that level. So like this giant serpent (all the bosses are demons) drops some seeds that you use to reverse plant growth that blocks your path. You also get an hourglass to slow time that you use at pedestals. This way you can avoid lazers or slow a turbine. You can swing around at predetermined points like Batman. You jump on trampoline-like seals that boost you up and up. The best were these things, I forget the name, but they're like spinning blades of death. You activate them, then hit them to send them flying down the hallway. They can shred enemies, and you use them in various puzzles to bust down previously-un-bust-down-able walls. They were a lot of fun.

    The game did have some puzzle elements, none too difficult or thoughtful except one that I only got because H pointed out that I was standing on a button. There are 12 secret missions, most of which were too annoying/difficult for me to bother with. It'd be like, kill all the enemies in the time limit, or get from A to B over this disappearing floor without falling, and so on. I completed 3 or 4.

    Boss battles were great fun. I enjoyed them all! My favorites were definitely Agnus the researcher and then the giant Savior battle. The Savior battle was very God of War and Shadow of the Colossus-influenced. It was like the Ares battle, or the giant phase of the Zeus battle in that the Savior is freakin huge and you've got to navigate around him to hit all his weak spots. To navigate, you use those jump pads to launch from floating platform to floating platform encircling Savior. To attack his weak points (2 on arms, 2 legs, 2 shoulders, back, head, chest), you have to watch for opportunities to climb him, and watch for weapons on the platforms you can use to make him vulnerable. It was a really well-done and fun fight.

    Finally, I remember one thing reviewers didn't like was all the backtracking. I didn't find it that annoying really. It happens when you get Dante. As Dante, you run, literally, all the way back to the beginning of the game, killing for good all the boss demons that ran from Nero. I mean, if you need to get back to the beginning of the game, how else would you do it? And it's not like the levels were exactly the same. They're turned all maze-y with blocked paths that open once you kill the boss again. And it really didn't take long, maybe like an hour of backtracking total, like 1/10th of the game. And the whole time you're learning how to use Dante, which is hella fun. He has some insane weapons, the weirdest of which is Pandora's Box, that has "666" different forms to kill enemies. Of course you can access just a few. One, the Box morphs into this little helicopter missile launcher thing and you can fly around. Kind of out of place, but maybe so bizarre that it's fine, I dunno. Another of Dante's weapons was this sword that shoots barbs out. As you attack, it leaves barbs in mid-air. After a while the barbs detonate, dealing damage to enemies. This is a super cool weapon. You can also sort of place barbs yourself, you can impale enemies with barbs through combos, you can shoot barbs in a circle around you, and on and on. The best part is that you can detonate them when you want! So, pummel an enemy with barbs, then watch Dante light him up. Scatter barbs all around you and detonate like a land-mined perimeter. I liked that one the best.

    I would definitely play another Devil May Cry game. My expectations were exceeded.
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    dkirschner's Devil May Cry 4 (PC)

    Current Status: Finished playing

    GameLog started on: Monday 26 September, 2011

    GameLog closed on: Tuesday 27 September, 2011

    dkirschner's opinion and rating for this game

    Surprised, lots of fun! Controls and animations are real smooth, and the story isn't as convoluted as I thought it would be.

    Rating (out of 5):starstarstarstarstar

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