Review by brutusmuktuk
"Apparently demon hunting requires a short attention span"
If asked, most gamers would say they would love to control a half-demon, half-human demon slayer who wields a sword and two pistols. In an action game, this is an excellent idea if well-executed. For many gamers, Devil May Cry is an elite action game that has few, if any, superiors. I wonder if the concept and look of the game is so intoxicating gamers are willing to forgive the poor execution of it. I tried very hard to like it, but eventually I came to the realization it just wasn't as good as advertised. While Devil May Cry answered the prayers of millions of gamers, I believe a potentially awesome game was ruined by a high frustration level and a requirement that gamers have a short attention span.
I've always enjoyed Capcom's method of making difficult games. If you die in a Capcom game, it's generally not the fault of the game, but the fault of the gamer. Their games, such as Onimusha and Super Ghouls 'n Ghosts, require you to get improve your skills in order to succeed. Unfortunately, that's not the case in Devil May Cry. A majority of the time, the game is at fault for your death. Poor camera angles are at fault most of the time. You'll find yourself fighting a lot of enemies who are not onscreen, and many times they get a free hit or two on you because you don't see them coming. Yes, enemies do make a noise to signal an attack, but that's hardly helpful when you're concentrating on those enemies that you can see. This is worse when fighting some of the bosses, such as Griffon and Nightmare. There will be times when you are blasting away at them while they are off screen. Shooting at the edges of the screen is not as fun as shooting actual enemies that you can see.
There is a point of frustration in which a game can get away with, but once in a while a game will break that barrier. The point of video games is to have fun, not to stress you out. Devil May Cry is more stressful than it is fun. Though most levels are only ten minutes long, you will die so often they take much longer than that to complete. And along with poor camera angles, another reason you will likely die so often is the speed the game plays at. Things happen so quickly in Dante's world that it would seem Capcom made this game for people with short attention spans. To focus on one enemy for more than a second means you will likely lose your health to another attacker, but to take your eye off the one enemy means you might miss a surprise dodge and attack. I wish Capcom at least allowed blocking, as it would be far more convenient than trying to jump every enemy attack. However, that would slow the game down. This is a pure action game. Strategy is not required, or welcome. This is a game meant for somebody young, with quick reflexes, and an attention span trained on Saturday morning action cartoons. If you do not have those qualities, I would not recommend this game.
Unfortunately, the story isn't worth sitting through either. The plot is weakly strung together with dialogue that is so horrible it's laughable. Dante has the voice of an adolescent jock, and the words he spits are at a middle school level. The back story the game provides is poorly-developed. Dante lost his family to a demon and started a demon-hunting business called Devil May Cry. What would have been nice is some more information about life (demonic and otherwise) on the planet. I realize that a quality story is not a requirement for a good action game, but merely an excuse for the fun action. However, a quality story does enhance a great game, or it might make a poor game more bearable. Devil May Cry 3 has an amazing story that helped elevate it above the insanely high difficulty the series (excepting the subpar DMC 2) seems to rely on.
Not everything is bad in Devil May Cry. For one, the graphics are very nice. The character animation is so brilliant, I was almost convinced that I was fighting real demons. It's a game that screenshots do not justify. You have to see it in motion to realize just how good it looks. Also, the controls are very well done. Capcom expertly creates a control layout that allows you to fluidly shift from firing a stream of bullets to leaping in the air and slashing an enemy with a sword. I just wish the game was more fun and less frustrating because it has so many excellent ideas. I am willing to admit that the game probably just wasn't made for me. I'm more casual gamer than hardcore, and this is the type of game hardcore gamers relish. It provides a very difficult challenge and requires lots of time and practice be put into it. As a gamer who finds that age has slowly taken a hit on his response times, I find it difficult to recommend the game to people who aren't highly skilled in gaming, or whose skills have dulled. If you want to enjoy a game, there are plenty better games to choose from.
Reviewer's Score: 5/10 | Originally Posted: 06/25/13
Game Release: Devil May Cry (US, 10/16/01)
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