Genre(s): Action, Hack and Slash
Platform(s): Playstation 2
Release: January 25, 2003
Devil May Cry became an instant hit when it was released in October 2001, selling over two million copies in its first year. It had taken the survival horror genre of gaming to a new level with its over the top action and compelling storyline. So it was likely that a sequel was just around the corner. As we all know, two has been the magic number for Capcom’s most prestigious series—Mega Man, Street Fighter, Resident Evil—so when I heard about Devil May Cry 2, might first thought was “cool, this is gonna be an awesome sequel”. But before we get into that, how about we take a look at what went on when this was being made. And then we’ll talk about the fun stuff.
Devil May Cry 2 was set to take the series in a new direction. In the game, Dante returns as a more mature more experienced Devil Hunter. This new wiser appearance meant that Capcom was going to give him even more outrageous, acrobatic moves, combos and powers. Dante new abilities introduced us to the wall run, twosome time and bullet rain. The wall run gave Dante more versatility during combat. He could start a combo on the ground, run up a nearby wall to continue it in midair and finish with a downward slash. He was also given some serious hang time to better fight airborne foes. Twosome time (as it will become known in later sequels) allowed Dante to target two enemies at once. He can shoot one enemy in front of him and plug another one either behind him or off target to his left or right. Dodging was made easier this time around so even novice players can save their skin when needed. Unlike the first game, you can dodge whenever you wanted without using the lock-on feature. Another unique feature was the weapon change button which allowed players to switch ranged weapons without going the inventory screen. This was an upgrade from the R3 button used to switch between Alaster and Ifrit in Devil May Cry and a precursor to the much beloved ability in Devil May Cry 3.
The biggest feature, however, is certainly the addition of another playable character. The reason behind this was because people complained in the first game that they wanted to play as Trish and use a heroine. Enter Lucia, a character with a mysterious past. Lucia is just as versatile as Dante and uses two medium range swords and throws darts instead of using guns. However, her move set and combat abilities are just the same as Dante. The only difference is that Lucia possessed the ability to triple jump. Throwing her dart-like projectiles while jumping propelled her higher into the sky. Couple this with a second midair jump to take her even higher. Lucia’s story was set apart from Dante as was the enemy set. She had fewer missions which were fairly easy to complete. Of course if you complete the game on a higher setting you will unlock Trish who plays exactly like Dante and carries the Sword of Sparda with her.
Another complaint from fans was the camera, especially during boss battles where various objects obstructed the view. In some cases, the boss was simply too large to view fully on screen. To correct this, new producer Tsuyoshi Tanaka made it a point for each angle to provide an optimal perspective while keeping the camera fixed. Players got the full view of Dante or Lucia without missing the action. Honestly, in my opinion, the camera wasn’t that big of an issue. The complaint is most likely relevant to the battle with Phantom inside the Chapel and Nightmare in the same location later and in the Underworld. That’s only three battles. All the other battles, i.e. Nero Angelo and Griffin, were in open areas where the camera could move freely. Another reason that it wasn’t a big issue is that the objects became transparent so you could see your enemies. I saw no problem with. But some people want their hand held.
As mentioned earlier, two seems to have been the magic number for Capcom’s most prestigious series—Mega Man, Street Fighter—however, lightning did not strike again for the company. Despite the improvements and the addition of another character, fans were dissatisfied with Devil May Cry 2. First complaint: the gameplay. Being able to shoot in two directions and run along walls were welcome additions but, fans felt that Dante wasn’t as quick or moved as smoothly as he did in the first Devil May Cry game. His Stinger move was greatly slowed down as was his sword swinging where both were quick and smooth in the previous title. This was a poor attempt to have Dante move like an actual person would with a sword in hand. Also, the having to move the left analog stick for extra strokes, to me and others, wasn’t all that useful and it made it difficult to combo. This also applies to his guns. Before, your thumbs got a workout from pressing that firing button to keep Hang Time going. In DMC2, all one had to do is just hold the button with one hand and eat a bag of chips with the other. Heck, you didn’t even have to use High Time in the sequel; just start firing your guns and the enemy lifts right off the ground. Yeah, where’s the fun in that?
The second gripe was the open area exploration. What made Devil May Cry and its birthparent game Resident Evil so enjoyable was the claustrophobic feeling you got from fighting in close quarters. Putting Dante out in the open was not becoming of the character or what made the series so popular. This is not even becoming of a Resident Evil game. In a lot of cases, the enemies were placed too far apart to work out any good combos, or combos, period, for that matter, and smaller enemies were still off screen despite the improvements in the camera angles. Racking up a high combo and cashing on bonus red orbs as a result are what made playing DMC enjoyable. Because of the placement of enemies, this was difficult to achieve, especially with the highly priced weapons and items available at the God of Time statues. Lastly, the devils in Devil May Cry 2 were not as tough as the ones in the first game. I was surprised at how easy a lot of the enemies were to defeat including the bosses. The challenge of fighting has been taken down a few too many pegs thanks to complaints from fans that played the first DMC. Ironically, those same folks complained about the lack of challenge in DMC2. Guess you can’t satisfy everybody.
However, that’s not to say that Devil May Cry 2 was a terrible game. It does have its moments and Dante is still pretty cool even though a lot of his skills have been gnawed down to where even the most inexperienced player can drag their devil hunting carcass through the Underworld and survive. Unfortunately, this did hurt the series and left fans disappointed. Some fans wanted to know why Hideki Kamiya or Team Little Devil was not behind Devil May Cry 2’s development. His superiors at Capcom did not contact Kamiya to direct the sequel. Instead, the job was given to Hideaki Itsuno. Maybe Capcom should’ve made that call to Kamiya. Luckily, a bright spot is about to shine on what became a dark shadow of this series.
See you on the next level,