Review by Hajime
"Some minor annoyances but otherwise an excellent action game"
Devil May Cry (DMC) started out as a Resident Evil (RE) installment, Capcom's bestselling survival-horror games. But this game, even though it does share a few similarities with RE, has a completely different focus when it comes to gameplay and style. While RE concentrates on generating that feeling of fear and panic, as the player struggles to find enough ammunition to dispose of the impossible number of zombies, DMC gives Dante (the main character) unlimited ammunition and a wide array of action techniques to totally annihilate his enemies. Yes, there are still tons of demons and zombies to kill, but this time, you are not the one running!
As is a popular method of game reviews, I will analyze this game from a few different perspectives.
Story: 2/10 The story is, to put it simply, horrible. The main character is Dante, a silver-haired supernatural detective who has these demonic powers and abilities that are unleashed through the game. He meets up with a mysterious girl called Trish and together they go off to this castle on an island to begin an adventure - all to create a cheap excuse to get the player excited about assuming the role of Dante. The story is very very old, cliched and there are plot holes everywhere. The dialog is pathetic and sounds like it comes right out of a children's adventure book. The movie sequences that play out the story is acceptable, but nothing spectacular compared to other PS2 games such as Final Fantasy X and Metal Gear Solid 2. All I can suggest is, forget about the story and get on with the action!
Graphics: 8/10 This is where DMC really shines. Dante looks cool. His moves look cool. His attitude is cool. And this is all portrayed well by the graphics in this game. The character models are excellent for an action game, and the fighting techniques all look spectacular, without any blurring and hardly and jaggedness. The landscape is grand and atmospheric, and you will be travelling to several places, including a full castle, a pirate ship and some form of demonic organic world. All this is presented to the player in gorgeous artist talents, and is definitely a visual treat. There aren't a wide variety of enemies, but one can see that a lot of time has been spent on perfecting each of them, as they all move fluidly, and their animations crisp and clear. Some of the creatures you will encounter include a dark knight with a huge sword, mutating demons and giant evil spiders. At times you get many enemies on the screen at once, but I hardly noticed any slowdowns, which is great. The game at times feel very much like RE, with the type of graphics that look appropriate in a horror game, but it is very good indeed.
Sound/Music: 7/10 Most of the time the music is very low-key and more ambient, when compared to a full-blown orchestra. I am not sure if this is suitable for an action game (it works for RE and the type of atmosphere it needs - but in this type of game?). Anyway, no complaints though. During the battle sequences, the music suddenly gets very loud and you get all these electric guitar fast-paced tunes that tries to give you an adrenaline rush. Initially this is really cool, and adds a lot to the game, but after a while becomes an expected event and loses that special touch. Sound-wise, you get your usual array of weapon sounds (sword slash, shotgun etc etc) and they are fine by my standards, since I doubt anybody playing this game would actually know what slashing a demon spider with a giant thunder sword really sounds like.
Gameplay: 9/10 This, I think, is the best element of DMC. There are just so many ways to fight the enemies that it hardly ever gets old. You can use your sword, gauntlet-based fist fighting or different guns - or a combination of them! And as you acquire more Red Orbs (which serve as money in this game) you can purchase more moves and add them to your already powerful weapons collection. This is very addicting and you will be fighting over and over again just to acquire that really neat move that costs a ton. Sword fighting is fun, as some enemies can block your blade with theirs, thus increasing the realism. You get different slashes, stabs and sword swipes, and the one combination where you keep on slashing your enemy up in the air is awesome! Gun fights are also cool, as you can jump up, fire your double handguns John Woo style, and slow your fall while blasting the enemies to pieces Matrix style! It really is that much fun. You can also chain up these moves into combos, and increase the power of your attacks. And Dante moves very well, and is extremely agile, and most importantly - very easy to control. Soon you will feel like controlling Dante is pure intuition and indeed, the control is that well-designed!
Play and replay value: 4/10 Some of the bosses of this game, unfortunately, are a nightmare to fight against. They have a tiny area of vulnerability which you have to constantly struggle to reach and hit, since most of the bosses are a few times your size. This can be frustrating sometimes, especially for beginner action gamers. There is a way to lower the difficulty, so the beginners may want to consider that option. You only get to fully save after each level (the game is divided into levels and you have to complete certain tasks in order to proceed) so if you get killed at the boss, and you have run out of continues, you have to replay the whole level over. The other type of save which you can deploy during the game only allows you to save your stats, but you still have to replay the stage. You will also be spending a lot of time repeating action sequences and fighting the same enemies, just to get more Red Orbs to purchase more life, extra continues etc. This can be repetitive and boring for some, but I really enjoy the different combinations you can try out each time, so I didn't have that problem! Finishing the game unlocks harder game modes - which some people might want to replay. I don't think there are new movies or extras for replaying, but you do get to retain all the stats from the previous game. There are secret missions hidden throughout the levels which you can attempt to get bonuses, and this adds to the replay value somewhat. Nothing phenomenal though.
Overall, I think DMC is an excellent software title from Capcom. It is different to RE - it is much more action oriented, and it is so stylish. If you are willing to spend a good couple of hours dishing out spectacular finishing moves to various flavors of evil entities, and don't require thinking much - then definitely give this game a go!
Reviewer's Score: 8/10 | Originally Posted: 04/12/02, Updated 04/12/02
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