"No demon can even be HALF as evil as this game's horrendous camera angles"

As a full moon looms over a quiet town, a woman in black named Trish slowly descends from the sky to the street. She looks around her for a few seconds, but soon finds the reason she was sent there in the first place: Devil May Cry, an arms store and a demon hunter service run by Dante Sparda, son of the legendary Dark Knight Sparda. Years ago, a fierce war took place that almost allowed the Underworld to rule over the human world, but Sparda was able to seal away Mundus, the leader of the Underworld. Now, the time has come for Mundus to attempt to break his seal and rule over the human world once again, and who better to put a stop to this than the son of the man who sealed him away in the first place?

Trish, a demon in her own right, barges through the front door of Devil May Cry on her motorcycle, and after some initial acquaintances, she begins beating the hell out of Dante in an effort to test his strength. With a sword sticking out of his chest and that same motorcycle flying in midair at him after being thrown by Trish herself, Dante finally decides to show some of his true strength in an effort to fight back. He is quickly able to turn the tables, and just before Trish meets an untimely death, she informs Dante of the situation at hand and proves her worth when she proves that she knows more about Dante's haunted past than any demon to contact Dante before her. Dante, still grief-stricken over the loss of his mother and his brother, has little choice but to go to Mallet Island and stop Evil's reincarnation before it begins. Trish leads Dante to the island, and after he walks through the front door, it seals shut from behind as if he were expected the entire time...

Devil May Cry, a fixed camera, third person perspective action title from the long-standing game designers over at Capcom, thus begins. As Dante, your goal is to traverse through 23 missions (and possibly even a few secret ones along the way, as well) and blast the holy hell out of any demon, devil, enemy, or servant of evil that dares breathe or move in your general direction. You will have various close-range melee weapons available to you to complete this task, as well as a hefty supply of ranged weapons and Devil Trigger abilities that unleash your hidden demon skills. As you travel through the cursed castle on Mallet Island, you come across extremely well-detailed, well-designed rules that truly show off the graphical abilities of the Playstation 2. While working your way through the game, you will see a beautiful cathedral, gigantic coliseum, some dark sewers, and even a few underwater sections as well. You will also occasionally find yourself back in an area already seen, but with new enemies and new challenges to compensate for the fact that you already know the area rather well. And while Dante is strong, even a demon as powerful as he needs a little help every now and then; to this extent, you will acquire various items that will help you along the way. Be it an extra life here or brief immortality there, your supply of items are well-rounded and helpful.

Unfortunately, Devil May Cry has its fair share of problems, and the game tries covering them up with the fact that the game itself is a graphical masterpiece. First and foremost, the camera angles in this game are absolutely pathetic; to an extent, they're both a blessing and a curse. The fact that the game controls the camera at all times makes for a cinematic playing experience that is beneficial for replays of the game after mastering the way the camera works in the first place. Unfortunately, reaching that point is a project in and of itself.

When fighting normal enemies, you generally have two options: you can either fight the enemies at close range with melee weapons, or stand at a distance and pound away with guns. If you're a fan of melee fighting, the only major camera problems you'll have are when one of the more dangerous enemies goes off the screen, in which case you'll either have to fight the enemy while it's off screen or scramble around like an idiot until the camera decides to let it back into your sights. And while the camera isn't that big a deal against normal enemies, Devil May Cry is not about the normal enemies you come across. Devil May Cry, much like every other action title ever made, is all about the boss fights.

And here is where the camera, not the enemy itself, becomes your biggest problem. Assuming you decide to play the game on Normal difficulty instead of Easy Auto, the bosses in this game deal a good bit of damage when they connect with one of their attacks. As you run around fighting a boss, the camera angle will oftentimes wildly change for little to no reason whatsoever, and you may soon find yourself stuck between two camera angles en route to getting your ass kicked as you try to regain your bearings. The bosses in the game are difficult enough as is, but half the battle in many of the fights are learning how to master the camera angles. You almost have no choice.

For example, look at the first boss battle in the game, Phantom. Phantom is a gigantic lava spider that you fight in a long cathedral with pillars on either side. As you run about the room trying to avoid Phantom's attacks, if you don't stay in perfect position for the entire battle, the camera angle will jump all over the place and you're prone to whatever Phantom wants to hit you with. You either learn to master the intricacies of the camera angles in the battle, or die trying. It's that simple, and unfortunately, a good deal of the game's boss fights play out in this manner and take away from what may have otherwise been a solid gaming experience.

The game has other issues aside from the frustrating camera, as well. The method that you travel through the game's missions is fairly linear, boring, and downright lame at times. Nearly the entire game can be summed up by a "lame fetch quest in which you find a single item, use item, fight boss, rinse and repeat" pattern that hardly deviates as you go through the game. There are slight tweaks to the formula that make you think you're doing something different as you go through the game, but the reality is that the general outline holds true for virtually the entire game.

Devil May Cry also has downright horrible audio during cut scenes. Unless the characters are speaking as loud as they can, or unless there are subtitles at the bottom of the screen, the music drowns out what they're trying to say most of the time. Of course this isn't all that bad, given that nearly all of the dialogue in the game is pathetic; Devil May Cry does a horrendous job of storytelling, and the bad audio is almost a blessing. Dante has his occasional moment here and there, but on the overall scale, he's an absolute idiot. He enters a cursed castle with Trish despite how obvious her mysterious aura is, finds nothing wrong with the fact that Trish is barely there with him as he goes through the place, and continues his allegiance to her even after being told the truth about who she is. The game's attempt at telling a story is unbelievably bad, and only help fuel the fire that is this game's mounting pile of issues as is.

Overall, Devil May Cry is a graphical and musical masterpiece, but not much else. It's obvious that the majority of Capcom's energy went into giving Devil May Cry a cool badassed feel, and most other parts of the game suffer as a result. The path that you take through the game is far too linear, and would have been much better-served with a style of play similar to Metroid --- that is, throw you in a giant level and let you figure everything out no your own. As is, Devil May Cry is too straightforward with its puzzles, to pathetic with its storytelling, and too overly frustrating with a good deal of te boss battles. If the boss battles had a cleaner camera system, some of the battles in this game could have ranked with among gaming's most legendary duels. Unfortunately, when the biggest threat in a game's boss fights comes fro shoddy camera angles instead of the bosses themselves, the game plays as if it's not put together very well. Capcom succeeded in making Dante look badassed, but nearly killed it with his dialogue at times.

The irony is that if Devil May Cry were put together in a more balanced manner, it could have been a gem. The seeds of a great game are there, but are ruined with the way the game is executed throughout. At the very least, the game's final boss fights redeem themselves in that they don't have massive camera problems; it's simply unfortunate that every part of the game leading up to that point don't have the same quality to them.

Reviewer's Rating:   2.0 - Poor

Originally Posted: 05/24/05

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