Review by Random-J

"A Devil may do more than just cry he plays this game..."

Capcom are probably one of the most popular developers today. One of the few developers who can come up with a game and make the gaming world take notice. The only other developers that match this status are Nintendo, Sega, Squaresoft, Rare (before they went to the Microsoft camp) Konami and Namco. So when Capcom revealed they were working on a game that would run on a similar engine to Resident Evil, people got very excited. Grown men found they had wee-wee dripping down their leg and magazine writers were having chronic heart attacks. I for one was quite intrigued, that was until that fateful day back in 2002, when I rented the game and witnessed it for myself…

Fillin’ you in ///
Thousands of years ago there was a war between the human race and demons of the underworld. A legendary dark knight named “Sparda” rose up and saved the world from utter chaos and despite being from the down below, was actually a “good guy.” Over time he falls in love with a human woman of earth and becomes father to a son they name “Dante.” Dante is born half demon and has demonic blood flowing through his veins, which grants him some special powers and abilities. Dante makes a living by setting up a business named “Devil may cry.” Fans of the series “Angel” will spot instant parallels between Dante’s line of work you are introduced to in the game’s intro and the hit-series itself. Dante basically works for himself and takes jobs from people who give him calls about the witnessing of “paranormal activities.” However, one night, a mysterious woman walks into his office and attacks him and grills him with some information that shocks him as he wonders how she knows so much about him. After a sword is thrown at him, a bike gets trashed and some words are exchanged, Dante decides to trust this woman and embark on a mission to stop the uprising of the underworld with her…

Cast of characters ///
If there is one thing about this game I cannot fault, it is Dante. He is one of Capcom’s best designed characters PERIOD. Dante oozes attitude and isn’t your average run of the mill hero. He loves danger and is a sarcastic sod when he wants to be. He does what he does because he likes the adrenaline rush, not because he feels he has an obligation to do so. He doesn’t seem to look any older than his mid 20’s. THIS is what makes him such a cool character and even cooler to control because he has so many great attacks at his disposal. No one has ever looked as good whilst slaying demons since Buffy.

Another character in this game is “Trish.” The manual states that she is “mysterious” which is Capcom’s way of saying “She ain’t no central character and she will get a minimum amount of plot development.” Capcom’s idea of making a character mysterious is to throw them in the intro, then in the ending. You don’t find out a great deal about this Trish character and what you do find out about her is a load of tat which just makes the games plot and her purpose laughable. She would have been better off not being in the game, as she does nothing for it. Also if a female character is to be given sex appeal, then at least get it right Capcom!! Trish is just a calculation of dodgy pixels, bad anti-alaising and hair that resembles a haystack that was selllo-taped to her head.
Graphics ///
Devil may cry has some slick and very sexy visuals. This cannot be denied. Devil may cry oozes style and in the graphics department this game does not disappoint. The locations are large and expansive and have a very gothic feel to them. Capcom seem to have taken this game to a place they have never gone before and I have to say I like it here. However, there are some jagged edges which are very noticeable in cut scenes where there are close ups on Dante and his companion Trish. However, only die hard gamer boffins (like myself – lol) will notice this. The graphics are sweet – no doubt about it, but sometimes the game throws some really nasty looking polygon models at you and makes the PS2 look as though it is incapable of pushing out better graphics. This is one of those titles where the graphics will look spectacular in some parts and very mediocre in others, but on average this game is very pleasing to the eye and is well rendered all-round.

Resident Evil wid a make-over ///
Capcom have done a grand job on the Resident Evil engine…improved it in many cases. It’s nice to see that Capcom did more with Resident Evil’s engine on this game, than they did with the Dino Crisis and Onimusha series. The control system is quite different to Resident Evil’s. Where-ever you push on the D-pad or analog, is where Dante will run for. No more tapping left to turn around and forward and a button to run. This game wants you to feel like controlling Dante is second nature from the get go and Capcom accomplishes this with flying colours. However, this control system can be a problem when the camera angles changes. When the angle changes, directional bearings also change, so you may find yourself running back into a screen you had previously left and become confused. This is a major problem when you need to rush from one location to the next, or you are being chased by an enemy, but like most nags in games, it is something that you do get used to and will HAVE to get used to as it is a pre-dominant occurrence in this game.

It’s a camera thang ///
3D games need to have a decent camera before anything else. There are FAR too many brilliant games about that are let down by a dodgy camera that renders the game almost unplayable. Mario 64 had a dodgy camera; Tomb Raider had a dodgy camera and Banjo-Kazooie had a dodgy camera. Devil may cry also has a dodgy camera. It isn’t dreadful, but can really wear on you sometimes and unlike the games mentioned above, you cannot manipulate the camera in any way. The camera is either static or tracks you. There are far too many instances where you cannot see the enemy attacking you and too many locations where the camera insists on tracking you rather than giving you a wide angle shot so you can get a good look at your surroundings and hazards. The game has a way of making large expansive areas, seems claustrophobic, due to the tight framing of the camera. Devil may cry’s boss battles also exaggerate how bad the camera is. The camera seems to have this nasty habit of switching angles at will, particularly when you are kicking a boss’s ass. At some stage you will find yourself giving a boss a severe beating, up until the camera decides it’s gonna be a right pain and suddenly change it’s angle to the point where you cannot even see the boss at all. And as a result of it you find yourself being hit by oncoming attacks that could easily had been dodged otherwise. This is a real problem, especially as you are punished heavily for being attacked and lose a lot of vitality as a result of it.

How it plays ///
Devil may cry is the protégé of Resident Evil and in-deniably shares many similarities, but the one thing that sets this game apart is the battle system. Battles run in real time and you can equip one gun-based weapon and a “Devil arm” which come in the form of various swords and a pair of flaming gauntlets known as “Ifrit gloves” which are basically gloves of fire. **MYTHOLOGY LESSON: Ifrit being a mythical beast of the underworld who governs fire – So Squaresoft never invented him. Lol.** ANYWAY! You can utilize these 2 forms of weapon together for some devastating combos. If you wanna knock an enemy up into the air and then fill them full of lead before they hit the ground, then you can go right ahead and do it. If you wanna blast an enemy with a grenade launcher and then lunge and stab them as they fly back…knock ya’self out. This game encourages players to be creative in the way they attack and dispose of their enemies, which is a cool and innovative feature. However, battles soon become repetitive and the novelty only lasts so long before you get tired and no longer care how good you look whilst massacring an enemy. Players are rated depending on how “stylish” they look whilst killing an enemy, but players are not rewarded in any way for killing an enemy in a particular way, so you soon find yourself not caring how good you look whilst killing an enemy, as you get nothing for doing so. Also, all the enemies in the game can be killed by keeping your distance and shooting your guns, so “what is the point in risking close combat when you can get sure fire kills this way without getting harmed?”

Also, this game cannot decide whether it wants to be an all out action game, a mission based game, a puzzler or a survival horror. The balance in this game is far too odd. The game is set up in missions (or “stages” if you prefer). **TYPICAL SCENARIO: You start in a location with a door, “Ooo. Let me go through it.” “OH. It’s locked. You need a crusty key.” So you have to trek through some un-inhabited location to find the key and then trek ALL the way back to the start to use the key.** There is FAR too much back tracking and often you will find yourself going back to previous locations that you had already been to in previous missions, the only difference being that the time of day may be different or there might be an enemy in a room there wasn’t before. Also, there are not enough enemies in places and then far too many in others. The combat system is Devil may cry’s highlight and it’s a shame that Capcom didn’t exploit and showcase it more by giving you a decent balance of enemies. There are far too many stages where you do not fight anything at all and when you are given the opportunity to get down and dirty, Capcom are unforgiving and give you TOO many enemies to deal with and you find yourself getting raped by un-dead enemies from every conceivable angle. It’s not nice and not fun especially as health power-ups are scarce in this title.

The game isn’t restricted to just running around, finding objects and then fighting here and there. The game features first-person underwater sections and a final boss ‘flying’ section. These do the game some harm. The first-person underwater sections are crap and the out of focus blurriness give the impression that Dante has cataracts and needs to see his optician, rather than give the impression that you are actually underwater. **POSSIBLE SPOILER** The battle with the last boss also introduces a different style of playing, as the boss battle takes on the form of an “on-rails shoot ‘em up.” The closest thing I can think of to describing this section to you is to try and think “Panzer Dragoon” or “Lylat Wars.” Though this may seem off balance and shouldn’t work in a title such as this, it does so very well. An on rails shoot ‘em up section wouldn’t do Resident Evil any justice what so-ever, but it works here surprisingly well. There is also another on rails shoot ‘em up section after the boss battle which is utterly pointless and absolute crap. That is all you need to know and I won’t go into detail describing the scenario to you.

Music & sound ///
The games soundtrack isn’t anything spectacular, but that doesn’t go to say it isn’t good. This game doesn’t rely on music as much as other games out there such as; Final Fantasy or Zelda. The music is a mix of Gothic, orchestrated pieces and funked up dance and drum and bass. The music is well arranged and suits the game well. The sound effects are also spot on. Like Resident Evil this game features speech, but also like Resident Evil, the speech and dialogue in places is kinda poor. The characters voices themselves do sound okay and are well suited, but the dialogue butchers the game in places and is embarrassingly corny. However, I was still hard pressed to find a piece of dialogue which could be on par with Resident Evil’s:

“Jill: What is it??”
“Barry: Blood……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………… I hope……It’s….Not……………………………………………………………..Chris’s….Blood.”

But toward the end of the game, the speech goes off the scale on the cheese-o-meter and will have you wanting to make sure that a bucket is none too far from your side. However, it could have been worse and Dante does have a cool voice and come out with the odd witty one-liner. (None of which I cannot think of, off the top of my head - Sorry).

So there you have it folks ///
The game reeks of Resident Evil. Behind the new character, full 3D environments and lavish attacks, this is still Resident Evil. It’s a shame because Devil may cry has the makings and foundations of a solid title, but the execution just seems a tad too poor. This game is worth a rental, but asking 45 pounds (or 50 bucks if you’re in the U.S) from a gamer seems like too much. Play the game for yourself and make your own opinions. It may well be that Devil’s may cry, but you WILL cry for sure when you play this game. And those tears won’t be none of joy…

Reviewer's Rating:   2.5 - Playable

Originally Posted: 02/10/03, Updated 02/10/03

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