Devil May Cry 4 refrain in Review – Let out your inner demon…

The Devil May Cry series is certainly one of the hallmarks of the console action/slashers. Known for spectacular stylized combos and a mix of both ranged and melee combat, it has set a standard few have been able to achieve. And it seems Nintendo and Sony have ever more reasons to be wary of the iOS devices, as Capcom has quite unexpectedly released a version of the latest reincarnation of the franchise on the App Store. Let’s see if Devil May Cry 4 refrain can live up to the benchmark set by the console versions of the series.

Devil May Cry 4 refrain follows all the traditions of its console action/slasher ancestors. The iOS game features Nero, a new playable character in the series, following the trail of portals to the demon dimension, which suddenly started to pop-up everywhere. Crossing paths with the infamous Dante, he learns that the Holy Knights have in fact been taken over by demonic forces and later discovers a hidden research lab that a crazed Order scientist Agnus is using to siphon the demonic souls. After many trials, Nero chases after his kidnapped love and in the end, faces Sanctus himself.

DMC4 refrain brings the famous stylish slasher to the iOS. It offers about a dozen stages for exploration, each split into a labyrinth of rooms. Some rooms have puzzles that have to be solved to proceed, some have to be cleared, though most can just be wheezed through. And this might be important for you since one of the aspects you’ll be scored on after the mission is complete is the amount of time it took you to do so. The puzzles also are more for show than to really challenge the player. Lastly, some areas of the game will be closed off on the first playthrough, with special items required (which are acquired after completing the game for the first time) to access them.

The real attractiveness of DMC4 refrain lies in the legendary combat system. You will find either Nero or the infamous Dante under your control as they jump, roll, slash and shoot the demons to your heart’s content. Each character has their own distinct style: Nero’s Devil Arm giving him the ability to grab at enemies and pull the up close for a smackdown, while Dante’s special attacks and changing styles offer for some truly spectacular combos. And as you progress and earn Proud Souls (based on your performance on each individual level) you’ll be able to unlock new and even more powerful skills.

Visually DMC4 refrain is a bit of a disappointment. Despite the advertised Retina support, the game doesn’t actually look like it does, whether it’s a case of poor anti-aliasing or the low initial quality of the models used, I can’t say for certain. But with the very limited size and layout of the virtually barren rooms with next to no environmental objects, it feels like Capcom should’ve been able to squeeze a lot LOT more out of the iDevice. What does work well are the controls, available in simplified (with gun and sword attack buttons bundled together) and expert modes and using the classic virtual d-pad + several action buttons model. Finally the built-in mini-map is invaluable while navigating the levels, even if it actually underlines the very square-ish feel of the rooms.

Devil May Cry 4 refrain is a difficult game to judge. On one hand I absolutely loved the combat system, requiring a bit of skill but making it possible to achieve truly spectacular combos. And even the gameplay design, one that requires you to complete the game at least once with a character to get the full sense of the story and even more times to fully explore the levels, falls in place quite organically here. On the other, I couldn’t help but feel it should’ve been released a couple of years ago, with the barren cube-shaped rooms and bleak graphics making a huge dent in the experience that is DMC on the iPhone. The thing that makes me optimistic about the game is the first update that actually added in Dante as a playable character and doubled the gameplay value in one glorious slash.

With this I declare Devil May Cry 4 refrain officially touched!

App Summary
Title: Devil May Cry 4 refrain Developer: CAPCOM
Reviewed Ver: 1.01.00 Min OS Req: 4.1
Price: $4.99 App Size: 154.81MB
  • Stylish combotastic combat mixing sword, gun and devil arm attacks
  • 2 playable characters with distinct styles of wreaking havoc
  • Easy-to-use controls
  • Bleak graphics not reaching the Retina standards
  • The individual rooms are too small, too rectangular and too barren


A project manager in a major telecommunications supplier, an iPhone junkie and lately - a TMA editor. Love long walks on the beach and my wife, who is the most beautiful girl on the face of this planet. You can also follow me on twitter for all things iPhone and project management (and some personal stuff as well):

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