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Devil May Cry 4 - updated hands-on

Jan 3, 2008

The release of Devil May Cry 4 is a little over a month away now, and we've played through a near-complete version of the game from start to finish. We've unlocked the true potential of Nero's demon arm, we've blasted through hordes of demons with the transforming Pandora gun and we have a pretty good idea of why Nero and Dante look so much alike. And although we can't tell you about all of it just yet, we can shed some more light on a lot of what's waiting for you when the game hits stores on Feb. 5.

As you no doubt already know, Dante - the cocky hero of the first three DMC games - has been sidelined in favor of Nero, a white-haired kid who looks almost exactly like a younger version of Dante. As the game begins, we see that Nero's a member of a cult known as the Order of the Sword, which worships Dante's demonic father, Sparda. His free-wheeling ways don't seem to fit in too well with the Order and its strait-laced, white hooded trappings, but he still leaps to its defense when - during a sermon by Sanctus, the Order's elderly high priest - Dante crashes through the roof and puts a bullet between Sanctus' eyes.

The reasons for Dante's actions are part of a laundry list of topics Capcom has forbidden us from talking about, but they're really just an excuse for the game's first big fight/tutorial, pitting Nero against a surprisingly quiet, sinister-looking Dante in a toe-to-toe fight that practically demolishes the Order's small chapel. Dante regains his usual cocky demeanor just in time to make his escape, and the Order's surviving members - who are busy fighting off a horde of monsters Dante's apparently brought with him - quickly task Nero with hunting him down.

From there, the action is vintage Devil May Cry, with Nero exploring puzzle- and platform-filled levels while slashing and shooting his way through hordes of nasty creatures. The latter part frequently happens when you're boxed in by artificial barriers and forced to duke it out with a few waves of ugly badasses; it's a tired old gimmick, but it never really gets irritating here. The fights tend to be short and fun, and they're nowhere near as crushingly difficult as the ones that led Devil May Cry 3 players to snap their controllers in half in fits of rage.

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