PS2 REVIEW: DEVIL MAY CRY 3: DANTE'S AWAKENING

Devil May Cry 3: Dantes's Awakening should come with a warning. It's a very difficult game and far beyond the skill level of the casual gamer. Those hardcore gamers and DMC fans looking for an incredible challenge will be rewarded beyond their expectations. I expect a lot of purchases will be made simply on word of mouth but I also predict their will be a lot of returns because some players just won't be able to handle it.

There's no shame in getting your ass kicked by a game. It happens to me all the time. As a professional reviewer you learn certain tricks from encountering similar situations in past games. There's really nothing new, it's all just variations. Attack patterns of bosses are a good example. While each one may be different it's still a pattern and once you memorize it you can take the appropriate actions to defeat it. In DMC3 for instance, there can be up to four different attack patterns that switch randomly. It's like being a card counter in Vegas going up against 25 decks which are reshuffled after each hand. That's a tough break let me tell you.

There are five difficulty settings. Even the lowest one is a hard. There is no time to get up to speed. You are thrust into the action immediately, following a great introductory cutscene. There is no training mode. If you're a novice gamer you can expect to hit a brick wall right off the bat (no pun intended). The gameplay incorporates a heavy mix of combat, puzzles, strategy and exploration. The attack moves alone are enough to give the SNK series a run for its money. There are four different combat styles that you can choose from which adds more dimension if you combine them or more replay value if you use them individually to replay the entire game. All of the commands are responsive and tight. The animation is excellent and the sounds are state-of-the-art. Without sounding too maudlin, DMC 3: Dante's Awakening is a PS2 flagship game.

Dante is the hero. He's half man, half demon. His father, Sparda, once successfully fought the demons to save mankind. Along with Dante, Sparda produced another son, Vergil, who sides with the demons. The storyline in this three-quel is actually a pre-quell. It explains the early relationship between the brothers and explores the depth of their convictions, both good and evil before the events of the previous two games.

Dante has four fighting styles available to him at the outset. They include Trickster, Royal Guard, Swordmaster and Gunslinger. Choosing the Swordmaster will give you great skills in melee combat while the Gunslinger style is great for ranged combat. Royal Guard lets you take care of matters hand-to-hand while the Trickster allows you to pull off some great acrobatic stunts while constantly jumping around avoiding hits and striking only when you have a clear shot. You can combine these fighting styles for a deeper playing experience but it does get a little complicated keeping track of the control scheme.

Weapons include a variety of guns and other instruments including a charged guitar which takes the category of "instruments" literally. There are five different guns including pistols and shotguns as well as an assortment of knives, swords, nunchucks and devil arms. You can switch weapons in the blink of an eye. By pressing either the L2 or R2 button you can even switch in mid combo. This manages to keep the action flowing as long as you can coordinate your button mashing.

This time the camera can be moved manually. This takes care of most of those off-screen enemies that attack you before you can see them. It will also focus, or zoom in, automatically when you want to view enemies in the distance. There are areas where the camera can't be moved at all and that does feel a little frustrating when you're locked into an area.

A highlight of the game is the cutscenes. They are all incredibly well produced and set the tone for the game which is all at once surreal, horrific, funny and intense. Watching Dante casually eating a slice of pizza while he takes on demons with a pool cue and pool balls is a must-see. The fighting is frenetic and fluid. The framerate is steady at 60 fps and there is only the slightest trace of slowdown. All of the environments are incredibly detailed and display various lighting shades and shadows. Dante's face registers a diverse range of emotions. His hair and clothes sway in the wind for added realism. Voiceovers are excellent, although there are times when they are drowned out by the music.

DMC 3 is loaded with action, depth and replay value - all presented with some of the best production values ever seen on the PS2. You would still be impressed if this game were released as is on the Xbox. There are secret missions to unlock as well as a host of other goodies. There's no way you're going to finish this game in a couple of days and even when you do complete it you're going to want to go back for more. That's going to require a purchase. You won't be sorry - unless you suck.

Preview by Chris

I remember the first DMC game when it first came out. The game had a few of the crew excited about third-person action games and the game certainly was well received by most of the staff. While the game may not be everyone's cup of tea, the game was outstanding in so many ways it was hard not to want to play the game. It received acclaim and praises form Vaughn and a few others on the staff. In short Capcom had a new hit, a new hero and the future was looking bright for a new sequel.

Then something went wrong as they sometimes do in the video game industry. Capcom decided to take what made the first DMC a hit and change the character and the overall game. If you look back at the reviews, Cole and Stew pointed out their disappointments and even Vaughn, who perhaps was the biggest fan of the first game, gave the sequel points for effort but pointed out it just was heading in the wrong direction. Now next month the third DMC is going to hit stores and it looks like fans of the first game just may be in store for another great game. It looks like Capcom is going to let Dante do what he does best: fire off comments and kick ass!

I could sit here and fill the preview with bad puns of what may or may not have went wrong with the second game in the series. I just do not see the point. They went in a direction that may have looked good on the storyboards but wound up messing the series up and disappointing fans. So Capcom has gone back to the roots of the first game and instead of just a rehashing it, they are adding some new things in a way that makes a whole lot more sense than the second game. In many ways this will be the true sequel or prequel to the first game. The second one would be sort of a dream that never really happened (if they could actually do that). Of course fans are waiting to see what will be added to the third game and rightfully so. Taking a look at the screen shots and the press kits it looks like Capcom is going to score big again with the third game.

Players are going to be pleased to know Dante will be the old character
that they got to enjoy the first game. Perhaps this one may even be better than the first one and that is a huge statement. The story takes place before the first game and Dante will be younger and this just may be the magic ingredient needed. He is younger, sassier and lacks the knowledge he had in the first game. This will help the story and the introduction of other family members that will aid Dante in this one.

Players can expect more wisecracks, more fighting styles as Dante learns his powers and a deeper storyline. This new angle will also give the game the advantage of explaining more of Dante character and allows players to learn some secrets never before known about him. It looks like Capcom saw the errors of their ways in the second game and went back to the well, so to speak. This one is going to be filled with a ton of action a deeper storyline and plenty of action. I have looked closely at the screenshots and they do look great. Capcom is also promising the same great controls as the first game and more added! The title has the word awakening in it and it's not just a catchy phrase. By picking a fighting style or a weapon, it awakens the power in Dante and this also allows for multiple story angles.

Now for the biggest change: you need to customize Dante before going out and kicking butt. You pick the fighting styles his weapons before you enter each level. This option alone looks like it will add a lot to the overall game. If you think the game will be any easier, forget about it. They added more combo moves and tweaked the controls because the action gets intense quickly. The game also has some great sound effects all in Dolby 5.1 surround sound. While the game seems to stay close to the first game, this one looks to have plenty of new things added. Gamers can also expect a hard time getting the "S" rankings in each level. It looks like players are in for a great battle within hell and can expect some big surprises. For those who where disappointed with the last DMC, Capcom is about to deliver a great one,
I think. Take a look at the game features, the story and plenty of great screenshots of our hero Dante.

Press:

Devil May Cry 3 reintroduces the mysterious hero Dante in a riveting new game marked by complex storylines, striking graphics and unadulterated stylistic action.

Devil May Cry 3 preserves the fast-paced action that has made the series so popular. In addition to its strong roots, the game increases the intensity of gameplay with a new "style" system, which adds an additional level of depth. Depending on preference, players can choose to use short-range, long-range, defensive or evasive play styles. Each system has its own range of gameplay features and players can choose to power up their favorite style for increased special attack abilities. The range of options available in Devil May Cry 3 immerses players in a non-stop, thrilling escapade.

Story:

Several thousand years have passed since the demon warrior Sparda raised his sword against the unholy world to save the human race. Victorious and assured that evil forces had been confined, Sparda joined mankind and fathered Dante, a half human-half demon son infused with the power of a supernatural lineage. However, Dante was not the only son Sparda had sired. As devoted as Dante was to defeating the forces of evil, his twin brother, Virgil, was consumed by power and upheld the legacy of his sinister ancestors. One moonlit night, a mysterious tower materialized beside Dante's "Devil May Cry" investigative agency. On the rooftop stood his brother along with his inhuman minions goading Dante into a confrontation.

Devil May Cry 3 unfolds an earlier chapter in Dante's history, before the original Devil May Cry, to the fateful clash between Sparda's twin sons, divided by the divergence of their chosen paths. Along the way, Dante encounters formidable foes and unusual characters including a mysterious man named Arkham and a female hunter named Lady whose mission is to take down all demons, including Dante. These precursory events disclose the complex roots of Dante's character and reveal insight into his clouded past.

Features:

  • · Unrelenting, hard-core gothic action
  • Fresh new character design - Dante appears younger, but still has his stylish swagger and rock star good looks
  • Huge arsenal of weapons - Handguns, powerful shotguns, tricked out guitars and much more
  • Combo system - Equip Dante with up to four different weapons that can be swapped at anytime, allowing the freedom to develop a range of fighting moves and combinations
  • Customize Dante's fighting style - Evasive style which allows Dante to deftly dodge enemy attacks with speed and finesse. Close-range specialty maximizes the impact of up close attacks with the blade. Long-range style that lets Dante blow away enemies with his fire arms. Counter attack and guard expertise against strong enemy power
    ·Enhanced graphics - Fully textured rich backgrounds utilizing 3D polygons as well as real time rendering for in game cut scenes and intro movie
  • Multitude of demonic enemies - More ferocious than ever before with powerful weapons, the ability to transform and fly and other challenging surprises
  • Obtain orbs throughout the game to purchase new weapons, fighting techniques, increase strength and more
  • Dolby Digital and Dolby Pro Logic II support
  • Hidden weapons, items, characters, difficulty levels and more
Click For Media
System: PS2
Dev: Capcom
Pub: Capcom
Released: March 2005
Players: 1
Review by Stew XX
RATING (OUT OF 5)
OVERALL
4.5
GRAPHICS
5.0
CONTROL
4.5
MUSIC/FX
4.5
VALUE
4.0