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Devil May Cry 2

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God’s, demons, leprechauns and such no longer strike fear into the hearts of common folk. Continuous absences and lack of reliable proof are substantial enough evidence to disprove their existence. But despite this, demonic fables about them rising from hell and such have a certain sinister, fear inducing coolness, which will always probably remain one of the best subject bases for games and films alike. The day will arrive when science will be the only god. Bow before your PS2 as technology and demonic folklore combine, to create the sequel to a near masterpiece, and then stand up, shout at it, and go for a pint. The old Capcom survival horror camera angles have arisen from their tomb, and are unfortunately very, very real.

A definite improvement on the original, although some may disagree. More action based, with Matrix style running along walls, and a slightly more complex combat interface. Although the controls are slightly more complicated than in the first, the learning curve remains considerably shallow, and anyone familiar with the first, or anyone capable of counting to three on both hands, will feel right at home. Every moment of combat is savored as long as a certain degree of flamboyance is allowed.

Storyline wise, its not directly related to the first, but a familiar face will pop up here and there. Dante, now in an even more figure hugging costume, is back in all his silver haired, wish you were him glory. But now has a playable counterpart in the form of Lucia, a French femme fatale, who coincidentally also has a devil trigger. The plots of the two main characters intertwine slightly, sharing cut scenes, and defeating the same bosses. Whether this was because Capcom were too lethargic to make each ones progression individual remains to be seen. But after completing it with the first character, playing as the second can seem somewhat stale, as you trundle through the same locations, button mashing your way through the same hordes of demons and ghouls. Saving the world from a madman intent on humanities destruction is all in a days work for Dante and Lucia, or for about 95% of heroes out there for that matter.

The bosses unfortunately lack the personalities they portrayed in Devil May Cry. This time round you simply cascade through the level come across the demonic monstrosity, kill him and that’s that. No more pre battle cut scenes with the determined Lava-esque tarantula, only the entrepreneurial main villain, who bears an uncanny resemblance to one Heihachi Mishima, bothers to converse with either of the heroes.

Graphically superior than its older sibling, but still not the prettiest seen. After seeing the quality of character detail and animation observed in the likes of Final Fantasy X, the standards have been raised to quite a colossal level. A variety of the creatures within the game are taken from demonic scriptures, and quotes from books on demon hunting appear before entering any level. Cut scenes are varied between the use of in game graphics and FMV, the latter being used for the more extravagant, and have been marvelously created. Although as mentioned before it’s not the best title in terms of visual quality, the character animation is superb nonetheless, landscapes and scenery are much more free roaming than before. But although an extra degree of freedom has been introduced, Devil May Cry 2 is linear in terms of progression. Backtracking to previously visited areas to pick up the rocket launcher you missed is no longer possible. Although the game does occasionally bring you back to trodden territories, objects and items that were present last visit are now long gone. Alas, what brings this fine titles score down is the usual problem of camera angles. Fighting off screen bosses, then being surprised by a lunge attack, which is impossible to forecast is anything but a rare occurrence, and are almost evident within every enemy encountered. With fully 3D scenery, the option to rotate must be considered a must have in almost any title which comes from a developer with such a reputation.

Beautiful orchestral music accompanies Dante and Lucia wherever they may wander, adding more to the gothic feel of the already demonic, eerie atmosphere. All the other sound affects such as gunfire and weapon slashes are masterfully done, but the musical score far outshines all the others of the games aural accompaniment.

The character movements are smooth, and are performed without even coming close to breaking a nail. The controller now uses all the buttons for an individual designated use. Changing weapons is no longer a laborious task involving bringing up the menu. Instead L2 is now used to quickly scroll through the available arsenal. The jump button and the dodge button are now separate. Cart wheeling and back flipping, and even running up walls is all done with directions and the circle button, easy as piiiiiiiieee. All other controls remain fairly identical to its predecessor. Auto locking on potential prey when you’ve got a time restriction with which to attack and activate a switch can become a tiresome frustrating task. Especially when you’re selected weapon chooses to aim at an enemy rather than the switch itself. Instead of using the souls of the slain demons to purchase new and improved special attacks, your hard earned soul gathering sessions will reward you with the option to upgrade your weaponry, or acquire items used for healing etc. Keeping enemies suspended in the air with the aid of bullets has returned in its entire pant wetting glory, which is unarguably one of the factors that sets this game apart from the potential competition.

Longevity is another of the games major flaws, but it is saved by a decent replay value. You would have finished one storyline in 2 days solid play, or just hardcoring it over one. Which is a genuine shame as the game is a very enjoyable experience and will most certainly be replayed to best those current style rankings, and unlocking some of the hidden goodies. Finishing the first time round will unlock the characters, stylishly dressed in Diesel clothing. Not subliminal advertising at its subtlest.

A superb game, dragged under by some minor flaws, which could have been rectified given a bit more time and effort. But does suffer from time to value difficulties. Questionable for its price tag, only due to its shortness but fully worth it for pure enjoyment, and fast fuelled adrenalin-pumping action.