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Old 01-31-2003, 12:46 AM   #1
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Review: Devil May Cry 2

IGN Review: Devil May Cry 2

Devil May Cry 2

"You may cry too after playing this disappointing sequel."



After having played this game 'til 2:30 am this morning and for most of the day today, I can clearly state that Devil May Cry II is a disappointment from nearly every angle. For some it may be considered major letdown, for others a smaller tragedy, but in either case, for anyone hoping that this game would actually exceed its predecessor, you're in for a swift kick in the pants.

Story
Let's step back for just a bit. The original Devil May Cry originated from Resident Evil 4 roots, and grew from a team that apparently wanted to make something new and different. Mikami and his team started Resident Evil 4, and as the graphic designer laid out designs and the team progressed, they realized they had something very much unlike Resident Evil on their hands. They had a fast-action game drenched in gothic themes from dark castles, heavy shades of red and black, to the haunting music and twisted animal forms that Dante confronted every five steps. It was an action game though and through, innovative and gorgeous. It showed developers new ways to approach leveling up in an action game, how to get good textures on the PS2, and how to make things kick ass! The message was "All guns all glory," and Dante, the son of Sparda, the demon slayer, was the man who would come onto his own. We loved it, giving it the overly high score of 9.6, but hey, that was and still is one hell of a game.

Apparently, Capcom was unable to live up to its own hype and/or pressure. The design of Devil May Cry 2 is created from that same mold and delivers a similar kind of action, but while so many things scream out "Gothic stylish goodness," so many other things scream, "I'm a confused, unfocused action game in need of direction." Starring Dante, cloaked in a long, blood-red trenchcoat, spur-shackled boots and an arsenal of guns and swords, the silver-coiffed hero is joined by Lucia, a dagger-heaving, red-haired warrior in her own right. Lucia fits into the picture rather vaguely, but for practical purposes, her role in this game is essentially that of Claire Redfield from Resident Evil 2. The two-disc game enables you to play as either Dante or Lucia, the latter character's game being the shorter of the two.

Honestly, this is an action game, and so therefore logically and technically, it doesn't genuinely require a proper story. But one of the weakest aspects of Devil May Cry was its storyline. So many questionable things were entirely washed over in the first game, and at the very least, I was hoping for a more substantial story in this sequel. And sequels are supposed to be better right? Instead, Capcom has delivered one of the most vague, most absurd stories in the history of videogames. The cutscenes, generally provided to tell a story, only provide more confusion. It's laughable.

You'll be done with the game and still not be quite sure what they hell you were doing, or what happened. Not only does the story not get explained from the very beginning but it never develops and never truly ends. Capcom has literally inserted blips of tragically uncool dialog in the cutscenes and cobbled the rest together with beat-'em-up action. Again, action games, like say Doom, didn't really need a story, but in a sequel of this size, the story could at least be up to par with the first one.

Gameplay
What's flukish about this game is that the first Devil May Cry offered so many strengths that while this sequel pales in comparison, it's still an impressive title. Though the negatives outweigh the positives, we'll start off positive. Naturally, you get to play as Lucia, who is a good addition and whom I'll delve into a little later. The most attractive new side of Devil May Cry 2 is you can perform some insane stunts that not only feel good, but re-create with incredible smoothness the motion of human acrobatics. Dante runs up the wall and pulls off a backflip without a hitch or a stutter. He jumps high into the air with a single or double jump and can alternately use his guns to propel himself even further into the stratosphere or use enemies to stay in air. He can jump off walls, too. And by alternating leaping off walls or enemies, and mixing in jumps and gunpower, the new balance of aerial time is more than seductive. It's outright sexy.

The crazy acrobatic new moves don't stop there. Dante is newly designed to hang in the air. Jump up twice and you can aim the guns straight down at your enemy, bouncing up and down in the air as each bullet jumps out to suspend you. He delivers aerial kicks and can lay down a mean, vertical cleaving to any enemy in air. It's quite exciting. Down on the ground, Dante swiftly and amply walks across the landscape with ease. He can perform summersaults, strafe perfectly, and aim in two directions, which earns you some extra style points.

Unfortunately, the new moves are shallow and relatively meaningless in the broad scheme of things. They look great, but running up a wall doesn't enable you to earn more points, and it doesn't increase the depth of the fighting. The core of the problem isn't necessarily the new moves, but the direction the fighting has taken. The first game offered excellent ways to upgrade and stylize your fighting preference -- be it with Alastor of Ifrit -- and tailor those weapons with each and every level using power-ups. Capcom also based the first game's premise on juggling and the brilliant combination of swordplay and gunplay to earn points for more powerups and customization. Here, juggling is actually made more difficult, and the combination play of sweeping sword attacks on several enemies followed by gouging blasts of firepower is nearly irrelevant. It does happen, but it's rare, and it clearly wasn't the focus of the development team that inherited this once dazzling game. Just a little side note, the names of your attacks are also entirely obscure and meaningless. They don't make much sense, rendering them troubling rather than cool.

The weapon list has grown, or at least, changed. Dante wields default twin guns, and later on finds a shotgun, dual machine guns, and a missile launcher among other things. Strangely though, all of the bitchin', kick-ass weapons he earned in the first game have somehow vanished, or are no longer important, because you start with an entirely new, rather bland sword (Rebellion), and then earn newer ones (Merciless, Vendetta, etc.) along the way.

None of them are as cool as the weird weapons from the first. After earning all of those excellent weapons in the first, as I said, you commence this game with nothing but a podunk regular old sword. And, at least in my final build, there is little trace of Alastor or Ifrit. I know it sounds funny, but these weapons lack the charm and personality of the first two. Perhaps it's because of the way the upgrade system works, or perhaps it's because of the weapons themselves. Honestly, what Capcom should have done was to create better weapons, or at least weapons parallel in value and imagination (such as Nightmare Beta, for instance), to the first. These are pretty run of the mill dealios.

Lucia's default tools begin with the Cutlaseers, which are short swords, and she's also equipped with an infinite amount of throwing daggers, which she uses like Dante utilizes guns. Lucia moves almost identically like Dante in long-range fights. But in a strange twist of development fates, Lucia, in my opinion, actually feels better in up-close fights. Her short-range attacks are simply more than impressive. Her punches and kicks lend themselves more to juggling action, and her dagger action shows off dynamic fighting moves and clean controllable hits. Whereas juggling with Dante is actually rather difficult. More on that in a bit.

Another new feature is the way upgrades function. Now you can upgrade your swords and your guns. Also you can customize your new Amulet. The Amulet is a circular palette on which you can adhere various powers, and it functions as the hub of powerup exchanges, sort of like the first game's shop did. The power-ups break down as such: Aerial Hearts, Electro Hearts and Health Hearts. Each category enables at least two items to choose from, such as the ability to fly or run fast in Demon form (from the Aerial Hearts category), with one from each used to adhere to the Amulet. It's a nice system as far as it goes, but the choices are far fewer than in the first game. Not only are there fewer choices but most of them are less noticable in gameplay, making little difference in your combat style. It's just another example of how the game has been simplified and cut down to size.

Last but not least, we have the actual fighting of bosses. In addition to the lack of juggling, the boss fights in DMC2 are extraordinarily weak. I rarely died while fighting the 15-plus bosses and most of the time I was not required to fight up close. I simply stood there shooting away. Or jumping around and shooting. For example, in the first game, Dante encounters the wonderfully hideous spider boss (forgot his name, sadly). There were several ways to beat him, but you had to learn his pattern, get in close and pummel him from above. There was a danger, risk and reward. If you messed up you got hurt, but if you succeeded he took damage -- a classic boss strategy.


Graphics
While the gameplay is essentially devoid of excitement, the visuals don't disappoint. Just one-plus years ago, DMC was one of the best-looking games on PS2. The sequel is essentially the same in looks and presentation, but it offers more outside environments, with larger arenas of play. The boasting point here is that these guys were able to grind out more textures than their predecessors on the difficult to program for PS2. The entire game is designed with a similar gothic sensibility, though in some ways the game isn't as flamboyant as the first, due partly to fewer interiors and thus less interior decorating.

Capcom delivers an excellent game from a standpoint of movement and motion. Dante and Lucia offer some of the best fluid, unstammering motion in an action game to date. They track enemies quickly and accurately, strafe perfectly, and give gamers an auto-aim. And the auto-aim is very necessary because DMC2 actually fails in the camera department where the first made in-roads. Using mostly still cameras, mixed in with trailing cameras, the player can usually see what's going on with these often times interesting shots. But there are dozens of instances in which you are literally fighting enemies, whether they're on ground or in mid-air, off screen. It's pretty deplorable, to be honest. You could be facing five or more enemies that shoot projectiles from off-screen and you can't even see them. Luckily, the game isn't that hard. At least in the first game, the areas were small enough to give you the chance to see the enemy's locations.

Sound
With the sounds of gunfire and swords clanging Capcom has again given gamers a pounding set of heavy metal-inspired tracks to get down to. The same familiar set of riffs that notified gamers of nearby enemies has returned in DMC2. I guess the feeling at Capcom was, "If it ain't broke, don't fix it." On this point, I agree. Otherwise, the music follows often operatic and organ-inspired themes, with a haunted-house kind of creepiness to fill in the holes. You'll hear wind blowing in a song and an often quiet unease in the music that's perfect for this game.

While the music is essentially unchanged, and thus still good, the use of voice is troublesome. The voice acting that exists is OK. Dante, when he speaks, sounds good (and if I'm not mistaken is voice acted by another person), while Lucia is decently done, though her accent is pretty unattainable. It sounds like Russian at times, and at other times it's hard to really know.

But the dialog is essentially worthless. There is so little of it to create relationships between the characters, so little of it to tell the story, and so little of it to glean anything worthwhile that it's more than frustrating to hear these characters speak; when they do talk, most of they say is void of information, and therefore useless. To further compound the dialog's lack of focus, Dante the kick-ass, doesn't-take-any-jive motherf*&ker who we all loved in the first game, said some pretty impressive things in that first bout. He was ballsy, rebellious and bad-ass. Here, he is just a shadow of his former self, with lines like: "I don't need any of this crap, I just need this [his sword]"; "Where there is a will..."; and "Don't speak, just die." Those are the most noteworthy lines in the game. What a disappointment.

Closing Comments
In the end, DMC2 is a better than average action game, but it's a terribly disappointing sequel that doesn't deliver on any key points at all. If one hadn't played the first, one might say to oneself, "Hey, this is stylish gothic action!" (Just kidding.) But that's not the case.
The first game, though clearly not perfect, exceeds every aspect of Devil May Cry 2 so much so it's hard to play the second one for very long at all. It's a disappointing title that's shallow where the first was deep, plain where the first was decorative and imaginative, and simple where the other was complex.

- Douglass C. Perry


Presentation - 7.5
Good all around presentation, as long as you're not talking about the story.

Graphics - 9.0
Perhaps a tad less decorative or imaginative than the first, but the level arenas are bigger and outdoors.

Sound - 7.8
Decent to bad voice acting and absolutely horrible dialog that confuses instead of illuminates. But good music and sound effects.

Gameplay - 7.0
Like the first but not. The new moves are cool , but empty and shallow. The juggle system is essentially worthless.

Lasting Appeal - 6.0
Short and easy. At least you can play through as Lucia, but even her inclusion is kind of questionable if the first pass through is so disappointing.

OVERALL SCORE - 7.0 (not an average)
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Old 01-31-2003, 10:42 AM   #2
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Overlord they gave your precious DMC2 a 7

You gonna take IGN down?
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Old 01-31-2003, 10:57 AM   #3
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I think if he's gonna kill anyone it'll be Gamespot. They gave it a 6.4

http://gamespot.com/gamespot/stories...909902,00.html

I swear they shouldn't let this guy review any game. He contradicts himself a half dozen times and even decides to add the fact that Lucia's hair clips now and then as a very very bad feature in the game! I like to rate this reviewer with my own personal seal of 'TEH n00b'
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Old 01-31-2003, 12:29 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally posted by Alucard
I like to rate this reviewer with my own personal seal of 'TEH n00b'
LMAO

I think no matter the scores people will still grab this game, it got to much action in it, atleast Famitsu gave it a good score . RESISTANCE IS FUTILE. Capcom ownz.

I bet this guy will give Chaos Legion the same score when it comes out. He should be banned.
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Old 01-31-2003, 02:08 PM   #5
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EGM said the game is disappointing but still kicks | ))
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Old 01-31-2003, 04:54 PM   #6
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These reviews on DMC2 are REALLY getting on my nerves....the game hasn't come out in Europe yet but this is making me sad...

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Old 01-31-2003, 07:21 PM   #7
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It's all Capcom's fault for handing out the review copies so late. Doug Perry at IGN only finished the game about an hour before he had posted the review(no IGNPSQ, either). The main fault the reviewers talk about is the easyness, even though they never even accessed DMD/LMD and the Bloody Mansion. They changed the controls and moves[also added] a little, and most people won't like it at first. But it will get better later on, and you'll probably even enjoy getting the ranks later on.
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Old 01-31-2003, 07:52 PM   #8
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"MR LORD" has spoken hear it and live in fear

They are bringing the game down because it's to easy? What a pitty ....
One thing I also don't understand they were expecting more from the game ect ect ..well what were they expecting, Capcom gave Dante new moves. Where they expecting Dante to fly, or the game to have a fps perspective? I still can't figure out why they are complaining to tell you the truth. But when I get my hands on a copy of the game i'm sure i'll enjoy it alot more then those reviewers.
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Old 01-31-2003, 08:01 PM   #9
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I just realized that I mistyped Lucia Must Die mode as LCD. *Edits* :2happy:

...You actually can fly in your Devil form(more aerial combat focus) with one of the orbs you can attach.

Anyway, the main reason for the easyness is because so many people hated the difficulty from the first. But there are much harder modes later.
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