I would say “Happy New Year everybody!”, but I’ll be starting this year off with a more negative outlook than that. Don’t worry, we’ll be more positive tomorrow. But in the meantime, let’s talk about Devil May Cry 2!
I hate this game. I really hate this game.
Devil May Cry 1 was a clunky, aged but enjoyable action game with a strange charm to it. Many parts of it weren’t very good, but it was still a ton of fun, and the story was really funny, even if unintentionally. Despite my many problems with it, it’s still one of my favorite action games. So going into DMC 2, I had hopes that the problems I had would be addressed, and the game would reach true greatness.
Never before have I been so disappointed.
Almost every single issue that the first game had is back and worse than before. The story has lost it’s hilarious charm, Dante’s character has been completely erased, the auto-targeting system has been completely butchered, the game’s difficulty has plummeted dramatically, and the boss fights are an unfunny bad joke.
Let’s start with a silver lining before my massive fucking lightning storm. First: this game actually looks pretty good. The character models have aged well, the environments are solid, and each animation is pretty solid. The music, while incredibly forgettable, is still pretty solid. Though you won’t be humming any of the tunes in the shower.
I also really enjoy the new combo ranks. Before, they were just the different one-word ranks. Now they’re all different sentences with punctuated first letters that help them stand out more, such as Don’t Worry!, Come on!, and so forth. It’s a small thing, but it adds to the game’s sense of style.
This game also has three playable characters: Dante, Trish (whom you unlock after beating the game on hard mode) and a new character Lucia. I can’t tell you whether or not any of them are super different or who is more fun than whom, but having the variety is a neat little addition. Why didn’t I at least play with Lucia for the sake of the review you ask?
Because this game fucking sucks and I never want to play any more of it ever again.
Devil May Cry 1 is clunky but functional. Never, in my entire time playing it, did I feel like the game was cheating me. I always attacked the enemy I wanted to attack, went where I wanted to go, and knew what I had to do. It was challenging at points, but the game never felt like it was cheating me. My deaths felt like my own failures, as I didn’t know how to fight the boss or deal with the puzzle. I failed, I learned, then I won. It never made me super upset, and I had fun for most of the game.
Devil May Cry 2 is even clunkier and less functional. I never felt like I was in control of the game; it felt like the game was in control, and it was being a huge asshole about it. The auto-targeting, while it does show you which enemy you’re attacking and they’re health bar, is super fucking awful. It changes on a dime, locks on to a random enemy on the other end of the map while they aren’t being any threat, or they’ll lock on to an enemy five feet away when you’re trying to attack the giant boss that’s currently stabbing you. It always felt the game was saying “Hey yo dog, I know you want to attack this guy, but how about you fight this guy instead? Yeah, I know killing the guy you’re fighting now will actually help you progress, but trust me: this guy is totally worth killing! You can wait a second, right?” And no, you can’t adjust the targets manually. Believe me, I fucking tried.
I’m really sad I played this via the HD collection on Steam. Because if I were playing the standalone game on the PS2, I’d beat the game until it was nothing but dust beneath my bloody fists!!
This is made even worse by the camera. While DMC 1 had a few bad camera angles in a batch of really good ones, DMC 2 has a few good camera in an even larger batch of really bad ones. Very rarely can I actually see where I’m going, what I’m fighting, if I’m hitting what I’m fighting, or if I’m even still fighting what I want to be fighting thanks to the god awful fucking lock on system. And yes: the camera is still fixed, which lends to the confused tone issue I talked about with the first game.
The enemies are also a huge step down. Sure, they have more unique designs, but that doesn’t change the total lack of fun factor involved in fighting them. They take way too long to kill, and each encounter features a ridiculous number of respawning enemies. Each fight drags on and on, and the fun factor wears out really quickly. By the time I was done with Mission 4, I was sick of combat.
And in a game all about combat and puzzles, I shouldn’t be tired of it that quickly.
Speaking of puzzles, these puzzles absolutely suck.
Okay. But at least this game expands on the systems from the previous game, right? At the very least there are some new weapons to play with right? Nope. In fact, there are actually less weapons to play with.
In this game, there are two weapon types: Sword and Guns. There are three different weapons for each. Guns have the Twin Pistols, Shotgun and Rocket Launcher, all of which have their own pros and cons. Swords, on the other hand, come in three varieties. Medium normal, large and powerful, and really wide but weak. Do any of them change how you play? Nope. Not at all.
Also downgraded is the map. In DMC, there was a clunky but functional map. You could tell which room is which, and it would tell you where you were and where the objective was. The map in 2, on the other hand, is just a blue splotch. There are no markers, no key to identify those markers, and no representation of where you are on the map. It’s completely worthless in every way, and it makes me wonder why the hell they even bothered with it.
Alright. So the combat is awful, the weapons have less variety than before and the camera sucks. Is the story and setting at least good or interesting? Nope. Not at all.
DMC 1’s story was simple and hilarious, though it wasn’t meant to be. DMC 2 is a confusing mess that is more boring than it is hilarious and doesn’t connect to the first game in the slightest. Why is it confusing you may ask? Because all of the actual plot happens in the Lucia story. All of the world and character building, explanations for the magical maguffins that they apparently need and the character development are all saved for her. What does Dante get you may ask?
Nothing. Dante gets nothing at all. No motivation for his actions, no real goal other than ‘Kill some guy neither I or the player knows or gives a shit about because the coin said so’, and worse: no character. At all.
Before, Dante was a simple but likable character. He was a cocky, honorable man that had a genuine heart of gold. He respected his enemy, either because they proved to be an honorable warrior or simply because they were loyal to their masters. It wasn’t much, but it was enough to endear you to him and make you care about him. Sure, he didn’t develop whatsoever, but he was at the very least a character with a personality.
Now take all of that into your arms. Have you got it? Good. Now put it in the fucking trash, because DMC 2 Dante has literally no personality whatsoever. He feels like a poorly written fan-fiction version of Dante. One written by a five year old who didn’t understand why Dante was so cool in the first place.
The game really depends on you playing Lucia first in order to understand or care about what’s happening or why you should care. But here’s the thing: no one wants to play Lucia. Whether they’re starting with this game or they’re hopping in from the first, no one wants to play as this random redhead. They want to play the guy on the cover, or the character they grew endeared to from the first game. They want to play as Dante.
Which leads me to why I think this game is so bad. It wasn’t made by Hideki Kamiya or Team Little Devils, the people behind the first game. This feels like it was an original game, a new IP, but Capcom was worried it wouldn’t sell. So, in a desperate attempt to make the game sell, they quickly changed a few things to make it a Devil May Cry game. Is that a fact? No. In fact, it’s probably not true at all. But it’s undeniable that, at least in terms of plot, this game doesn’t feel anything like a Devil May Cry game.
I cannot recommend this game. I hate it to fucking death. Luckily, from what I’ve gathered, the story is completely insignificant to the overall plot of the Devil May Cry series, and it’s up for debate whether or not it’s even canon. If you want to skip this one and move on to 3, I can’t blame you. In fact, I encourage it.
Hell, that’s what I wanted to do. But I had to suffer just so I could talk about it for you guys. So remember: you did this. You put me through this pain. Take that to sleep with you tonight.
Also remember that I love you regardless.