Devil May Cry 4 PS3 / Xbox 360

Devil May Cry 4 PS3 / Xbox 360
The gothic-flavoured Devil May Cry series is a classic tale of man versus monsters that morphed from a purported Resident Evil spin-off in 2001 into one of Japan’s most enduring action franchises. In this latest chapter, our new protagonist is Nero. The original hero — mad-as-a-hatter half-demon slayer Dante — doesn’t become playable until over halfway through the game, although he does make a splashy entrance in an early cut-scene, and while the two emo-esque leads look interchangeable, Nero’s new fighting styles are actually preferable. Nero, voiced by ex-Power Ranger Johnny Yong Bosch, is a rebel. You can tell because he wears a hoodie and listens to headphones while at church. Egads! Of course, the whole congregation carries swords (after all, they are known as the Order of the Sword), so the parishioners are pretty badass as well. Except the priest, who takes a bullet to the head. And by Dante, no less! But the religious angle takes a backseat to all the shooting, swordplay, juvenile taunting and demonic hand-to-hand combat (oh yeah, Nero has an awesome demon arm dubbed "Devil Bringer” that adds a brilliant new aspect to the game and causes some nice damage). The churchly trappings are really just mood-setting devices to justify the demonic hordes that populate each level. Yup, this shit has old-school levels (called "missions”) with impermeable barriers, spawning demons and baroque boss battles. Seven years since the series’ launch and the game play is, essentially, the same as it ever was. DMC4 is a beautiful, stylised game with towering castles, tumbling waterfalls, busty swordswomen and impressively imaginative demonic creatures. (Spoiler alert: those naked lesbian nymphs are actually lures attached to a giant evil toad.) It also boasts well-balanced button-mashing combat that rewards stylish fighting and endless combos, though curiously they use cut-scenes for some fight segments that would be far preferable played-out. As a straightforward action game, it’s fun, enthralling and, thank God, much less difficult than its infamously hardcore predecessor. But if you were looking for a true-blue evolution in the stylish series, you may shed a few tears. (Capcom)