Devil May Cry 4: Refrain iPhone Review

Gaming

Devil May Cry 4: Refrain
Platform:iPhone (Reviewed), iPad, iPod Touch
Publisher:Capcom
Developer: Capcom Mobile
Genre: Hack n’ Slash/Beat em’ Up
Release Date: February 3, 2011
Price: $5.99 BUY NOW!

Even though this port has had so much taken out and downgraded for the iPhone, DMC4R is actually still a real blast to play.

The Devil May Cry series is proudly standing near the top of Capcom’s mountain of A-listers, right up there next to Street Fighter and Resident Evil. Now making cameos in games outside the franchise and even sporting its own anime, the saga saw a major change recently with lead character Dante not being the main protagonist in Devil May Cry 4 on the Xbox 360 and PS3. Now the title comes as Devil May Cry 4: Refrain on the iPhone to blow us away all over again. Thanks alot Capcom, we’re still trying to recover from the original title! However the question stands clear: can DMC4 still be as awesome when downgraded for a mobile phone?

While the story is decent, its executed and told poorly, however the very seldom still images like this one look beautiful and are nice eye candy, but sadly most gamers will just skip through these.

Presentation

Devil May Cry 4: Refrain Is filled with style and is just bursting with ‘cool’. From the fonts to menu screens, this game is bursting with character. Its dark demonic focusing on dark colours but throwing in a lot of bright crimson and red to freshen things up. From character designs to the music to the game play, everything is about style and looking cool, and it hits the mark with ease. The only major set back presentation-wise is the unfortunate telling of the story. While a decent storyline does exist, it is executed poorly through a mix of in game animations which are decent at best, to a bunch of really nice art work and uninspired narration. The mix of the 2 styles really seems out of place, and honestly the story is almost impossible to follow, and anyone except a hardcore DMC fan will more than likely just skip the cinematic all together, which is a darn shame.

The combo and ranking system really makes pulling off combos feel very rewarding, and preforming stylish kills can become easily addictive!

 Gameplay

The engine behind Devil May Cry 4: Refrain is by far the highlight of the game, and Capcom has done its best to emulate the high adrenaline rush for the iPhone provided by the superior console games, and its come pretty close. The analog stick is at most times good, and depending on which option players choose they can have 3 buttons jump, devil bringer, and attack-which automatically decides if you should slash or shoot, or two separate buttons for guns and sword. Neither really change the game too much, but its still a nice option to have included. What makes the gameplay shine however is its epic combo system. A bar is shown which can be built up with each hit, and when filled you achieve a new grade-either D for Deadly, C for Carnage, B for Brutal, A for Atomic, then S for Smokin! Gaining these grades is alot of fun as to link hits together to create combos requires a mix between taking on multiple enemies at once, and using combinations between all buttons. After a certain amount of hits, opponents will be sent flying either away or upwards, when sent upwards, one can jump to land a few mid-air hits, or when sent flying away, the devil bringer attack can pull them closer to you for a few more hits like Scorpion from Mortal Kombat’s harpoon ‘Get Over Here!’ move. Also, guns can be used to shoot far away enemies which help links chains of attacks, and it can also be charged up among a few other techniques. This depth is really easy to master and is alot of fun, and with the ranking system-very, very rewarding.

Refrain has many flaws, but its gameplay, soundtrack and style are so great it truly makes up for the aspects it lacks in.

However not all elements of the game are as spot on, unfortunately the camera angles are often pretty terrible and are often so far away you can occasionally feel disconnected from the action and you can sometimes be surprised by enemies that are off screen, making it hard to find who to attack. Sometimes with only a few enemies on the screen at once combat doesn’t feel as chaotic as it should, but this reviewer doubts the iPhone in most cases can’t take too much more so it’s not that big of a deal. Possibly one the games biggest flaws is it’s level design. While there are a few interesting ideas thrown in here and there which do their job of breaking up the action and keeping the system fresh, its easy to get lost in levels as they arn’t all so straight forward, and some puzzles arn’t explained or implied very well so they are a bit more difficult than you’d expect for a game you don’t wanna think with-just button mash. However, this isn’t so bad it gets rid of the gameplay.

In video games, a bullet to the head has always been not that big of a deal. I suppose bullet-proof vests cover your face too somehow, maybe?

Hardcore Devil May Cry fans will be disappointed to hear that Dante isn’t a playable character, however word is he will be a downloadable character in the future, and this is just one of a few things missing in this port. However since it’s gone from the most powerful home console gaming system of all time to a device that’s been built for text messages and calling people-it’s actually pretty impressive what Capcom has managed to squeeze into this game. One of the biggest highlights as well as the combo system is the boss battles though. No exaggeration here- these are some of the best boss battles you will play on the iPhone. These are epic, amazing and will blow you away. Its really surprising how climatic these feel on an iPhone game, and you really get that stylish cinematic Devil May Cry feel to it, truly breath taking, and comes close to competing with it’s original source title. Whats nice to see is there is quite a bit of replay value to the game, as you can unlock extra features which can really switch up the gameplay as well as customisation options which really make up for the short ten levels of Refrain, a nice bonus.

Theres an unwritten law in video games: All games must include either a Ice Boss or a Water Temple. No questions asked!

Graphics 

The graphics of Devil May Cry 4: Refrain  are a mixed bag. Some scenes like in boss battles and some particular effects thrown in here and there are nice and the character models are decent, especially on the enemies you fight against. However the textures arn’t always as nice or as detailed as I’d like, as sometimes they seem a little basic. Not all models are smooth, especially in levels that arn’t as dark and gloomy and are more bright in colour where the edges can seem a little rough, but it isn’t always the case. While the graphics arn’t perfect though, they are good and they do get the job done, just expect more Devil May Cry 1 than 4 in this department, and to be honest it usually isn’t as good as the first one, but the graphics are still good enough.

No idea why this guy is in such a heated mood, he probably should cool off and chill out!

Audio

The Devil May Cry franchise is well known for its awesome Industrial soundtrack, and this Refrain is no exception. Its dark, its exciting and it feels evil. Very gothic and to be simply put and said, its just very good! Swapping between creepy, quiet and haunting tracks to hard-hitting, fast-paced industrial tracks that really gets you in the mood to slay demons and it stays true to the style of the franchise. It’s probably one of the best soundtracks you’ll hear on an iPhone game. Only problem is often it goes quiet between enemies, but since they appear in every room, the music is going soft to loud receptively and it gets old fast. In most cases, it would’ve probably been nicer to just keep the combat music throughout, since fighting is all you really do in Refrain. Furthermore, while the sound effects and occasional voice acting is done with absolute perfection, they aren’t executed as nicely as they could’ve been with the reuse of lines such as ‘Be Gone!’ repeated what seems to be every 5-10 seconds, and gets really annoying quickly.

Hope you like killing things, cause your gonna do ALOT of it in this game!

Conclusion

While making Devil May Cry 4: Refrain, I believe Capcom knew it was fighting a loosing battle, as it is impossible to equal possibly one of the greatest beat em ups available on a next generation home console. This game has a lot of small things holding it back and it is far from perfect, however it’s combo system is so good it makes up for at least 70% of it’s problems. Furthermore, the soundtrack is memorable and could probably even hold its own on a cd against other soundtracks,  has some of the most epic boss battles you’ll probably have on the device (or at least from my experience so far) and the entire game is just over flowing with style.While many fans of the original may really hate this port, keep in mind that the iPhone does not have the capabilities of your Xbox 360, so what Capcom have done to translate it and still keep its signature style and gameplay is commendable. This is all on the same device you call your boss on to say your late for work, or checking your twitter or facebook under the table in class. While many things aren’t done amazingly, at the end of the day this title is really, really fun to play, and is a delight to all button-mashers out there. Easy to enjoy for both hardcore gamers, fans and even casual players, this game is easy to recommend to any fans of the beat em up genre, as it is one of the best options available on the system. However, if you have a choice between the iPhone and the home console versions, I recommend DMC4 over DMC4:R. Refrain is amazing by the standards of an iPhone game, and the original is amazing by the standards of a next gen home console game which are much higher, just keep that in mind.

Devil May Cry 4: Refrain isn’t the greatest beat em up of all time, but its easily one of the best for the iPhone.

PROS

  • Great Controls
  • Awesome Combos
  • Addictive and rewarding ranking system
  • Epic Boss battles
  • Amazing soundtrack
  • Good replay value
  • It’s Devil May Cry 4-on your iPhone!!!

 

CONS

  • Story is told poorly
  • Some graphics and texture issues are a bit rough
  • A few uninspired level design and puzzles

I give Devil May Cry 4: Refrain for the iPhone a devilish:

9-0-capsules-out-of-10


Matt Vella. Capsule Computers' Community Manager. I say 'Laters' a lot.
  • jaypea360

    Good review. It seems a lot of these games developed for portable devices lack the punch of their console counterparts.

    This title has done justice to the DMC series though according to your review.
    Looks a lot better than the Dead Rising for iphone Capcom put out a while back.

  • v8hilux

    high score for a game which is never gonna be as good as the originals. Cool artwork but put into mobile gmaes to cover up the poor game play graphics usualy. Some of the shots don’t look to bad but when you look closer you can see where the failings are.
    Still, a good review and love the lil one liners with each shot.

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