The original Devil May Cry was the perfect antidote to the Resident Evil series. Instead of counting bullets the way a starving man counts bread crumbs, Devil May Cry gave me unlimited bullets. Instead of controlling the tank-like Resident Evil characters (turn, turn, turn, go forward), I had Dante, who moved with the style and grace of a Cirque du Soleil acrobat. Instead of fleeing zombie encounters like a coward, the monsters in Devil May Cry were the ones who were (or should have been) fleeing me. Indeed, Devil May Cry was the perfect ying to Resident Evil's yang; it was a game that I'd been craving for years, and I wasn't even aware that I'd been craving it.
Keith describes Devil May Cry 2 as "mediocre." I think he's being kind. Something fundamental is missing from Devil May Cry 2. After only a few minutes of playing the game, I knew that the series had been seriously derailed. The expansive, wide-open environments in Devil May Cry 2—which were supposed to be an improvement—actually do more harm than good. The problem: the static cameras now have to pull farther back to cover more ground, and in doing so Dante and his foes are often reduced to the size of my thumbs. All the visceral, up-close, chop-socky combat, which was one of the pleasures of the first game, now takes place somewhere far off in the distance. As a result, the gameplay feels muted.
The programmers also seem to have neglected to program gravity into the game. Simply firing my handguns at enemies was often enough to send them flying like a bunch of balled-up Kleenex. There's no incentive whatsoever to use my sword or combo—not when the handguns alone were often enough to clear rooms and take down bosses.
There are other obvious problems-upgraded weapons have replaced the upgraded skills system from the first game; the child-like difficulty level; those annoying static cameras, etc.—but the most egregious error that the game commits is that it's utterly devoid of personality and imagination. The enemies, the bosses, even the environments, are now bland, anonymous, soul-less.
Sure, there's there was a moment or two that actually made me feel the old Devil May Cry tension, but mostly what I felt was disinterest and disappointment. Make that bitter disappointment; Devil May Cry 2 stands as my most crushing disappointment of the year so far.
I don't think Devil May Cry 2 qualifies as "franchise milking," as Keith states. I honestly believe Capcom did attempt to improve the game. Despite their efforts, they somehow wound up making what was originally a flawed-yet-compelling experience into something that's now flawed-and-completely-dull. Devil May Cry 2 is as a hollow shell of its former self. I'm hoping Capcom has the ability to resurrect what was once one of the most promising new series to come along in years.