Thursday, July 17, 2008

Tech: Devil May Cry 4

Capcom has a peculiar talent for running its video game intellectual properties into the ground. Some of its biggest franchises, like Resident Evil and Mega Man, have received so many sequels, spinoffs, and side-stories that it's literally difficult to count them all. This wouldn't be so bad if they were all as good as the original games, but aside from the odd standout (Resident Evil 4), it seems like quality assurance takes a back seat to cranking out a different iteration of a hit series every year. Sadly, the "Devil May Cry" series is headed in this direction with its latest installment.

"Devil May Cry 4" is essentially a gussied-up version of "Devil May Cry 3" for the next-generation of consoles. There's been startlingly little evolution of the play mechanics - you'll still be crawling around Gothic castles, solving nonsensical puzzles, and battling tough bosses. The story is much weaker than DMC3's theme of sibling rivalry and family dysfunction, and even the action cutscenes have lost some of their panache.

Like in previous games, DMC4 finds excuses to force you to backtrack and fight boss battles over in the second half. It's more egregious here than in past DMC games, though - once you hit the halfway point, you literally have to run back through the entire game, all the way to the beginning. The final level is a punishing and trite slog through a boardgame where you fight several old bosses back-to-back (for what is now the third time). It was at this point where I really started getting angry at DMC4. Despite the good graphics and solid core DMC gameplay, I can't recommend the game, even for fans of the series.

Rating: 69/100


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