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Devil May Cry 3
Review By: J. Michael Neal
Developer:  Capcom
Publisher:  Capcom
# Of Players:  1
Genre:  Action
ESRB:  Mature
Online:  No
Accessories:  Memory Card, Dolby Pro Logic II
Date Posted:  4-25-05

Everything you’ve heard about Devil May Cry 3 is true: yes, it’s difficult - insanely difficult; yes, it’s beautiful - surprisingly beautiful; and yes, it’s one rewarding piece of work. To those of you with the physical and emotional stamina to stick with this game, you will be treated to one of the coolest and most entertaining games released in recent memory. To those who can’t hack it, well, there’s always paddleball.

 

You have to give it to Capcom for restoring this franchise’s good name. After the hideously disappointing Devil May Cry 2, most gamers lost faith in the series. It was feared that “Tomb Raider Syndrome” (or TRS) had set and we’d never see a sequel as good as the original again. Even I turned a blind eye to Dante’s Awakening. Sure, the trailer looked smoking hot, but no way was I going to get my heart broken by the same man twice. Luckily, Director Hideaki Itsuno set things right and made it safe to love that red-coated style-monger once more.

Story-wise, Dante’s Awakening acts as a prequel to the original Devil May Cry and tells how Dante turned into the uber-badass we all know and love. But who cares about the story? The dialogue is painful, the voice acting is laughable, and the cut-scenes are so forced-cool they just come off as indescribably lame. No, you want to play DMC3 for the action, and when it comes to that, few games can compare.

Devil May Cry 3 takes the whole “needlessly cool” philosophy of the first game to the nth degree. It gives you a million and two moves, each one more cool than the last, and throws you into close-quarters with wave after wave of the most ball-busting minions you will ever find. Sure, you’re going to get your ass stomped out most of the time, but when it flows together, and you finally manage to clear that room without taking any damage, you feel like a god. Shoot the two on either side of you crossed armed with your pistols Ebony & Ivory, then jump on the back of a fallen enemy and surf him around the room while firing in all directions, flip off and dodge an incoming attack before cutting a swathe with your sword, switch to the shotgun and blast the guy skulking up behind you, then clear the rest of the room with a little kung fu – yeah, it’s as awesome to do as it sounds.

None of this is difficult to do, either, since the controls are kept streamline and accessible. There’s an auto-aim, a jump, a shoot, and a slash button, two shoulders for switching weapons on-the-fly, and a context-sensitive face button for pulling off your cool moves and interacting with the environment. The camera actually doesn’t make you want to end your life this time around, and it can even be repositioned behind Dante in certain rooms. Movement will cause a few headaches, however. It follows the same pattern as Metal Gear Solid 2; you’ll continue to move in whatever direction you were moving in before the camera shifted controls as always, but since the camera shifts so frequently you often find yourself disoriented and bouncing between screens.

On the technical side of things, DMC3 looks as wonderful as it plays (you know, for a PS2 game). Character models are large, detailed, and full of personality. The palette is kept on the colorful side of gothic. Environments are diverse and eye-catching. Animations are fluid and stylish. Frame rate isn’t so hot at times – it can drop pretty low whenever there are a lot of enemies on screen and a large number of particle effects, but those instances are rare and never affect the gameplay.

The sound effects are sharp and sure to impress in Dolby Digital Pro Logic II and the soundtrack is surprisingly good. It has some pretty decent metal, nothing spectacular, but great background fare that’s sure to get the blood pumping, and the typical ambient/orchestral stuff is solid as well. The voice acting is pretty terrible, but what do you expect from Capcom? This is the company that brought you the “Master of Unlocking” and that oh-so memorable Auto Modellista announcer.

But again, who cares if this area’s a bit lacking, when you’ve got gameplay this good?

 

One of the better things about DMC3 is it’s loaded with replay value. Multiple difficulty modes, art galleries, unlockable customs, and the like give you plenty of incentive to continue playing. Plus, the game is just damn fun! You’ll run through levels time after time just to perfect your game and enjoy the thrill of unleashing massive combos on rooms full of baddies. But that’ll only happen after you beat the level for the FIRST TIME, which will probably take you days and days to do.

It’s no lie that the second level, on normal, can take a few dozen attempts to finally clear, and it just gets harder after that. This game is hard, and that’s on NORMAL. Dante Must Die mode really IS enough to make the Devil himself cry, and let’s not even bring up Heaven or Hell mode. This game makes Ninja Gaiden look inviting! Of course, finishing such a difficult game (or heck, merely completing a level without wussing out on the Easy mode) fills one with such a sense of accomplishment it nearly makes the punishment worthwhile, as long as one doesn’t reach one’s breaking-point before then.

HIGHS:

  • Great visuals and presentation.
  • Rocking soundtrack.
  • Unlockables promote replayability.
  • Gameplay is as fun as all hell.
  • Yes! Capcom made it safe to love this franchise again!

LOWS:

  • Hard. As. HELL!
  • Slow-down is common during high-intensity battles.
  • As usual, the voice acting, story, and translations leave a lot to be desired.

FINAL VERDICT:

If you’ve got the metal to bore through this tower of punishment, Devil May Cry 3: Dante’s Awakening will satisfy your desire for action gaming like few titles can.

Overall Score: 9.0

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