Devil May Cry was a breath of fresh air when it dropped into my paws a while ago; it gave the horror genre that kicked off big-time with Resident Evil and of course, not forgetting the classic - Alone in the Dark series, a much needed element in the gameplay - combos and arcade style fluid fighting moves. You got to play one of the cooler heroes in a game, Dante, resplendent in his crimson long coat and armed with a lethal array of moves and weapons. My favourite being the shotgun closely followed by Ebony and Ivory - Dante's twin guns.

Devil May Cry 2 is a kind of sequel, I'm a bit disappointed that they didn't decide to continue it where they left DMC to be honest - it was begging to have the sequel at least reference the first game. But the only thing that DMC 2 shares with DMC is Dante himself. It is a wholly different style of game to the first one and one that has a lot more action and probably some of the most insane 'Boss' style characters in a game yet.

You see with DMC 2 there are monsters, there are lots of monsters and they apply them in relentless re-spawning waves of button mashing lunacy. This is because the game is a far cry from the first one in my ever so wolfish opinion. The monsters are further divided into more monsters, and semi-boss monsters, boss monsters and uber-boss monsters...argh...too many monsters! It's like one relentless fight, one after the other, no sooner as Dante clears one bunch of pests - he moves on through a door, boom, there's another and another.

The further you get into the game the nastier these monsters become and the harder the boss-types are. But Dante's always been a hard character and in DMC 2 they've given you a whole new set of powers to play with. Rather than getting hold of just weapons now, you can get amulets that add powers to Dante when they're equipped in his special talisman (It holds up to 3 amulets at once).

Adding elemental attack powers to his sword and guns, giving him the power of flight, super speed and so on. There are a number of weapons in the game, new swords and new guns, but they seem a bit lack lustre to me and none of them are as impressive as Dante's two guns - when powered up. Talking of powering up, Chronos is back and interacting with his statue brings up the item menu again where you can upgrade weapons and buy things like healing stars - just like DMC.

Dante also starts off with his full range of abilities and has a nice new system of combo-attacks that's pretty good, once you get used it. That's the hard part of course, getting used to the new system after the old one. The timing of combos has changed and you no longer have access to the super-easy combo mode, it's in there, I'm told - but hidden. There are a few new tricks, such and leaping up into the air and shooting downwards as you fall, a very satisfying thing to watch and great for matrix inspired lunacy. Get it right and Dante actually nosedives towards the ground shooting downwards at his foes, until at the last moment he lands on his feet.

The devil trigger is back as well allowing you to access flight and other such powers, pretty much the same as the previous game, apart from when Dante's on his last shred of health - you can then transform into a super-Devil-trigger which kicks some serious ass and allows for a greater degree of damage. Dante's form is also a lot bigger and meaner in this mode.

So you've got new powers and new items, but what else is new? Well, not only can you play Dante but you also get to play Lucia as well, since the game comes on 2 disks. Just pick the disk, pop it in and play. What is quite cool is that their story meshes in places and you see events from the other characters point of view, this adds a nice touch and keeps the continuity of the game. My only problem is that in 2 they put a lot more emphasis on the battles and less on the story and puzzle solving elements. The puzzles are all pretty simple and usually involve a bit of manual dexterity + mad jumping around like a bouncy-ball, nothing that overly stretches the mind.

There's also bonus costumes to unlock, provided by Diesel no less, and a bunch of new features - including being able to play Trish from DMC. But with my gripes of story aside there's a lot of simple cut-scenes in DMC 2 that show the developers have improved the engine a great deal, they've experimented with a more film style action game and it does actually work because the cut-scenes are not as long and certainly I don't find them boring.

The Graphics in DMC 2 are a leap forwards from the first game indeed and the whole thing looks stunning, the backdrops are gorgeous and the levels are much bigger. Instead of being inside the old castle, you're now out and about running through a devastated city and leaping from roof to roof as you explore the gigantic - if a bit samey in places - streets. The level of detail on the models is much higher and the animations have been tuned, improved and made to look more fluid than before. When Dante kicks into a long combo string it's pretty impressive.

Lucia is pretty much a different character to control and she looks great when she transforms via her Devil Trigger, there's a nice touch as she takes off with her wings, small white feathers drop in a very Manga like way. Again she's a wonderfully made model and her animations are fluid, she boasts a different array of weapons than Dante and uses two blades rather than one. Instead of guns, she has wickedly sharp throwing knives and can hurl them at a fair rate of knots - tapping square like a madman or woman really does help improve the rate of fire.

I do have one thing to say before I close up, the gore in DMC 2 isn't as bad as it was in the Resident Evil games - I really don't understand that it says the game has scenes of excessive violence and gore considering Bloodrayne has people who fly into meaty chunks and paints the walls with gallons of crimson claret, ah well, perhaps it's a gimmick thing - but at least they're trying to be responsible.

On the whole, DMC 2 is a different game to 1 and that's not a bad thing, it brings new enhancements and a much more refined game engine to the forefront and really starts to showcase the PS2's potential, there are no framerate or draw-distance issues that I could see and the whole thing runs very smoothly even with the increased amounts of enemies on screen at one time. So it's a great game for those who love action and lots of it, not so great for those who like the more relaxed puzzle-solving and occasional bouts of frenzied run-away blasting from the RE games.

It is still a must have game, and coming on two disks which you can play separately to see the whole picture it's a good game for wasting hours to - plus features to unlock and costumes, adds a certain amount of replayability. Again though, shorter than it should be, but that seems to be the trend of most games now - I think it could have done with being a tad longer but that's only my opinion, and remember that's all a review is - one person's viewpoint on the game. So, don't shoot the messenger.

Bye for now.