DEVIL MAY CRY 2 / Capcom / Playstation 2
Round 2 of boring, repetitive, button mashy bullshit! DMC2 makes a few tweaks that its "OMG I M SO HARDCUR" fanbase seem to absolutely hate, but honestly, I thought the changes actually made it more playable and they didn't make ENOUGH of them! It's too much like the first spastic, repetitive entry in the series and shares in most of its flaws.
There isn't much story to this one except that Dante helps some Saracen chick with birthin' hips fight off a bunch of undead birds or something when they go to a museum to steal a lapel pin. This sends him on some voyage through an abandoned town for reasons the game never really bothers to make clear. I'll take that, though, because blessedly it means Dante also keeps his mouth shut 90% of the time now and we're not subject to the same level of painful dialogue, hammy voice acting, and 12-Year-Old Conception Of Badassery that we were in the first game.
It's yet another traipse through fixed-camera RE-esque levels slicing and shooting hordes of samey baddies, but this time a lot of it takes place outside. DMC 2 hearkens back to its arcade brawler roots in that not only are you once again up against massive spawn after spawn of cloned waste-of-time enemies that you have to tediously dispatch over and over and over, but in that you just kind of jump around from environment to environment with no real plot whatsoever. Seriously, the incredibly vague introduction is about the closest the game ever gets to bothering to tell you what the hell is going on here!
As mentioned, the gameplay is very samey but there are some small improvements. One is visible health bars for each enemy, so when you fly up in the air shooting in slow-mo in oh-so-cool style, you can at least see if your shots are actually hitting anything now. Another is that when you die, you respawn right in the same spot in the midst of the action. Yet another is that you die much less frequently because enemies do a sane amount of damage on Normal now, and the camera work is *somewhat* better, leading to less cheap hits.
Hardcore fans don't seem to like any of that - now it's "too easy." But their main complaint seems to be a lack of the atmosphere and personality as compared to the previous game. I always thought Dante and the game's forced and juvenile attempt at badassery was laughable to begin with, but I will give them that, the first game did have a notable atmospheric style and personality. This one, on the other hand, seems almos shockingly subdued, and the backgrounds muted and lifeless.
I think one thing we can all agree on, however, is that the game's "puzzles" and boss battles are roundly atrocious. The first real "puzzle" you encounter sets the tone for the game - blue balls pop up in different spots and you simply have to hack the shit out of them until the game lets you move on. That isn't a puzzle - it's a waste of time! The bosses aren't difficult, but they're tedious because they have over-long life bars that take forever to whittle down, like to hide out of range of anything but your weak guns, and use waves of "meat shield" common enemies to fuck up your janky targetting system and prevent you from even being able to do crappy chip damage while they fuck off and hide somewhere.
To show you how much Capcom thought of this one, they've pretty much abandoned it as a non-canon entry in the series and try their hardest to pretend it doesn't exist. Even the hardcore fanbase hates it. I personally think it's slightly better than the first game due simply to being a smidge more playable and mostly free of Drummer Monster Hunter Bounty Hunter Alcoholic Immortal Except When He Dies Under Your Control Dante and that whole embarassing adolescent vibe of the first game. But not nearly enough to not be repetitive, boring garbage.
* Gameplay Video