Devil May Cry Review
No matter the console, no matter the year, and no matter the series, Capcom is one of those developers that just doesn't let down their fans. The 3rd party, most notable for their Street Fighter and Resident Evil franchise, features single-handedly some of gaming's greatest game minds. First is Keiji Inafune, the man who gave birth to the classic Mega Man franchise, as well as the unforgettable Ghosts and Goblins and 1942. After entering the 32-bit era, Inafune-san took a lot of part in the Resident Evil franchise, as well as the Dino Crisis series. Most recently, the legendary producer lead the production of Onimusha: Warlords as producer of the million seller blockbuster. Capcom's second most prominent producer is the creator of the Resident Evil and Dino Crisis franchises. Shinji Mikami has done a lot for Capcom during the 32-bit era. The very first Resident Evil title was an instant success for Capcom. Soon the profits would ring in for Capcom, as the sequel would be herald as one of the PS' best titles ever. Nemesis and Code Veronica would shortly follow release as well, and be tagged with critical praise as well as strong sales. Eventually rumblings of a fourth Resident Evil title for the PS2 broke out. This time, Mikami-san had larger than life plans for a larger than life sequel, on a larger than life console. As time progressed, the development team at Capcom felt that the project got carried away from its Resident Evil roots, so they proposed a new name and titled the game, Devil May Cry.
Originally, the control scheme and much of the gameplay mechanics were to resemble Resident Evil's, but mostly everything was scrapped and an all-new experience had formed. Soon, Capcom would announce Devil May Cry with an outrageous video of the game in action. The video showed a red-caped, white haired male, shooting up a storm with his custom made handguns, and concurrently slashing foes with his sword. As I witnessed what had to be the most kick-ass videogame in action, a crowd of buds gathered over my shoulder and like men, we drooled simultaneously. Gun slinging and sword slashing... at the same time? How does that work? I was very assured that Capcom would make DMC a perfectly comfortable game to get acquainted with, and after reading the near perfect reviews the Japanese press had given the game, I knew Capcom had struck gold once more. Finally, having the chance to play the demo for myself, I came down to the conclusion that Devil May Cry may very well be the Playstation 2's best title of 2001. It's been about two months since the hands-on impressions were posted, and now we've reached the final step; the review.
What a year for the Playstation 2 in terms of visuals, huh? The first half of the year starts us off with The Bouncer, Onimusha: Warlords, Zone of the Enders, ATV: Offroad Fury, Red Faction, Star Wars: Starfighter, Twisted Metal: Black, and Gran Turismo 3. The second half is topped off with, ICO, Final Fantasy X (Jap), Madden NFL 2002, Metal Gear Solid 2, NHL 2002, Jak and Daxter, Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 3, Blood Omen 2, Soul Reaver 2, Extreme G3, Dave Mira Freestyle BMX 2, Grand Theft Auto 3, Ace Combat 4 and Devil May Cry -long list of games, isn't it?-. Devil May Cry is truly a title that harnesses the power of the Playstation 2, and is a perfect example for future games to come. Finally, shedding their pre-rendered skin, Capcom has slapped real-time backgrounds onto DMC's visuals. As soon as you enter the game's primary setting -the palace- take a good look around your surroundings and notice the fantastic hi-resolution texture detail. Every single polygonal object on screen is unbelievably detailed, and the result shouts it out loud. The backgrounds look amazing enough to be mistaken for pre-rendered environments, and that's no exaggerated statement either. There are dozens of different areas that you will come across, all with their individual setting and dynamic lighting effect.
Perhaps what's most impressive about DMC's visuals is the way the lighting effects light up the gothic atmosphere, and make everything that much more organic. The game's engine is so robust that Capcom didn't utilize a single sequence of CG for pretty much the entire game. Every sequence is generated via in game engine, and looks good enough to be mistaken as a CG. At intense times, when special effects come to play, you will be treated to eye-candy effects such as lightning, explosions, and of course the dynamic lighting effects. Devil May Cry's character detail is stunning! Dante himself looks every bit as good as Onimusha's Samanosuke. That's saying a lot, as Samanosuke is a 10,000-polygon character! Dante runs, walks and jumps as smooth as silk. There are of course dozens of other characters, fiendishly huge ones as well! One of which is Phantom. An enormous scorpion made up of lava, and surrounded by a thick layer of skeleton on portions of his body. The detail for that particular foe is frigin' unbelievable! Other characters are made up of just as much detail, such as Sorda (Spoiler character) and Trish (Dante's accomplice). Devil May Cry's visuals make pretty much every other game look obsolete in comparison. The level of detail is drop dead gorgeous. This is currently the PS2's best looking game.
Devil May Cry is an action/adventure game that's nothing but an adrenaline rush from start to finish. Capcom's attempt at creating an all franchise may indeed prove to be extremely successful, as DMC is one of the best games I've played. I've said it before, and it's beginning to lose its meaning every time I say it, but what else can you do? Playstation 2's software is unstoppable. And with games like Metal Gear Solid 2, Devil May Cry, ICO, Gran Turismo 3, and Final Fantasy X, it's quite apparent that if you're looking for some of the best videogaming software, the PS2 is your console. Devil May Cry isn't a mindless title though, while it may seem like it, the game has a story. "Dante is a dark figure shrouded in mystery. Legend has it that 2000 years ago, in the depths of hell, a demon swordsman, awoke to justice and rebelled against the devil, waging a one-man war in support of the human world. Two thousand years later, Dante, a private investigator of the supernatural, realizes that the devil is rallying to rise again against mankind. How does Dante fit into this gothic puzzle? Deep within Dante's blood lies the power of ancient demons and as his power builds he transforms into a demon state where he can inflict unearthly powers on the wretched souls he encounters. As Dante continues his adventure he will find powerful weaponry, including his dual-pistols and shotguns. Dante will discover powerful swords, each possessing various elemental powers. This devil hunter will lead players into the fantastic dark world as Dante's destiny is played out in a gothic battle of good against evil. If Dante is successful, the Devil May Cry."
DMC's story is one hell of a package! What the whole excerpt doesn't mention is that Dante [*SPOILER!*] is Sorda's son. Sorda is a powerful demon who possesses similar traits to Dante's. Throughout the game you will encounter this foe and fight him. He's a reasonably slow character, so quick attacks and dodging is essential, as is other strategies for other bosses or mini-bosses. Every foe has his/her vulnerable spot, such as a tail, torso, a revealing core or head. Dante is part human, part devil. Whenever his Devil State gauge is filled up, he'll be able to use the gauge and increase his power to beyond his natural human powers. Dante is currently my favorite videogame hero. I don't know what is it about him that's so appealing. Maybe it's his long -red- trench coat, the bad-ass personality, or how suave he his when it comes down to the sticky situations. Basically, Dante's demeanor is what makes him so appealing. Devil May Cry is a frantically quick game which features some awesome action maneuvers that really makes the title seem more like a hybrid of a John Woo action flick, and John Carpenter horror mystery. Not only can Dante jump several feet in the air, but he can also do a back flip, side flip, roll and even do a jump off of a wall. The actions that Capcom gave to Dante to perform can only be described as "cool." Dante is also able to perform aerial attacks, such as deadly sword spins, a sword slash dive, and he can even keep himself in the air for a second or two, by using his guns in mid-air.
There's more to the action than just hack n' slash and shoot, especially when you're surrounded by 5 enemies waiting to gut you nice. As the gamer, you can collect red orbs after defeating enemies, and use those red orbs in order to obtain new moves (Alastors) or items for revival purposes, or vitality expansion purposes. As you progress throughout your journey, you will come across different weapons, so you are not limited to just custom made handguns with infinite ammunition, or a sword wielded by Dante's father. No, you will come across other swords charged with elemental power (thunder, fire, etc) and modern weapons such as shotgun or grenade launcher. I should make note that every weapon you pick up has unlimited ammo, so you will never have to worry about scouring the environment in search of bullets or magazines. Then again, Capcom decided to make the boss encounters more difficult because they've granted you a code you're most likely to enter. The way guns and the sword work almost simultaneously is seamless. The transfer from sword to gun [and vice versa] is quickly operated, as Dante's controls are perfectly responsive. Combos are another thing that Capcom inserted in DMC. There are various default moves that Dante can pull off, in addition to purchased [Alastor] moves.
Much of Devil May Cry's exploration vaguely revolves around solving puzzles like you do in Resident Evil games. There are key items to be found, but no brainteasers, just good ol' addictive gameplay that never ceases to amaze. Progression is based on missions, and Devil May Cry features a little over 20 missions, all with their individual time frame of completion. Some missions may take a half hour, other 10 minutes, others 2 minutes, it's all quite skill based as well. You will be rewarded with red orbs, depending on how well of a rank you managed to earn, and how well you handled the boss of the mission, that is if the mission included one. But once the 20+ missions are over, the game isn't. There are still 9 secret missions to accomplish, which only heightens the replay value more. Those concerned with the replay value should rest assured that it's about a 10-15 hour game -15-20, depending on how well you approach the missions. I'm almost certain I'm missing something, but hopefully it's nothing significant. I have absolutely no qualms with DMC's gameplay, as I offer nothing but my most humble words to the wonderful people at Capcom for creating one of the finest videogames to date.
There's just something about Devil May Cry's soundtrack that really made me wet my pants! When you enter the main hall of the castle, you will be presented with a very gothic low-pitched piano tune, with not much background atmosphere but that's what makes it even scarier. Every now and then, as the song plays, ghoulish -cheery- background sample is played as if the deceased are enjoying haunting the castle. Listen to it carefully and you'll know what I'm talking about, it really spooks the hell out of me! During exciting portions of the game, Devil May Cry's spooky soundtrack goes into hibernation for a while as fast paced techno beats come to play and accompany you while you slice and dice your way through hell and back. The techno tunes are really well done, they help keep that adrenaline flowing and really keep the energy of the game up and never saggy. Voice actors also pay tribute to this wonderful game. Every key figure in the game has a voice over role, and the delivery is fantastic. Dante's voice actor seems to fit the role extremely well, and never fails to hit a smart-ass remark as it should be. Other voice actors such as Phantom and Trish are also well cast. The sound effects such as explosions, the 'whooshing' of the sword, gunshots, or everyday ordinary effects sound excellent as well, but by now as that 10.0 suggests, that's not even a secret anymore.
As I have previously stated, the controls in Devil May Cry are perfectly responsive. Dante's a very flexible character with many different abilities, but despite all of that controlling him isn't even a task! Since the game is speedy and the camera angles are a bit like Resident Evil, I know many of you were concerned whether or not it would hamper Devil May Cry in terms of gameplay. Thankfully it doesn't even come close to having any affect on DMC's gameplay what so ever! Getting used to the controls will take absolutely no time. Capcom has thrown together an all new configuration layout, so say goodbye to Resident Evil's horrid controls forever! The full 3D usage of the analog stick is a huge plus, if it wasn't for the new configuration I would've scored the controls pretty low. DMC is also the first of Capcom's many 'horror' titles to feature a jump button. Dante, being the vigorous character that he is, is very suitable for a jump button. Without one, there would've been this empty space in the game. Pulling off combos, air raids, jumping off of walls and performing an aerial attack is incredibly easy, thanks to the pretty much flawless controls provided. Wonderful, absolutely wonderful.
I've given out perfect tens to Playstation games, and out of the 600 I've played (not reviewed) I only bestowed 4 games a perfect 10 -Final Fantasy VII-IX, and Chrono Cross. Only a year and a half old, I've reviewed nearly 100 Playstation 2 games, and already gave out two tens, this being my third. Square's Final Fantasy X was the only game I gave tens all across too, as it deserved them without a doubt in my mind. ICO nearly picked up a ten, but lost one tenth for being just a bit short, replay value wise. Devil May Cry, ultimately deserves a ten as on overall score. It's not a "perfect" game, but there are various elements and portions that make it come close to being so. With Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 3 and Metal Gear Solid 2 left to be released, one must wonder if I'll be giving out tens to those games as well. Overall, Devil May Cry is easily one of the best games I've played in years, it's right up there with ICO, GT3, Final Fantasy IV-X and Zelda: A Link to the Past. Be warned though, the screenshots make the game look harmless...but this game is an addictive DRUG! Thank you...
10/16/2001 Arnold Katayev