Devil May Cry 2 Review
Alright, so here I am, giving my fingers their biggest workout since I was at the tender age of 10, when Street Fighter 2 Turbo was in all the rage. Diving, rolling, jumping 30, 40, 50 feet in the air, all the while I'm unloading a plethora of bullets into some behemoth creature that is swinging at me with its arms and shooting frigin' laser beams out of its mouth. This son of a bitch is relentless, I've already put 200 bullets into him, and yet I'm only have way there! Time to whip out my sword and swing away. So I burst into Devil Trigger mode and begin swinging with my burning sword. One swing, two swing, three, four, five, and on the sixth swing a cut scene comes into play and my fingers, not to mention sore forearm, finally get some rest. Devil May Cry 2, while maybe not as challenging as the first, it's certainly far more frivolous, thanks to the extra set of moves that Dante and co. boast.
It's quite disheartening to see so many critics say that Devil May Cry 2 looks worse than the first, when in reality, the second one not only looks better, but manages to out do the first in certain aspects. Though, I personally understand where the disliking comes from. Unlike the original, a good portion of Devil May Cry 2 is played outdoors, rather than indoors. Even in the first DMC, the outdoor environmental detail was somewhat lacking, as some of the textures looked washed out. Unfortunately, because DMC2 features more outdoor environments than the first, it makes the game look weaker to the first, which is not the case. The original DMC was 95% indoors, and the indoor details were incredibly good, which is perhaps what made the game so admirable to look at. All of that said, DMC2's environmental detail looks better than the original's, and not only that, but the indoor detail looks superb as well -- very sharp. Part of what makes Devil May Cry 2 look better than its predecessor is its obnoxiously gigantic bosses. The bosses are made up of fantastic details, and were treated to some damn fine texture work. They even animate incredibly well, despite their enormous size, so collision issues such as clipping are practically non-existent. DMC2's second superior aspect is its ridiculously beautiful character animation, which all three characters of the game greatly benefit from. As soon as you begin playing the game and toying around with the controls, you'll instantly notice how smooth Dante animates as he leaps, runs, shoots, and jumps all over the screen. It's quite breathtaking, really. As far as overall character detail is concerned, all three characters in the game are well modeled and stack up to some of the finest on the PS2. The image clarity of the game is noticeably better than the first. The aliasing isn't as apparent as it once was, and the shimmering has been reduced to an extent. The only real visual flaw to DMC2 is some of its blandness during the first few missions, and I'm not talking about the dull color palette. Rather, some of the poorly done textures here and there. Overall, while DMC2 looks marginally better than the first, there are certain aspects of the game engine that are showing age. Let's hope the third sees a more noticeable improvement.
Before continuing any further, I'll state right now that DMC2 is severely lacking a consistent story, or a story altogether, for that matter! As the game starts off, a cut-scene shows Dante confronting Lucia in a museum of some sort, after the brief (emphasis on "brief"), the game begins and you gain control of Dante (or Lucia, depending what DVD you chose to play first). There will be story fill ins throughout the game, but all of it is so poorly done that it almost hurts. That out of the way, the game is still a blast to pick up and play. The signature frantic gameplay has returned, though unfortunately the challenge has absolutely disappeared. Devil May Cry 2 is perhaps one of the easiest Playstation 2 games available, and it's a shame because it's incredibly easy to breeze through the game without having to use any more than 3, maybe 4, green orbs. If you can look past the difficulty, you will most certainly still enjoy playing the game. If you want to get some challenge out of the game, play it through the first time by only collecting the weapon upgrades and avoiding items. After you gain the hard mode, play the game and purchase only items to keep you alive, because the challenge will increase to a respectable degree and you will be able to play with your already upgraded character.
To change the subject, weapons such as Ifrit, the Alastor, and Sparda's sword (the proper name escapes me) are all gone. Instead, Dante is equipped with Ebony and Ivory, his signature pistols, and a sword called Rebellion, which Dante has possessed for a long time. The exclusion of Alastor and Ifrit should not be missed, because, in an almost RPG-ish like fashion, Dante can change the elemental status of Rebellion by attaching specific Devil Hearts to it. There are Devil Hearts spread all through the game, and must be found and equipped to be used. A maximum of three hearts can be used simultaneously, all of which have different effects on Dante. The addition of Devil Hearts is a very innovative way to enhance to the game's battle mechanics, leaving weapon strength upgrades to be purchased, as opposed to being found. Lucia, utilizes a pair of Cutlaseers, and daggers as her long-range attack. In terms of length, DMC2 manages to hold up reasonably well. There are two DVDs, one for each character, a'la Resident Evil 2. Each DVD contains 24 story missions, secret missions and there is also a secret character in the game who has six missions of her own. Perfectionists will love DMC2 because there's always something more to be found, done, or purchased. Despite its lack of challenge, DMC2 offers many extras to keep the dedicated ones coming back for more. Those who've played the original know what to expect from DMC2. The gameplay mechanics have remained identical, except for the new moves, which will be mentioned later on with controls. The new weapon system has been detailed, and so has the difficulty.
It's become quite obvious that the Devil May Cry series is the videogame equivalent of a B-movie, as its voice acting makes the notion all too apparent. Weirdly enough, the original voice of Dante has been replaced with another actor. Though, the difference isn't very noticeable, not unless you eat, sleep, and breathe DMC. The voice acting, overall, is quite generic and a bit too overacted for my liking, intentional or not. Dante's "bad-ass" attitude comes off mildly retarded as he can't even speak properly, and sounds like an amateur reading off a dialogue card. Lucia fares better, but her accent, and attitude, cover up whatever inadequacies her voice acting may have -- so it isn't as poorly done as Dante's. Generic voice acting aside, the sound doesn't get much different than the original's. Dante's moans and groans stay intact, as do a majority of the sound effects. Then there are of course new sound effects added for the new enemies and bosses. Lastly, DMC2 sports more techno-rock beats to accompany the action. Put all of that together, and you have one of the most average audio compilations imaginable. But hey, it gets the job done.
Control wise, Devil May Cry 2 has perhaps the finest controls in a videogame to date. Everything is laid out so marvelously well, that words almost can't describe how flawless the game's controls are. For starters, some of the button commands have been changed. The jump and attack/sword button are no longer Triangle and O, respectively. They are now X and Triangle, respectively. The shoot button is strictly Square, unlike the original, where X and Square had the same commands. Control changes aside, DMC2 now allows you to target manually, and during boss fights you can aim at different portions of the boss and shoot away. Not only that, but the game even lets you switch weapons the fly (L2) and continue to allow you to finish what you started. So if you were in the middle of shooting with your pistols, tap L2 and your shotgun will come out, shoot twice with the shotgun, tap L2 again and go back to your pistols all in a flash! The new move set is very welcome. The ability to roll is such a great addition to the list. Not only that, but the double jump and the
wall hike are now accompanied by the wall run and the wall jump. The wall run is where Dante/Lucia run against the wall for about two seconds, Matrix style. The wall jump is where Dante/Lucia run up a wall and then dive all the way down, while shooting at what's below -- makes for a great tactic to take out enemies even easier. The camera, while fixed for some areas, and free for others, manages to always keep up with the action, and doesn't get in the way very much.
In the end, Devil May Cry 2 could've been much better than its predecessor, had it not been for the game's surprising lack of challenge. Though, the game is beginning to show some age, it still manages to look very good, and especially impresses with its gorgeous animation. If you can look past the easy difficulty and the lack of a story, Devil May Cry 2 makes up for a very enjoyable experience that fans of the original should enjoy. The action is even more intense, thanks to the game's new set of moves, and the controls are practically flawless. The audio, while average at best, is easily forgotten and doesn't do much to tarnish the overall experience. As far as replay goes, DMC2 offers quite a lot for the perfectionists, and should amount to at least 20 hours of total gameplay. Though, the each DVD only spans 5-6 hours of total gameplay. If you're the type who plays a game only to beat it once, rent DMC2. If you're the perfectionist type, get DMC2. If you enjoy going back to games you've beaten from time to time, most certainly purchase Devil May Cry 2. It's quite the addictive game, much like the first was. Having beaten DMC2 three times, I'd say it's worthy of an addictive status.
2/16/2003 Arnold Katayev