Devil May Cry 2: Cry Harder Turns 13
It's time to look at Dante's dark side as we explore the history of one of Capcom's worst sequels— a sequel that is shunned by so many fans of the franchise, people claim that it's not even Dante starring as the protagonist. In typical sequel fashion, after the original Devil May Cry turned out to be a huge success, Capcom decided to skip on DMC creator and director Hideki Kamiya to head Dante's next adventure. Capcom handed the reins of the series to Hideaki Itsuno, who by that point was known for directing Power Stone 1-2, Rival Schools, Project Justice and more. The series' creator was skipped in order to build the much project on a much grander scale that Kamiya was used to running.
The Resident Evil and Street Fighter company wanted DMC2 to be nearly nine times larger than the original. The camera system was revamped, Capcom kicked the puzzles of the first game to the curb, and the team wanted to all-around improve on all the shortcomings of the original. This isn't to say that the original Devil May Cry was a bad game, but as the first of its kind, there were certainly areas that could have been ironed out. In particular, fans were upset at how ruthlessly difficult the original was. As a result, Dante had more skills that would allow him to handle more enemies at the same time. On top of that, the game's base difficulty was drastically toned down compared to the first.
For some reason, Capcom made an elaborate deal with the Diesel clothing line when it came to the promotion of DMC2. Dual protagonists Dante and Lucia (more on her later) were given outfits featuring the brand and both companies cross-promoted their products. In response to everyone complaining and questioning why wasn't Trish a playable character in the first game, Capcom decided to throw in Lucia as a second playable character. This female deuteragonist featured blades and daggers instead of the impressive arsenal and powers Dante and Trish had.
Unfortunately, fans didn't take to kindly to Dante's second adventure or his new co-star. It is almost universally accepted that the original title is the superior of the first two, citing a dumbed-down difficulty as the main culprit for the sequel being lackluster. Furthermore, the weapons and combat system felt underwhelming compared to the intense ways of dispatching enemies in the first game. While the environments were significantly larger, this came at a price as they were all quite empty and less detailed. Even worse, Dante's boastful attitude was put mute. Speaking of mute, he hardly spoke at all throughout the whole game—it was like he was lobotomized and was simply going through the motions of helping Lucia (a descendant of one of Sparda's war buddies) against the demonic forces of Arius and Argosax (bad guys who don't really matter). In a cliche manner, Dante flipped a double-headed coin to determine if he'd help her.
By the end of the game, most fans just stopped caring about it all. Lucia wasn't particularly fun to play as and Dante felt like a soulless, dopey shell of his former self. All of the bad-assery and attitude that made the first game so unforgettable were gone. Devil May Cry 2 is a fine example of sequel syndrome. Studios aim for bigger and badder when it comes to sequels, and they get it in the worst way possible that just fails to uphold level of quality set by its predecessor. Despite all of its shortcomings, Devil May Cry 2 sold well enough that Capcom decided to keep going with the series in order to atone, and they did so two years later with Devil May Cry 3: Dante's Awakening.