Game Review: Devil May Cry

Geek Specs:
Title: Devil May Cry
Platform: Playstation 2
Genre: Action
Developer: Capcom
Publisher: Capcom
Release: October 17, 2001

Introduction: While playing this game, you might notice striking resemblances between it and Resident Evil. True story, Devil May Cry was originally supposed to be the first Resident Evil game for the Playstation 2. Early in developement, however, a new fighting engine was presented and Capcom began to build on it. They eventually had a completely new game on there hands. This is Devil May Cry.

Review: Dante is a smooth talking half-devil with silver hair and Devil May Cry is the title of his devil hunting agency. One day, a mysterious vixen named Trish crashes through the wall of Dante's business and attacks him. This assault is just a test to see if Dante is tough enough to handle her situation. He is to take on the prince of the underworld, Mundus, in one-man-army fashion. So, you are taken to an aged mansion (recognize this locale from another Capcom title;) on an island to eradicate this evil. As soon as you take control of Dante, Trish splits and you are left alone to navigate the large mansion. The game is one large story broken into 20+ missions with each requiring you to perform a task to continue on until confronting Mundus himself in the end. You will engage several other-worldy beasts including a magma spider, an owl creature, and a master swordsman that turns out to be Dante's brother. There is minor puzzle-solving (similiar to Resident Evil) and hefty amounts of action so buckle you seat belt for a thriller of an Action game.

There are many similiarities between Devil May Cry and Resident Evil. A few being the fixed camera (however, it does move slightly in different areas when navigating), pre-rendered environments, environment transfer (when opening doors the screen fades away and you appear in the next room), and poorly written script. There are, however, no zombies in this game because you will be combating the evil Mundus and not a virus. The music is also similiar in that it is calm but will also rip at your heart when tensions escalate. This game reminds me of Castlevania as well, though it has no real relation with it except for its mutual creator. Throughout the game are orbs to collect that you can use to your advantage. Every being you destroy contains at least a few red orbs, but it is also possible for it to leave behind green, yellow, and blue orbs. Red orbs are used to buy power-ups, new abilities, and special items. Some of the items are holy water (used to vanquish enemies), health orbs, blue orb fragments, and purple orbs used to increase your Devil Trigger gauge. Green orbs are called 'vitals' that will increase your health and yellow orbs are 'life' orbs (continues).

I was very impressed by the fast-paced gameplay which is in sharp contrast to the slowly moving zombies from Resident Evil. Dante can bounce off walls to increase the apex of a jump and flip in all directions with the agility of a lion. Besides acrobatics, Dante also has many weapons to take down the possessed creatures that fill the game. The most prominent being his sword and his trusty dual pistols. The sword is fast & sleek and Dante wields it almost as gracefully as his father, the legendary swordsman Sparda. The pistols have infinite ammo, which is unrealistic, but it also makes the gameplay faster without the worry of reloading. The two guns can fire rounds off so fast and Dante can jump so high, that you can usually fire off ten to twenty shots in one leap! These two aspects (agility and heavy weaponery) account for the 'Matrix-like' gameplay you have probably heard about from the game. In addition to your sword (you will also acquire two more powerful swords in the game) and your pistols, you have the standard shotgun, grenade launcher, a lazer weapon from the Underworld, and Ifrit. Ifrit can be used in place of your sword and you can switch between the two at any time. Ifrit is a being that has attached itself to you wrists allowing you to punch with powerful fists of fire and to launch fireballs. Probably the most intriguing of your offensive powers is the Devil Trigger. Dante, being a half-devil, can transform into his devil state when your devil gauge reaches an explicit ammount. By doing this he will have increased agility, speed, power, and the ability to fly. This becomes a decisive weapon in boss battles.

The graphics are, in a word, stellar. Each sprite blends well with the environments and, though the game has an overall dark appearance, it is still colorfully detailed. Probably most impressive is the lighting. Dante's shadows bouncing off the walls of dimly lit caverns adds to the overall horrific effect and the cadavres lying on shelves in dark underwater passages is just haunting. Don't be fooled by its title or by my comments, though; Devil May Cry is not quite as horrifying as Resident Evil. I will suggest that you play it at night to reflect the atmosphere of the game and to make the textures more visible.

Conclusion: I won't tell you this game is a must-have. It is alot of fun and the guys at Capcom have once again proved that they are the masters of Action-horror games. I embrace the wonderful fighting techniques, acrobatics, and graphical quality of the game, but the plot is hardly worthy of the same veneration. Rather, it lacks depth and just goes to show that the basis of any good action title is the story.

Ratings: (scale of 0.0 - 5.0)

Gameplay: 4.0 Graphics: 4.0
The new stylish fighting engine is fast and engrossing, but the camera angles can be tricky. I also did not award full points in this category because the story is dull and presents us with the same apocalyptic demon hunting dribble that we've seen over and over. I don't think the plot had the originality of Capcom's previous titles. I won't lie; the graphics look great, but there are errors. All of the cut scenes were done using the Emotion Engine of the Playstation 2 and not with computer generated fmv's we have come to expect from a Playstation title. I think there are, currently, better looking games for this platform.

Sound: 3.5 Overall: 4.0
The sound effects have good timing and are realistic. Gunfire and the clashing of steel sound great. Unfortunately, I cannot say the same for the music. The battle theme is cool and exciting, but also repetitive. It begins to play whenever a fight breaks out and after a while become annoying. The other music, soft themes playing during inactive periods, isn't that bad and it reminds me most of Resident Evil. This is an overall fun, original, and exciting new game to add to this genre's recent transformation. The character manuevers from Devil May Cry rival the bullet time techniques of Max Payne. Both are revolutionizing gaming in general. It is worth a look for that aspect alone. The music isn't that bad (its upbeat) and the camera angles are difficult but helpful in many ways for intense fights. Once again, though, the plot keeps me from awarding full points.

Written by Magus


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