Despite my (correct) assertions that Ninja Gaiden is the best of the current big three 3D actioners, I’ve remained something of a Devil May Cry virgin. I’ve gotten to first base with the series, having owned the godawful PAL version of the original, but when I got frustrated with that and saw the bad reviews for DMC2 I just stopped caring about the series, so I never went all the way.
Naturally, with Devil May Cry 4 available in demo form and shortly to be released in all its glory, now is the time for me to get cosy with Dante. And that’s the last love analogy, I promise.
I nabbed myself a copy of the Devil May Cry 5th Anniversary Collection, which contains the three PS2 instalments in all their NTSC full-screen full-speed glory. A good deal at their original retail price, but thanks to some credit they only set me back £20. If you need proof that now is a good chance to go back and get the last generation’s classics for ridiculously low prices – assuming you don’t have a 40GB PS3 ;) – there you go.
I haven’t even had the chance to touch the second two games, being that I’ve found the first one obscenely hard. For all the flak that Ninja Gaiden gets for being difficult, when I revisited that last year I can honestly say that I didn’t hit a sticking point like I did with THE FIRST BOSS in Devil May Cry; the same point at which I got stuck when I first bought the game. I was getting my arse kicked, to the point that I restarted the game from scratch and spent a while fighting the enemies of the second mission, getting enough red orbs to buy more powerful attacks. Essentially I was being forced to grind in an action game. And when I did finally beat him I immediately suffered a kicking at the hands (paws?) of some shadowy big cat thing.
But yet I’m still thoroughly enjoying the game, even despite the awkward button layout. I’m finding that it has the same well-pitched learning curve to the combat that I enjoyed in Ninja Gaiden. You can feel yourself getting better at it and although death can be frequent, it’s usually something that you did wrong. It’s the thing that both series do right and that the fireworks of God of War have no answer to. And of course NG makes you feel like a ninja, DMC a badass demon hunter, while both have far deeper combat and combo systems. It’s no contest, really.
The Devil May Cry 4 demo is fantastic, by the way. I’ve played both versions and you can’t go wrong with either (depending on how much £10 is to you), and it’s looking like a phenomenal game – Nero is a great character and playing the original at the same time really shows how much more polished the series has become. And then with any luck by the time I finish it off we’ll be mere weeks away from Ryu’s next appearance. Can’t wait.