Devil May Cry 2
by Vanor Orion

I remembered the day I bought Devil May Cry 2. I was going to the mall to pick it up at Gamestop (or was it still Software Etc. then?), and on the way in I spoke to a friend of mine who was working in the arcade (back when the mall had an arcade). My friend was like "Man, I've heard it wasn't that good, I wouldn't get it." and I was all "Devil May Cry was the most kickass game in the history of videogames, how could it be bad?!" But I should have known better. I'd already read that the original developers weren't involved with the game. But the game looked and sounded promising, and ambitious. I couldn't not play it. But if the road to hell is paved with good intentions, then ambition is the fucking steamroller flattening those hopes and dreams with scalding hot agony.

Yes, this game sucks. There is no excusing it. For everything this game tried to do, the execution fell flat, fell off a fucking skyscraper, or fell straight to hell along with Jake Busey and Dee Wallace Stone in The Frighteners.

"It's straight to Videogame Developer Hell for you!"

But I don't need to write a fucking essay or go into painstaking detail as to why Devil May Cry 2 is such a massive disappointment that modern science has yet to adaquately quantify it. I can do it with one sentence: This game is generic and boring.

And when I say generic, I fucking mean it. This game has no personality. It has no soul. It's like if you gave the game over to a fucking bean-counter who has no notion of what makes a game good beyond whoring it out to the point that it loses everything that made it unique or entertaining in the first place.

The real crippling flaw with Devil May Cry 2 is that it does not build upon the first game to expand on the game's universe. Hell, it's like the developers didn't even know the first game existed. But they had to know because there was a "2" at the end of the damn title. This game practically acts as though the first game never happened. There's no Trish, or any reference to her or Mundus or events in the prior game. The game's story is a complete waste, lacking any of the pizazz and over-the-top, devil-may-care, self-indulgent outlandishness that made the first game so memorable. The bosses serve no purpose to the plot, unlike the first game where they were built up and given character. The main villain is just bland and forgettable, and Dante's interactions with the guy at certain points in the game are nigh pointless because nothing happens. I mean it's like the developers tried to turn Dante into some kind of angsty jRPG stereotype, to the point that it's painful.

As for the other character, Lucia, her only highlight is that she looks like Sheik and that she has an accent. A bad one, but at least that already gives her more personality than the entirety of the rest of the game. Of course, her presence in the story is pretty much pointless, save to have a female foil for sex-starved guys to salivate over, and to pad the length of the game. That's right, Lucia is a playable character. In fact, the developers somehow rated this game as being two discs long, one disc for Dante, and one disc for Lucia. I really wonder about the logic behind this, because it doesn't utilize something so clever as the crossovers between Leon and Claire in Resident Evil 2. There is no difference in playing the game as Dante or Lucia, seeing as you both go through the exact same levels. The only difference involves superficial plot elements, and that's it. You could have just axed out Dante and changed the name to "Lucia's Demonic Adventure" and no one would have been the wiser, save to think to themselves: "Wow, this game reminds me Devil May Cry...they should really make a sequel to that sometime."

Once again padding out our games with T&A.

And if you're wondering what the game's plot is, there is none. I mean, there's less of a plot than there was in the first game. As in, this game's story is so fucking thin that it makes the first DMC look like Shakespeare in comparison. The first game's plot was pretty straightforward: Go kick Mundus' ass. It was paper-thin, but at least there was motive for Dante doing what he did. This game gives no reason for why Dante is where he's at or anything. He's just there. I mean shit, R&D1 gave Dante a reason for being in Shin Megami Tensei Nocturne. Fuck, they gave a god damn cameo appearance in their game more tender love and care than the developers did in the game that he was the main attraction in!

Seriously, it's bad when he's more of a badass in a turn-based RPG than he was in his own game.

For all this alone the game loses its character. But that wasn't all. Everything else about this game was fubar'd, from the graphics to the gameplay:

Let's just start with the graphical presentation: It's horrid. The environments in DMC2 are vast but sparse, uninteresting, drab, dull, and completely uninspired compared to the game that came before it. Dante doesn't get around very quickly considering how big the environments are, so you may very well find yourself fending off unconsciousness while running around looking for something to fight. And the shit graphics doesn't stop at the scenery, either. The enemies are just as generic and lame as everything else.

The level design itself is just uninspired. The first game did a good job of creating a stylized, highly-detailed gothic setting, and had a nice variety in the environments, switiching things up with clausterphobic corridors and having nice open areas to do battle in. But even then, these places had lots of things to jump around and on, and lots of shit to smash. In contrast, everywhere in DMC2 is wide open. Even the fucking sewer level is pretty spacious compared to a lot of the locales on the first game. This wouldn't be so bad if there were a lot of enemies to fight, but there's not. I mean, at least in Dynasty Warriors they fill those huge battlefields up with stock, fodder enemies, but at least every step of the way you're actually fighting something. Now imagine dropping Dante into a Dynasty Warriors game but he has nothing to fight.

Isn't this just exciting?!

Another problem with the wide-open levels also extends to the combat, but we'll get back to that in a bit. Right now I would like to move on to the in-game menus and the interface. Every aspect of the original game was cool, even right down to the menus. Every time you equipped a weapon, you'd get this really cool FMV of a gun shooting or your weapon lighting up with electricity. On DMC2, that sort of thing is missing. Instead, all of that character has been bleached out harder than Michael Jackson's skin. Instead of Ebony & Ivory, Dante'e trademark pistols are merely referred to as "Handguns." Bullshit! He doesn't even have any of his weapons from the first game for crying out loud! No Sparda, or even the Force Edge, and he doesn't even have Devil Trigger from the outset!

Now let's get to the heart of the game: Kicking ass. Or in the case of DMC2, running around looking for shit to fight. The areas are big, but there's nothing much going on. You hardly come across a lot of enemies, and when you do, you would rather wish you hadn't because somehow the developers completely fucked up the gameplay. Yes, I know it's hard to imagine, but they actually managed to do it. Dante had all these kick ass moves in the first game, and even his crap moves were stylized and given a lot of flair to keep it visually interesting. In this, most of his attacks not only suck, but are unspectacular. His stinger from the first game has been turned to a pathetic lunge attack with extremely short range. Even worse is when you so much as sneeze at an enemy, they get sent flying back like fifty feet away. And there's no way to rapidly close range with them. The first game had the Stinger, but the enemies also weren't sent sailing the moment you tried to do a combo, and as I've already said, the Stinger in DMC2 sucks. What this means is that you will constantly be hitting enemies, sending them literally across the stage, and then having to run at a snail's pace relative to the level's size, to catch up with the enemy, hit them and send them sailing again. It's really fucking annoying.

Not featured in this game: Kicking ass.

Even weirder is that the physics in the game seem really floaty. You can quite literally juggle an enemy off the ground and into the air only by using Dante's handguns. In fact, you'd be better off doing that, but killing stuff with his guns on this feels like it takes forever, and wears on your fingers very quickly. Oh yeah, they gave him the ability to run on walls and shoot both his guns in different directions, but the monotony of the level design and the scarcity of enemies means you don't get to really do much with these moves.

As for the enemies themselves, as I said they have no personality to them and leave no real impression on the player. You won't go "HOLY SHIT!" with anything in this game in the same way you would with Phantom, Nelo Angelo, or just about each and every enemy in the first Devil May Cry. This extends to the bosses as well, which is a real shame, seeing as bosses were always a really big highlight in the series. None of the bosses talk, they have no personality to them, no character, and they look like crap. Even fighting them is bland and boring. I quite literally beat one boss by shooting it ceaselessly for ten minutes by mostly standing in one spot. Tiring and lame. Ugh.

Ironically enough, fighting stuff with Lucia isn't such a chore because a lot of her attacks don't send enemies flying everywhere. But what a damn bit of irony it is that a side-character plays better than the main character of the game!

The pervasive blandness that covers everything from the menus to the bosses, the monotony and the frustration of the combat, the lack of any real motivation for anything to happen in the game, and that lack of flair that the original game had sinks Devil May Cry 2 to join the Titanic at the bottom of the Sea of False-Advertising. Viewed through the prism of DMC2, Devil May Cry 3 isn't so much a sequel as it is an apology to the fans of the original for how badly the second game sucked.

"What the hell were we doing in this game, again?"


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