Review by Will Smith
"The Best 3D Action Game On ANY Console."
Devil May Cry is a 3D Action game that was released on the Playstation 2 in Japan on August 23, 2001. This review is based on the Japanese version.
After making their debut on the PS2 with the epic adventure game Onimusha, Capcom saw fit to raise the high standard that they have set for themselves (and the gaming industry). Capcom's second original PS2 game (excluding Biohazard: Code Veronica Complete) is Devil May Cry. In my opinion it is about the finest crafted 3D action game that I have ever played. The gameplay is so refined that it is perfect. DMC is so good that it's really worth going through the trouble of importing a PS2 system.
Devil May Cry's graphics are breathtaking. There is an unbelievable amount of detail in the environments and structures. A majority of the game takes place within the confines of a castle, and every single area within it is rendered perfectly. The architecture of the castle is finely crafted, with ornate details right down to the staircases and paintings which adorn the corridors. Devil May Cry has a very somber and gloomy visual scheme, and Capcom has managed to have created a perfect blend of lighting and shadows. All of the stages have an ominous and foreboding atmosphere that immerses the player in the gothic setting. One of the graphical highlights in the game is when Dante is submerged underwater on an abandoned ship. Needless to say, the effect is done perfectly. The environments in DMC are done in full 3D (as opposed to the prerendered backgrounds of Biohazard) and they are amazing to watch. DMC continues the high graphical standard that Capcom has set with Onimusha. All of the characters in the game are perfectly rendered without a trace of imperfection. Dante moves with a powerful yet smooth grace, and all of his movements ooze of style. Dante's animations are exceptionally smooth and realistic, and his the movements and attacks of his enemies are of the same high quality. Just like in Onimusha, there are no jagged polygons or graphical break up in the character models. All of Dante's enemies are exceptionally large with large amounts of detail. The action scenes are truly gorgeous to view, as Dante can be surrounded by 8 huge enemies and the action won't slow down for a second. The boss battles are really something to admire. All of the bosses in this game are HUGE and their attacks are a wonderful display of the PS2's graphical prowess. The lighting effects of Dante's Alastor and Ifrit attacks are a sight to behold, and your jaw will drop when you see the detail on many of the bosses. The in game cutscenes are excellent and are done in real time. DMC is one of the best looking games on the PS2, and only the graphics of Onimusha 1 and 2 can rival it's high quality. From the finely crafted opening sequence to the very last cutscene, you will marvel Devil May Cry's aesthetics. Nothing else really comes close to DMC's beauty.
Sound Effects: 10
Devil May Cry's sound effects are eerily realistic and are perfectly suited to the atmosphere. The sound effects have incredible detail, from the sound of empty shells hitting the floor to the recoiling sound of the Grenade gun. When the Ifrit gauntlets are equipped, the sounds of the punches and kicks making contact with your enemies is wickedly satisfying. There are also specific effects depending on which weapon you are using. For example, when Ifrit is equipped, you can hear the roar and crackle of the flames as they consume your enemies in a hellish inferno. When the Alastor sword is equipped, you hear the sound of electricity surging throughout all of your attacks. The sound of sword slashes, guns firing, and beasts groaning in agony are perfectly clear and are excellently recorded. Other effects, such as the subtle sound of Dante's footsteps making contact with the stone floor and the sound of glass and crates being smashed, show the amount of dedication that went into creating this game.
Devil May Cry's music is a perfect blend of subtle, low key music and high energy, frantic ''combat'' music. When no enemies are present, the music is incredibly low and almost nonexistent. As with graphics, the music in DMC is very somber and ominous. It has a ''gothic'' touch with bells ringing and some other creepy elements thrown in. However, upon confronting an enemy, the music switches up to fast paced techno music that gets you amped for the battle. It is a little reminiscent of the combat music in The Matrix. The music is perfectly suited to the action and the transition from subtlety to frantic music is so seamless that the player won't be distracted. Capcom did a perfect job of creating the music for this game and it's soundtrack is good enough to warrant a purchase.
Voice Acting: 5
The voice acting in Devil May Cry is absolutely mediocre. And that's a good thing. Just like in the Biohazard and Dino Crisis series, the voice acting is done in English with Japanese subtitles. Capcom has an infamous reputation for having absolutely HORRENDOUS English voice acting in their titles. Among the worst offenders would be Biohazard :Gun Survivor and Biohazard: Code Veronica. The only Capcom game to actually have EXCELLENT English voice acting would be Megaman Legends (Rockman Dash). In Devil May Cry, Dante's voice acting is decent. He exerts a cocky and arrogant attitude that the designers have intended. The main problem with Dante is that he may be trying a little too hard trying to sound cool and badass. His dialogue has a good number of corny lines, such as ''Let's Rock Baby!''. It really couldn't get any cheesier. However, this has to be a 200% improvement over lame dialogue from Biohazard veterans Ark Thompson and Chris Redfield. Trish's voice acting is absolutely lame, and it drags down the quality of the dialogue. Her interaction with Dante is so stiff and rigid that it is laughable. Trish's bad acting is almost on par with Jill Valentine's voice acting from the original Biohazard. Honestly, couldn't Capcom have found a female with a credible acting background? As for the bosses, every one of them is excellent, and they all deliver their lines with the perfect amount of venom and contempt that they have for Dante's character. The bosses Phantom and Griffin sound truly sinister, while the final boss Mundus sounds pretty good. Having mediocre english voice acting is a huge improvement for Capcom. Had Dante been less of a cornball, and had Capcom hired a decent actress to voice Trish, the Voice Acting would have easily gotten a score of 10.
When I first played Devil May Cry, I hated it, mainly because this game doesn't support the directional pad. All other games of this type give the player the option of controlling the character via the Analog stick or Digital directional pad. For some strange reason, Capcom saw fit to force the player to control Dante ONLY with the Analog stick. ''So the directional pad must serve an alternate purpose, right?''. Wrong. Apparently the directional pad serves no function during gameplay. The only time it becomes useful is if you want to highlight different selections in the items menu. Needless to say, it took me a loooong time to adjust to using the Analog stick as a primary way of controlling Dante (stop laughing). The analog controls felt incredibly cumbersome and awkward. However, once I got used to it, the controls were perfect. There is a somewhat steep learning curve for the controls since Dante has so many techniques at his disposal. But once you put in some practice, controlling Dante will become instinctive. It is simple to control Dante and to perform direction specific attacks. For example, some attacks require that you press Down or Back on the Analog stick in order to perform a special move, and that was never a problem. By varying pressure on the analog stick you can make Dante walk stealthily or break into a full out sprint to evade enemies. For those of you who are familiar with analog controls, you will have no problem playing the game. For those of you who are more comfortable with directional pads, you will need some extra practice to adjust to the analog controls.
Note: I have played the US version of Devil May Cry, and unfortunately, Capcom USA saw fit to completely RUIN the control scheme. The button assignments for Jumping, Attacking, and Shooting are unbelievably cumbersome and confusing. It truly makes Dante a lot more difficult to control. Why Capcom USA decided to make an unnecessary and illogical button change is beyond me. If you have the resources, I would highly recommend buying the Japanese version as it has a much more comfortable (and logical) button layout.
Just like when Onimusha first made it's debut, various critics, imbeciles, and haters of all ages tried to pigeon-hole Devil May Cry into a pre-existing category. ''Dante wields a shotgun, so this game is just like Resident Evil'' one group of haters may say. ''Dante fights with a sword and collects orbs, so this game is a rip off of Onimusha'' another group of morons may shout. The most ignorant of the critics have actually labeled Devil May Cry as a ''Survival Horror'' game. How embarrassing. Anyone who has actually PLAYED Devil May Cry (rather making assumptions from screenshots or judging from hearsay) will tell you that Devil May Cry has NOTHING in common with either Biohazard or Onimusha. While Biohazard is classified under the Survival Horror genre, and Onimusha is an adventure title, Devil May Cry is a straight up Action game. End of story. If Capcom's detractors would spend less time trying to pigeon-hole all Capcom games as being similar, and spend more time enjoying the unique gameplay of Devil May Cry, they might actually learn something.
For starters, unlike Biohazard and Onimusha, where the gameplay takes place in a nonstop adventure across various areas, Devil May Cry's gameplay is divided into Missions. There are 23 Missions in total, and upon the completion of a Mission, you are given a rank. The amount of time it has taken you to complete a Mission and the number of Orbs collected factor into your ranking. Depending on your performance, you may receive a ranking of ''D'' (horrible) to ''S'' (superior). A Ranking ''Bonus'' is awarded at the end of a mission. A ''D'' ranking nets you the least amount of orbs, while an ''S'' ranking gives you the maximum amount. If you happen to do exceptionally well in a Mission, you may also receive a supplementary Special Bonus. You also have an opportunity to Save or continue onto the next mission at these intervals.
Devil May Cry's gameplay revolves around reaching the intended area within the least amount of time while collecting red Orbs. Red orbs can be used to purchase items from Time Statues within the Missions and can also be used to open sealed doors. Missions require the use, collection, or placement of a specific item in a specific area. These objects include chalices, staffs, or other unorthodox items that are required in order to proceed. The placement of these items are straightforward and are in plain view. They do not require a ridiculous amount of searching nor do they require puzzle solving. There are absolutely NO puzzles in this game, so if you hate the puzzle solving sequences of Biohazard and Onimusha, then you need not worry.
Unfortunately, the gameplay isn't that simple. Enemies are on patrol to impede your progress and to send you to your grave. Some of the enemies include Marionettes (huge sinister puppets that attack with throwing knives and shotguns), Bloody Maris (a tougher variation of the Marionette), Sin Scissors (grim reaper like enemies that attack with gigantic scissors), Beezlebubs (vicious insects on a humongous scale), Blades (armored reptilian warriors) and much more. In certain instances Dante will not be allowed to advance unless all enemies within the area are defeated (if you attempt to exit, a huge hand guarding the door will grasp and inflict damage). After every few missions you will fight a boss. The bosses in Devil May Cry include Phantom (a HUGE spider/scorpion hybrid that is composed of lava and stone), Griffon (self explanatory), and Nightmare (a vast puddle of nothingness that is extremely deadly). Both the regular enemies and the Bosses have deadly attack patterns that will kill Dante in an instant.
Fortunately, Dante is armed to the teeth with a plethora of combat techniques. At the start of the game, Dante is equipped with his default Devil Arms, which include Ebony and Ivory (a pair of black and white handguns) and the Force Edge (Dante's sword). Along the way Dante can collect melee weapons, including the Alastor (a sword powered by the forces of electricity), Ifrit gauntlets (gauntlets enhanced with the power of fire), and the Sparda sword (the most powerful and versatile sword in the game). As for guns, Dante can collect a shotgun, a grenade gun (the most powerful projectile weapon), a Needle gun (it's use is strictly limited to underwater combat), and finally the Nightmare Beta (a quirky weapon whose operation requires use of the Devil Gauge).
Devil May Cry's combat is a hybrid of close range and distant fighting. With the use of swords and the Ifrit gauntlets, Dante can perform a multitude of combos which rely on timing and a certain amount of button presses. The combo engine is very flexible, and the game allows enough freedom for the player to create their own custom combos, ranging from simple three hit sword combos to the more sophisticated combos involving both swords and handguns. Dante can also perform ''juggle'' combos by launching his enemies into the air (similar to the launchers in X-Men Vs Street Fighter) and hitting them while airborne for a massive combo. The player is rated on the size and style of the combos performed. Ratings include ''Dull'' (the lowest rating resulting from simple combos), ''Cool'', ''Bravo!'', ''Absolute'', and ''Stylish'' (the highest rating and hardest combo to perform). After attaining the Alastor sword, Dante will have access to a Devil Trigger gauge (which lies right beneath Dante's vitality gauge). The Devil Trigger gauge can be filled by performing combos and provoking enemies. Once activated, Dante will enter ''Devil Mode'' and will transform into a demon with enhanced abilities. Immediately after being activated, the gauge will slowly deplete over time. The enormous amount of depth and creativity of Devil May Cry's versatile combo engine ensure that the player will be entertained.
The usefulness of Alastor and Ifrit wepons increase Dante's offensive repertoire. Dante can purchase new abilities for both Ifrit and Alastor weapons from Time Statues throughout the game.
Some Alastor abilities that can be purchased are:
- the Stinger (a versatile and fast moving attack that plunges Dante's sword in a straight path. This attack comes in two strengths)
- The Round Trip (an ability where Dante uses his sword as a projectile. The sword spins in place for a brief period of time before returning to Dante. Very useful for performing ''Stylish'' combos)
- The Air Hike (an ability that allows Dante to perform a double jump in midair without rebounding off of a solid surface)
- The Air Raid (a very useful attack which allows Dante to transform into a flying demon while shooting bolts of lightning)
- The Vortex (a spinning drill like attack that homes in on nearby enemies. This attack comes in two strengths.)
Activating the Devil Trigger while wielding the Alastor sword transforms Dante into a demon and it reaps many benefits, including faster speed, greater damage to enemies, and the ability to regenerate vitality.
The Ifrit gauntlet allows Dante to attack with punches and kicks in a more traditional martial arts style. By holding down the attack button, you can delay the attack while building up power. The Ifrit abilities to be purchased are:
- The Magma Drive (a fiery uppercut that launches Dante's enemies into the air, allowing him to perform Juggle combos)
- Kick13 (a forward moving kicking attack that is available in two strengths)
- Rolling Blaze (when jumping, Dante's body will be engulfed in flames. This makes him invulnerable to projectile and normal attacks)
Meteor (allows Dante to hurl a fiery projectile attack. Comes in two strengths.)
- Inferno (After jumping, Dante crashes into the ground and the area surrounding him is covered in flames)
Along with special abilities, Dante can also purchase items from the Time Statues to aid him. They include Devil Stars (items which refill his devil trigger gauge), Vital Stars (an item which refills his lifebar), Untouchables (items that grant you invincibility for a limited amount of time, and Holy Water (a special item that heavily damages all enemies onscreen). In addition to the red orbs that Dante collects, there are also Blue orbs which extend Dante's lifebar. Quarter pieces of blue orbs are found throughout the game and in Secret Missions. Purple Orbs add another symbol to Dante's Devil Trigger gauge, and Yellow Orbs allow you to continue.
As for defensive moves, Dante is not at a loss. He has a useful combat roll, a backflip, a double jump, and a dodge.The Alastor sword can actually negate projectiles with the correct timing.
Overall, DMC is a truly difficult game. The gameplay is not aimed toward the casual gamer and is punishing. DMC's difficulty made me hate the game at first. It seemed near impossible to complete a mission with a decent ranking. It will take many continues for the player to become adjusted to the high challenge this title offers. Even though DMC is difficult, don't be discouraged, for it is a very enjoyable game.
The gameplay in Devil May Cry is so deep and enjoyable that Capcom deserves accolades for their innovation and great display of creativity.
Devil May Cry is wickedly stylish from beginning to end. The look of the game is absolutely flawless. Dante's character design is pure genius and it is among Capcom's best designs. Dante exudes such cockiness and style that you can't help but like him. The character designs of the enemies and Bosses are 100% perfect. If there is one flawed character in the game, it has to be Trish. This character is a blatant rip-off of the character Trinity from The Matrix. She even wears an identical costume and and tries to speak in the same deadpan, mysterious voice as the character from the revered action film. It's a shame that in an excellent game that is overflowing with unique and original designs that a lame character like Trish would appear. She serves no real purpose in the game other than being eye candy for the horny pubescent gamer.
Replay Value: 10
Devil May Cry has enormous replay value for the hardcore gamer. Upon completing the game in Normal mode, you can unlock Hard Mode. Completing Hard mode unlocks Dante Must Die mode, a true nightmare difficulty that will make Normal Mode seem like a cakewalk. Think of Makaimura type difficulty. There are also hidden characters to unlock: The Legendary Dark Knight and Super Dante (a character whose Devil Trigger gauge never empties). Players can also attempt to complete Secret Missions, hidden objectives that can be played doing specific actions during the game. Completing each Secret Mission yields a 1/4 of a blue orb, and completing the 12th and final Secret Mission grants you the Bangle of Time (a truly cool item that allows you to freeze time and attack your enemies without retaliation). Capcom has ensured enough replay value to guarantee that you won't tire of this game easily.
Capcom has once again shut the mouths of the critics and haters who thought they could only make Street Fighter and Survival Horror games. Devil May Cry has revolutionized the Action genre and it simply cannot be touched. I haven't seen another 3D action game on any platform that offers Devil May Cry's intricately deep gameplay, refined combo engine, superior character designs and overall beauty. Devil May Cry joins Onimusha 1 and 2 as being the top 3 games for the console. Capcom has broken new ground and created yet another hit franchise, which is a good thing for fans of the Action genre. I firmly believe that Devil May Cry is the best 3D Action game on ANY platform. Any fan of the Action genre should import this without question.
Reviewer's Score: 10/10 | Originally Posted: 01/11/04
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