Cliched plot? Check. Over-the-top acting? Check. Repeating enemies? Check. Still fun? CHECK! CHECK! CHECK! and CHECK!
Devil May Cry is an unabashed action adventure lightly peppered with a few puzzles to solve. It's a crash-through-the window, get-your-guns-blazing action from the get-go, and it's all fun fun fun.
You play as Dante, a half-human, half-devil demon hunter. Initially unknown to Dante, he's a descendant of the legendary demon Sparda, who vanquished a hell Lord out to conquer the mortal realm more than 2000 years ago. As these stories go, the hell Lord awakens (of course), and it's up to Dante to stop him once and for all.
As plots go, Devil May Cry offers only a thin excuse for a story. There's a big bad out there, and you're out to prove that you're an ever badder ass. Even the voice acting is done in overly serious tongue in cheek fashion -- emphasizing that you shouldn't really take this game seriously. Don't get me wrong, this isn't a disadvantage or a shortcoming of the game. Devil May Cry just has better things to offer than plot twists and fancy storytelling. The game is about action -- and a lot of it.
As a descendant of a legendary demon, Dante has powers and abilities beyond those of mortal men. He heals from wounds that should have been fatal (is that my heart you got in your sword?), and has powers that are more than a match to hell's denizens. With Dante's rage unleashed, the devil himself may end up crying.
In the game, Dante will pick up a few guns and melee weapons. The choice isn't that varied, but each weapon has its own advantages and disadvantages. Dante's special attacks even depend on the melee weapon he's using. Use the Alastor and throw thunderbolts from the sky; don the Ifrit and burn your enemies to cinders.
Dante's twin handguns -- ebony and ivory -- may well be the most useful range weapon you'll have. The damage isn't overwhelming, but the guns give you an amazing 'hang time' when you rapid-fire while jumping. You can avoid the monster's devastating attacks and damage them at the same time simply by doing this 'hang time'.
The game challenges you not just with the monsters Dante will face -- although they become harder to kill as you progress, the monster types are actually repetitive and their attacks are formulaic -- instead, the game awards skilled gameplay. Dante's combos and attacks can be done only by tapping the proper keys at the appropriate time. It's not hard to do, but it's not mindless button mashing either.
It's a short game -- you could probably finish it in 12 hours or so -- and offers little replayability. But for those 12 hours or so, Devil May Cry let's you experience the joy of relentless demon ass kicking.