Review by Garbol Shora
"An interesting quality of 'Devil May Cry' is a distinctive depth that is unmatched in any other game of its genre..."
Capcom has dished out plenty of Resident Evil games, the innovative survival horror that became so popular with gamers. This hype spun off a new dinosaur game called Dino Crisis, which failed somewhat and soon was abandoned by many. Capcom continued the Resident Evil games with several port-to-port conversions that were usually acceptable in terms of quality. However, nothing was truly original or new in the Capcom world. Perhaps many of the Street Fighter and Megaman sequels bored many, and it seemed as though Capcom began to fall behind. Capcom then announced the release of 'Devil May Cry' and interesting gothic experience with more of the action and as much blood as the Resident Evil series. As many anticipated this new release, some believed that this would fall short of a load as its spawn, Dino Crisis did. However, the release became so immediately successful that the sheer revival of Capcom's original games became evident with such an excellent creation.
'Devil May Cry' stirs up so much action and intermingles so much depth that, amidst all the others, 'Devil May Cry' stands out with distinction. An interesting quality of 'Devil May Cry' is a distinctive depth that is unmatched in any other game of its genre, and this quality may be the sole reason of its success in all criterion.
The most fascinating and most pleasurable experience of 'Devil May Cry' lies in the Gameplay, indefinitely the most important criteria in a game. The one word that would simply describe the supremacy of 'Devil May Cry' would be - responsive. The controls are immediate in the most important areas, accurate and quick. The control actions are one of the most responsive that I have ever experienced. This alone makes a game pleasurable, for without such responsive controls, a game would not perform with excellence, and of now, excellence is what gamers expect. It is also worth mentioning that the genre that is 'Devil May Cry' requires the highest precision of control accuracy, with action charging at a relentless and an alarming pace, it would be near to impossible if 'Devil May Cry' did not attain such precision in responsive controls.
Action games like 'Devil May Cry' are often expected to have enemies to beat up, destroy and mutilate. To achieve this type of experience, the variety of commands must be complex, yet simple, welcoming both hardcore and new gamers. If a game is too technical, as Virtua Fighter 3 was, the complexity would ruin the enjoyment when things become difficult. However, with simple controls, such as Dynasty Warriors 2, redundancy and repetitiveness will bore the gamer immediately. Fortunately, 'Devil May Cry' manages to balance the two to make an enjoyable control scene. The controls are relatively simple, yet, mixing several combinations can create devastating, beautiful and complex combos.
A simple main attack is offered, where the lead character unleashes a simple sword attack. Proceed in repeatedly pressing this button will release an average 3-hit combo. With precision and timing, such attacks as a 4-hit combo or a devastating hundred slash attack can be released. Once again, this control scheme makes things simple for both hardcore and new gamers. Moves become more complex once combining the R1 button, which can allow strafe movements and creates a defensive advantage. This coupled with the attack button can create interesting juggling tactics that become vital for the game in higher difficulties. Once coupled with the button command of using a gun, a player can fire an unlimited supply of lead into the enemy. This unlimited supply is, although illogical, one of the more gamer-friendly uses I have experienced. Unlike Resident Evil, where the conscience of running out of bullets is at hand, Devil May Cry makes a pleasurable experience of using a gun, instead of checking back to see whether you have enough bullets left in your supply. Combining sword attacks and quick gun attacks make juggling amazingly efficient, extremely fun and tremendously satisfying to watch even from a spectator's view. A simple jump command is also available which allows reach to higher areas and efficient dodging. The jump maneuver is surprisingly high, watching your lead character dodge as if from the Matrix. The jump maneuver coupled with gunfire is marvelous, watching your character airborne while shooting packs and packs of lead into the enemy. Auto-target makes this so much more easier than aiming, and ultimately creates an awesome feel that contributes well into the overall gameplay. That isn't it though, basic attack combinations would create the 'deja vu' feeling that reoccurs in almost every action game. Moves and skills are offered to create an even deeper experience in contrast to other games. These skills create more combinations of attack from these simple techniques, and ultimately makes the game a much more complex design than it gives off.
Skills are primarily spawned off of two forces: the Ifrit and the Alastor, Ifrit being the force of fire and Alastor being speed and lightning. These two come in two different forms, gauntlets and a sword. This adds in decisive decisions on your part, whether you wish to fight your enemy with powerful close-combat fire attacks using Ifrit's gauntlets, or quick and abrupt sword slashes using Alastor's sword. The difference and the originality of these two weapons don't solely come from the weaponry types, but also come in the types of skills the two forces inherit. Each force inherits 5 skills, a total of 10 skills that can improve and excite the gameplay of 'Devil May Cry'. Utility skills such as 'Air Hike' will allow a better mobility advantage through its ability to jump twice the average jumping, while more direct skills such as 'Inferno' can pummel the enemy at a devastating rate. Some skills, however, can only be activated when using the Devil Trigger (L1). Now this, makes for an innovative and remarkably interesting aspect of the game. Your attacks become faster, quicker and stronger, your speed increased and your defense amplified, while all the more your character regenerates his health. However, using this technique wisely is essential as your time period of being a Devil is temporary and disappears in a while.
Keep in mind that these skills are not free, however, and require you to achieve cash - or red orbs in this case. With every killed enemy, a select amount of orbs are dropped in dependence of how stylishly you killed them. Kill them with simple beginner swipes and 1 or 2 red orbs will be dropped, while killing enemies while juggling, using special techniques and going into non-stop relentless power attacks will make for a great drop of 30 red orbs or so. A criteria of Dull (D), Cool (C), Bravo (B), Awesome (A) and Stylish (S) rate your performance with the first letter being the letter grade that is given. Many other orb colors improve other things as well. Blue orbs grant permanent life upgrades, green orbs grant health, yellow orbs allow a retry per orb, and purple orbs permanently increase the time period that you can Devil Trigger.
With all of this gameplay, 23 total required missions are given to provide violent and action-packed gameplay, each with its own original flair. Some missions are timed, requiring you to quickly go from Point A to Point B, excusing the monsters that are unnecessary to kill. Others are more Resident Evil oriented, with puzzles and unlocking doors. To top this off, secret missions that can amount to 12 (sidequests) make for great optional gameplay. Some of these missions being total nuisances - or challenge, while others are fun and simple, while the rest are somewhat doable.
If not for all of these aspects, 'Devil May Cry' would be just another action game on the shelves. But boy, who would've thought that an action game could pack in so much depth and originality? Being the bulk of this review, 'Devil May Cry' has such a unique gameplay quality that makes it stand out from the rest of its kind, and on that note, redefines the standard of gameplay. 10/10
'Devil May Cry' has a visual presentation that also tops the mother of these Capcom games, Resident Evil. It is not the movie cinematics that make this game what it is, and for that matter, there not being many, but it is the clever architecture and design of all the level layouts that make for great detailed works of art.
The minute you enter the castle, you will be immersed into a large and mystifying castle. Castle design layouts have been plentiful, but definitely not always good. Its gothic design of the castle makes for a dark environment that makes for nice eye-candy. Truly amazing, the environment is so real and detailed, that it can almost seem like you are in this environment. The rooms and areas are plentiful and surprisingly much more accessible than the rooms of Resident Evil. This, now leads to my discussion of the level design. Throughout many of Capcom's Resident Evil games, backtracking and unnecessary movement hindered the overall gameplay, and often made the game feel more like a maze than a game. Capcom corrects this flaw with 'Devil May Cry' putting keys and unlocking devices of that sort in areas near the actual door that requires unlocking. This makes things so much simpler and improves the overall map design of the game. All of this makes the visual presentation of the environment and map design excellent. While very good, there are some areas where jagged edges, rough corners and things of that sort exist... but nevertheless, the beautiful architecture, design and color use almost completely covers these very minor flaws, making this visual masterpiece near perfect!
Character models of 'Devil May Cry' is outstanding. From the soft silver hair of Dante, to the pointed witch nose of Trish, this game's character models make the uniqueness of these characters much more evident than the games that simply change the eye color, hair style and breast size/muscle tone. These characters are very realistic. Believe me, Trish is not the prettiest woman in gaming history, her nose is deformed, her eyes are catsy and her clothes are highly suspect. But this all the more makes Trish a lot more different than the girls of Dead or Alive. Capcom strives to make character models and visuals more realistic and acceptable instead of creating the ideal anime female. This is highly respectable of Capcom.
What is crucial in an action game, is the type of enemies you will be facing. In an action game's Visual Presentation, foes must be intimidating enough to ensure high quality action. 'Devil May Cry' fulfills this requirement by creating the most obscure creations that range from possessed puppets wielding blades, to creatures that resemble manure and bones, to demonic ghosts wielding very large scissors and scythes.
'Devil May Cry' does not fail to disappoint, and Capcom delivers what gamers truly expect in a visual presentation of a game. 'Devil May Cry' has graphics that are beautiful all around! As of now, 'Devil May Cry' still impresses although its launch date is already in the past! While some minor flaws (very minor) do get in the way, 'Devil May Cry' still makes for one dazzling and utterly gorgeous visual presentation. 10/10
Capcom once again makes environments truly creepy and it rivals Resident Evil's atmosphere effects. The majority of the music has a dark chapel/rock combination when roaming without much danger. Once threats and danger arises, the music immediately changes into a rugged, action-packed rock beat that enforces attacking. After the fight is over, the rock music immediately changes into the calm, but somewhat tense music that it originally was. This makes for some original use of music. Technically, 'Devil May Cry' has one of the more interesting musical uses, as music changes in real-time, which surprised me when playing the first run-through of the game.
The best aspect in the audio department is most probably the voice acting. Simply memorable, Dante and Trish both have believable actors/actresses, and while they are nonetheless well-executed, a relatively large flaw hinders the voice acting... music. No, the music is not bad, but it is, however, much too loud to hear Dante's cool and mysterious voice. This obstructs story progression, as sometimes, house background noises mix with the loud music, causing one to confuse what Dante is actually saying. The default music volume could've been toned down a bit, but other than that, voice acting and music is relatively good.
The audio presentation is one to behold, and it truly creates a nice and creepy environment. The real-time music change makes for extremely good technical use of music, and the voice acting never ceases to impress, especially Dante, the vital character role. However, the volume makes for horrible listening on the voice department. The music is not memorable, nor is it Nobuo Uematsu, but it still makes for one of the best sound usage I have experienced. 9/10
Story and Composition:
The story revolves around a half-human, half-demon named Dante, son of Sparda. The story introduces a dark demonic past about a demon turned hero named Sparda, who obliterated an evil entity. This Sparda bore a child with a human wife... a half-human/half-demon named Dante. This begins the present plot.
The story starts off casually enough, when a mysterious dark woman storms into an evil-killing organization. This organization, being run by a man named Dante. This woman introduces herself as Trish, and explains that a dark evil has escaped and is pulsating from an island. The two enter an island of mysterious proportion... and thus, begins 'Devil May Cry'.
A pretty basic and linear plot is what you experience in 'Devil May Cry' throughout. Twists and hostility of that sort occur in this game, but the story is weak. Probably the weakest criteria of the game, the Story and Composition is stale in comparison to other game stories. But I'm not complaining... with so much positive qualities and the consideration of the action genre, it is excusable that 'Devil May Cry' has a relatively dry plot.
In other words, Story and Composition plays a very minimal role in the game, as you will be running around slaughtering many enemies and paying more attention to how you should use your red orbs! 7/10
Replayability and Extras:
This criteria was mostly covered in the Gameplay Elements, and it offers already way too much bulk of chunks and chunks of action fun in the short 6 - 10 hours that it offers. But alternate characters are accessible, and these types of goodies are ultimately welcome. Secret missions, as mentioned in the Gameplay Elements section, already offers so much to the side quests, giving much extras. There are up to two alternate costumes, which offer tons of extras.
The replayability increases by the difficulty, and while this would be a mediocre excuse for replayability in any other game, 'Devil May Cry' has such flair and style that the overwhelming amount of action intensity cannot be fulfilled unless replaying through the two other times. This would be truly mastering 'Devil May Cry'.
The offers that 'Devil May Cry' amounts to is enormous, and simply tremendous when playing. It is the bulk of action that creates the feeling of fun and excitement. While not offering as much extras and replay as some other games, it offers enough. 7/10
This game is remarkable technically and artistically... enough said. Presentation achieves such distinction and the combination of music and eerie atmosphere simply makes you believe that you are immersed into this dark and action-packed game. Enemies are in every corner, simply waiting to be slaughtered. In simple terms - chunks and chunks of action. After that, more chunks of action and than more and more chunks. Chunks and chunks after chunks after chunks of action... you get the picture, right?
Renting or buying this game would be a good move. This game contains so much intensity that fun would be an understatement. While renting this game is as good as getting it, you will be depriving yourself of a marvelous showpiece that shows off your PS2 library. If someone wants to play something with lots of action, whip out this game and say that it's more than they'll expect!
How it all adds up!
(average is determined through the importance of the criteria)
Gameplay Elements: 10/10
Visual Presentation: 10/10
Audio Presentation: 9/10
Story and Composition: 7/10
Replayability and Extras: 7/10
Final Score: 9
Reviewer's Rating: 4.5 - Outstanding
Originally Posted: 07/09/02, Updated 02/09/03
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