Released by Capcom, Devil May Cry 4 Refrain is available on the iPhone, iPod Touch, and iPad for $4.99. Refrain is the latest expansion from the Devil May Cry series and attempts to translate the high-style combat onto the touch screen. Will this be a “Street Fighter 2” or will it be a “Street Fighter: The Movie: The Game”? At the moment, the app is in version 1.01.00 and there are a lot of reports of crashing at the app startup loading screen. I am using an iPhone 3GS with software version 4.2.1 and have yet to run into any crash issues, so this review will not be affected by the recent crashing.
Devil May Cry is a 2001 game that took hack and slashes and made it stylish and extreme. The game kicked off yet another Capcom franchise thanks to its stylized action sequences and really great gameplay that spawned games like God of War and Bayonetta. So how does this translate to the iDevice? Pretty well actually.
Graphically, this is one of the better looking 3D games out. Textures, though compressed, are nicely done and the character models are excellent for such low poly models. The boss designs are great and the attention to detail is pretty stunning. They also give us the ability to customize the user interface for our comfort. Do you like your action buttons close together? Far apart? I love features like this that let me move the health bar or direction pad and feel more comfortable while playing.
Gameplay quickly boils down to hacking enemies and progressing through semi-platforming stages. You play as Nero, a new character to the Devil May Cry series with his special hand that can reach and pull enemies from far away, swing you across gaps, and attack enemies for neat combination attacks. You have the classic sword and gun play. Just like the console big brothers, here you can juggle an enemy into the air with the sword then keep them in the air by firing your gun into them. Quite literally, it’s awesome.
So, the story is alright. No special twists or unexpected events and sometimes it really drags because they don’t allow you skip through individual dialog boxes, though they allow you to skip entire scenes. It’s as if they had voice acting and the dialog just sits on the screen based on how long they think it will take for you to read it. Well, apparently I read fast because these scenes eventually forced me to just skip all the cinematic and get right into the action. Just a simple “next” button would do wonders.
So, 10 levels, gun and swordplay, a really great combo system that has both style and substance, and really great graphics, this is one heck of an app. Dynamic action is hard to nail down in app form but Devil May Cry 4 Refrain is great. Along with Street Fighter IV, Resident Evil 4: Platinum, Dead Rising, and Phoenix Wright, Capcom is doing some great things in the app world. Pick up Refrain if you like action games. If you are a Devil May Cry fan, then you’ve already downloaded this app without reading this review.
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