It's been two years since the lackluster Devil May Cry 2 came out to mixed feelings amongst fans, and now, the highly anticipated prequel has arrived; Devil May Cry 3: Dante's Awakening. The original set the bar for the action/adventure genre, boasting unbelievable graphics, addictive hack/slash/shoot game play and mind numbing sets of combos; for lovers of the first and second game, this instalment doesn't disappoint in the slightest.
DMC 3 starts with a cut scene showing Dante in his newly opened demon hunting business. Moments after he sits down, a strange man walks into the shop, proposing a challenge from Dante's evil twin brother, Vergil. The story line isn't the most involving out there but proves to be sufficient, for a game of this nature, and is also a lot more in depth than the previous games. This time around, Dante is younger, cockier and funnier, which is very entertaining through some of the game's cut scenes.
Taking the best puzzles and action from both its predecessors, mixing them up to make some crazy survival action, this game creates an awesome gothic atmosphere which both astounds and amazes. There are a variety of monsters to fight throughout the game, ranging from grim reaper-esque fiends to weird four legged mutants that shoot plasma-like projectiles. The bosses also range from huge demons, to a horse and chariot, and you even get to fight Dante's evil brother a couple of times. The boss battles are really hard and may get a lot of players frustrated but, the bosses are so well designed that most gamers will look past it and carry on playing.
The battles are brutal, forcing you to think on the move as you try and account for all the enemies in your area performing some of the game's kick ass combos. In this installment, Dante can carry two short and long range weapons and even switch between them during battle; this can demonstrate some really useful fighting techniques as switching from one sword to another can open up a whole new sequence of attacks. This time around, Dante has a whole new range of swords and guns; such as, ice nun chucks, a devil gun, a rocket launcher, demon gauntlets and even a vampire possessed guitar that summons bats!
Too say that DMC 3 is difficult would be an understatement. The game's default difficulty is too much for most people. When I say it is unrealistically hard, you better believe me; this game is definitely not for those with a very low patience. After dying a couple of times you are given the choice to play on easy mode, which I really recommend to anyone who hasn't previously played the games, or to anyone who doesn't have the patience to play through a really hard game. That said, if you do submit to easy mode, you'll be missing out on a treat.
The fighting system utilizes four "styles" (there are also two unlock able through the story). These are: Trickster, the default style which uses evasive actions such as wall running and dashing; Sword Master, this style uses several different aggressive sword moves; Gun Slinger, the use of guns to hit multiple enemies or to charge gun attacks; Royal Guard, the use of counter attacks. To obtain better moves for each style, you have to level up through simply using it (you can only use one style at a time which is chosen at the beginning of a mission), and if you perform decent combos and moves, moving the style meter to Alright! or Sweet! you will gain a lot more red orbs. These orbs are what you will use to purchase upgrades. Exploring the different styles and fiddling around with each one is the best and easiest way to find the style that suits you best.
The graphics in DMC 3 are perhaps some of the best on any console at the moment, and while they aren't perfect, they sure as hell look very good. Both the cut scenes and in game graphics look superb, with dark, dingy rooms and dungeons that are indicative of what survival horror games should look like. Dante looks better than ever and the non-playable characters look just as good. All these pieces fit together to create a gorgeous gothic image, the likes of which has never been seen. The camera works well, tracking your movement from a stationary position most of the time, however, when the camera is free to control it can sometimes get awkward, as you have to fiddle with the right analog stick to get in the right position, which isn't always as fluid as it could be.
The soundtrack has a rock feel, mixed with a bit of techno, making simple and effective melodies that work well within the game‘s atmosphere. Having said that, it seems like they have used the same three tunes over and over, making the music boring and redundant after awhile. This can be ignored to a certain extent but it does get annoying after a few hours. The voice acting has improved since the last game, with a lot more dialogue and a much better voice for Dante, even if it isn't as cool as his voice from the first game.
Altogether the game is best summed up as a crazy mix of the first two Devil May Cry titles, with a bit of innovation and a more upbeat Dante. The action is flawless, which is all that is really important in a game like Devil May Cry 3. With a host of unlockables, it will keep the average gamer 10-15 hours to complete, but for us purists, there is new difficulty level to unlock and more gameplay that will keep you playing for a long time. Devil May Cry 3 is a game that all fans of this genre should own, especially if you enjoyed either of the previous games – just be prepared for an extremely difficult journey.