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Devil May Cry 4

Capcom serves PS3 with button-bashing gold

You could be hacking your way through the stunning God of War 2, or gearing up for a ruckus in Ninja Gaiden Sigma, but if you want a hard-hitting face-pound-'em-up that shows what your PS3 can do, this is the one you need.

Capcom swung by the CVG offices with the latest playable version of Devil May Cry 4 and we were very impressed with what we saw.

Grabbing the pad out of the Capcom representative's hands, we leaped straight into the action in that cathedral-looking level that you will have seen in trailers and was struck instantly by how amazing it looks. The environmental detail is incredible, with pin-sharp textures wrapped around the lush world that stretched into the distance. It looks amazing in 1080p.

As you will know, Dante has been kicked out of the leading role (and now probably spends most of his time wandering around Job Centres), having been replaced with Nero; a bad ass new fighter with a sword, a double-barrelled gun AND a strange but powerful arm known as the Devil Bringer. And it wasn't long before we got a taster of what he can do.

Some enemies teleport into the cathedral and approach us in they're typical 'I'm going to munch your face off' fashion. We hammer buttons and Nero goes mental. Just like Dante, Nero's a no-messing fighter, flailing his giant sword around like it's made of paper, only stopping during combos to let off a few shots with his pistol.

The combos you can perform are awesome. One of our favourites is when Nero swipes through his enemy's torso a few times before swiping upwards to smash them upwards into the air, and then juggles them in mid-air with bullets. It's the sort of combo that makes you slam buttons hard, grit your teeth, frown and shout "HAVE THAT YOU F***".

Nero will be full of new tricks in the final game, although only a handful of his new moves were demonstrated in the version we played. Nero's sword, the Red Queen, is one of the most interesting. It has a motorcycle-like accelerator handle and you can rev it like an engine. As the 'engine' inside it revs up it charges extra power allowing Nero to deliver a more devastating blow in his next attack.

The Devil Bringer also packs a fair few tricks. Nero can stretch out his deformed, ghost-like limb and nab items in unreachable places, or grapple onto distant grappling spots (indicated by blue circle targets) and pull himself to high or distant ledges.

But best of all, Nero's Devil Bringer comes in handy during the impressive battle at the end of the demo. We stumble upon a dark wooden-housed village that seems like a reasonably quiet place - until a giant demon turns up for a massive ruck.

The screen-filling beast is like a cross between a demon and a horse, and is absolutely H-U-G-E. Just to up the ante even further, he's whole body is engulfed in flames and he can summon spectacular bursts of flames.

Although he didn't give us much time to stand around, we must say he looks incredible. The flames rolling up his huge body illuminate the otherwise dark and run-down wooded houses nearby, which are completely obliterated when he swings his huge sword your way.

After a few nifty chops to the face, his flames go out temporarily and this is where your Devil Bringer springs into action. Jump at his face and hit the grapple button and your phantom limb grabs the beast by the noggin and slams him face-first into the ground, Kratos-style. EAT!

The demo was over all too quickly, but it was just enough to get us pumped for the eventual arrival of what looks set to be one of the PS3's biggest titles this year.