What We’re Playing Wednesdays

This week, we’re returning to a classic franchise in the form of Devil May Cry 2, as well as a nostalgia-inducing browser game. What else are we supposed to do to fill the void while we wait for Tears of the Kingdom? Here’s what we’re playing this week:

Joe – Editor

What we're playing Narrow One Devil May Cry 2

Narrow One

  • Playing in browser via itch.io

If, like me, you work a bullshit office job, you’ll know that sometimes you have absolutely bugger all to do. In this downtime, my colleagues will often fire up Spotify or browse the gammon-bating pages of the Daily Mail online. But I prefer to fit in a quick game or two. However, if, like me, you work a bullshit office job, you’ll also know that IT heavily restrict unapproved downloads, which poses a bit of a problem. Thankfully, itch.io has a great selection of browser-based games, and this week was no exception.

Narrow One is probably the easiest game I’ve had to describe in some time. Essentially, it’s a multiplayer, PvP archery game where two teams of five battle to capture the other team’s flag. Do this three times and you win. I’m probably not selling this very well but let me tell you that it’s the most fun I’ve had in ages. 

Now, perhaps my perception of browser games – based on browsing Newgrounds and Miniclips in the school IT suite – is a little outdated, because I was pretty impressed by the quality of level design across Narrow One’s 15 or so maps. From medieval castles that provide the perfect spot to pick off other players from afar, to temple ruins with sneaky secret passageways, there’s plenty of opportunity to experiment with different strategies and keep things fresh. 

As far as I can tell, Narrow One hasn’t been monetised, except for an optional advert you can watch at the end of each match to double the amount of coins you win. These coins are only acquired in-game and can be spent on a variety of outlandish cosmetics, which makes taking an arrow to the face even more hilarious when your murderer is dressed like Braveheart Jesus.  

Narrow One most definitely isn’t a cerebral game, but neither is my job, so I’ll take all the mindless fun I can get, thank you very much. If you fancy a match, you can play for free on itch.io – I’ll be on around lunchtime; I’m the guy with the eyepatch and the morris dancer tunic. 

Tom – Lead Writer

What we're playing Narrow One Devil May Cry 2

Devil May Cry 2

  • Playing on PS5 via backwards compatibility

This week, I’ve been continuing my foray back into the Devil May Cry franchise. The first DMC and DMC3 were huge games in my childhood, but I’d never actually played Devil May Cry 2 before. With only the limited purchasing power of an 11 year old available to me, the savage reviews of DMC2 scared me off. But surely it couldn’t be that bad, right? Disappointing compared to the first DMC, maybe, but probably underrated in its time?

Well, there’s no sense beating around the bush. Critics were right: Devil May Cry 2 fucking sucks. The clearest demonstration of the game’s issues comes early on, when a boss fight pits you against a demonically possessed helicopter. If you’re thinking that a helicopter is an odd choice of enemy in a game series based around stylish swordplay, you’re right. All I did was hold the lock-on trigger and fire my guns at the helicopter for what felt like 30 minutes until it finally exploded. This would become, as I would soon discover, something of a trend among DMC2‘s boss battles.

It’s not just that the game is boring, though it is. And it’s not just that the characters and story are thinner than paper, though they are. DMC2 fundamentally misunderstands and lacks what has made the first Devil May Cry so timeless. Gone are the gorgeous gothic castle locations, replaced by generic city streets and ugly industrial factories. The plot is completely nonsensical, which is impressively notable in a franchise not exactly known for groundbreaking storytelling. Dante is so devoid of personality as a protagonist that he appears to have undergone a lobotomy since the first game.

And once I’d played through his campaign – which takes three hours but feels like fifty – the game enthusiastically informed me that I could now play as Lucia. She’s ostensibly the second lead of the story, though I learned little about her in Dante’s portion of the game and learned even less during hers. What’s more, Lucia’s levels are almost all beat-for-beat retreads of the ones from Dante’s campaign.

I’m trying desperately to think of DMC2‘s positive aspects for the sake of balance, but I’m coming up short. This is just a really bad game! It stinks! Roll on Devil May Cry 3; I need a huge cup of virtual mouthwash to get the taste of this game out of my mouth.