Sunday, January 4, 2009

Devil May Cry 4: Guns and Devil Arms

One of the best parts of the Devil May Cry series is that you get to kill enemies using a wide variety of cool weapons, each of which has it's own quirks. While Devil May Cry 4 doesn't quite have the same number of weapons as Devil May Cry 3, it does have a few really distinct and fun ones. So, here are my thoughts on the various weapons in DMC4:

Red Queen:
Nero's basic sword is a fun weapon to play around with. The developers did a good job of differentiating it from Dante's Rebellion, even though it still has a lot of the same basic functionality. Most notably, Red Queen probably has the largest and most elaborate list of upgrades in the entire game, with several new combos, four special moves (several of which with upgrades), and upgrades to the Exceed ability for the player to buy. However, while the basic combos of Red Queen are fun to use, it's exceed function just doesn't seem to do enough to warrant using it. While it is pretty difficult to build up the Exceed gauge mid-battle, it is pretty easy to waste it, since it takes only a single mistimed press of the Y button to waste one gauge. Furthermore, no enemy in the game seems to have any particular weakness to Exceed attacks. So while the EX special attacks are pretty cool and fun to occasionally play around with, there is little motivation for the player to use them. Adding some enemies with a weakness to Exceed attacks and making it possible to get more attacks out of the Exceed gauge would have helped the system a lot.

Blue Rose:
While Red Queen feels like a fun variant on Dante's sword, Blue Rose just feels like a weaker version of Ebony and Ivory with none of the cool special tricks. Even more aggravating is the complete lack of upgrades for Blue Rose; the only abilities to buy for it are it's three levels of Charge Shot. Now then, the concept behind Blue Rose's charge shot is pretty cool and distinct, since each level of charge adds a new special quality to the bullet: the first level adds a knock-back effect, the second sets the target on fire, and the third adds a time-delayed explosion. Unfortunately, charging the gun takes forever. By the time the gun reaches even it's second level of charge, I could have hit an enemy with several melee combo chains. While it is possible to charge the gun while fighting normally, doing so requires holding the X button down while still trying to press the Y, B, and A buttons with precise timing. My hand just can't do that. Blue Rose really needs more special tricks, and more ways of being differentiated from Dante's gun. The developers could increase the guns knockback and stunning capabilities more, or perhaps give Nero the ability to load and fire various kinds of special round.

Devil Bringer:
As I said in an earlier post, Devil Bringer needs a lot more functions, seeing as how it is Nero's distinguishing ability. The fact that the only purchasable upgrades for it are moderate increases to Snatch's range is pretty disappointing. The developers might want to look at how Grab and Throw was improved between Zone of the Enders and Zone of the Enders: The Second Runner for some inspiration. Still, it is surprising fun to use despite how simple it is.

Yamato (Nero):
Having a weapon available only while Devil Triggered is a really interesting concept, and I think it is pretty well executed. Some more special attacks would be a little nice, and I think it would be cool to somehow be able to expend some of the magic gauge to draw the sword and execute a big attack (such as the attack Dante uses) while in normal form.

What is there to say? It's Dante's main sword, and handles exactly like expected for the most part. I do think the newly added red glow is a nice touch, since it makes the sword look more like a powerful magical weapon. It might actually be a match in terms of coolness for Alastor now. The fact that the Stinger attack transforms into a very different attack while Dante is Devil Triggered is really cool. I am a little disappointed that his other attacks don't seem to receive any similar upgrade. However, Rebellion's chargable special moves (Round Trip and Drive), suffer from some of the same criticisms I leveled at Blue Rose: the charging takes too long and is impossible to do while actually fighting.

Ebony & Ivory:
Just as good as they have always been. They still have a lot of tricks, though mostly thanks to Gunslinger style. Suffers the problem that almost every other gun in the game does: the only upgrades are increasing how long you can charge the gun.

It's nice to see that a gun that has been in Dante's arsenal since DMC1 finally get a name. See Ebony and Ivory for most of my comments for this gun. It fills a useful niche, but could use more special tricks.

It is a pretty nice varient on the tried and true Dante hand-to-hand weapon. However, it is missing a lot of the tricks that Beowulf had, particularly in the realm of ranged attacks. Like so many other weapons in the game, it suffers from few decent upgrades as well. The ability to charge every ground attack is pretty cool, but since it takes so long it is only situationally useful,and even then I can only justify charging to the first level. Still, not bad. However, I think the mask is a little much for the look of the weapon.

Pandora is quite easily the best concept to come out of Devil May Cry 4, and is certainly a weapon that I am hoping to see come back in later iterations of the series. If expanded upon, the transforming gun Pandora could easily serve as a character's only firearm. In fact, the weapon almost seems like a better fit for Nero than Dante, since using it correctly involves building up a special gauge to bring out more powerful attacks. This is one weapon where I would have really liked to see more upgrades for, since it is really disappointing that there is only one chain of transformations available for the gun. I would have liked to see several different branching chains of transformations. Easily my favorite gun in the entire Devil May Cry series.

Lucifer is a very interesting weapon. The fact that it can chain infinitely by default, with several different finishers is a cool touch. Impaling an enemy with explosive harpoons is a pretty fun effect too, though I wish the developers had mapped a different button input to trigger the detonation. Away plus Y while locked on to an enemy can be surprising awkward if Dante is surrounded by enemies. I think the developers could also have done more with the wing-like look of the weapon, and given it an attack where Dante actually throws a blade into an enemy.

Yamato (Dante):
While I am a big fan of the Slash Dimension attack, Yamato feels way too much like a one-trick pony. Since Yamato cannot be used with any Style (since it's its own Style), nor can it be upgraded in any way, it feels very limited in use. Still, the idea of a style where Dante uses a second weapon in addition to his main equipped one is a solid one.

I may come back and give my updated thoughts on these weapons when I finally get around to going through Devil May Cry 4 again.

No comments: