Closing in on the final month of our Challenge, and we've got another completion!  The last Essential for the month of November is here, for your reading pleasure.  Aaron Bivens rectified the great sin of having not played Devil May Cry, and he's here to tell us all about it.  The classic game that revolutionized Character Action and gave the gaming world Dante, Devil May Cry is one of my personal favorites on our list of Essentials.  Let's see what Mr. Bivens has to say, shall we? SHOWTIME!

So, Mr. Bivens, you chose Devil May Cry.  What made you choose it, over the other Essentials you may not have played?

To be honest, my first choice had been Metal Gear Solid, which is another series I've never played. Someone else had chosen that, so I decided on Devil May Cry instead. I vaguely remember playing a small portion of the second one when I was younger and thinking it was neat, and with the characters recurrence in games like Marvel vs. Capcom, it was always a little reminder that I had never actually gone back to play them.

What took you so long to play Devil May Cry?

Mostly just forgetting about it when other games/consoles had come out. Another big factor was probably the release of Final Fantasy XI in 2002 (a year after the first Devil May Cry). FFXI was my first MMO and I sunk a lot of time into and ended up ignoring a lot of games for the next couple of years. Even when the HD collection for DMC had come out it managed to slip through the cracks in lieu of playing other games.

What did you think? Love it? Hate it? Meh?

I certainly enjoyed the game, but it was obvious it hadn't aged the best. Graphics-wise it was okay, though that may be because I played the HD collection version through the PS Now app on the PS4. But as far as the voice acting and story, it was pretty deadpan. You could tell this was definitely supposed to be a 'cool' Capcom game that took some inspiration from the first Resident Evil games.

There are also some bizarre choices the development team made, such as the decision to make you go first person in most underwater sections with the kicker of inverting the controls, or the fact that Trish, who they build up as the love interest, is supposed to look just like Dante's mother. I think Dr. Freud would have a few things to say about that.

What was your favorite part?

I actually enjoyed the beginning of the game the most probably, with the initial cutscene's attempt of over-the-top action + goofy one-liners, and then just getting my bearings with the controls and environment. It's been a while since I've had a game that doesn't do a hand-hold tutorial on you as soon as you gain control of your character, and it was rather refreshing. And while the game does tell you your 'mission' at the start, there's little else that tells you 'Go here, do this!' No annoying voice prompts or icons on your map are nice, an experience I've learned to appreciate more since playing Zelda: Breath of the Wild with the UI disabled.

I also enjoyed whenever they put a sword through Dante.

Were there any parts you didn't like?

The camera was definitely your biggest enemy in this game. It works much like in the first Resident Evil games, sometimes with a completely fixed angle, but mostly with panning and following your character from set points. You had absolutely no control and during certain fights with the mini-bosses or bosses, it led to me getting killed when it decided the better angle was the one where the boss covered the entire screen or some-such.

Another big thing I disliked and found bizarre was the whole 'Mission' aspect of the...chapters, I guess you would call them? You would be given an objective, and once you completed it, it would cut to a 'Mission Clear' screen that would show your clear times and rank, give you a chance to power up, then give you your next mission. I couldn't really understand why they chose this method of progression, and it certainly killed the flow of the action. If this had been the only way to use your orbs for upgrades, it would make more sense, but there are plenty of places in the areas where you're allowed to upgrade as well.

What'd you think of Dante?

Oh man, Dante. Always ready with a great one-liner. As a character I don't think he was bad, but he's a bit too much of a momma's boy during most of the cutscenes. Unfortunately I sometimes had a hard time hearing what he was actually saying between the poor volume of the characters, and also due to the fact that turning subtitles on only enabled subtitles for the monsters, for some bizarre reason. Overall he was designed to be a bit of a badass, and he certainly does that well, but whenever they try to push the 'But he also has a heart of gold!' angle, it makes him a little less likable.

Do you think you'll play any other DMC games, now that you've played the first?

I'd say it's a pretty safe bet I'll get around to playing some of the other ones eventually. I liked the game overall and am interested to see how they give DMC it's own unique charm that doesn't weigh so heavily on other games like Resident Evil. Now as to when I'll get around to that exactly is hard to tell, thanks to all the crazy good titles that have come out this year. Maybe I'll just make DMC2 my essential for next year!

Is Devil May Cry Essential?

I'd say definitely. It's a great look into the past of Capcom and game design as it was back in the early 2000's, and while relatively short (took me a total of 5 hours and 25 minutes to complete), it offers replayability in the form of harder modes, as well as the challenge of trying to achieve the top rank in all the missions. It doesn't hold up to current titles, but it's a prime example of how games used to be and I think should be a part of anyone's gaming bucket list.

Stylish! Although, if you want to do Devil May Cry again for the next round of Essentials, you ain't playing DMC2.  We only talk about DMC2 when discussing which games are better than DmC. Huehue.