My sympathies go out to all the fans out there of the Devil May Cry
series and the severe pain that must have been felt when this game was played after being so happily purchased from your local game store. This game, while retaining the Devil May Cry name feels so lost in its ambition of being a stylish game that it becomes lost in mediocrity. And while its gameplay elements have not yet been matched by any other game, the original Devil May Cry certainly had a better grasp than this weak sequel. There is a side of me that loves this game for how much fun it can be at times. But then there is this side of me that sees all the flaws that this game carries, like lack of story, lack of dialogue, lack of bad-assness (I think I just invented a word) in Dante, and so many other "lacking" things and I hate this game because of it.
I want to get started with the story. First off there isn't one. Dante just shows up at this place, Dumary Island, apparently on call from Lucia, the Protector of Vi Du Marli. By the end of the first stage you meet Matier, Lucia's mother who talks about Arius, your prime villain for the game. (Side note: Arius is lame... lamer than lame... But I can get into that deeper as I go through this review.) And after the story bit with Matier you play through the rest of the game. You'll get short snippets of a story here and there but nothing very cohesive that makes you want to find out what is going to happen in the game. As if the story wasn't lacking enough, the levels of this game fail to live up to the original. Dante's lines seem to be kept to a bare minimum, and there is a minimal amount of trash talking. How can Dante be the ultimate bad-ass if he can't taunt his enemies while he's kicking their asses? The only really cool thing that he does won't come until the end of the game. Although I must admit it was quite cool.
The acting for the most part isn't very good either. Lucia and Matier speak with what sounds like a faked french accent, and Arius just has this horrible whiny and screechy voice. While the voices don't fare well I must say that I like the music. It is very similar to that of the last game and of course compliments the demon slaying quite well.
Now about that whole demon-slaying bit. You'll be doing a lot of it. And this wouldn't be a problem if it weren't for the frustrating new lock on system that has been added to the game. Coupled with many lame camera angles and controls that feel much slower than before and you’ll find yourself heading back to the first game in no time. Whenever an enemy comes into view Dante will lock on to it and a cursor will appear. If you want to switch targets then you hit the L3 button. This causes for some cumbersome action, especially while you are trying to keep your combo's up, however you can override the lock-on by holding the L2 button. The combo's are easier yet harder to accomplish at the same time thanks to the lock-on cursor, for most times it will lock on to an enemy that is not in your direct view, like behind a pillar or something while there is an enemy who is closer to Dante. You would think it'd make more sense to just target the closer monster but such is not the case. Your guns will keep your combo alive but will no longer add to it, unlike in the first game where you could just roll and then fire the grenade launcher over and over to get a Stylish combo. As for the actual controls themselves, I feel that this game has Dante’s transition to different attacks move a lot more smoothly but at the same time it slows him down. It’s almost as though he freezes right when he connects with moves which throws off timing the first couple of levels, but you’ll pick up on it fast.
From screenshots I must say that I thought this game looked awful. The main enemies, skeletons in cages I guess you could say, looked rough and unpolished. And the boss that comes out of the side of a building, horrendous. But after seeing them in action they do look quite good. As could be said for the rest of the game. It's not as dark as the previous game, but its got times where its repititive and drab. The town for example just seems to be shades of just one color. And while this game does look quite nice at times, its not going to win any awards. It doesn't have anything that sets it apart from the last game. Just a new locale. The characters themselves look great though, Dante's new design looks quite good, he also no longer looks like Gizmo from Gremlins in his demon form. Lucia is easy on the eyes as well. I especially like the design they have given her for her demon form.
Another plus I must give this game is the new way the devil mode has been done. Rahter than just have your devil mode be affected by which weapon you had equipped you now have an amulet that has three slots to it. There are jewels collected during the game that will fit in to specific slots. One slot has to do with elementel powers, another has to do with movement powers, given you flight or increased speed while in devil mode. And then there is the strength slot, which can boost attack power or give your character regeneration which can be quite useful at times when you happen to be out of potions. Not like you’re going to need those potions any way. If anything save the red orbs for powering up your swords and guns. Also make sure you purchase blue and purple orbs to boost your health and devil powers.
I say that you won’t need potions because this game is freaking easy. Which is another thing that just bugs the hell out of me. In the last game I had to continue a countless number of times, rely on Holy Waters, and spend all my orbs on Devil Stars. In this game I didn’t have to buy a single item while playing as Lucia, and managed to die only once with Dante, but I had a golden orb so I was immediately ressurected. Most of the bosses in the game you can simply run from and pump bullets into and not get hit. The Minotaur boss is a prime example, I spent the entire fight in the corner just firing at him, and he didn’t touch me. The fights with Arius aren’t much of a challange either, as he lazily sits on his desk, smoking, and randomly firing shots in your general direction while his minions swarm you. And the final bosses? Don’t get me started. Not only is this game easy, but it is painfully short. I played through with Dante the first time and cleared the game in under four hours. And with Lucia I managed to clear the game in an hour and a half and still get all B Devil Hunter ratings. And some of the unlocks to the game aren’t very special, just new clothing for Dante and Lucia, fashioned by Diesel. And while they look pretty cool, they are nothing more than eye candy. Although one of the unlocks had me pleasently surprised, and if you’ve played the first Devil May Cry then you’ll probably feel the same way when you get it.
After all is said and done, I’m mostly satiated when it comes to this game. It fed my need for a new Devil May Cry, but at the same time it didn’t do anything special thats going to make me miss it when it starts collecting dust on my game rack. If you’ve got a weekend and six bucks to burn then this game is a great thing. But if you went out and bought it expecting a whole new gaming experience then you’re more than likely going to feel burned. Which is quite sad considering how much hype and potential this game had going for it. So much of this game is similar to the first that if you went out and picked up the original which is now a Greatest Hits title you wouldn’t be missing much. It’s not to say that this is a bad game in any way. But I must say that if this game was released first, then it would have fared much better however it is simply relegated to living in the shadow of greatness cast by the original. Did you buy a pair of Diesel jeans and you don't feel like more of a badass? Then pick up Brady Games excellent strategy guide, complete with tips, hints and maps that will make you feel like one hell of a badass.
Lackluster is the word of the day in this surprisingly dissappointing sequel.