I play old, bad games (Devil May Cry 2)

What am I doing with my life again? Oh, right. Looking for employment, bolstered by the fact that all of the teenagers with summer jobs have to go back to school in a week. I would too, except for the part where I'm not. Living at home has its perks, don't get me wrong, but I'm also stranded in Southeastern Idaho with a handful of friends who are either still in High School or are skipping fall semester as well for various reasons. So... clearly what I need to do with my time is play infamously bad sequels to beloved games, which will clearly escalate until I sink 50 hours into Suikoden IV or look up prices for Sonic 2006 on Ebay. Actually, scratch that. This one may have broken me. But not really, because Sonic Chronicles still needs to be played.

It should be noted that playing this game in HD did not make it any more tolerable

Devil May Cry 2 is a bad game. I feel like that has been canonized as fact by the internet. While plenty of other bad or questionable game sequels will have their share of defenders (I will defend Dragon Age II more than it deserves), I have yet to encounter anyone who doesn’t think that DMC2 is anything better than mediocre (though I’m sure I’ll encounter one of them by the time this blog has run its course). But of course, given my sort of positive (neutral?) reception to the much derided Resident Evil 6, I figured I should know for myself. Also, I finished Bayonetta recently, so I figured that I may as well play the low watermark of the genre just to give myself that much more contrast. That was a poor idea. Or maybe it was a great idea, because now I can write this blog and give it the textual thrashing it so very deserves. I haven’t encountered a game that squanders the promise and legacy of the original title as badly as this one does since Deus Ex Invisible War. Both feel like bad imitations or parodies of the series they claim to represent rather than actual installments. Both came out in 2003. Coincidence? I think not.

The addition of a dedicated dodge button is actually a big part of why this game is so laughably easy

And really, that Invisible War comparison can be extended to what makes it bad as well. It has all of the elements of a Devil May Cry game; you can knock hell demons in the air and juggle them with pistols, varying attacks can improve your score and the writing is probably only good in an ironic sense. Devil May Cry 2 is also responsible for some of Dante’s more iconic moves, like the one where he fires his pistols in two different directions, and also threw in a dedicated dodge button (one that would later be used as the style button in DMC3 and 4). Unfortunately, it also does all of these things poorly. Dante’s moves have some lag to them (the usually trusty Stinger is remarkably ineffectual), different combos are not done by pausing between button presses but by what direction you are holding the analog stick, something that I didn’t really discover until I had almost finished the game. You also don’t get new moves, rather you just upgrade your weapons to do more damage against already weak enemies. Instead of getting new melee weapons that handle differently, you get two additional swords with minor stat differences but otherwise handle the same as Rebellion.

How I played 90% of the game: The Screenshot

Though secretly, none of that melee stuff actually matters because you are often better off shooting everything with your pistols than you are trying to close the distance. Much like how kicking everything was the best idea in Dark Messiah of Might and Magic, most of the guns in Devil May Cry 2 are notably overpowered in a way that allows you to dump with impunity, having the assurance that most foes will die before they reach you. While yes, you still need to use your sword and it still does a respectable amount of damage, there are several bosses who are designed in such a way as to make closing in to melee range less than smart. Oh, did I mention the bosses? There are quite a few of them and most of them are complete jokes once you activate Devil Trigger and take down 30% of their health with a single burst of gunfire. Some of them could probably fit in other games in the series just fine (in fact, you fight that lava spider from the first game for no real reason), but then there’s that part where you have to fight a demon helicopter and the only way to deal with it involves standing still and shooting since any attempt at a melee attack will end with you running into its rotors and taking damage. That particular segment is egregiously bad, but may still be topped by the rather unfortunate underwater boss that Lucia has to fight, continuing to prove that the water level of every game is always the worst one.

I actually like Dante's outfit in this game quite a bit, being that it's the one he wears in Shin Megami Tensei Nocturne, but what's with the half-cape midriff thing on the right?

You’ll notice that this was the first time I bothered mentioning the game’s second playable character (apparently Trish is also playable if you beat Hard mode with Dante, but that’s not happening). It’s because, unlike Vergil or Nero, Lucia handles very similarly to Dante. She’s faster, her dodges aren’t quite as good and she has different projectile weapons, but you can still get away with doing the same stuff in her short-er disk. I have no idea why the game was split into two disks, given that Lucia goes through the same dull, brown and grey levels as Dante, (the unfortunate water level being the notable exception) and the game itself is around 5 hours long. It’s not like that space is being filled by a ton of cutscenes or FMV anyways. Dante hardly speaks for most of his adventure and only barely starts to resemble the one-liner slinging bishonen we all know and love(?) by the end. Lucia’s story is shorter and even less coherent in that regard. I’m not going to pretend that story is something I look for in Devil May Cry games, but the way it is executed in this particular one is about as lazy and half-assed as possible. At no point does anyone say “Let’s Rock Baby!” in an unironic fashion. That is clearly a misstep.

The ultimate irony to all of this is that the same team went on to make DMC 3 and 4, the former of which I can confirm to still be totally awesome. Since the franchise is pretty much dead for another 5-8 years thanks to DmC: Devil May Cry, it might be fun to try to finish 1 and 4 somewhere down the line just so I can talk about the series as a whole, but for now I have…. *sigh* that Sonic RPG to play more of. Also Wizardry 6-8 are on sale on GOG, but today only. Here, have a speedrun of Might and Magic VIII, another underwhelming sequel (though still not bad at all). I'ma play Divekick now.

18 Comments
18 Comments
Posted by Klei

One thing bother me. You seem to disregard DmC, saying thanks to it, the series is dead. Don't know about you, but it was a damn good game to me.

Edited by Hunter5024

@klei said:

One thing bother me. You seem to disregard DmC, saying thanks to it, the series is dead. Don't know about you, but it was a damn good game to me.

Appreciation for the game may vary, but unfortunately there's no arguing that it sold pretty badly.

Edited by ArbitraryWater

@klei said:

One thing bother me. You seem to disregard DmC, saying thanks to it, the series is dead. Don't know about you, but it was a damn good game to me.

Appreciation for the game may vary, but unfortunately there's no arguing that it sold pretty badly.

And that's what I meant with my comments. I actually like DmC a whole lot, but its poor sales performance ensures that there won't be another installment in the series for a while.

Edited by Mento

DMC 2 and 4 remain the only DMC games I've ever played. I think I may have beaten DMC 2, actually. I probably owe it to the series to check out 3 but I've really soured on character action games of late. I didn't care much for Bayonetta either, which is by all accounts a spiritual successor (in a sense, anyway, since the real successor DmC came out afterwards) that's well regarded by DMC fans. I've also beaten Chaos Legion too, but despite all appearances it's a different beast all together: if you try playing that like a DMC game you're going to get yourself slaughtered over and over.

In other arbitrary news I actually bought Wizardry 8 earlier today. I technically own the other two in that package (Wizardry Gold is a remastered 7 right?) but you've been harping on about 8 for a while so I figured I'd grab it while the grabbin' is good. Given I bought Eador earlier in the week it's been a good period for AW recommendations. Or it will be whenever I eventually get around to playing them.

M&MVIII wasn't too bad, but it certainly was strange. I'm not just talking about inter-dimensional crystal Galactuses either, but all the "recruit stronger party members, who cares about friendship" and "half the classes are a type of monster or something" types of mechanics. Unless I'm mistaken, it did start a trend in CRPGs (I'm thinking Dragon Age: Origins and Mass Effect 3) where you're recruiting factions and have to make decisions between pairs that hate each other. Maybe that's been around longer, but I can't think of examples off-hand.

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Posted by believer258

Huh. Two dollars isn't much for a new laptop game...

Posted by Wampa1

@arbitrarywater: Have you done an Invisible War blog yet? Being that you disliked it enough to ask me not to play it makes me really curious to see what you think about it's systems in depth.

Edited by Fredchuckdave

DMC2 is mediocre, but it did improve the controls; thus DMC 3 feels much better than the original DMC. Also the Dante final boss fight is pretty sweet and the sheer volume of secret missions to do is way higher (including fighting double final bosses I believe?)

@arbitrarywater: Do you play Heroes VI? Still looking for people to play that with multiplayer. I know @starvinggamer has it. Also how dare you vaguely decry Dark Messiah, it's still the reigning king of first person melee combat.

Posted by ArbitraryWater

@fredchuckdave Interestingly enough, I've been playing some Heroes VI recently. I still feel like the campaign is more a war of attrition than any sort of strategic masterwork, but I'd imagine those mechanics would work so much better in multiplayer instead of against predictable AI. I'd be down to play. I have the expansion and haven't touched the dungeon faction yet, so that'd be fun.

@wampa1:

Why yes I did, almost two years ago.

@mento: Eh, I wouldn't say I'm a massive fan of this genre either (I could care less about God of War and its mash-happy derivatives), but much like my 4X kick a few months ago, I may as well play a bunch of character action games while my interest holds. If/When you get around to Wiz 8, just remember to install the speed hack otherwise the combat takes ages. Nothing wrong with M&M VIII, it's a lesser version of VI and VII, but even a merely ok Might and Magic game is a game I will probably play. Of course, I also consider the half finished IX to be "ok", so take that as you will.

Edited by Demoskinos

The thing is I dont think Dmc 2 is BAD as much as it is incredibly incredibly mediocre and squanders so much potential in a myriad of ways. The fact that this game can make a boss fight against a demon possessed skyscraper a tedious task is testament to its aggressive mediocrity. So many things on paper make the game sound really amazing the execution makes it seem the team wasn't given enough money or time or both to smooth the edges and make the game something worth appreciating.

Posted by GreggD

I also feel more positive about RE6 than most.

Edited by Fredchuckdave

@arbitrarywater: Cool beans, what is your uplay and/or steam account? Heroes VI definitely has a great deal of strategy involved if you play on Hard; like any other Heroes game on easier settings it is possible to brute force it. It's certainly not as insanely difficult as Heroes V but there's still a fair amount of challenge involved. To get higher rankings in the levels you also need to play strategically as well. Even something like the new King's Bounty has strategy involved though it is explicitly a very prolonged war of attrition. Heroes has always been like a more complex version of Chess minus the movement and capture schemes and while the depth doesn't reach to Chess levels it certainly beats the ever living shit out of most turn based strategy games. Fair warning: Beating a level on hard can take 4 times as long as it takes on normal and if you're not up to snuff you could flat out lose 10 hours in without any particularly ideal reload states.

If you're comparing it to Heroes III the AI is much better and the units have a lot more traits and things to be aware of; it is by nature more strategic. Heroes V not as much since the AI was very aggressive and murderous in that; but overall the units still retain a higher level of complexity than they did there as well. Since spells have cooldowns now there's not as much spamming in that regard and you have to figure out what order of spells to use, unit formations, and various other things to play optimally. The simplifications of the map metagame don't actually make the game any "easier" fundamentally, it just streamlines the process but the map play was always very simple unless you were dealing with this map or something. AI abuse remains a prominent part of map play and functions in a relatively similar fashion as it did in Heroes V; its less mandatory to win but still useful.

Note I don't have the expansion yet so no idea if it will let you play against me with the new factions or vice versa. The only time I played Heroes multiplayer was with my best friend who's way better than me at Chess and he destroyed me repeatedly, but I do understand how the game works if nothing else.

Edited by Hailinel

DMC2 is mediocre, but it did improve the controls; thus DMC 3 feels much better than the original DMC. Also the Dante final boss fight is pretty sweet and the sheer volume of secret missions to do is way higher (including fighting double final bosses I believe?)

Yeah, while DMC2 is not a good game, a lot of people don't give it the credit that it does deserve. It's that experimental bridging point between the aborted Resident Evil game that became DMC and the height of the series in DMC3.

Edited by Fredchuckdave

@arbitrarywater: Added you on steam, not sure if we have to add via Conflux or Uplay to play ingame but should be able to figure it out from there.

Posted by OurSin_360

What I remember about that game the most is that they gave you all these crazy moves, but the camera was so far away you couldn't even see anything. Man that game was terrible.

I'm surprised DMC didn't sell well, I can't believe people really let "OMG his hair is black" actually stop them from playing a good game.

Edited by Hailinel

What I remember about that game the most is that they gave you all these crazy moves, but the camera was so far away you couldn't even see anything. Man that game was terrible.

I'm surprised DMC didn't sell well, I can't believe people really let "OMG his hair is black" actually stop them from playing a good game.

The hair thing wasn't the only reason, though to be honest, Ninja Theory did themselves no favors in the way that they approached the internet overreaction.

Edited by ArbitraryWater

@demoskinos: @hailinel said:

@fredchuckdave said:

DMC2 is mediocre, but it did improve the controls; thus DMC 3 feels much better than the original DMC. Also the Dante final boss fight is pretty sweet and the sheer volume of secret missions to do is way higher (including fighting double final bosses I believe?)

Yeah, while DMC2 is not a good game, a lot of people don't give it the credit that it does deserve. It's that experimental bridging point between the aborted Resident Evil game that became DMC and the height of the series in DMC3.

I guess you both are right from that angle. DMC 2 cannot be called a "more of the same" sequel and quite a few of its better ideas found their way into better games. I will at least give it the right to exist, even if I'm surprised a sequel this bad didn't kill the franchise by itself.

Posted by Video_Game_King
Edited by jakob187

I enjoyed Devil May Cry 2.

Wrap your minds around that for a moment.