Devil May Cry 4 - updated hands-on

Dante's no slouch, either, and while he doesn't have a demon arm, he's tougher than Nero and can switch between four different fighting styles - Trickster, Gunslinger, Sword Master and Royal Guard - on the fly. These don't actually change his basic attacks, but they do enable you to bust out new special moves specific to each style. For example, Gunslinger enables Dante to fire a machinegun-like burst from his pistols, whip his sawed-off shotgun around like deadly nunchaku or - once you've acquired it - transform the Pandora gun into a floating, cannon-ringed platform that launches heat-seeking missiles.

Sword Master, meanwhile, enables more elaborate slash attacks, Trickster lets Dante dodge rapidly and Royal Guard gives him the ability to block. And that's just for starters, as all of the styles can be upgraded, unlocking more devastating moves to bust out in the heat of combat. 

In addition to Pandora (a missile-firing bowgun that can transform into a rocket launcher, laser cannon and killer suitcase in addition to its default shape, so long as you buy the right upgrades and know the right button combos to make it transform), Dante can also earn a few extra weapons by defeating bosses. We covered them in an earlier preview, but in case you missed it, these are Gilgamesh, a special armor that enables devastating martial-arts moves, and Lucifer, which tosses out huge glowing needles that stay stuck in enemies until Dante does a Flamenco clap, making them explode. Both of these - in addition to Dante's other weapons - can be upgraded with new moves

Action aside, Devil May Cry 4 keeps things interesting with its secret-filled levels, which feature a pretty wide variety of puzzles that range from navigating a maze based on where shadows fall to unlocking doors by leading a bunch of floating, spinning-blade things through castle corridors. You'll also be treated to a lot of fairly lengthy, well-acted cutscenes that - true to the series' form - are so ridiculously packed with over-the-top, beautifully choreographed action that we almost have to wonder why they weren't turned into God of War-style button-mashing sequences. Whatever the case, the game's looking beautiful - equally so on both Xbox 360 and PS3  - and assuming things don't change too much between now and the game's release date, Dante's fans should have a lot to look forward to in February.

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