Devil May Cry 4
Content at a glance:
Computer Platform: Xbox 360 (Microsoft)
Produced by: Capcom
Price Range: $51-60
Learning curve time: 1-30 min.
Age level: Mature Teen to Adult
ESRB Rating: M (Mature)
Patches / Upgrades:
Reviewed By: Phil Rownd (boyward)
VOLUNTEER GUEST REVIEWER
Christian Rating: 1 of 5 (awful)
Gameplay: 5 of 5 (excellent)
Violence: 2 of 5 (heavy)
Adult Content: 1 of 5 (extreme)
The Biblical teaching about spiritual warfare is to “be strong in THE LORD and in the strength of HIS might” (Ephesians 6:10). Devil May Cry 4 turns that God-centered theology on its head and has us fighting fire with fire. Previous entries in the DMC series have been highlighted by fast-paced sword and gunplay, but DMC4 introduces a new combat system that incorporate’s Nero’s “Devil Bringer”. Now players can deal massive damage to enemies with non-stop combos, and all the while Nero’s demon-powered right arm only gets more dangerous to his demonic enemies. The “Devil Bringer” arm allows Nero to use demonic powers against the demons themselves. It makes for some extremely stylish combat and intriguing storytelling, but ultimately that wasn’t enough to overcome my disgust for the concept of fighting evil with evil.
Devil May Cry 4 follows the career of Nero, a knight of Sparda. Thousands of years ago, the demon Sparda turned against his demon brethren and waged a one-demon war to save humanity. Now men worship Sparda as their savior and god and they are, in fact, engaged in prayer as a man in red assassinates Sparda’s high priest. Sparda’s knights are quickly eliminated by this skilled assassin, and just as reinforcement knights arrive, the man in red makes his getaway. Nero is charged with capturing this man and bringing him back to answer for his crime. Those familiar with the story know who this red-clad antagonist is, but I won’t spoil it for those who are unfamiliar with Devil May Cry’s backstory.
So why is the game called “Devil May Cry?” The song that plays during every battle with the lesser demons conveys the spirit of the game. The vocalist chants, “I never kneel and I’ll never rest; You can tear the heart from my chest. I’ll make you see what I do best; I’ll succeed as you breathe your very last breath. // Now I know how the angel fell; I know the tale and I know it too well; I’ll make you wish you had a soul to sell when I strike you down and send you straight to hell. // My army comes from deep within; beneath my soul– beneath my skin. As you’re ending, I’m about to begin; My strength, his band– and I will never give in. // I’ll tell you now I’m the one to survive. You never break my faith or my stride. I’ll have you choke on your own demise. I make the angel scream and the devil cry.”
Good demons fighting bad demons seemed like an interesting concept, and one that intrigued me enough to give the game a try. I had also heard how expertly the game combines fast-paced gun and swordplay, and DMC4 did not disappoint. The combat is acrobatic, elegant, and vicious, and it all looks gorgeous thanks to the silky smooth frame rate. Make no mistake, DMC4 is a top-quality piece of art, both technical and aesthetic. Where DMC4 goes wrong is its abominable theology and offensive content. This is the reason why I was unable to finish the game. Perhaps there are some redeeming reasons why one should complete the adventure, but it was simply too much for me to handle. I’ll list the facts below and you can decide for yourself whether DMC4 takes things too far.
The game opens with an assassination that leaves the killer’s face splattered with the dead man’s blood. After being impaled to an idol with a sword, a man pulls the bloody weapon from his chest. We later see a similar impalement and this victim coughs up blood as he repeatedly stabbed. Civilians are slaughtered by demons in a bloody street massacre. Nero passes through a torture chamber where several bodies are trapped inside metal cages. The battles with lesser demons and bosses are less gory than what we see in the cutscenes. The hero’s blood splatters when under attack, but in spite of all of his destructive sword swinging, nobody gets cleaved into pieces or bleeds anything worse than a little brown goop. Slain enemies scream, writhe, and convulse before fading from view. The body count is somewhere in the thousands.
Profanity is infrequent and limited to the PG-rated variety: “p— me off”, “what the h—“, “smart a–“, “da—-t”, “you bas—-“. The characters do not use God’s name in vain since, apparently, there is no God in this fantasy world.
From the ground up, the entire story and motif is based on fantasy spiritual elements. Your progress depends on your ability to harvest demonic powers and use them to your advantage. You’ll collect magic red stones of crystallized demon blood and offer them to the gods to earn new power. You can boost your abilities by collecting “Proud Souls”– souls filled with the pride of noble blood. New demonic powers within the hero can be awakened by the “Evil Legacy”, a crystal holding the power of ancient evil. Your character’s moves all have spiritual-sounding names: “Devil Bringer”, “Hell Bound”, “Devil Trigger”, etc. You’ll battle boss demons such as Berial, the conqueror of Fire Hell, and Bael, master of the frozen soil. Demons possess inanimate objects as well as human beings. The dead are brought to life. Magical seals are found everywhere and the hero uses demonic magic to slay his foes. Nero obtains the ability to release demonic energy within his sword and unleash the devil within himself. The souls of demons and men are sucked out. I could go on and on.
Early in the game you’ll meet Gloria, a barely-clothed woman warrior. We are meant to notice her. During Gloria’s carefully choreographed cutscenes we get a lot of closeups of her mostly bare and bouncing breasts, buttocks, and crotch. The camera glides, admiringly, over her womanly features, and Gloria’s seductive movements only enhance our view. You’ll briefly observe what appears to be two nude and moaning female demons engaged in a sexualized dance. One puts her hands on the other’s breasts, and her mouth to the crotch. Another female-featured demon monster bares a lot of cleavage, and during battle Nero actually attacks her most vulnerable spot– the womb.
This may or may not be positive element, but Nero is willing to transform into a devil if it will save his friend and lover, Kyrie.
I understand why Devil May Cry 4 has received such glowing praise from the press and fans of the series. From a technical and artistic standpoint, DMC4 is a shining example of how elegant action games can be. But it’s also an example of why Christian Guide2Games exists: to help us choose games that honor the Lord Jesus Christ… and to expose the ones that do Him dishonor.
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Year of Release — 2008
Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this Spotlight review are those of the reviewer (both ratings and recommendations), and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Eden Communications or the Christian Answers Network.
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