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Devil May Cry 4: Refrain
by Paul Byron on Monday 14th Feb 2011

Player May Cry

Expectations; sometimes they are there just to be shattered.  Expecting a flashy new car and getting a bike, expecting a good film and getting Batman and Robin or expecting Devil May Cry 4 on iPhone to retain much of what made the original game great and getting…well, this.

The Devil May Cry series has always been about flashy graphics, great moves and big combos.  Capcom’s Devil May Cry 4: Refrain manages the last one of these and just scrapes through the second while missing out the first altogether.  While it follows a similar storyline to the console game, the text based speech and chopped up story don’t really help the narrative flow.  Not that story matters so much in a game where you simply need to beat up a few demons, find a way to the next objective and then face off against some mega-super-demon-king.


Devil May Cry 4 Refrain

The game starts off with a well-meaning stab at storytelling, introducing Nero, the hero of the game.  He’s oblivious to his demon heritage (though, to anyone else, a glowing gauntlet on their arm, super agility and owning a giant sword would probably start ringing a few alarm bells).  Sure enough, though, the Demon world catches up with him and he starts to uncover his origins, all while fighting off a huge bunch of monsters.

The rest of the story feels like a highly edited version of the original and sometimes just doesn’t follow a plot at all.  It’s all text and static images too. There are no voice actors or animations, which is sad considering what the device is capable of in the right hands and the original source material they had to work with.

Devil May Cry 4 Refrain

At your disposal in the fight against these demons are a gun, a sword and a magical arm which can grab opponents from across the room or produce a huge glowing uppercut.  Jumping in the air will give you air time most basketball players would dream of, allowing you to attack from out of harm’s way. 

Mixing these techniques together you can quickly build score-boosting combos which will go towards your final grade for the level.  The issue is that you’ll be mashing one of the three buttons without even thinking for the first few levels.  It’s not until you get towards the first mega-demon that you’ll need to think about strategy and then it’s back to the same old button mashing again.


Devil May Cry 4 Refrain

While later enemies become a tad more impressive, working your way to these is often more of a slog that it should be.  Yes, there is some fun to be had in firing demons in to the air and trying to keep them there for as long as possible, but it’s all just a bit too repetitive.

Once you’ve reached the story’s conclusion there’s just no desire to go back and do it all again for a better grade on each level.  The game leaves you with a feeling of mild disappointment and ultimately, the apathy felt throughout almost every aspect is what lets it down.  Devil May Cry 4: Refrain is only one stage above an old-fashioned mobile game on a device that can provide much more than this.


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  • Sound: 6
  • Graphics: 6
  • Gameplay: 5
  • Longevity: 6



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