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Nero in the foreground, Dante in the background
"Now I know...[...] This hand was made for sending guys like you back to hell!"
Nero
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Devil May Cry 4 is a Stylish Action Hack and Slash game developed by Capcom for the PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, and PC, originally released in February (the consoles) and June (PC) 2008. The game is the third Numbered Sequel in the Devil May Cry series after 2005's Devil May Cry 3: Dante's Awakening.

Some time after DMC3, 1, and 2 (in that order), on the island nation of Fortuna, a young man with a demonic right arm named Nero is attending a religious service where his childhood friend Kyrie is performing when infamous devil slayer Dante crashes through the ceiling and shoots the sermonizing chief priest right in the head. The resulting events ensue as Nero is tasked by Credo, Kyrie's brother and a high-ranking official of the church of the Order of the Sword, to chase down Dante and make him answer for his crime. Things get more complicated when Nero starts coming across Hellgates spitting out demons across the island and the more sinister elements of the Order he's working for.

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Gameplay is an evolution of the systems developed in 3, focusing mostly on new series protagonist Nero, his motorcycle engine-equipped sword Red Queen, and his Devil Bringer right arm, which allows him to grab enemies and pull off powerful stylish attacks on them. Partway through the story, control switches back over to Dante, who plays similarly to how he did in 3 with a wide variety of melee and ranged weaponry and a Style-switching system.

In 2015, seven years after its original release, Capcom developed a remastered version called Devil May Cry 4: Special Edition and released it on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC. New features included Turbo mode and Legendary Dark Knight difficulty (which were in the original PC release, but appeared here on consoles for the first time) as well as three whole new playable characters: Vergil, Lady, and Trish.

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This continuity took a hiatus when Capcom released the reboot/Alternate Continuity DmC: Devil May Cry in 2013, but would return with Devil May Cry 5 in 2019.


Tropes for this game include:

  • Absolute Cleavage: Gloria, and to a lesser extent Trish and Lady.
  • Action Commands: It's necessary to find specific moments of vulnerability against bosses before the Devil Bringer can be used.
  • Action Girl: Gloria who is actually Trish during her intro cutscene. Lady and Trish get a campaign of their own in the Special Edition.
  • Adam Smith Hates Your Guts: There's two types of currency in this game: the series-standard Red Orbs, which pop out of enemies and destroyed environmental objects, and the new Proud Souls, which are awarded at the end of missions based on your ranking. Red Orbs are only used to buy items, and Proud Souls are used to buy new abilities. Where Adam Smith's hatred comes in is that the price still goes up every time you buy an item, and with abilities in particular, whenever you buy a new ability, the price of everything afterwards goes up...though you can also freely refund spent Proud Souls and unlearn abilities if you want to try something else, which lowers the prices again.
  • Airborne Mook: Mephistos and Fausts.
  • Air Guitar: One of Nero's more extreme S-level taunts is to strum an air guitar in front of his enemies. And if you stop and listen, it's actually making music. Even better, he keeps playing indefinitely until the taunt is interrupted, either from an attack or a player command. And your Style rank rises all the while.
  • Almost Kiss: Nero and Kyrie get interrupted by an approaching horde of Scarecrows.
  • Always Close: No matter how much time you have left in Mission 12, the Order of the Sword HQ always collapses right behind Dante.
  • Anachronic Order: This was originally the third chronological entry in the series, though this was later retconned to take place after 2, making its chronological placement actually match up with its number.
  • And Now for Someone Completely Different: After Mission 11, control switches from Nero over to Dante, and then switches back to Nero after Mission 18. The usual penalties for starting with a fresh character are completely avoided, as Dante inherits all the Red Orbs, items, and Proud Souls Nero acquired and vice versa. The Updated Re-release adds Vergil over the whole game, and Lady in place of Nero and Trish in place of Dante as well.
  • And the Adventure Continues: The second epilogue which features Dante, Trish, and Lady discussing the events of the game when they receive a call for their next gig. Cue them smashing out of the agency, complete with Angels Pose and background explosion.
  • Angels Pose: Dante, Trish and Lady at the end.
  • Animated Armor: The Bianco/Alto Angelos.
  • Anime Theme Song: L'arc-en-Ciel's "Drink it Down" for the game's commercials.
  • Another Side, Another Story: The Special Edition adds campaigns for Vergil and the pair of Lady and Trish; there is minimal story for these campaigns, basically limited to one intro and one ending cutscene, and the actual levels and enemies are exactly the same as the normal Nero/Dante campaign. The new characters, however, play vastly differently from Nero and Dante, and the premise of Vergil's campaign (that he visited Fortuna before the events of DMC3 to investigate a cult devoted to Sparda) is taken as official canon.
  • Anti-Frustration Features: Choosing "continue" a few times in a chapter automatically handicaps the enemy.
  • Armed Legs: They return in the form of Gilgamesh.
  • Attack of the 50-Foot Whatever: The true form of the Savior is a giant man larger than even Mundus from the first game.
  • Awesome, but Impractical: Some Buster moves are ill-advised while fighting crowds, as they don’t grant Nero invincibility frames during the sometimes-lengthy animations.
    • Real Impact's position is somewhat reversed from its impracticality in 3, as there is a technique (dubbed the Distorted Real Impact) that, if timed properly, can utterly destroy boss health bars on even Dante Must Die difficulty.
    • Nero’s Showdown is extremely efficient — but has a short range, takes several seconds to charge, and whiffs if the target moves away during charging, so you'd better know what you're doing when you use it.
  • Backtracking: Quite literally, as Dante's part of the game essentially retraces Nero's steps in reverse.
  • Badass Boast: Nero's battle theme, "The Time Has Come," is this.
    "I'll tell you now, I'm the one to survive... You'll never break my faith or my stride... I'll have you choke on your own demise, I make the Angels scream, and the Devil cry!"
  • Badass Crew: Dante, Trish, and Lady.
  • Badass Longcoat: Nero, Dante, and Vergil.
  • Barehanded Blade Block:
    • Agnus does it to Nero, with his pinkies sticking out, at that.
    • Nero's arm makes invoking this trope routine for him, at least in cutscenes. The player can sometimes do it too, but you need to time it down to a few milliseconds.
  • BFG: Dante's Pandora, which has several forms of gun that start at about the size of his torso.
  • BFS: Nero's Red Queen doesn't quite qualify...but when he obtains Yamato, he is backed up by a ghostly spirit that carries an even longer version of the katana.
  • Big Brother Mentor: Dante starts to become one for Nero toward the end, with hints that further adventures will make the relationship explicit. Overlaps with Trickster Mentor.
  • Bishōnen: Dante takes on Hunk status by this game. Nero and Vergil also qualify.
  • Bizarre and Improbable Ballistics: Though the series' gunplay has always been outlandish, Lady in the Special Edition takes it to another level.
  • Black Blood: Only half-humans bleed red, while organic demons have blue, green, or orange blood instead.
  • Blade Across The Shoulder: Nero and Dante do this with their blades quite often.
  • Blade Run: Nero does it on a giant sword that was originally attached to a statue of Sparda when he first battles Dante. Sadly, no gameplay usage.
  • Blocking Stops All Damage: In addition to the return of Dante's Royal Guard style, Nero can block certain attacks by meeting them with his Power Fist, the Devil Bringer. This is capable of blocking all sorts of attacks: giant spears, massive demons, and even punches from the Savior.
  • Bloodstained Glass Windows: The game opens with Dante crashing a church gathering and shooting the head honcho in the face.
  • Boss Arena Recovery: Berial, the first boss, leaves behind health-restoring orbs when he smashes buildings. At least, until you get to the higher difficulties— which turns him into a sort of Wake-Up Call Boss if you were still expecting them.
  • Boss in Mook Clothing: Alto Angelos, Blitzes, and Fausts.
  • Boss Rush: Mission 19 tests Nero one last time against a squad of Angelos, Berial, Dagon, Echidna, and Agnus.
  • Bottomless Magazines: In play for Dante, Lady, and Trish, but Nero actually subverts this, as he can shoot as long as he wants, but if he stops, he will finish the animation with what is apparently a quick reload.
  • Catch and Return: During the battle with Credo, the spears that he throws can be caught with the Devil Bringer and then thrown right back at him.
  • Charged Attack: Nero, Dante, Lady, and Trish can all charge their guns.
    • Dante (and Trish)'s works like it did in the previous game, but he doesn't need to be in Gunslinger style to do it.
    • Nero's works like a standard Mega Man-style charge shot, but later upgrades to it allow it to blow up adjacent enemies or add an additional delayed explosion...that is actually, by far, his strongest attack.
    • Lady's pistols work like Nero's, being Mega Man-style with a delayed explosion at the highest level. Her shotgun works interestingly in that charging fills up a meter and up to three lights next to her health gauge; the more lights filled, the longer she can end up firing powered shots. Finally, Kalina Ann, her rocket launcher, roots her in place as long as she's charging and deals devastating damage in return.
  • Charge Meter: A visual charge via various weapons, usually performed by the "hold down button" input and seen through effects, like Nero's Devil Bringer changing colors depending on the level of charge obtained. Pandora and Red Queen's Exceed system have actual meters.
  • Chekhov's Gun: The Yamato from 3, previously important only as Vergil's inheritance from Sparda, resurfaces as a major plot point in 4, as it hosts a demonic spirit within it and is capable of opening Hellgates. When it turns out that Nero is able to resurrect the weapon's power, he becomes a target for the bad guys.
  • Clean Cut: Yamato, a katana apparently so sharp it can effortlessly cut through several feet of stone. From about half a mile away. Also used to separate dimensions. Also Rebellion, which is only slightly less impressive.
  • Clipped-Wing Angel: The Savior once Nero leaves its body, forcing Sanctus to become its core. It can barely even stand upright and can only really swing its fists and roar at Nero, and is defeated by three properly-timed Busters.
  • Colossus Climb: Mission 18 consists of Dante leaping around dozens of platforms arranged around the Savior as he battles it.
  • Competitive Balance:
    • Close-Range Combatant and Gradual Grinder: Trish’s primary weapon isn’t actually the Sparda Sword this time around; it’s her fists, which either do weak damage or have to be charged to be truly effective - both of which means it takes her time to defeat enemies. Furthermore, she doesn’t have a lot of options in mobility, instead having attacks which bring enemies to her or keep them stationary to help give her time to attack.
    • Glass Cannon and Long-Range Fighter: Lady is this. She doesn't have access to a Devil Trigger like other characters do, thus lacking their regenerating health in that mode and her limited melee attacks are incredibly slow and comparatively weak. To compensate, a lot of her long-ranged moves involve a hailstorm of bullets and high explosives, and she has a meter in place of the DT Gauge which allows her to cover her surroundings with extremely deadly grenades.
    • Jack-of-All-Stats: Nero doesn’t have access to other weapons or Styles as the other characters do, but he also doesn’t have a lot of glaring weaknesses in mobility or defence, as he has both a dodge move and the ability to move himself or enemies around with his Devil Bringer. Furthermore, with his Red Queen’s Exceed gauge and his Devil Bringer attacks, he can upgrade his modest abilities to do a lot more damage.
    • Lightning Bruiser: Vergil loses a lot of the versatility he had with Dark Slayer Style in 3, but he more than makes up for it with a wide repertoire of attacks which come out very fast, hit very hard, and can cause him to positively zip around. In his Devil Trigger mode, he takes this Up to Eleven... even by the standards of this franchise!
    • Master of All: Dante, who can switch between the first four styles mentioned in 3, plus allowing him to switch between seven different weapons, which altogether makes him very versatile without sacrificing anything. Actually using all of his myriad attacks and mechanics to their fullest potential requires lots of time and practice.
  • The Computer Is a Cheating Bastard: Boss Dante is infinitely superior to any version the player has ever had access to, if only because of computerized accuracy, as he is able to react to and counter your attacks as soon as you input them.
  • Corrupt Church: The Order of the Sword.
  • Counter Attack: Used with Royal Guard to completely nullify damage taken and drastically increase damage dealt.
  • Creative Closing Credits: Like 3, 4 has you battle a horde of mooks, though unlike 3, there is added difficulty where you can't let a single Scarecrow touch Kyrie in order to see an extra ending.
  • Crucified Hero Shot: Dante, when impaled on his own sword by Nero. This is kind of a thing with Dante, although Nero actually gets in on it at one point as well.
  • Crystal Dragon Jesus: The Sparda-worshippers are very Roman-Catholic, referring to Sparda as their Savior. Their leader, referred to as His Holiness, looks very much like the Pope.
  • Cursed with Awesome: Nero doesn't feel that great about his demonic arm and notably tries to hide it from several people, but it sure is useful in demon-slaying.
  • Cutscene Power to the Max: Immediately after slaying Dagon, at least four or five more Dagons show up and leer over Dante. Dante simply uses the various functions of his newly-acquired Pandora gun to blow them all to smithereens, a process that isn't nearly as easy in actual gameplay (it involves a lot of stick twirling usually). Justified in that these are just the same type of demon as Dagon and are likely much less powerful.
  • Damn You, Muscle Memory!: Certain moves have different inputs between this game and DMC3 . Dance Macabre, for example, is Lock-on + Back + Style Action in 3, but Lock-on + Forward + Style Action in this game. Round Trip previously had that input, but it and Overdrive have swapped places as well.
  • Damsel in Distress: Most girls in this franchise are quite capable of taking care of themselves, but then the fourth installment gave us Kyrie, whose role in the story boils down to getting saved by Nero.
  • Dark Is Not Evil: Nero has a demonic right arm, but he is unquestionably a good guy.
  • Dark-Skinned Blond: Gloria.
  • Death-or-Glory Attack: The Royal Release makes its return from 3. Nero can also use his Devil Bringer to reverse some powerful enemy attacks instead of dodging them. For example, he can knock back the combined sphere attack from an Alto Angelo and Bianco Angelos, throw Credo's spear back at him, or grab and pummel Sanctus while he is charging at him.
  • Defeat Means Friendship: Dante sees the conviction within Nero after fighting him to a standstill, and despite questing for Yamato, smoothly steps aside and lets Nero use it for his mission.
  • Developers' Foresight: Vergil's S-Rank taunt in 4:SE is him spinning a miniature Summoned Sword on his index finger before shattering it. If you launch an enemy directly upwards and taunt under them, they can actually fall back onto the spinning blade which is actually coded to deal damage and juggle them.
  • Difficult, but Awesome: Lucifer is very unwieldy and unusual as the weapon basically consists of sticking enemies with explosive needles. However, when mastered, Dante can lock down crowds of enemies, pin down the larger ones, and blow them all up with the toss of a rose.
    • Dante can also change styles mid-combo. It requires a bit of dexterity (going from analog stick to D-Pad) but when pulled off right you can extend combos (Swordmaster's Aerial Rave -> Dark Slayer's Aerial combo in midair) and compensate for holes in Dante's style made by the larger places you have to fight in (Air Trick -> ground fighting -> Swordmaster's Dance Macabre).
    • Instant Revving with Nero (EX-ACT and later MAX-ACT). Revving up the Red Queen allows you to dish more damage and change the properties of some of your attacks. You can stand still and rev up the sword by tapping the Rev button a couple of times (up to a maximum of three levels) that charge up the next attack you do. However, you can rev your sword as you slash it by pressing the Rev button as your sword makes contact with an enemy. This adds a single level instantaneously and can be done with every sword attack Nero has, provided you have the timing down. Later on, you can purchase the MAX-ACT upgrade, which requires even more precise timing, but doing so will instantly grant you all three rev levels in a single go.
    • Using enemies as platforms to reboot aerial combos (also known as "jump cancel") requires a very precise timing, but allows you to stay in the air indefinitely once you master it.
    • Distorting with Dante. Certain attacks can be enhanced with extra hits, equal to the damage of the initial hit, if Dante Devil Triggers then immediately goes back. How this is done is by Triggering on the hit itself, which then doubles the Hit Stop. However doing this is very tricky as you have to do it when the hits properly connect. The most practical application of this is the Distorted Real Impact, which adds so much damage to an already-devastating attack that you can one-shot virtually any boss with it.
    • Mastering Vergil's Concentration in the Special Edition. Vergil stays firmly on the side of the "technician" in the Technician vs. Performer dynamic he has with Dante and the Concentration mechanic steers into this. By fighting efficiently (not making any extra attacks and dodging enemies) as well as moving slow and deliberately during a fight, you raise Vergil's Concentration gauge (the meter that wraps around his life bar) and benefit from enhanced attacks as well as extra attacks at its zenith. Getting too frenzied or taking damage will diminish it so in order to make the most use of the meter, you have to be very aware of your surroundings and avoid overzealously rushing around the battlefield on foot (you can use his Dark Slayer teleports to your heart's content, though).
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?: The Lucifer cutscene.
  • Dope Slap: At the end of the second Dante boss fight.
  • Double Entendre: Every single word pertaining to the weapon Lucifer. Every single line of Dante's dialogue immediately after acquiring it, and the names for every one of its attacks.
  • Double Jump: While Air Hike returns as usual (thankfully decoupled from weapons as it was in previous entries), this is taken one step further by Dante's Devil Trigger form to enable a triple jump.
  • Dual Wielding: Nero sort of does this with Yamato and Red Queen for his moves Maximum Bet and Showdown, but only when Devil Triggered. Vergil's Force Edge moveset, which utilizes Yamato as a backup weapon, is a straighter example.
  • Dynamic Entry: Dante makes his appearance in the game by crashing through a stained-glass ceiling and shooting a prominent religious figure in the head.
  • 11th-Hour Superpower: Yamato and Dark Slayer for Dante, although they can be used elsewhere and aren't especially overpowered.
  • Energy Weapon: PF398 Revenge, the laser cannon form of Pandora).
  • Evil Laugh: Sanctus does it while playing the act of the hero who saves the day.
  • EX Special Attack: The weapon Pandora has a special gauge that is filled up by using normal attacks, and can be spent by using Gunslinger attacks.
  • Fake Ultimate Mook: The Mega Scarecrows are huge and have a crapload of health, but that's about it. They are even slower than regular Scarecrows, flinch at the slightest hit and rarely replicate — you just have to watch out for their roll attack, and their back blade which falls back two seconds after they die.
  • Fanservice: While all of the ladies' outfits spanning the series are fanservicey as hell, Gloria's...fighting style...really takes the cake. And that's not even mentioning that Lucifer acquisition scene with Dante.
  • Fighting Spirit: What Nero's Devil Trigger manifests as. A demonic spirit that wields a katana that looks similar to Vergil's Devil Trigger form.
  • Fingerless Gloves: Of the no-thumb-and-index-finger variety for Dante.
  • Finishing Move: Nero's Buster moves against bosses; they won't necessarily finish the boss off, but they tend to do a lot of damage, and they definitely look like finishing moves.
    • Notably, finishing off the final boss with a Buster changes the animation so it dramatically repeats the moment of impact three times, and Nero shouts the Once an Episode "Jackpot!" Catch-Phrase.
  • Firing One-Handed: Nero fires the giant Blue Rose with one hand — the only time he uses both is when you're firing a Charge Shot. If the size of Blue Rose's caliber is of any indication in comparison to real life firearms in that same range, the closest possibly the Smith & Wesson Model 500 revolver, it would smash into a regular human's face if the other hand wasn't used to brace for recoil.
  • Flaming Sword: Red Queen becomes something like this when revved up, and there's also Berial's sword, naturally.
  • Flipping the Bird: Nero to Dante as Nero gets absorbed into the Fake Savior.
  • Flunky Boss: Agnus will constantly send you demons of his own conception when you fight him. Subverted though, since you can actually use these demons against him by grabbing them with Nero. Echidna as well to a lesser extent, who sometimes spawns Chimera Seeds to distract you.
  • Foe-Tossing Charge: Nero attempts to get to Sanctus to save Kyrie.
  • Forgotten Fallen Friend: Credo, who is never mentioned again after he dies. Even his sister fails to ask about him at the end of the game.
  • Freeze-Frame Bonus: Those with a careful eye will be able to spot Dante perched casually atop one of the nearby buildings during Nero's opening fight with the Scarecrows — slow-motion is all but required at first due to the fact that it only seen as the camera follows Nero's high-speed aerial acrobatics. Dante also shows up near the end of the prologue, just as Director Hideaki Itsuno's credit disappears.
  • Gameplay and Story Segregation: There's barely any story there in the first place but Vergil's trip to Fortuna in 4:SE apparently happens before the events of 3. Despite this, he already has the Force Edge (which he wouldn't get until the final battle of 3), Dante is an enemy you must fight (in his 4 attire), and Fortuna has not changed in the intervening years (which would be a substantial gap considering he and Dante were only young adults in 3 and by 4 Dante is a years-long seasoned demon hunter).
  • Gathering Steam: Nero's sword has the "Exceed" system which combines this trope with Charged Attack; he "revs" the sword's handle which charges up heat energy into the sword; there are 3 units of it in the Exceed meter. If the meter is filled, each of his sword's normal combo strikes will become stronger as they consume one unit per strike, and his special moves with the sword consumes all of the meter. The unique part is how the meter is gained: he can normally rev it (just like how Gatling guns spin up first) to fill the meter, but to fill each unit, the "rev" button must be pressed 3-4 times; it becomes tedious quickly to always rev it before you attack. But, he can also rev it during his sword strikes - called Ex-Act - and doing so will automatically give him one full unit that is immediately spent, making the strike immediately powerful; this can be done in normal sword combo attacks as well as special sword attacks. Even better, if he revs it during a specific frame of each sword strikes - called Max-Act - he will instantly gain 3 units (i.e full meter) with each swing, with one unit immediately being used.
  • Give Me a Sword: Subverted, as Nero doesn't ask for Dante to give him the Yamato to fight with, but to let him keep it to fight with. Dante lets him have the sword permanently by end-game, turning it into It Was a Gift.
  • Glowing Eyes of Doom: When Agnus pushes the envelope too far, Nero's rage erupts and he stares down Agnus with these as he monologues.
  • A God Am I: Sanctus of the Order of the Sword, who seeks to create an artificial God and unify with it to reign over a new utopia purged of chaos.
  • Goomba Springboard: As you could in 3, although you must purchase the ability this time.
  • Grapple Move: Nero's Devil Bringer Buster moves. They are performed by pressing the right control button (circle or B, depending on console) without pressing the aim button, and are able to grab any enemy Nero will encounter, up to and including bosses. Though bosses and Elite Mooks can only be grabbed on certain conditions, like when they are dazed. It is also capable of Catch and Return on certain projectiles and deflecting some melee attacks. Excluding Scarecrows, Fausts, and Mephistos,note  every enemy in the game gets a unique Buster move.
  • Grappling-Hook Pistol: Part of the Devil Bringer's functions, allowing Nero to pull enemies smaller than him right to his face, or pull Nero himself towards enemies larger than him. In the Special Edition, Lady's Kalina Ann has a bayonet that can be fired to perform similar functions, though she tends to use it to fling enemies into the air rather than pull them closer.
  • Gratuitous French: One of the chapter titles is "Le Porte de l'Enfer", French for "The Hell Gate" (literally "The Door of Hell").
  • Gratuitous Italian: One of the chapter titles is "La Vita Nuova", Italian for "The New Life".
  • Grievous Harm with a Body: Nero's various Buster moves tend to involve throwing mooks around, with predictable results if they hit other mooks.
  • Ham-to-Ham Combat: For no apparent reason other than "they're both incredible hams," when Dante and Agnus meet, their argument takes on the form of something akin to a melodramatic opera with a full dramatic orchestra and waxing poetry that wouldn't be out of place in high-school Shakespeare. It is glorious.
  • Hand Cannon: Blue Rose is a carbine-sized double-barrel revolver.
  • Harder Than Hard: In addition to Dante Must Die as usual, 4 also introduces Hell or Hell mode. To fully explain: Heaven Or Hell mode is where you die in one hit, but so does every enemy, including bosses. In Hell or Hell mode, the enemies have normal health and you still die in one hit.
  • Hellgate: Various ones dot the land, guarded by the big demons that Nero and Dante face. Part of the Big Bad's plan is opening one in Nero's hometown to justify the Savior's existence.
  • Here We Go Again!: The Stinger at the end.
  • Hero Antagonist: Dante, for the first half of the game. Also, Credo.
  • Heroes Want Redheads: Nero and Kyrie.
  • Homage: By this game, the callbacks to other Capcom games became very obvious, starting with Dante's uppercut moves resembling the Shoryuken from Street Fighter and Nero's Devil Triggered Buster against the Alto Angelos being identical to Zangief's Ultra Final Atomic Buster.
    • These two videos showcase some more coincidences/similarities.
    • There are even allusions to some of SNK's fighters.
  • Hybrid Power: Agnus wonders why Dante is stronger than he is, despite claiming a difference in power. Dante doesn't give him a straight answer, but strongly hints that it's because Agnus and the rest of the Order have surrendered their humanity, while Dante holds onto his human side because they have something demons lack.
  • Hypocrite: The Order of the Sword are a weird case of this, in that it’s not their secret, under-the-table dealings that make them this, but their public image. Even though they worship Sparda they’ve styled themselves as a Light Is Good, Crystal Dragon Jesus style cult who fear and hate anything demon-related (Credo even calls himself an Angel after being infused with Demonic power), despite the fact that they worship a demon. If anything, their secret experiments with controlling demonic power to fight demons is more in line with worshiping a demon that protected humanity.
  • Idiosyncratic Difficulty Levels: While the previous games tended to stick with Easy to Very Hard with the exception of the Harder Than Hard Dante Must Die, 4 renames the difficulty levels to thematically appropriate ones. Easy becomes Human, Normal becomes Devil Hunter, and Hard becomes Son of Sparda. There is also the gimmicky difficulties of Heaven/Hell or Hell (everyone or only the player character dies in one hit) and Legendary Dark Knight (tons more enemies than usual).
  • Impaled with Extreme Prejudice: Continuing the Running Gag of the series, Dante gets impaled and pinned to a statue of Sparda in the game's opening.
    • Nero getting stabbed the first time by a lance and then a demonic living sword before awakening his Devil Trigger, much like Uncle Dante.
  • Implied Love Interest: In the opening cutscene of Vergil's campaign in 4:SE, there's a woman whose eye Vergil catches. This may or may not be Capcom subtly showing the woman who mothers Nero.
  • Impossibly Cool Weapon: 4 takes it up a notch from even the previous game. Blue Rose is a two-barrel revolver, Red Queen is a petrol-powered BFS, Gilgamesh is literally organic metal that forms gauntlets and boots with spurs, Pandora's forms (other than suitcase) and Lucifer are just impossible to describe.
  • Improbable Aiming Skills: Continuing series tradition, Dante repeats his pool trick from 3's intro when getting Echidna's attention, replacing the billiard balls with seeds. Later in the game, he shoves Yamato into the heart of the Savior by shooting it with eight bullets that stack up one right behind the last.
  • Informed Ability: Credo's swordsmanship. You'll see it in battle, but at this point he's not a human anymore.
  • Interface Spoiler: The rankings page shows how many missions there are in the game and which ones you get to control Dante in.
  • Invulnerable Attack: Royal Release.
  • It Runs on Nonsensoleum: Nero's sword Red Queen has a combustion engine built into the handle called the Exceed, with its limiters removed. It makes the sword do more damage when you rev it up like a motorcycle. No reason for this, it's just freakin' awesome.
    • Supplementary material states the engine coats the blade in fuel. How this equates to it being able to be swung faster is anyone's guess.
  • The Juggernaut: The Dreadnaught ability, activated in its full power with the Royalguard style, temporarily turns Dante into this, with a full, impenetrable body armor. He can't run, only walk in that form, but that just makes him all the more frightening.
  • Lag Cancel: Though "jump canceling" (a technique that allows you to bounce off an enemy in order to repeat an action that can normally only be done once in a single jump) has existed in some form for most of the series, Capcom began to actively acknowledge its existence by this game.
    • The long cooldown at the end of many of Vergil's attacks (specifically, ones where he sheathes his sword) can be cancelled with a Summoned Swords teleport, with the downside of also cancelling the Concentration Gauge boost that occurs when the sword clicks fully into the sheath at the end of the animation.
  • Large Ham: Dante is clearly having the time of his life during this game, but Agnus on the enemy's side also seems to revel in overdramatic gestures and declarations, probably to help combat his stutter. Guess what happens when he and Dante meet?
  • Laser Hallway: Several in the middle chapters.
  • Later Installment Weirdness: This and DmC were the only games in the series that did not use Red Orbs as currency for move upgrades (this game used a separate currency called "Proud Souls" while DmC used a stat point system). 5 goes back on this design decision and resumes using Red Orbs as the only type of currency needed to buy both items and move upgrades.
  • Level in Boss Clothing: The Savior, sort of. You really spend more time jumping around on floating platforms than actually fighting it.
  • Level in Reverse: The second half of the game had the same levels as in the first half, only played back-to-front and with Dante instead of newcomer Nero.
  • Life Drain: Agnus' specialty. You can see (and hear) these attacks from a mile away, but if you're too busy fighting the mooks he sends at you, they can catch you off guard.
  • Light Is Not Good: The Order of the Sword turns out to have incredibly sinister designs.
  • Lighter and Softer: Not in terms of story or subject matter, but visually, 4 features a much brighter color palette for its foes and environments than 3 (plus 1 and 2), which takes place almost exclusively in a gothic tower.
  • Lightning Bruiser: Dante, Vergil, Nero. Trish might be a literal example, although she also has Super Strength.
  • Luckily, My Shield Will Protect Me: Angelo and Assault type enemies. Later Nero acquires the Aegis Shield upgrade for his arm, which allows him to use enemies like that.
  • Macross Missile Massacre: Pandora's missile platform mode.
  • Mad Scientist: Agnus fits this to a T.
  • Male Gaze: Ahem.
  • Meaningful Background Event: Long before Nero obtains Yamato which clearly implies Vergil is his father, Dante can make you wonder why's Nero's relation to him right in the game's first cutscene, with him lurking around watching as Nero kills demons.
  • Mechanically Unusual Fighter: For a series that places much emphasis on stylish melee combos, Lady in the Special Edition stands out for being primarily based around ranged attacks and combos; she has a grand total of three melee abilities (one ground combo, one air combo, and one Helm Breaker-style attack) and no Devil Trigger, but boasts a vast array of ranged abilities that allow her to keep crowds of enemies at bay and empower her guns to levels never before seen in the series.
  • Mêlée à Trois: Between the player characters, the Order of the Sword, and the demons. This actually comes into play in gameplay, as Angelo armors frequently end up tussling with demons while battling with you at the same time.
  • Money for Nothing: Red orbs, obtained from killing enemies and destroying environmental objects, only purchase items, which are of variable importance depending on one's skill, while Proud Souls, obtained at the end of missions by performing stylishly, will purchase new skills.
  • Monster Is a Mommy: Echidna, who is the mother of the Chimera Seeds and berates Nero for killing them.
  • Monsters Everywhere: In the "Legendary Dark Knight" difficulty mode. Originally a PC-only mode, it also exists on the Xbox One and PlayStation 4 versions of 4:SE.
  • Mook Bouncer: Faults appear under your feet and, if you don't react fast enough, teleport you to an underground room full of Chimera Assaults, before forcing you to do the fight you were engaged in all over again. Thankfully it's easy to avoid.
  • Mook Commander: The Alto Angelos are definitely this to Bianco Angelos. Being led by an Alto significantly improves their coordination and increases their agressiveness; any good strategy guide will recommend to take the Alto down first in those fights.
  • Mook Horror Show: Dante shows exactly how strong he is against members of the Order when they attempt to fight him after he shoots Sanctus in the intro. As expected, he is as a steamroller to them, and only Nero stands a chance of even stalling him.
  • More Dakka: The cutscene where Dante acquires Pandora. It begins as a minigun, then transforms into a triple-barrel rocket launcher, culminating in what is basically a floating, one-man munitions repository. Dante decides not to continue on to the next form after that.
  • Morph Weapon: Pandora, which has no less than 666 forms. Only a few are actually usable in gameplay, to be fair.
  • Nerf: Dante's powerful Styles from 3 grant fewer abilities in this game, as a price for being able to switch them on the fly.
  • The Nose Knows: Dante smelled Dagon before actually seeing him.
  • Not the Intended Use: We do know that Dante has Improbable Aiming Skills, but if you play Mission 18, you can actually lock on and shoot at the Savior's Crystals from afar using Ebony and Ivory, even while said boss is floating (the intended way is to stun the Savior with the stationary laser cannons and hit the crystals afterwards). Playing the "Heaven or Hell" difficulty with this tactic will allow you to finish the fight in under a minute.
  • Not What I Signed on For
    Credo: "I served the dream of a world you spoke of, the Savior you preached of... But you used my sister, Kyrie, who has nothing to do with this, and that is beyond forgiveness."
  • Number of the Beast: Pandora's Box is said to have this many forms — obviously we don't get to use them all.
  • Obviously Evil: Agnus. He's just such an obvious villain that meeting him almost single-handedly tips Nero off that the Order of the Sword might not be the good guys.
  • One-Hit Kill: Countering the ball of energy an Alto and several Bianco Angelos shoots from formation can destroy them all and easily net an SSS rank when timed properly. This is most easily done with a Charge Shot or Nero's Buster.
  • One-Hit-Point Wonder: Heaven or Hell mode returns from 3, but 4 also introduces Hell or Hell, which only makes you this.
  • One-Man Army: Befitting its namesake Sparda, the Legendary Dark Knight difficulty (in the original PC release and the Special Edition rerelease) pits you against enormous hordes of enemies in every level.
  • One-Winged Angel: Devil Trigger, as usual, but also the members of the Order of the Sword — one of whom becomes a literal One Winged Angel.
  • Our Angels Are Different: The Order of the Sword likens its ascension process to becoming angels, most notable in the Bianco and Alto Angelo armors. However, given the demonic powers at work, Nero realizes it really is nothing but another form of devil.
  • Parental Abandonment: Nero was left on a doorstep as a baby and never knew his parents...particularly the fact that Vergil is his father, though it is unlikely anyone actually knows.
  • Percussive Maintenance: Nero needs to lower a drawbridge and presses the button several times. No dice, so he gets frustrated and shoots it. This somehow works.
  • Perma-Stubble: Dante has a five o'clock shadow.
  • Powered Armor: Alto Angelos have been said in supplementary material to be demon-ascended Order members wearing modded Bianco Angelo suits.
  • Power Fist: Slaying Echidna grants Dante Gilgamesh, which grants him his usual punching moveset with the addition of cowboy spurs.
  • Practical Taunt: Though taunting has always been useful for boosting your Style ranks and replenishing Devil Trigger in the series, Vergil and Trish in the Special Edition have taunts that actually do damage to enemies right in front of them.
  • Progressively Prettier: Lady, who got a bit of a Fanservice Pack.
  • Punctuated! For! Emphasis!: "The true Utopia... CAN! BE! BOOOOOOOORN!!!!! JUDGEMENT DAY! HAS! ARRIIIIIIIIIVED!!!!!!" Agnus, official scenery chewer of the Order of the Sword.
  • Purposely Overpowered: The Super costumes return from 3, which in addition to granting infinite Devil Trigger, automatically grants Nero a maxed out Exceed gauge for all of his attacks.
    • Of all the new characters added in 4:SE, Vergil is easily the strongest. He was heavily buffed from his original release in 3:SE, having insane mobility and reset potential thank to his new Dark Slayer teleport tricks. His new attacks cover some of his original weaknesses (a major lack of crowd control and attacks that use rapid swipes to lock down one foe and build style), and his concentration mechanic makes him incredibly dangerous as it continually buffs him the better you play. At high levels of play, Vergil can absolutely decimate anything that so much as looks at him, and it's obvious that this was not a mistake. But it's Vergil, of course, so no one really minds.
  • Rapid-Fire Fisticuffs: Some of Nero's Busters have him battering the enemy in such a fashion, especially if he's Devil Triggered.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Dante sort of delivers a one-liner version to Agnus after defeating him, namely that the primary reason why Agnus lost was because he had "surrendered [his] humanity".
    • Nero serves one to Sanctus after he all but screams about why the Sword of Sparda wasn't giving him any power. Nero verbally smacks back Sanctus on the reason why Sanctus wasn't "worthy" of Sparda's power.
      Nero: But I do know that Sparda had a heart. A heart that could love another person, a human. And that is what you lack.
  • Real-Time Weapon Change: As if 3 wasn't enough, Dante now carries all his weapons at once without needing to stop at Divinity Statues, and can switch between any of them and any of his Styles instantly with the press of a button.
  • Recurring Boss: Every boss except two (Credo and the Savior) is fought multiple times, though little if anything is changed about the subsequent battles except your player character. Agnus sets the record for having four battles, two of them refights.
  • Recurring Riff: Dante's battle theme is a remix of "Lock & Load", his second battle theme in the original game. "Out of Darkness" is used as a shop theme and is played during cutscenes involving both Nero and Kyrie.
  • Red Eyes, Take Warning: Nero during his first Devil Trigger.
  • Red Right Hand: Devil Bringer, actually a Red-And-Blue-With-Blue-Glow Right Forearm.
  • Reverse Grip: Nero's launch move High Roller uses this, compared to Dante and Vergil's standard grip for High Time. Dante also switches to reverse grip for the Drive shockwave.
  • Revolvers Are Just Better: Nero's Blue Rose.
  • Rewarding Vandalism: Breaking background objects for orbs. Interestingly, there's a very slight subversion: in the first fight against Berial, the houses in the area yield health orbs after being destroyed — however, as the orbs will disappear later, it's probably best to ensure you don't lead him in the direction of all the houses and cause them to be all gone too quickly. So, don't jump to letting him smash everything.
  • Roboteching: Pandora's Box missile platform, also Kalina Ann's Hysteric.
  • Rocket Jump: Lady in SE has this as her double jump, although she's using the force from the rocket firing rather than the explosion.
  • Rocket-Powered Weapon: Red Queen is a sword with an engine built into it. According to background information, Nero built it himself.
  • Rule of Symbolism: Rebellion through the forehead of Sparda's statue, for starters. Over-analysis has unearthed a bevy of symbolism.
  • Sadly Mythtaken: The Basilisks are straight up Hellhounds rather than anything from Greek Mythology.
  • Satellite Love Interest: Kyrie, who is barely given any characterization at all besides the usual "kind and caring" shtick. For what it's worth, Kyrie is one of the few people who tells Nero that she likes him the way he is.
  • Say My Name: KYRIIIEEEEEEEEEEE!
  • Scenery Porn: An especially good thing, given the ridiculous amount of backtracking involved in it.
  • Serkis Folk: Most notably, Johnny Yong Bosch performed both voice and motion capture for Nero, in addition to Reuben Langdon's return as Dante.
  • Shoot the Dog: Attempted by Dante on Sanctus, but failed.
  • Shoryuken: Gilgamesh's strongest attack, Real Impact, looks like this, although it functions as a bit of a Death-or-Glory Attack as well.
  • Shout-Out: A ton to Street Fighter.
    • Street Fighter's Tactical Rock–Paper–Scissors system is in full force for when Nero and Dante fight each other for real. If you try to throw Dante when he is using either the Gunslinger or Swordmaster style, your throw attempt will backfire due to Dante quickly attacking you. This is similar to how punches beat throws in Street Fighter. If you try to slash or shoot Dante when he is in the Royal Guard style, he will block or parry your attack. This is like how blocks beat punches in Street Fighter. However, he becomes vulnerable to being thrown with a Buster or Air Buster. This is like throws beat blocks in Street Fighter.
    • Dante can parry attacks in the Royal Guard style somewhat similarly to Street Fighter III. In Devil May Cry 4, the same sound for a successful parry that is played for a parry in Street Fighter III is played when you successfully parry an attack.
    • Lady and Trish get a few attacks from Magoichi and Kasuga from Sengoku Basara.
  • Smart Bomb: Lady's Burst Attack in SE serves this purpose. It requires all the energy stored in the DT Gauge, but makes Lady temporarily invincible and blasts nearby enemies with a high-powered attack.
  • Solve the Soup Cans: Nero must play a standard move-from-start-to-finish board-game built into a room, where the piece is a statue of Nero, he must roll a large, demonic die cube by smacking it with his sword or shooting it, and different circles may spawn enemies, spawn orbs, or send you back.
  • Something About a Rose: Lucifer has a move that involves simply tossing a rose. Doing this explodes any needles currently on the field.
  • Sprint Shoes: There's an ability that both Nero and Dante can buy which increases their running speed after they move continuously for a short time.
  • Stance System: Dante's Styles, like in 3, except this time he can switch between them in the middle of gameplay, even mid-combo.
  • Stepping Stones in the Sky: One of Dante's abilities in-game is to leap off enemies this way; also, literally in Mission 18.
  • Strong as They Need to Be: Nero's Devil Bringer shows this from time to time.
  • Stripperiffic: Gloria.
  • Super Dickery: Dante shooting Sanctus. It turns out that Sanctus was the Big Bad and this was Dante trying to take care of things before he could carry out his evil plan. Unfortunately for Dante, it didn't take.
  • Super Mode: Devil Trigger.
  • Swiss Army Weapon: Pandora, which has 666 forms, only a few of which actually appear in gameplay.
    • Lady's Kalina Ann does a decent job, functioning as a rocket launcher, a grappling hook, a double-jump booster, and a powerful melee weapon with its bayonet.
  • Sword and Gun: Nero's wielding style.
  • Sword Beam: Rebellion's Drive returns, and Nero has Maximum Bet in his Devil Trigger form.
  • Sword of Plot Advancement: Yamato becomes this in this game, particularly when Nero acquires it the first time. It unlocks his Devil Trigger.
  • Take That, Audience!: Vergil's special ending screen in SE. Unless you defeated 30+ enemies in the credits, which lets him compliment you a bit.
  • Teleport Spam: Blitz enemies will not stand still for more than a second until you nullify their lightning armor.
  • Theme Naming: Red Queen and Gilgamesh moves have gambling-themed names. Lucifer moves have an erotic/sexual theme. Pandora's moves are named after the evils from the original legend.
  • Throw the Mook at Them: Mission 6 has The Containment Room. The "boss" is the glass which separates you and Agnus, and the mooks are Gladius — basically Flying Lizard Swords. You can go ahead and attack the glass itself, but you will do very little damage. The trick here is grab the critters with Buster and aim at the glass to throw it there.
    • You fight Agnus more directly at the end of Mission 9. While not the main gimmick of the fight this time around, he does still summon Gladius, and they can still be thrown at him for a good bit of damage.
    • Due to SE's Trish, Vergil and Lady lacking Buster and thus having a hard time with the Containment Room, they can send Gladius demons hurtling into other enemies by attacking them while they're impaled into the scenery.
  • Took a Level in Cheerfulness: The game was originally set before 2, but with the rearranging of the timeline to be set afterward, Dante has now become this retroactively, being closer to his characterization in 1 and 3.
  • Turns Red: Like 3, most bosses pull this, but the same also applies literally when Blitz enemies run low on health.
  • The Unfought: Agnus and Sanctus are both battled in human and demon forms. Credo, however, is only battled in a demon form, and his swordsmanship in human form remains an Informed Ability.
  • Updated Re-release: Like 3, in the form of a "Special Edition" for The Eighth Generation of Console Video Games (the original release of 4 was on the seventh generation). It added Turbo mode and Legendary Dark Knight difficulty (which were in the original PC release, but appeared here on console for the first time) and also added Vergil, Lady, and Trish as playable characters. Notably, it also came out nearly seven years after the original, whereas 3's Special Edition only took one year, and roughly around the same time a similar "Definitive Edition" arrived for the controversial reboot, DmC: Devil May Cry.
  • Utopia Justifies the Means: What the Order believed.
  • Vapor Wear: Courtesy of Gloria.
  • Verbal Tic: Agnus's stutter.
  • Victor Gains Loser's Powers: Nero has a version of this, absorbing various abilities into his Devil Bringer over the course of the game like Credo's Aegis Shield ability. This would apply for Dante like it did in 3, but Gilgamesh, Pandora, and Lucifer are not actually indicative of the powers used by the bosses who guard them, but were actually keeping the Hellgates open.
  • Villain Ball: Sanctus kidnaps Kyrie on Agnus's recommendation, but the reasons why are unclear at best (the closest implied answer is that it's for leverage over Nero and Credo...which he already has, and indeed using Kyrie explicitly turns them against the Order). He eventually ends up using her as part of the core for the Savior, but he notes explicitly that this is a Plan B, with Plan A being Dante.
  • Wall Master: Faults.
  • What Is This Thing You Call "Love"?: Sanctus outright mocks Nero and Credo when both go after him to save Kyrie.
  • When All You Have Is a Hammer...: Nero's arm. He uses it to throw enemies, to grab them or to teleport to them, to solve puzzles, to perform Action Commands on bosses, to store and use MacGuffins, et cetera. In comparison to Dante, who has tons of tools to handle those situations, Nero only has the Devil Bringer, but it is equally as versatile.
  • Womb Level: The final level which takes place in the body of the Savior.
  • "World of Cardboard" Speech: Nero has two. The first one, in Mission 6, is a variant because Nero is just declaring his motivation aloud for the first time: he decided on it before the game started. The second one is given after he defeats Sanctus, telling him what he lacks, and how he's nothing like Sparda, but he, instead, is, because he has someone to love.
  • Wrestler in All of Us: Nero's Busters against the Bianco and Alto Angelos. Hell, Nero's special busters against most of the bosses qualify as well!
  • You Remind Me of X: Twice.
    • After their first duel in the beginning, Deadly Fortune has Dante muse about Nero having the same look in his eyes as Vergil did.
    • Normally, the player would automatically assume it's Sparda when Berial notes that Nero reminds him of someone after his boss fight, but according to Deadly Fortune it's Dante.
      Berial: As... as I suspected, that is demonic po-!
      Nero: I'm not a demon. I'm a human. Don't lump me in with you.
      Berial: I see... Neither demon, nor human... So that is the case. You, too, are the same as him...
      Nero: Him? Who are you talking about?
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