I'll be honest, I hadn't actually played a whole lot of DMC2. I can always remember playing through the first few missions, and not enjoying myself while doing so, but I always forget why. So since I've recently gone on a DMC binge, ignited by DmC, I decided to head back into DMC2.
It's fucking crazy to think this is in the same franchise as such greats like, well, every other DMC game. It's sort of difficult to truly articulate how bad this game is. I mean, the gameplay is functional, the camera's actually a helluva lot better than it was in the original DMC. But everything else just looks and feels so lifeless, boring, and utterly mind-numbing. The environments for starters are some of the most generic bollocks that I can recently remember! I mean I've admittedly only played throughout the parts where it's all creepy, empty French city streets, but when I pile that on top of the completely comatose enemy AI, your overpowered guns/daggers that you can sometimes literally just stand there shooting ad infinitum, the complete lack of everything involving the cutscenes, I simply can't be bothered to play any more of it.
It's all so incredibly generic and mediocre. This looks like some bargain-bin knock-off of DMC more than an actual DMC game. For as surprisingly serious as the first one takes itself, it still has some small semblance of personality throughout its aesthetic and the cutscenes, whereas DMC2 is completely dry and nonsensical. Dante might as well be a mute (also where did the coin thing come from) and the way cutscenes just end makes the game feel unfinished. From the few bosses that I fought, some don't even have any kind of introduction! It's like literally entering a room and, oh, I guess I'm fighting this giant tentacle monster now for some reason. The bosses themselves are also poorly designed, like that aforementioned tentacle boss, which I didn't even know how to beat exactly.
Its weak-point is its neck and head, but you can't go near it because it's got this constant aura of purple farts surrounding it. The idea is to attack its giant tentacles, which I suppose then give you an opening, but as soon as I managed to damage one of 'em enough to recluse and start on another, it will have already sprouted back again. I mostly won this by taking advantage of the incredibly OP devil trigger and just kept barraging my way through.
Also who the fuck is this Lucia and why does she already have the devil trigger at the start of the game and yet there was literally no formal introduction? And what Unholy Fucker decided that you now enter through doors automatically?! There were a few times where I actually accidentally entered a different area in the midst of a fight because I got too close to a door. Furthermore, all of the doors pretty much look the same as one another, fitted with some some drab texture, so you basically have to hope for the best by just running into door after door to see which will friggen work!
ALSO also, the timing to try and pull off different combos (like triangle triangle, pause, triangle) is frustratingly difficult because they give you what feels like a milisecond of a window to implement the pause. The style meter too is so fucking backwards. I kept trying, what looked like, different combos by mixing in air attacks, drop attacks, back+triangle attacks and yet it barely ever moved. Turns out it only increases the more you simply attack an enemy, but they all die so fucking quickly and the environments are so fucking spacious between each enemy that I can barely ever get higher than a fucking D for any sort of style combo! And when the Hell do you even learn any new moves?? Simply upgrading my weapon's ''power'' doesn't give me a whole lotta sense of character progress/building. Again, I didn't play a lot (maybe up to like mission 4 or 5), but I put in enough time that I should have been given the opportunity to actually invest in some new bloody attacks.
While the combat itself is--as I mentioned earlier--functional, it overall feels really limp, especially as Lucia, who does multiple attacks per button press (so pressing triangle will make her do two swipes with her swords) which, imo, upsets the balance of feeling like you're pulling off those attacks. It comes across as very button mashy; all you need to do is just mash triangle and watch her do a whole flurry of shit.
So, the positives? Well both the camera and the platforming are a significant improvement from the first game. The way Dante and Lucia are almost reaching the Heavens with their double jumpin' can be surprisingly fun to mess around with, and customising your Devil Trigger with all of these additional gems is a neat idea, too. But these small specks of growth are far too high a cost considering everything else that was lost or destroyed in the process.
DMC2 feels like it has no identity. It's all so incredibly monotonous and boring that I can finally understand why so many people have gone so far as to essentially disallow the idea that this game even exists. There's a part in the game where I'm walking along and then suddenly, some orb falls out of the sky hitting your character and you have to reach a certain destination before it drains you of your health. First off all, my brief description is literally all that happens; walking along, orb hits, health starts draining. They've put this sort of scenario in just about every DMC game, but in the others there's a purpose, and there's some actual tension as you struggle to fight while your health is also draining in the process. But for DMC2, not only does it actually drain your health at a barely noticeable rate, not only is the combat still so pitifully easy, but using Devil Trigger will always just regenerate your health right back up anyway! In DMC3, you're actually permanently in DT mode, so you have the extra power, but your health is still steadily dropping by the second. Here... just... nothing. And I think that examples speaks to how incredibly lazy, half-baked, nigh half-finished DMC2 feels. I understand that we're fortunately more or less past all of the angry hubbub concerning DmC, but the people during that catastrophe who would actually rate DMC2 above DmC are either insane, or were very clearly just lashing out for the sake of childish rage.
I've noticed that the general consensous towards the DMC HD collection is:
- DMC1 - Aged poorly, but worth looking into for curiosities sake given that it's the forbearer for its entire genre.
- DMC2 - It was terrible then and it's terrible now.
- DMC3 - Still the height of the series and a fantastic game through and through.
I'd say they're all pretty much spot on.