Devil May Cry 3: Dante's Awakening Special Edition
Game Info
Playstation 2
Official Website
ESRB Rating
Blood, Suggestive Themes, Violence
The Good

• Intense and challenging action
• Graphics are top notch
• Audio portion is pretty solid
• Bloody Palace and Vergil modes
• Rebalanced difficulty

The Bad

• Some bad camera angles
• Vergil mode is not all that great


Because the second Devil May Cry wasn't well received, it seems that Capcom needed to give the series a fresh restart. In Devil May Cry 3, we're given insight to the early days of devil hunter, Dante. Before his shop is even open, he's attacked by the demon forces summoned when his twin brother, Vergil, and a human by the name of Arkham raise a demon tower in the center of the city. As the story goes, the demon Sparda closed the door between the human and demon realms. After taking a human wife, he fathered twin boys. In Devil May Cry 3, Sparda's sons come into direct conflict as Vergil wants to reopen the door to the demon world and Dante is, well, just spoiling for a fight.

The action in DMC3 is pure, intense stylish action. Split into twenty main missions (and more than a few secret missions), the player controls Dante, who comes equipped with both melee and his trademark dual handguns, Ebony and Ivory. While the X Button performs jumps for a lot of environmental platforming, the Triangle Button performs melee attacks and the Square Button shoots the equipped gun. The L2 and R2 buttons can be used to quick swap equipped weapons (you can only quick equip two of each at a time and only at the Customize menu). This is useful in stringing together combo moves with different weapons without having to go into the menu. The R1 button autotargets and the L3 button switches the target.

When you finally gain access to Dante's Devil Trigger mode, switch into it with L1. Of course, you need to have at least three parts to your Devil Trigger Gauge to initiate this. During Devil Trigger, you move faster, attack harder and even slowly regenerate health. Also, this mode has special moves that can be learned.

Speaking of special moves, Dante has access to multiple play styles that can be leveled up through combat. Initially, you have access to Trickster, good for dodging, Swordmaster, Gunslinger and Royal Guard, where you can block enemy attacks. To perform style specific moves, hit the Circle button. As you level up each style, you can select special moves that the Circle button will pull off. On top of this, killing enemies will earn you red orbs, which can be spent on learning new attacks for your weapons or to power up your guns. The melee weapon attacks are especially important as chaining these together can make surviving combat action far easy. On top of that, you get a better style rating, which goes towards the end mission score and more red orbs.

I would have to say that Capcom has really refined their gameplay in this series to the point that I have to wonder where they can go with it. All the moves he had in the first two games are more spread out so Dante doesn't feel so overpowered, but even with fewer moves available at any given time, you can still do some great moves.

So, what makes this a special edition? Bonus content includes a Bloody Palace Mode, a Turbo Mode to speed up the combat, a Very Hard Mode, a Demo Digest so you can watch all the cutscenes, and the ability to play through the game as Vergil. While this may sound like a nice addition, it just doesn't seem all that fleshed out. Rather than making a unique path for Vergil, his mode feels like the original story with the story yanked out and another character dropped in. Also, Vergil's moveset isn't nearly as deep or fun to play. Probably one of the best revisions to DMC3 is how Capcom has managed to balance the game, making the difficulty a bit more manageable.

The Devil May Cry series has always been a showcase for what the PS2 could do and DMC3 is no exception. Locations are large and exhibit a lot of fine details. Just about every location has detail and style packed into it. With the exception of a few low-res textures, each setting location is well sculpted. DMC3 features a large variety of enemies, each with a unique look, and specific animations and mannerisms. And, of course, each of the many bosses each look fantastic. On top of the core game engine is a lot of flashy visual effects that make the action feel even more intense and flashy. The realtime cutscenes are wonderfully directed and do a fine job at setting the game's tone.

One can not talk about the audio portion without talking about the soundtrack, which jumps between heavy metal and dark, gothic ambient based on the level of on-screen action. This balance works excellently, pumping up the player as the action gets going. Because Dante's swagger has returned in this prequel, the voice acting returns to the over-the-top theatrics found in the first title. Sound effects are varied and give weight to the onscreen action.

If there is one thing that DMC3 needed to fix was the fact that many areas still have a fixed camera, meaning that Dante may fall pray to attacks from behind corners or just out of sight. If Capcom could find a way to address this in DMC4, they will have polished their gemstone to a fine shine.

Devil May Cry 3: Special Edition is a fine return to the excellence of the first game. It's fun, challenging and worth the time to play and own. When considering the Special Edition, if you haven't bought DMC3, yet, go out and get the SE. If you already own the original, the Vergil and Bloody Palace modes may not be enough to warrant a repurchase.

- - Kinderfeld

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