J. Michael Neal
|# Of Players:
||Memory Card, Dolby Pro Logic II
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
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.
Great visuals and presentation.
Unlockables promote replayability.
Gameplay is as fun as all hell.
Yes! Capcom made it safe to love this franchise again!
Hard. As. HELL!
Slow-down is common during high-intensity battles.
As usual, the voice acting, story, and translations leave a lot to
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.