21 years ago, Capcom changed action games forever

21 years ago, Capcom changed action games forever

Occasionally a game becomes so prolific that it creates an entire subgenre, with the most recent example Dark souls and Soulslike. Long before that, however, one game completely redefined the action genre, helping to coin the name “character action game.” 21 years ago, the first devil may cry was released on the PS2, and its ingenious use of fighting game mechanics and arcade sensibilities was something that would forever change the industry.

devil may cry follows Dante, a demon hunter who uses his business as a front to take revenge on the demons. When Dante is attacked by a mysterious woman named Trish, he learns that the demon lord Mundus, who murdered Dante’s parents, is set to invade the human world.

A 2019 launch trailer for the game’s Nintendo Switch port.

devil may cry had an interesting path to release, and started life as an early iteration of Resident Evil 4. You can definitely see similarities between Dante and Leon Kennedy as both are opinionated fighters who always have a quick joke or comeback. Dante has of course become one of the most iconic characters out there, but a big part of that is the way the game illustrates his skills through actual gameplay.

Action games before devil may cry was often known as “hack-and-slash” games, but DMC put a new spin on that formula, integrating the combo system with combat gameplay that Street Fighter. Dante has dozens of different combos he can use by stringing together melee attacks with different timing, combining melee with ranged guns, or shooting enemies in the air and juggling them.

devil may cry was intentionally a hard match, which made it even more satisfying to overcome these challenges and get a good score. Capcom

The key to Devil May Cry’s struggle is that it’s easy to pick up, just by using a few buttons, but at the same time it’s deceptively deep. As you progress through the game, you can unlock even more combos, as well as more weapons.

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Past the simple mechanics, but perhaps the most important thing Devil May Cry’s battle is the presentation.

Capcom had the brilliant idea of ​​implementing an arcade-style grading system for battles, with a “Style” meter that fills as you use different combos and dodge attacks. The better you do in battle, the more the style system hypes you up, flashing words like “Awesome” and “Stylish” in neon colors at the top of the screen. It’s a brilliant feature that almost feels like the game is rooting for you, giving the player an immediate sense of reward.

Layered on top of this is the game’s overall visual style, with Dante’s movements featuring flashy effects and over-the-top animations. Of course, you can’t forget the heavy rock soundtrack that supports everything and increases the intensity of the battles. devil may cryThe style and presentation were truly a leap above anything that had come before, and the series would continue to hone these ideas to a lustrous shine over the next two decades. While the first game is where it all started, titles like Devil May Cry 3 and 5 is one of the most beloved action games of all time, and represents the realization of the first game’s formula.

Devil May Cry’s enemy and boss designs also helped bring a lot of variety to the gameplay, and the series has continued that trend in each game.Capcom

At the same time, subsequent action games for characters would draw heavy inspiration from devil may cry.

Four years after devil may crythe first god of war was released and used the same type of fighting game-inspired combat system, as well as red orbs for experience and new combos. god of war would of course put his own unique spin on the genre, but it’s easy to see the review. Before that, play as Ninja Gaiden and Darksiders take liberal inspiration, not to mention any title from Platinum Games, which was co-founded by devil may cry creator Hideki Kamiya.

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It’s fascinating to think how different action games can be today if devil may cry had never been released, and how many games would never have seen the light of day. While the first game doesn’t hold up incredibly well by modern standards, the sheer influence it had is worth celebrating to this day – and for a long time to come.

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