We live in the age of remasters, folks, it’s official. Developing and releasing a new game is expensive and time-consuming! It’s much easier and faster to take a popular older title, double the texture size with MS Paint, slap a $30-or-so price tag on the thing and get it out the door. Well, okay, I kid – I actually tend to like remastered titles, as they offer a great reason to go back to games I originally loved. Devil May Cry 4: Special Edition, for instance, keeps the spirit of the original game intact while adding enough new hotness to justify that price tag.
The most notable additions to the classic Devil May Cry 4 experience are the new playable characters. These are accessed directly from the main menu upon starting the game and play a bit like you’d expect DLC to; for the most part you play through the same campaign as Nero and Dante with most cutscenes simply removed, for instance. If you were expecting a new, fully voice-acted experience for the new characters, well…not happening, sorry. They’ve got new openings and endings, for what that’s worth.
Still, Vergil, Lady and Trish feel fresh enough to merit giving them a shot. Vergil plays pretty much like you’d expect him to based on his appearances in Marvel vs. Capcom 3 and Devil May Cry 3: Special Edition. He’s fast, highly damaging and great at teleporting all over the place for repositioning. Vergil wields the classic Force Edge broadsword and Beowulf gauntlets along with the Yamato, a katana used for quick and precise strikes. He’s a little more effective in melee, since the spectral swords he uses as a ranged attack are a bit weak and are better used to “mark” foes for teleportation.
This is the first time Lady has been playable, meanwhile, and she comes with her signiature missile launcher Kalina Ann along with a pair of handguns and a shotgun. Lady does fantastic damage at range, particularly once you’ve bought some of the upgraded charge attacks for her various weapons, but her melee attacks with Kalina Ann’s bayonet are heavy and awkward. She can also fire the bayonet as a grappling hook for swinging around levels and tossing enemies, much like Nero can grapple with the Devil Arm. Trish, meanwhile, is playable in Lady’s campaign and behaves like her rendition in Marvel vs. Capcom 3. She wields the greatsword Sparda, a massive blade that can be thrown or branch out into a scythe, and a set of handguns along with lightning powers. Trish is more well-rounded than Vergil or Lady, offering effective options at any range mixed with immense speed.
Not to say that Devil May Cry 4 wasn’t a great game, but if you’re looking into purchasing DMC4SE it’ll be for the new characters. Each offers a unique take on the series’ gameplay, which could justify the cost all by itself. There’s more to this remaster than just the new characters, though, particularly if this is your first time playing DMC4 on PC. Legendary Dark Knight mode, for instance, ramps the game up to 11 by offering larger hordes of monsters at a more punishing level of difficulty. As an utter scrub, I didn’t find this particularly compelling, but I’m familiar enough with the series to know that vets are going to love it. There’s also the Turbo option, which is a toggle that noticeably speeds up gameplay.
As for presentation, it’s pretty much par for the course for a remaster. Things generally look and feel about the same, if a bit more clear and a bit faster. There’s allegedly little tweaks to the gameplay here and there, but again, I’m a scrub who probably couldn’t point them out and hasn’t played DMC4 recently enough to notice either way. Honestly, my favorite addition is pretty minor: I hated the load times in the previous game, and I found them to be much more brief in this version – that by itself is almost enough to earn a recommendation from me!
You’d probably guessed this already, but Devil May Cry 4: Special Edition is definitely the right way to play Devil May Cry 4 – not that you’ve got much choice on current-gen platforms. It’s got the stylish action that series fans know and love without the mallpunk aesthetic that series fans, uh, absolutely hated from DmC. Newcomers, if anyone who was ever interested is left who’s yet to play DMC4 at this point, would be well served to pick up this truly special edition and go nuts.