he game you see today was originally destined to be Resident Evil 4 – a sequel that would have taken place on a large boat. Ironically, when you compare Devil May Cry to Resident Evil, there are no similarities, ties, or shared designs. They actually stand apart as polar opposites. Within Raccoon City, fear, story progression, and puzzles are the dominating factors. Devil May Cry is all about kicking ass, and looking good while you do it. Of course, there is a story to follow, but it's sculpted more in the vein of Castlevania than the traditional survival horror mold. It doesn’t twist and turn, mess with your head, or surprise you at any point. Basically, the introductory cutscene brings you up to speed, then you play through the rest of the tale.
Another interesting difference lies within the main character, Dante. The gang from Resident Evil always play the helpless victims who run in fear, then find a tool they need to confront the evil and defeat it. Within Devil May Cry, Dante is hardly vulnerable. He’s the ultimate bad ass, and everyone fears him. If Dante were in the Resident Evil universe, he wouldn’t run from two measly dogs. He’d chop off their heads, and eat their spleens for breakfast. When you grip the controller, you’ll feel power, and you’ll believe you have the ability to do anything. In most cases, you can.
Long gone are the clunky controls, slow spins, and awkward targeting. The only way you’ll bump your head onto a wall in this game is if you’re flat out stupid. Dante’s movements are incredibly precise, and the camera placement always displays the best angle for the action at hand. The sheer number of moves Dante can perform is incredible, but not so elaborate that you need to perform a ten-button combo to activate it. As the adventure unfolds, his prowess grows, augments, and unleashes some of the most devastating techniques fathomable. Just wait until you see his plethora of demon-powered attacks!
In designing the gameplay, Capcom has moved away from the seamless adventure formula and structured the quest more like an old-school platformer. Instead of giving the gamer the freedom to explore, the game is broken into stages that can, if you’re in the zone, easily be tackled within a few minutes. While the level branching does take away the sensation of actually being in the world, it pushes you to retry the stages in hopes of reaching a better end level ranking. This adds countless hours of play to an already epic experience.
Pushing the hardware to the limit, the cinematics and overall look of this title are in a league of their own, topping almost everything else on the market. The effects are very comparable to those within Square’s Final Fantasy series, and the environments feel as though they were extracted from a Wes Craven nightmare. All of the enemy types display the highest level of detailing, and showcase extraordinary intelligence, reacting accordingly to every move you make.
I’ve enjoyed every Resident Evil game, every offshoot, and practically everything Shinji Mikami and Hideki Kamiya have released. Even with countless instant classics under their belts, Devil May Cry is their best work and the most notable survival horror entry yet. Capcom really hit the nail on the head with this one. The gameplay is a tour de force that feeds off of your skills and unleashes hundreds of intense battles. The graphics, while somewhat disturbing, are beautifully designed, becoming transparent when Dante veers behind an object. This is one of the few times, the first being with The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, and the second with Chrono Cross, where I’ve debated taking a month-long vacation just to see everything this game has to offer. Reserve it now. Do countless chores. Do whatever you can to get this amazing game!