Devil May Cry 2 is an action game published by Capcom in 2003 exclusively for the PlayStation 2. The game is set after the events of Devil May Cry 4 and prior to Devil May Cry 5. It has been criticized for a variety of development decisions, which made the game considerably different from its predecessor; chief among these decisions was the lowered difficulty.
Set in modern times, in the fictional city of Uroboros on Dumary Island, the story centers on Dante and Lucia in their fight to stop a sinister businessman named Arius from raising the demon Argosax and achieving supreme power. The story is told primarily through a mixture of cutscenes using the game's engine and several pre-rendered full motion videos.
Despite the success of the original Devil May Cry, the sequel was not created by Hideki Kamiya or Capcom Production Studio 4. The first notice Kamiya's team was given about any sort of sequel occurred during localization of Devil May Cry in North America and Europe, a move which greatly surprised Kamiya. Since the game's release, Kamiya has expressed disappointment that he was not called on by his superiors at Capcom to direct Devil May Cry 2.
Instead, the sequel was granted to another production studio within Capcom. According to producer Tsuyoshi Tanaka, the thrust of the design was to make Devil May Cry 2 bigger than its predecessor; Tanaka estimated that the game's environments were approximately nine times as large as the first. The emphasis on puzzles was also downplayed, with the camera system revamped to allow for better action scenes. Changes from the first game were influenced by surveys distributed by the development team, allowing them to patch any areas identified as weak by the people surveyed. The addition of Lucia as a playable character was a response to player complaints that Trish was not playable in the first Devil May Cry.
Devil May Cry 2 is an action game where the player guides either Dante or Lucia through an urban environment, fighting an abundance of demons in fast-paced combat. The game itself consists of missions with specific goals in the play area of the game itself. The player's performance in each mission is ranked from D to S based on the time taken to complete the mission, the amount of Red Orbs collected, the overall "style" displayed during fights which occurred, item usage, and damage taken. In contrast to the rest of the gameplay, the style judging system used in the game has been cited as being the most harsh in terms of how it judges the player's performance.
Combat itself is based on the style the player demonstrates during a fight. The rating the player gains for style is improved by hitting enemies continuously while avoiding damage. This ranges from "Don't Worry", progressing to "Come On!", "Bingo", "Are You Ready?" and peaking at "Showtime". If the character takes damage, the Style Gauge goes back to "Don't Worry".
The game's combat controls are noticeably different than those of the first game. Melee weapon combos are based on pressing the analog stick in conjunction with the attack button, rather than on the timing of the attack button presses alone. New to the series is an evasion button, which allows Dante or Lucia to roll, dodge enemy attacks, or run along walls. Another new feature is a weapon-change button, which allows the player to cycle through ranged weapons without switching to the inventory screen.
The game also features puzzle-solving and exploration elements. Gameplay involves the player examining their surroundings to find items and orbs. Red Orbs are used to upgrade weapons or purchase items, which allow them to restore their damaged health or even instantly revive should they be killed by an enemy's attack.
The Devil Trigger ability enables Dante and Lucia to transform into a demonic form. This unlocks special Devil Trigger-only attacks as well as allows Dante and Lucia to tap into the power of their Amulets, which is also a new feature to the series. Unique to this game is the Majin Form — an enhanced form of the Devil Trigger — available to Dante when he is low on health.
Devil May Cry 2 begins with Lucia and Dante separately entering a museum where an important item called the Arcana Medaglia is stored. After defeating a group of demons in the museum, Lucia invites Dante to follow her to the Dumary Island, where he is introduced to Matier, her mother. Matier explains that she once fought alongside Dante's father, Sparda, to defend the island against demons. She asks Dante to help fight Arius, an international businessman who uses demonic power and seeks to conquer the world. Dante flips a coin as an answer, and decides to help when the coin lands on heads. After Dante leaves Matier and Lucia discuss the Arcana, the items required for Arius to release Argosax.
Lucia eventually confronts Arius, who reveals that she was his creation. When Lucia moves to strike Arius, he uses his magic to blast her away. Shortly afterwards, Dante meets up with Lucia, who gives him the last of the Arcana before leaving. Dante then encounters Matier and tries to pass the Arcana to her. Matier, in turn, asks Dante to take the Arcana to save Lucia, who has gone to fight Arius again. Dante flips the coin again to decide if he will help; it lands on heads, and he departs to aid Lucia. Meanwhile, Lucia enters the Uroboros building and attacks Arius, who captures her. Dante arrives and trades the Arcana for Lucia, then attacks Arius. To escape, Arius forces Dante to decide between saving Lucia or killing him.
Lucia, worried about the ritual and conflicted about herself, wonders how they will stop Arius. Dante waves her off, stating he will find a way. Dante leaves Lucia to think as he departs to defeat Arius. Matier arrives a short time later, sets Lucia's mind at ease, and decides to rejoin the fight against Arius. Dante arrives to find Arius in the middle of his immortality-inducing ritual. Apparently not at all phased by the completion of the ceremony, Dante stands confident. Another fight ensues, in which Dante finishes Arius off with his pistols. Outside, Lucia confronts Dante and demands that he kill her because she fears she will become a demon herself. Before the issue can be resolved, a large stream of energy strikes the tower and a portal to the demon world is opened. Dante and Lucia argue over who will enter and close it from the inside; Dante offers to leave the issue up to fate. He flips the coin and it once again lands on heads, leaving Dante to enter the portal to deal with Argosax after leaving the coin with Lucia.
After Dante departs, Arius returns to life bearing demonic power. While Lucia fights Arius, he finds himself injured and attempts to distract her, a tactic which fails; Lucia goes on to defeat him. Within the portal, Dante fights and defeats the partially summoned Argosax. Finding the portal closed, Dante instead drives further into the demon realm on a motorcycle. In the aftermath of the battle, Matier attempts to reassure Lucia about Dante's fate, insisting that Sparda returned from a similar trip. Lucia examines the coin Dante left with her and discovers that both sides are identical. Sometime later in Dante's shop, Lucia muses about Dante and how Sparda, having taken the exact same journey to hell, came back. Outside, the sound of a motorcycle echoes, and Lucia leaves to investigate who it is.