RELEASED: January 25, 2003
AVAILABLE ON: PS2
So Devil May Cry 2 is announced by Capcom during the English localization of the original game, much to creator Hideki Kamiya's surprise. He waits for the call, it never comes. Be it that he's busy making Viewtiful Joe, or that they got a "different game" planned for a "great story", nothing's for certain except that it isn't a very nice move by Capcom. Most famous for fighting games that were semi-popular in Japan, but virtually unknown in other parts of the world - such as Power Stone and Capcom vs. SNK - long-time Capcom designer Hideaki Itsuno was hired to do his very own interpretation of Devil May Cry. Only one question remains: what the hell was wrong with him?! You might've heard that it's not quite as good as its predecessor, but the truth is Devil May Cry 2 may very well be the shittiest sequel to a great game the world has ever seen.
I won't cry over it, but damn.
Matthew Kaminsky : Dante
Francoise Galewski : Lucia
Sherman Howard : Arius
Flo Di Re : Matier
Lucia, a young woman with powers similar to Dante's, has a run-in with the son of Sparda, who she invites to her home on Dumary Island. Lucia's mother tells Dante that she once fought alongside his father to keep the island safe from harm, but now Sparda is gone and a local businessman is using demonic powers to summon the demon Argosax; if he succeeds, she's pretty sure that her daughter and Dante are the only ones capable enough of taking on this ancient demon.
For a while, I truly believed I didn't give this game enough of a chance back in the day, and that it was all right after all. Well, it turns out that Devil May Cry 2 is The Heretic of video games, as in Exorcist II: The Heretic. If you haven't seen that movie, consider yourself lucky. The Exorcist is still one of the best horror movies ever made, say what you will about the effects, and I don't care if you find it funny rather than scary. Let's just go with how great it was in my opinion, and how scarily realistic and revolutionary it really was in its time - five years later, The Heretic is made. It's got a different director (John Boorman) who has a totally different vision than the guy who made the original (William Friedkin); he wants to add in some voodoo priests, insects that spread Satan (yeah, that's right: spread Satan), some totally irrelevant LSD-fueled sequences to confuse the already confused viewer just a little bit more, and finally, my favourite: a device used in hypnotism, which allows the protagonist's subconscious memories to actually pass on to and be reviewed by another person. In 1978, no less, the Animus from Assassin's Creed was a perfectly standard psychiatric tool. Expensive, I'm sure, but no one really stopped to think about such things too much in the movie. Neither did the writers when they wrote that shit.
|Our designated protagonist... and some guy |
that has Dante's looks and the social skills of
Claude from GTA III.
After all this, it might sound a bit ironic that the controls are basically really good. For example, shooting and especially dodging are much easier standard feats than they were in the first game. However - here we go - since you can't buy new combos, only gain new abilities and even most of those are exclusive to your Devil Trigger form, and enemies spawn absolutely all the time, you'll get tired using the same damn simple combos that are even harder to keep on piling up than in the previous game. You need to hit an enemy about a dozen times before even a D-combo is registered. By that time, you've probably been flanked by some other bastard or your target is long dead, and the time it takes to get to another target in these vast, empty and once again just as badly angled surroundings, is too long to maintain the combo. So, while Dante is really comfortable to control, he's boring as hell when it comes to combat. Same goes for Lucia, who is officially regarded the game's secondary playable character, but in truth, she's much more lively and protagonistic than Dante. I get this inevitable feeling, especially considering the time of this game's original announcement, and how Capcom treated Kamiya. I get the feeling that someone at Capcom pitched an idea of a totally unrelated game around the same time they started making Devil May Cry, and this same someone figured that hey, since that game did so good, how about we just swipe the franchise and make this draft a part of it? Even if it doesn't fit, we'll force it. It's gonna sell, it's gonna be great, everyone's happy. Well, it sold all right, extremely well at that. Everything else went to shit.
|This game is far from "Show Time".|
About the items... there are small versions of the Vital and Devil Stars in addition to the large ones, and the small ones are usually perfectly enough to get you out of a pinch. There's also a Holy Star, an antidote for poison, which you don't need since a standard poison effect is very brief. Untouchable has been replaced with The Smell of Fear (who farted in the bottle?) that gives you three damage-free hits instead of rendering you completely invincible for a while. Guess they heard how players went about Mundus in the last game... dum-dee-dum... last, and least, the orbs. They all do the exact same thing as before. The thing is, you get more of 'em, you do less with 'em. More irony. Well, to be honest, every upgrade - you never get told what those upgrades to your weapons actually entail - is extremely expensive, and you should keep grinding orbs for those just to make the game faster. It doesn't need to be any easier. The yellow orbs work a bit different than before, and here the game hits another snag. Actually, I think that even the checkpoint system brought on by the yellow orbs in the first game was better. How bad can this be then, exactly...?
|No, we don't get to drive that thing.|
So, if you beat the Hard Mode with Dante - which makes our real main character, the one whose presence actually counts for something when it comes to the (bad) cinematics, that much more useless since everyone wants to play as (a guy that looks like) Dante - you get to play the game as Trish from the first game. Yay. I can't really measure my excitement. Perhaps if I take a dump... seriously, make a good game if you want to add an extra, almost identical play mode on top of two already almost identical scenarios.
Devil May Cry 2 is one miserable excuse for a sequel. It holds surprisingly decent averages on aggregate sites (73% on GameRankings, 68% on Metacritic), which I really do not comprehend, it's so much worse than I could've ever imagined. Don't know what game this was supposed to be before the success of Devil May Cry, but without the brand name on its back, it would be long forgotten on the piss-spilled pages of history. Play it once for your principles, it's not the unplayable sort of bad, but it is most definitely not just a disappointment, but a failure and a Devil-sized error in judgement.
+ The ability to equip different accessories was a genuinely good idea
+ Short enough
+ Better controls...
- ...Boring combos that are frustratingly hard to manage, ever-spawning enemies, do the math
- The camera. Seriously. Even worse than before.
- Confusing, extremely boring and empty levels
- I'm willing to bet that this game was a hair away from having nothing to do with the Devil May Cry franchise, it's so off the mark
- A pathetic shadow of a man for a male protagonist, and the other one's just useless
- Weak and horribly designed bosses; it seems the game lacks more and more in imagination towards the end
- Effortless to beat compared to the first game, but I guess the boring gameplay is challenge enough
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