Devil May Cry 4 is a 3D action hack & slash game and the fourth main game in the Devil May Cry series of 3D hack-and-slash action games.
It was developed and published by Capcom for the PlayStation 3, Xbox 360 and later PC in 2008. An iOS version called Devil May Cry 4: Refrain was announced on January 11, 2011 and released on February 3 the same year.
In Devil May Cry 4, the player controls the new protagonist Nero fighting demonic enemies in close combat using firearms, swords and a variety of weaponry in a horror setting. Among the characters joining the cast is supporting newcomer Kyrie along with returning characters Dante (who is also the only other playable character besides Nero in the game), Lady and Trish. Like with previous titles, the story is told primarily through a mixture of cutscenes using the game's engine with several pre-rendered full motion videos. Artwork was handled by Tatsuya Yoshikawa. The game has sold 3 million units worldwide, becoming the series' best-selling title. It has also been adapted into a two-volume light novel by its original writer, Bingo Morihashi.
In June 2015, a updated "Special Edition" version of the game, featuring the playable additions of Trish, Lady and Dante's twin brother Vergil, was released for PlayStation 4, Xbox One and PC.
Gameplay in Devil May Cry 4 is similar to previous games in the series. The player must fight through levels called "missions", occasionally solving puzzles or gathering items. Performance in a mission is graded from D being the bottom grade through C, B, A, and S,SS and SSS being the highest grades. Grades are based on items used, Red Orbs gathered, time taken, and the amount of "Style Points" accumulated.
Stylish combat is the focus of the game which is done through unbroken combos of varied attacks while avoiding damage. The gauge at first is empty, with Deadly being shown after a minimal amount of attacks with Smokin' Sick Style being the highest. The player must avoid attacks enemies employ to keep the the gauge up, often through memorizing attack patterns.
Devil Trigger, a super-state, enables the player to become more powerful with slow health regeneration. Devil Trigger is activated through the Devil Trigger gauge filling from the players either receiving or dealing damage during combat or through certain items. After a minimum amount is filled, the player may enter Devil Trigger at any time. Devil Trigger is first available after Mission 6.
Some changes introduced into Devil May Cry 4 are the presence of two playable characters, Dante and Nero and a slight modification to the shop system. A new currency called Proud Souls is now implemented which are used to buy new abilities while Red Souls are used to buy items. Proud Souls are rewarded at the end of missions, the amount of which varies depending on how well the player performs with S and SS ranks providing the highest amount of Proud Souls. Costs of abilities also increase with the purchase of other abilities, though they may be sold back if the player so desires.
Nero is played through the most of the game. He starts and ends the game with his Red Queen Sword, Blue Rose revolver, and the powers of his Devil Bringer. The Red Queen features a Rev Gauge that fills as the player presses the shoulder button. Subsequent attacks are then more powerful than regular slashes. A second type of rev, Instant Rev, can also be implemented through pressing the rev button during combos or other moves with exact timing. Nero also has the powers of his Devil Bringer, using it to pull himself towards enemies or vice-versa. Context-sensitive throws may also be implemented, leading to high damage and various effects depending on the enemy. Nero also powers up the Devil Bringer throughout the game, such as being able to detect secret missions or caches of Red Orbs. Nero gains the ability to use Devil Trigger, which also increases his Devil Bringer's power, even changing his throws into more powerful versions with different animations.
Dante is played through seven missions, taking over about half-way through the game. His gameplay is very similar to Devil May Cry 3, with him having access to multiple melee and ranged weapons which he gains after boss battles and being able to cycle through them in combat, though he is not limited to two of each. Dante also starts with his four styles (Trickster, Royal Guard, Sword Master, Gunslinger), though he may switch them at will with the d-pad. He gains Dark Slayer near the end of his section, which requires a double-tap in any direction on the d-pad. Styles do not level up through experience as in the previous game, but must instead be upgraded in the shop screen in between missions or at statues. Dante can also enter Devil Trigger, though his does not change his attacks to the degree that Nero's does.
- Bael and Dagon
- The Savior
- Scarecrow - the first type of enemy encountered in the game. Their initial form with blades attached to their arms is fought first, followed by the second type which has blades attached to their legs. The Mega Scarecrow is a Scarecrow that is filled with beetles and has several blades on its arms, legs, and back.
- Bianco Angelo - an Pseudo Angel and artificial synthetic demon inhabiting a hollow suit of silver armor created by Angus. They use steel lances and are able to attack on the ground or in the air. They are airborne through use of their wings, which also transform into shields to block attacks. The golden Alto Angelo is somewhat similar in appearance, although much stronger and uses a sword. The Angelo enemies are stated to be created from the fragments of the "Dark Angel".
- Basilisk - Dog-like synthetic demon.
- Cutlass - Fish-like synthetic demon.
- Gladius - Reptile-like synthetic demon.
- Assault - an Assault is a lizard-like demon similar to Frost, created by the emperor of demon-kind. They possess the ability to burrow through the ground at high speeds by using their sharp claws which they can also use for attacks. Assaults wear small amounts of armor to ward of attack but once this is destroyed, they no longer possess any method of defense. They are similar to Blades from the first game in appearance and ability.
- Mephisto - A Mephisto is a low level demon that emits black mist from its body that appears as a cape, which provides it the ability to move through solid objects at will and float in the air. The Mephisto are capable of rapidly manipulating the length of their sharp fingers to stab and pierce enemies from long distances. Though it can appear formidable, a Mephisto's real form is hidden inside its cloak, that of a metallic, spider demon that is considerably weaker and unable to defend itself from attack.
- Faust - The Faust is a larger relative of the Mephisto, and is considerably more intelligent, cruel, and violent, though it is still cowardly when unshrouded. Its true body is white, somewhat larger than the Mephisto's, and possesses several tendrils around its head that give the appearance of hair; the mist that covers the Faust also takes the appearance of a fedora on its head. Like the Mephisto, they are able to extend their fingers, but can do this with more than one finger at a time, and can even detach their fingers to hover in the air and attack on their own. Faust are often accompanied by a pair of Mephistos.
- Blitz - The Blitz are particularly troublesome and powerful elite demons with bodies surrounded by a shield of lightning. They do not possess the ability to see and rely on other senses to track their prey's movements, though they are not always able to differentiate enemy from fellow demon. They can move around at an incredible speed, leaving only electric static behind as an indication of their previous location. When gravely injured, their electric coating turns red and their attacks become even more powerful and ferocious. Blitz explode upon dying.
The game opens with Nero hurrying towards the central Opera House where the Order of the Sword (a religious order that worships the legendary demon knight Sparda and fights to protect the world from demons) is conducting a ceremony, his right arm in a sling. Meanwhile Kyrie, Nero’s romantic interest, is beginning to open the ceremony with a song and is disappointed not to find Nero in the audience. She begins her song none the less as Nero encounters several Scarecrow demons on his way to the Opera House; he easily dispatches them without breaking his stride, unaware that a man in red was secretly watching him, and arrives at the Opera House just in time to hear the end of Kyrie’s song.
Following this, Kyrie joins Nero in the audience where she finds Nero has left a present for her in the form of a gold necklace. The High Priest of the Order of the Sword Sanctus beckons the Order members to join him in prayer; Nero is visibly bored by this and is about to leave despite Kyrie’s protests when his right arm begins to glow ominously. At this moment, the man in red, who is none other than Dante, bursts through the ceiling and assassinates Sanctus.
The knights quickly rally to avenge their fallen leader but are easily dispatched by the assassin. Nero, under the impression that Kyrie is in danger, attacks Dante initiating a fight between the two. As Dante gains the upper hand, Nero reveals his demonic right arm named the Devil Bringer and uses its power to seemingly kill Dante by impaling him with his own sword, only to find that Dante survived relatively unharmed. Dante comments on Nero’s power before quickly departing after showing Nero that the knights he killed were not human but possessed a devilish appearance.
Nero is charged with capturing Dante and bringing him back to the Order to answer for his crimes by Credo, the leader of the Orders knights and Kyrie’s brother. Upon leaving the Opera House however, a demonic horde begins to lay waste to the city. Nero and Kyrie are separated as Nero begins to slay the demons. Nero fights his way into the depths of Fortuna Castle, on the way, the player is allowed to witness a scene revealing that Sanctus has been infused with the soul of a demon to revive him. The player is also introduced to Agnus, the stuttering scientist and mastermind of the Orders demonic power manipulation.
When Nero makes his way through a supernatural blizzard to Fortuna Castle, he meets Gloria, a new member of the Order whom he's never seen before. After some exposition, Nero and Gloria go their separate ways.
Nero finally reaches Agnus' facility where he is defeated and heavily injured, the broken Katana Yamato responds to Nero and mends itself before flying into his hand. Nero fends off Agnus' attacks with the aid of a spectral blue demon hovering behind him before he collapses in exhaustion.
Agnus flees back to Sanctus and informs him of Nero’s new-found power. Credo vows to take care of Nero while Gloria takes over Nero’s pursuit of Dante.
Nero is confronted by Credo who also has been infused with demonic power, giving him the characteristics of an Angel, yet is defeated by Nero. However, Kyrie arrives in time to witness Nero with his demonic arm standing over her defeated brother. Agnus uses the confusion and distraction on Nero’s part to kidnap Kyrie and flee. Credo postpones his feud with Nero until he can investigate the situation. Nero then once more meets Dante, his quest to capture him long since forgotten; he wishes to simply pass Dante by. Dante however wants the Yamato, since the sword originally belonged to his late brother. A fight ensues where Dante is victorious; however, he decides to let Nero keep Yamato after the latter has “cooled down”. Following this is, it is revealed that Gloria is in fact Trish, Dante’s partner in his demon hunting business “Devil May Cry.”
Nero reaches Sanctus and “The Savior”, an enormous statue which the Order intends to bring to life using Nero and Yamato’s power. Using Kyrie as a human shield, Sanctus is successful in detaining Nero. Sanctus reveals that the Savior requires the essence of Sparda to be reach full power, he origionally intended Dante be used as the core but accepts Nero as a suitable substitute. Credo attempts to rescue the two but is mortally wounded by Sanctus, Dante arrives and requests Nero give him his sword back. As Nero is absorbed into The Savior, he requests Dante “come and get it.”
Agnus uses Yamato to open an enormous Hellgate releasing a multitude of demons onto the city; Sanctus arrives with The Savior and begins to exterminate the demons. Dante, upon hearing Credo’s dying request to rescue Kyrie and Nero fights his way back towards the city.
On his way while destroying the three smaller Hellgates used to release the demons, Dante has a flashback of how everything was set into motion when Lady came to Dante's office, offering a job. She told him about the Order of the Sword and their worship of Sparda, much to Dante's surprise. She explained that there is a legend of Sparda in that he served as a feudal lord at the city a long time ago and although peaceful worship can't be condemned, the Order's members recently started catching demons and collecting Devil Arms, interfering with her work. Trish, who was present and heard all this, departed with the Sparda sword, leaving a "see you there" message written in lipstick on the wall. There was nothing for Dante to do but to go to Fortuna after her.
In present time, Dante arrives back at the Opera House and kills Agnus, he then retrieves Yamato and uses it to destroy the largest of the Hellgates before confronting Sanctus and The Savior. After discovering that The Savior is invincible from the outside, Dante drives Yamato into the chest of The Savior where it is retrieved by Nero. Nero defeats Sanctus inside The Savior and rescues Kyrie; finally, Nero uses the powers of his Devil Bringer to destroy The Savior and Sanctus once and for all. Dante departs after entrusting Nero with Yamato. Nero and Kyrie’s tender reunion is interrupted by another demon attack; Nero draws his sword and begins the fight as the credits roll and the game ends.
In a post-credits scene, at the Devil May Cry, Trish and Lady bicker over the small reward she is giving, with Lady accusing Trish for having disguised as Gloria and delivering Sparda's sword to the Order. A phone call rings, with a customer having another job for Dante to do, and the trio moves out to help.
Producer Hiroyuki Kobayashi noted that the production team began working with the game using a PC-based engine. He said that this was the first PlayStation 3 game developed by Capcom, and that making this transition was a "hard step", particularly because no member of the producing team was familiar with the console's capabilities. As the first Devil May Cry not to be released for PlayStation 2, the team wanted to introduce a new character for newcomers. This allowed them to try new play mechanics that and expand more the series' plot. On September 6, 2006, Japanese video game magazine Famitsu reported that the past games' main character, Dante, would not be the protagonist in Devil May Cry 4. Instead, a new character named Nero, voiced and motion captured by Johnny Yong Bosch, took the lead.
The game's multi-platform crossover was justified by emphasizing the Xbox 360's success in the North American and European markets, labeling the move as "natural". The final game uses Capcom's internally developed MT Framework engine. In a thread questioning the move on the official Capcom message board, the company's senior director of strategic planning and research, Christian Svensson, responded by saying that they were moved by people's strong feelings about the decision, but that it was the best decision for the company and consumers. He also claimed that the contents would be identical, except that "the feel of the controller" may cause a slight difference.
Itsuno said in the Famitsu article that the visuals attempt to deliver a satisfying feel of being in the air, and that the actions of Nero's Devil Bringer could not be done on contemporary generation consoles, but they could be done on the new generation of consoles such as the PlayStation 3. Kobayashi stated that the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 versions would be identical, although he did not comment on the PC version. Kobayashi confirmed that the PC version "would be great, because the same team is working on both". The PlayStation 3 version requires the user to install 5GB of game data, taking 20 minutes, which shortens the length of the loading screens throughout the game.
During production, new gameplay options were implemented in order to "keep up with fresh action games"; among these is the Devil Bringer's ability to bring enemies towards the characters. Unlike Dante's progress in Devil May Cry 3, Nero was designed to become stronger by upgrading his Devil Bringer ability instead of receiving new weapons after defeating boss characters. During development, the production team noted several aspects of the game, including that Nero would be one of two main characters and that Dante was not going to be the only character from previous entries in the series to appear. Producer Hiroyuki Kobashi noted prior to the release of that game that they wanted to make Dante seem significantly more powerful than Nero. This was done in order to create an evident difference between the strength of a "veteran" when compared to a "rookie". Unlike Devil May Cry 3, the game's difficulty would be the same in both the Japanese and European versions as in the one released in North America.
Before commencing the designs for the characters in Devil May Cry 4, character designer Tatsuya Yoshikawa consulted with several members of the staff that had worked in the series previously, in order to become familiar with previous elements. The characters were designed in order to emphasize their moves, which made the staff controlling their motions vital in the design. Some of the demonic forms of the antagonists in Devil May Cry 4 resemble angels. These characters were designed to be attractive to the game's audience while providing a contrast when compared to other demons in the game. Yoshikawa noted that several of the boss characters presented some difficulty when creating them, but that Nero's design was one of the biggest challenges he had experienced in his career, based on the fact that the character would have to be accepted by the public and fit in the series' universe.
The soundtrack for Devil May Cry 4 was composed by Tetsuya Shibata, Shusaku Uchiyama, Kento Hasegawa, Akihiko Narita, Kota Suzuki, Rei Kondoh, Masayoshi "Chamy" Ishi, Masami Ueda and Shinichiro Sato.
Two exclusive features are Turbo Mode (previously featured only in Devil May Cry 3: Special Edition) giving the game a 20% speed boost and a new difficulty mode called Legendary Dark Knight Mode which can display over 100 enemies in some missions at once. Both features return in the Devil May Cry 4: Special Edition release.
The PC version also has both DirectX 9 and DirectX 10 mode. It is labeled "Games for Windows" and runs on XP, Vista and 7. It assumes a Gamepad is present and only uses the mouse in the menus, providing the same interface as the Xbox 360 version.
An iOS version called Devil May Cry 4: Refrain was announced January 11, 2011. It was released on February 3, 2011.
Marketing and release
The first teaser trailer was shown at E3 2005, depicting Dante traveling through a snow-covered environment. A more substantial trailer was released at that year's Tokyo Game Show, with a more rugged and older Dante in a city-like setting. Both teasers show very little detail of the game itself. At the 2006 Tokyo Game Show, a more complete trailer debuted, along with a playable demo, featuring the character Nero.
A fourth trailer, released on December 17, 2007, revealed more gameplay and story detail, as well as information on new songs for the game, including a new version of "Lock and Load", Dante's theme music from the first Devil May Cry, with new lyrics written and performed by Shawn "Shootie HG" McPherson, the lyricist and lead vocalist on the soundtrack of Devil May Cry 3: Dante's Awakening. Released with the Japanese version of the game is Japanese rock band, L'Arc-en-Ciel, and their new single, Drink It Down, which is used as the Japanese opening for the game. The company presented the game's first demo at an event titled "Capcom's Gamer's Day", where Kobayashi highlighted several of the games features. With the team focused in completing the game, a new demo was not produced in time for the 2007 E3 Media and Business Summit.
A collector's edition of the game was released at the same time as the regular version. The North American version features a bonus disc containing the making of Devil May Cry 4, and an additional disc of the first four episodes of Devil May Cry: The Animated Series, while the European and Australian versions include a signed artbook instead, named "Art of the Devil". A very small number of Collector's Edition packages were signed by the game's producer, Hiroyuki Kobayashi, on the back of the metal tin on Dante's left shoulder. This number was reported to be as low as only 100 signed copies of the Collector's Edition for each console, making for a total of 200 signed copies. Both versions were packaged in a steelbook case.
Devil May Cry 4: Special Edition
On December 15, 2014, Capcom revealed that an updated version of the game would be released for the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. The game was released on June 18, 2015 for the PS4 and Xbox One versions, and June 24, 2015 for the PC version in Japan, and on June 23, 2015 for all announced platforms in other regions. It was released physically and digitally in Japan and only digitally in other regions.
The Special Edition's biggest feature is the addition of Vergil, Trish, and Lady as bonus playable characters, each with new opening and ending movies. Bonus costumes for Trish and Lady were included in the first-print run of the physical version and as a pre-order bonus for the digital versions. Included in the game were bonus costumes and EX-colors for Nero, Dante, Vergil, Lady and Trish. The game contains the Legendary Dark Knight mode (an additional difficulty mode featuring a vastly increased enemy count) and a Turbo setting (which increases game speed by 20%), both previously exclusive to the PC version of the original release. The in-game economy was re-tuned for quicker acquisition of Red Orbs and Proud Souls, both used for leveling up skills and purchasing items. The remaster also has uncompressed textures and some improved visual effects. Completely new to the Special Edition is a Japanese language voice track.
Following the game's popularity, a two-volume novel adaptation of the game named Devil May Cry 4: Deadly Fortune was released in 2009 by Capcom. It is a two-volume graphic novel written by Bingo Morihashi and his assistant writer Yasui Kentarou.
The novel covers the story of Devil May Cry 4, and the events that happened before it. It expands Nero's backstory as it is revealed he was abandoned in Fortuna when he was baby. An unidentified character (strongly hinted to be Dante's brother Vergil) following Sparda's footsteps also appears in the novel first in a flashback when Nero was found in Fortuna as well as in a dream before Nero wields Yamato for the first time. During the novel Nero is often compared with Vergil; Dante is unable to understand the connection between the two. The ending is also expanded as Nero opens his own demon hunting business after the Order of the Sword. In the afterword, Bingo wrote that these removed scenes were intended to be included in the game, but were not due to some production reasons.
Devil May Cry 4 received "generally favorable" reviews, according to review aggregator Metacritic. Critical reception praised the game's challenging difficulty and the characters' special moves but it was also criticized for its backtracking, some level designs, and a troublesome camera.
The series' original creator, Hideki Kamiya, said he used this game as a research when developing Bayonetta, an action game that would use a similar style and which borrowed elements from the Devil May Cry series. In 2010, the game was included as one of the titles in the book 1001 Video Games You Must Play Before You Die.
Capcom expected Devil May Cry 4 to ship 1.8 Million Units by the end of its respected fiscal year. On February 20, 2008, Capcom's president Haruhiro Tsujimoto announced in a press release that the game shipped 2 million copies in its first month, making it the fastest selling title in the series. By the end of the title's launch year, it had sold 2.32 Million Copies and would eventually reach the milestone of 3 Million units sold by December 31, 2014. As of February 2020, the game is the second best-selling title in the series, just behind Devil May Cry 5.
Capcom's Christian Svensson noted the PC retail version's sales in the US did not meet his wishes, while a digital download version was only available in the form of piracy as Capcom Japan did not allow the game to be sold online. A PC digital distribution release was made available over a year later.
In July 2015, Capcom announced the Special Edition sold well, with the majority of units sold digitally. They further cited that the digital sales of the "Special Edition" were a key contributor to their overall growth for the fiscal quarter.
- The game has the distinction for being the first entry in the series to be released for multiple consoles (the first three installments were all originally released for the PlayStation 2).
- YouTube: Devil May Cry 4 - Behind the Scenes [Making of]
- title=1001 Video Games You Must Play Before You Die|last=Mott |first=Tony |authorlink= |year=2010 |publisher=Quintessence Editions Ltd.|location=London |isbn=978-1-74173-076-0 |page=188}}
- Official Special Edition website (Japanese but also available in English and other languages)