Review by: Michael Rack
Published: March 7, 2003
Devil May Cry exploded onto the PS2 in 2001 drawing fans in with its fluid gameplay and dual-handgun toting devilish hero Dante. What it lacked in story, it made up for in style, delivering dynamic fight mechanics interspersed with witty one-liners. Now Dante is back to once again fill demons with fear and hot lead for the safety of mankind. This time, our hero has some help: a sexy martial arts minx named Lucia is also playable, with not only her own set of blades, but also her own game disc featuring 14 missions. Capcom decided to change the development team for Devil May Cry 2, potentially adding new elements to the already outstanding gameplay, but a good act is hard to follow, and fan expectations are high. Is Devil May Cry 2 a worthy successor, or did the first installment set the bar too high?
Having defeated his own nemesis in the first release, Dante continues to hunt demons for others. In this title, Dante’s services are retained by Matier, a denizen of the Vidu Mali islands. His mission is to kill Arius, the power-hungry head of a corporation, who seeks to plunder the island for precious artifacts which could transform him into a god. However, there is also a deity backing Arius who must be dealt with. Naturally, there are a few hurdles to overcome before Dante can get at Arius, but it’s surely nothing a pistol-packing, sword-swinging half-demon can’t contend with.
You can also play through the scenario from Lucia’s point of view, which you’ll in fact need to do to unlock certain features. She is a guardian of the Vidu Mali islands who was mentored by Matier from a young age to defend the land from enemies. Her weapons consist of throwing knives and dual swords, which function essentially as Dante’s handguns and swords do respectively. Her goal is the same Dante’s, though her journey is more personal and involves some self-discovery along the way as she uncovers her own dark secret.
The setting in Devil May Cry 2 is more urban this time around, though you won’t find any innocent bystanders walking the demon-infested streets. Instead of fighting among ancient ruins and cliff faces, you’ll mostly be hopping from rooftop to rooftop through small villages and among towering skyscrapers. There are many indoor areas as well, but instead of the elegant decor of the mansion walls, the environment is more industrial, featuring metal drum containers, expansive piping, and large retractable bay doors. This release also contains underwater missions for Lucia, but they have taken on a whole new face. Now, going underwater keeps to essentially the same format as on dry land instead of going to a first-person view like in the original release. Lucia can still swing her swords underwater, but some of her long-range weapons cannot be used. Navigating is simple enough, but in the event that you get lost, a simplified overhead map is available to discern your position.
Some of the enemies have taken on a more modern tone as well, such as the steel-gilded demons and the occasional possessed tank. However, there are plenty of cloven-footed Goatlings and spellcasting Warlocks to satisfy fantasy fans. There are all new bosses of all sizes to challenge your speed and endurance, though those who played the original might see a familiar face or two. Most of the boss fights are straightforward, but some of them require you to chase the enemy down, or face a few different modes of attack. Of course, as in the first title, killing a demon doesn’t necessarily mean it’s dead, so don’t assume you’ve seen the last of anyone until the credits roll.