Review by ShockStyles
"Jackpot, like playing the penny slots"
Going into Devil May Cry, I expected quite a lot. Having played the game maybe once or twice as a kid, before recently purchasing the 5th Anniversary box set, I saw a fair share of the chills and thrills it gave. The game turned out to be a kind of Meh experience. There's been better, there's been worse. It's just another action game, but still a good deal of fun.
+Great fun for a while
+Fun combat system
+OK plot, you know, for an action based game
+Would make one hell of a movie
-Raises the bar for difficult
-Why do I need to fight the same boss 3 times?
-Sometimes seems like an endless chore
-Dante's character was over the top
-Weapons are a little lack-luster
Apparently, 2000 years ago, demons attempted to take over the Earth and were stopped by "Dark Knight Sparda", one of the corniest names I have ever heard. You play as Dante, one of Sparda's two sons, and seek to defeat the same enemy as your dad did so long ago. This is all revealed in the first five minutes of the game, part of which takes place during one of the worst openings ever.
After the Star Wars-esque scrolling dialog scene, the game opens to some blond, scantily-clad woman in the middle of a street. She looks down the road and sees a shop labeled "Devil May Cry". Cut to inside the shop where suddenly she bursts through the wall on a motorcycle. Oddly enough, Dante seems perfectly OK with this and tells her the bathroom's in the back. Soon after blocking a motorcycle being thrown at him with only his dual .45s, being stabbed in the heart, getting up and pulling it out like someone poked him with a paper clip, the woman, Trish, asks you to help her.
This is where one of the major flaws comes into play. Dante's character was played way over-the-top. I'd like to think that a lot of it was done tongue-in-cheek, but it seems too much for even that. Capcom tried far too hard to make the character as awesome as possible, and failed hard.
Thus leading to another problem, the dialog. Oh my god, this game could easily have the worst script on Earth. When Dante isn't throwing his "witty repartee" at giant beasts, he's screaming over Trish's dead body about him being the one to have "FILLED HER DARK SOUL WITH LIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIGHT!" Maybe Capcom was attempting some inside joke here, using vague sexual references? The game is riddled with bad lines such as this, some which are completely unneeded. Not all of the script is as bad as that example, such as the ending scene, which was great for the first three or times when watched.
Devil May Cry certainly does have an interesting style of gameplay. The combat system is extremely fun, being boring only during long battles against hordes of enemies. The inclusion of guns makes it even more fun, and being able to make smooth transitions between them is even better. Within a second, Dante switches from slashing to shooting.
The inclusion of the Devil Trigger mode was extremely fun for me. I loved having to earn the red orbs for something useful, though some prices were outrageous. What I hated about the devil trigger was Dante's devil form, and how long it lasted. I really would've preferred Dante to have his own devil form, not to transform into a different devil depending on his weapon. The devil trigger seemed to last for too little time, and recharged far too slowly, usually only moving in large increments when being damaged.
Within the realm of combat, the weapons could use some improvements. There are not many weapons as it is, and some are extremely useless. Ebony and Ivory, your starting handguns, become useless once the shotgun is acquired (Mission 2). The Sparda is kept for only 3 or 4 missions and seems on par with Alastor at the most. Ifrit is slow, but on the most part a very strong weapon. Nightmare-Beta, the most overpowered gun in the game, makes the BFG-9000 look like a .22. It basically makes everything in the game obsolete. The Nightmare-Beta allowed me to beat Mundus within 3 seconds by transforming to devil form and firing five shots, which bounced around the room until all that was left of Mundus was a puddle of bile and failure.
Speaking of Mundus, or bosses in general, why are there only four of them? Did Capcom get lazy half-way through and decide it'd be more fun to use the same strategy for a fight three times over? Seeing that goddamn spider pop out of a pool of lava for the third time nearly made me smash my PS2. The boss fights could've been so much more, considering what the game is capable of.
The bosses aren't the only chore. Some of the missions are endless backtracking through the castle attempting to find some item that'll help you find another item thus leading you to the final item leading to the underworld. Not much to say about this complaint, it just makes me mad.
These endless collect-a-thons are broken up to fight the very common giant groups of enemies, all which decide to run forward and attempt to rape Dante. The fights are great, and everything, providing a good deal of action, which would be a hell of a lot better without the crappy camera. The camera in this game is horrendous. You have no control over it, thus making the right analog stick useless, and it switched directions at the most inopportune moments. One second you're blasting away and Marionette, the next Dante is facing the screen instead of in the proper direction. The views change quickly, with no warning, so anticipating it is near impossible, unless you have the reflexes of a cheetah.
The final gameplay complaint is the difficulty. Devil May Cry took kicking my ass to an art form and made me question my manhood. It basically beat me around for the entire game, becoming increasingly harder with more and more difficult enemies, finally ending in the anti-climactic Mundus battle. It could've been a little more balanced, instead of looking like a dying man's heartbeat when put on paper.
What kind of soundtrack can a game based entirely in ONE castle really have? Apparently, random awesome guitar riffs. It certainly was a surprise to hear that music playing after walking around that quiet castle. Though, I could've done without the horde of enemies ready to rip me apart. The other music is very good as well, including a lot of the themes for characters.
The sound effects fit right into the creepy setting. The maniac laughter alerting you to a Sin Scythe attack, still echoing after they're defeated, the even more maniac laughter of the Nobodies. Just thinking about it late at night makes me flinch. Not much to say about sound,
Most PS2 titles have awesome graphics, and this is certainly one of them. The graphics are smooth and well done, with little to no blur. I'm not a techie, so I can't begin to explain the polygon count and all that other nonsense, but I can definitely say the graphics look great.
The design choices of the characters, enemies, and backgrounds are all great as well. Dante and Trish, the only two real characters, are very detailed and well thought out. The enemies are just the right amount of creepy, the kind that makes you want to stop playing at night, and the dark castle setting fits as well, though I got bored with it around hour...half. Do we really need to stick to one single environment?
Not much to be said about this area. You can start over to try and obtain the few extras, a new difficulty and what not, or just for your own satisfaction. To complete all the missions on S or all the secret missions, whatever.
Devil May Cry certainly isn't bad, even though I made a lot of complaints, but it's not worth a lot of the hype it was given. It's a decent action game, and an even better thriller. It's worth a pick up, shouldn't be more than seven or eight dollars used, impossible to find new without buying the box set or eBay.
Overall score: 6.7/10 = 7/10
Reviewer's Rating: 3.5 - Good
Originally Posted: 01/23/08
Game Release: Devil May Cry (US, 10/16/01)
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