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Devil May Cry 2

Platform(s): Nintendo Switch, PC, PlayStation 2, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Xbox 360, Xbox One
Genre: Action
Publisher: Capcom
Developer: Capcom
Release Date: Sept. 19, 2019


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Switch Review - 'Devil May Cry 2'

by Cody Medellin on Nov. 21, 2019 @ 1:00 a.m. PST

Devil May Cry 2's level design far exceeds the original. Much of the game's environment is outdoors and includes a Gotham-like cityscape and an old European town.

Released in 2003, Devil May Cry 2 was fast-tracked to capitalize on the success of the original game. As many know, the development was a mess, and the resulting game was very disappointing. The series was able to recover, but as seen in the prologue for Devil May Cry 5, even Capcom pays brief lip service to this entry. It may seem strange to put this least-loved entry on the Nintendo Switch, but it was also included in the trilogy packs for the PC, PlayStation and Xbox systems. For better or worse, it's only fair that the Switch get this as well.

The plot starts with Dante answering a call from a museum to stop demons from stealing a precious artifact. During the scuffle, he meets a fellow demon hunter named Lucia, who invites him to her home island of Dumary. There, Dante discovers that a local businessman has been hunting down artifacts to resurrect the demon Argosax for the purpose of world domination. Dante decides to help Lucia, and the duo sets forth to stop the resurrection ceremony.

The plot is decent enough to frame an action game, but perhaps the biggest disappointment is Dante. This isn't the same Dante from the first game. Instead of the cocky but likeable rogue, he's more serious. He also trusts fate this time around, making him the equivalent of a demon-hunting Two-Face, minus the likeability. He's the most boring protagonist from Capcom yet.

For the most part, the gameplay mechanics are lifted from the first title, but there are a few tweaks. For starters, the strange camera angles are reminiscent of the Resident Evil series, but they're not used often. Most of the time, the camera follows you, so it's easier to get your bearings when you're moving through an environment or beating up demons. This is much more useful, since the environments include open areas, corridors and cramped rooms. You still have the sword and pistol combo, but this time, your pistols are effective in dealing damage alongside smaller chains of melee combos. Dante still jumps high but can now bounce between walls. Orbs still act as currency and health, since they're useful for powering up in both your human and demon forms.

What's new in DMC2 is the ability to play as Lucia. Since the original PS2 release came with each character occupying a separate disc, the Switch version simply lets you choose the character before you reach the title screen to simulate the process. For the most part, Lucia plays similar to Dante, but melee is her strongest asset and her projectiles aren't as devastating. She also has a shorter campaign than Dante, but it's essential to go through it since it shows off different parts of the same level and provides a more complete perspective of the tale.

The addition of a new character sounds like the perfect way to improve on the series, but the Achilles heel of this entry is that the gameplay basics don't work very well. The enemies lack any real intelligence to provide a challenge. Most are content to stand around and get hit, and only a few dare to actually fight back. It still takes multiple hits to down them, so it's a chore to beat up the braindead enemies. Boss fights might get into ridiculous territory, as you'll fight things like a duo of wolves, a possessed tank, and even a skyscraper, but they're all pushovers, especially when you discover that you can defeat them by constantly using only one type of attack.

As mentioned earlier, Dante's guns are more effective, as they can deal some decent damage and keep a combo going. The problem is that you can forget about style and just pummel everyone with gunfire. Thanks to Dante's auto aiming, you can be successful by mashing the shoot button, and you can even keep your enemies off-screen while doing so. Just about every boss can be defeated with guns, and melee attacks help to mix things up. It's mind-boggling that the development team managed to take the most exciting part of the series and sap away all enjoyment from it.

The level and puzzle design punctuate the game's mediocrity. The puzzles feel like busy work, with nothing that can stimulate brain cells. As for the levels, the game has more open stages to play in, but no characters make the locations stand out. From subway tunnels to small sleepy villages and the final boss lair, everything looks perfunctory, as if they were supposed to be used in a canceled generic action game but were used here instead to ensure the work wasn't wasted.

Like the original, the longevity comes from your willingness to beat the game multiple times over. The campaigns for Dante and Lucia run a combined five hours, so it's manageable if you want to see the ending multiple times. If you do so, you'll unlock the survival mode that is Bloody Palace, and you can unlock and play as Trish. The latter is more enticing, since her move set is more involved than the other heroes.

The presentation was pretty much lifted from the first game. Graphically, you have a resolution bump in both docked and handheld mode, but the polygon count isn't that high, so rounded hills and roads still have noticeable polygon intersections, and the textures aren't very clean. Particle effects are fine, and while the enemy animations are good, the designs aren't as striking as other entries. It moves at 60fps at all times, but you'll still hate the constant flipping between 4:3 for some movies and menus, while the rest of the game is at the expected 16:9. As for audio, the title sounds clear, but the music is bland and the voice work is serviceable, so it isn't very impressive.

The only reason to consider Devil May Cry 2 for the Switch is if you're either a completionist or a die-hard fan of the series. The game has the trappings of a decent action game, but with the Devil May Cry name attached, the expectations are higher. Nothing can justify it being a sequel to one of Capcom's more exciting PS2 games. Unless you need to experience every Dante adventure, skip this one and wait for the inevitable port of the third entry instead.

Score: 4.5/10

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