The Devil is Back

The fast paced action of Devil May Cry is headed for next-generation glory.  Devil May Cry 4 will mark the popular PS2 series’ jump to PS3, and that means better gameplay and smoother graphics.  But fans of the series may be surprised to know that their favorite demon hunter, Dante, will not be heading up this installment.  Instead players will take control of a new hero with new powers and a brand new story.


Nero Angelo is his name, and he happens to be a rising star among the knights of a demon slaying religious group.  The “Order of the Holy Sword” and its elite group of holy knights worship the Dark Knight, Sparda (fans of the series will remember that Sparda was a demon that rebelled against his master to save humanity, and fathered Dante and Vergil).  Nero looks much like a young Dante, silvery hair and flowing coat included (and his name just so happens to be the same as the recurring DMC1 boss, who turns out to be Vergil).  But Nero’s fiery right arm seems to be his source of supernatural power.  His uniquely powerful arm adds a new element to the classic combo-heavy Devil May Cry fighting system.  Most of the information on the upgraded combat system comes from gameplay samples from this year’s Tokyo Game Show.  Besides some storyline details, Capcom is keeping a lid on what’s to come.  Nero wields an oversized sword and pistol, just as Dante once did, and appears to have a wide array of moves that flow nicely between the two.  Nero can use his right arm to grab out-of-reach enemies and bring them in close enough to attack.  This will allow for non-stop combos; when Nero knocks an enemy away his arm can draw them back, even while in the air, and link into another combo.  It can also be used to slam opponents into the ground for added damage.  As the game progresses players will acquire new powers for Nero.


In recent TGS footage Nero’s aggression is aimed at waves of Marionettes, Devil May Cry’s evergreen pawn.  They have been redesigned for the series’ next-generation debut.  They appear to be a more grotesque jumble of spare parts and fabric that have been stitched together in the most uncomfortable ways.  Each section has its own unique texture – burlap here, shiny jester hat there – that move well with the characters and never seems flat.  The environments are also richly textured.  In one scene Nero makes his way through what looks like an abandoned factory.  The dull sheen of the rust-stained walls, doted with aging yellow caution paint, really do look great, even if it’s not the most unique of level designs.  Expect little details like a busted circuit breaker box or protruding rebar to give the landscapes life.  The classic gothic architecture, again not the most unique design, will be returning, and it looks as graphically impressive as the rest of the game.


Though players will be controlling Nero through out the game, Dante will play an important role.  Nero will first meet him just as Dante finishes slaughtering countless knights from Nero’s “Order of the Holy Sword,” instantly instilling a hatred in Nero.  Capcom is not telling, but as the game takes place between DMC1 and DMC2, it can be assumed that Nero will end up seeing the errors in his group’s ways and that Dante, in fact, is still the protagonist.  There is another new character, Kyrie, who (the new female lead) will also be introduced, but little is known about her at this time.


Capcom does not seem to be content with the series enough to let the superior graphical and technical abilities of the PS3 carry their game, thankfully.  The new hero, characters, combat details and techniques definitely suggest that the series will push forward on the PS3.  Devil May Cry 4 looks beautiful, which is on par for most of the early PS3 games we’ve seen.  This is interesting because this early developers have barely tapped the PS3’s potential (hell, they haven’t barely tapped the PS2’s full potential yet).  If this early game is any indicator, the next-generation is going to be a hell of a ride, and Devil May Cry 4 looks to be a promising start.


We’ll be keeping an eye on this one.  So, stay with for more details.

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