We tried out a reviewable build of Devil May Cry 2 for the PlayStation 2 today. The game will come in a two-disc set, with each disc being dedicated to one of the game's two playable characters, returning hero Dante and newcomer Lucia. While both characters begin their journeys alone and in somewhat different levels, they do cross paths throughout the game.
Lucia's journey opens in what appears to be a deserted town near some ruins. Your first task will be to collect a set number of red orbs, which you will use to unlock the door leading to the next area. The small, enemy-free area lets you get acquainted with the tweaked control scheme in the game and with how to control Lucia. The next area is populated with a smattering of slow-moving enemies that will ease you into combat. If you've played the first Devil May Cry, you should be able to jump right into the game, since Lucia has a variety of attacks that are functionally the same as Dante's, though they're stylistically different. She comes equipped with two small blades for melee attacks and throwing daggers for long-range strikes. Interestingly, Lucia also has a devil mode, which enables her to transform into a birdlike creature that can fly and shoot various projectiles, which is similar to Dante's devil form.
Playing as Dante, you're almost immediately launched into some heavy action. Fortunately, he controls similarly to the Dante in the original Devil May Cry, with an ability to use his sword in conjunction with his pistols to perform some devastating combinations. Dante has a few new abilities, one of which lets him shoot multiple enemies at once when they're located in different areas of the battlefield. For example, when Dante is faced by an enemy on either side, he can spread his arms and shoot his pistols in either direction. Both Dante and Lucia will have the ability to double jump, run on walls, and use the devil charge to morph into a demonic form that will let them fly. Transforming is tied to the devil charge meter that you'll fill by performing combos.
As you go through the game you'll collect red orbs that you can use to power up Lucia's and Dante's weapons, though you will find new weapons in some of the later levels, such as Dante's shotgun or Lucia's bombs. Both Lucia's and Dante's weapons can be upgraded by spending orbs in the upgrade screen. In addition, different amulets located throughout the game will give these characters additional powers that were previously unavailable in the early stages.
The environments in Devil May Cry 2 are seemingly much larger than those in the original, but they lack the high level of detail in the original game. There are a lot of bland textures as well as generic areas that look as though they could've been used in just about any other action game. However, the character models for Dante and Lucia look good and animate pretty well, as do the level bosses, some of which look as though they were pulled from Tecmo's Rygar: The Legendary Adventure. It's worth noting that the camera presents some problems, particularly when you're trying to make precise jumps or locate enemies within the immediate vicinity.
The music in Devil May Cry 2 is nearly identical to the music in the original game in terms of style. There is voice acting during some of the cutscenes in the game, but it seems to have been deliberately kept to a minimum, as Dante and Lucia rarely speak in the early portions of the game--a somewhat stark contrast to the original, which even featured conversations between Dante and enormous magma spiders.
We'll have a full review of Devil May Cry 2 soon.