PS2 REVIEW: DEVIL MAY CRY
STEWXX
COLE

Dante what happened? You used to be cool. But now you hardly even speak. Did the bozo's at Capcom tell you that real heroes are the strong silent type? If so, they lied to you. Only those that played the original DMC a year a bit ago will know what I am talking about. Dante, who dared to share quips with Trish and some of the undead beings in the original game, prefers only to talk when necessary, leaving most of this game's personality on the cutting room floor. Unfortunately for fans, the whole experience can be summed up in one sentence: Too bland, too easy but looks good.

Split up into two playable adventures (Dante and Lucia) Devil May Cry 2 is one of those sequels that has you shaking your head an hour or so into the game. You've wanted this game since the moment you handed the devil his ass in the first game, but now you can't shake that feeling deep down inside that this game isn't exactly what you waiting patiently for over the last 15 months. It's just not all THAT. Dante (and Lucia) have some new moves that allow them to run along the walls (ala Shinobi) but to be honest there just isn't much call for that - but it sure is cool the first few times you do it. Dante and Lucia tackle evil differently. Dante subscribes to the motto "Happiness is a warm gun" while Lucia gets up close and personal with her sword. Either way is just as effective.

Where the first game was the right balance of challenge, skill and making the right upgrade decision, Capcom has removed the need for any of it- seemingly listening to the critics who couldn't play with any skill at all and who whined that it was too hard. As far as I'm concerned, bigger levels, new moves, another playable character be damned. If the game is too easy, what's the point? I don't need my ego stroked. I need to get my $50 bucks worth. In short, DMC2 is a cakewalk and unless you are pathetic gamer who loves breezing through games just to say he got to the end, a cakewalk is NOT a good thing.

The boss battles from the original could be really tough but they weren't impossible. Now you'll rarely need a health upgrade. In fact, I played so long at a stretch I seriously began to wonder if I COULD die. I don't know about you, but I need some tension in my gaming. The camera is your biggest enemy - much like in the first game when it would whiz all around and rarely give you a clear view of what you needed to see - but even that can't really make this game that much harder. Upgrades are still available but they seem to be more for show now than anything. Upgarding to Demon Power is complete overkill but at least it looks fancy. Even playing as Lucia isn't anything to get worked up over.

I wasn't expecting this and I sure as hell know that you weren't either. As much as you may want to ignore what I have to say especially if I'm the only one who is going to tell it like it is, you should definitely rent DMC2 first. Play it through all the way (it's just as short as the first game) and take it back. The biggest disappointment of 2003? So far.

OVERALL
3.0
GRAPHICS
4.0
CONTROL
4.0
MUSIC/FX
3.0
VALUE
2.5
VAUGHN

Certainly DMC2 can be viewed as a disappointment but there are always those "glass half full - glass half empty" people. I know many gamers who don't mind a good mindless shoot em up and unfortunately for fans of the first game, that is what DMC2 has become. DMC2 is at i's best when you've got a room full of enemies and you are jumping and flipping around. It's at its worst when the Boss battles kick in which take usually no effort at all. The game is short (even with the two adventures) but Capcom tagged on the Dante Must Die mode for those looking for more of a challenge. The game camera is DMC2's worst feature - preferring to focus on Dante which sometimes make Dante (and Lucia) seem like tiny little people down there on the screen. The game is a fast paced romp with little thought given to the story or characters which is highly disrespectful to the original - but it can be fun. Definitely worthy of a rental but may not be welcome as a permanent fixture in your collection.

The problem with sequels is that they usually following an act that's hard to follow. The success of the original is the reason for the sequel in the first place. Somehow we want the sequel to be similar to the original - only better - whatever that means. Can you imagine having a sequel to a joke? Since we already know the punchline the surprise has been spent. Sequels, whether they be movies or games, run the same risk of having the surprise already spoiled. It has to be the same yet different. If it's not original in its own right people will complain that it's a rip-off of the first version. Then there are those that will complain if the sequel strays too far from the original. It's a fine line and one that Capcom should be used to by now, having produced so many follow-up games.

You can probably tell by my tone that things aren't all well and good down in hell. Devil May Cry 2 is enough to bring tears of frustration to the legion of underworld spawns. The original was a great game. Not only was the gameplay great but it was a unique premise with an interesting storyline. I'm not sure how Capcom would follow it but clearly this version is not the answer.

Devil May Cry 2 should have been the first version. It's almost too easy, it's as though Capcom received a lot of complaints from gamers saying the first one was too difficult. While it looks the same in most regards it feels dumbed down. Those looking for a deep and more challenging battle will be disappointed. There are some new features but they're nothing more than add-ons which have little to do with the actual gameplay which has degenerated into lots of repetitious fighting. And the boss battles are an exercise in boredom. Here's a spoiler on how to beat most of the bosses in the game: Stand there and shoot. No strategy required.

Play as Dante the demon hunter, who possess special demon powers in the same way Blade has vampire powers. Or play as the hot, new chick, Lucia who prefers to use blades of her own instead of guns. Dante has a good selection of moves, some of which enable him to super-jump off wall and enemies. He can also fly and suspend himself in the air by the force of shooting bullets from his gun - a trademark Yosemite Sam gag. It would have been great if the moves would actually have to be used in the game but instead you just get some points for mixing them all up like you would in a snow or skateboard game. You can get through the game with a few favorite moves and by using a lot of firepower of which there is a decent assortment. It may not be easy but I didn't find it cerebrally as challenging as the first game.

The story is a sordid mess. I didn't pay much attention to the storyline just like I didn't when I first played Splinter Cell. I was much more interested in the task at hand than the big picture, and besides, I knew it would all come out in the wash anyway. The problem with DMC 2 is that it dissolves in the wash. The story is lame and embellished with irrelevant cutscenes, as though adding some dramatic dialogue would cover it up like lime on a corpse. Suffice to say that the demons are influencing big corporations and preparing to take over the world. I thought that was already happening in real life?

The game looks great and still has the same spooky vibe with Gothic architecture and gloomy environments, but like that joke analogy I used earlier, we've already been exposed to it. The animation is fluid. There are Xbox games that don't look anywhere near this good. Some of the environments are bigger and the attention to detail does not go unnoticed. The soundtrack combines tough, Goth-rock and eerie pipe organ punctuated with scintillating blade clashes. The gunfire bursts through the speakers replicating the rapport of pistols, shotguns, machineguns and missiles with plenty of authenticity and authority.

You can't go wrong with this game if you haven't played the original. In fact, I would recommend that you play this one first. That way you will really appreciate how great the original is. Perhaps we should call this Devil May Cry: The Pre-quel.

OVERALL
3.0
GRAPHICS
4.5
CONTROL
4.0
MUSIC/FX
3.0
VALUE
3.5
OVERALL
3.5
GRAPHICS
5.0
CONTROL
4.5
MUSIC/FX
5.0
VALUE
3.5

 

 

System: PS2
Dev: Capcom
Pub: Capcom
Release: Jan 2003
Players: 1
RATING (OUT OF 5)
OVERALL
4.5
GRAPHICS
5
CONTROL
4
MUSIC/FX
4
VALUE
5