Devil May Cry 3: Dante's Awakening - Special Edition ReviewGreg Knoll
Everyone said it was over
Devil May Cry was brilliant. A sequel was imminent. However, when it finally surfaced it crashed and burned harder than Kelsey Grammer in his Dodge Viper, dragging Capcom's name through the dirt and inducing rumors that the company had struck only a one hit wonder with the previous game and that the Devil's reign had ended before it had even began. Everyone said it was over. Then, amidst incredible scrutiny, Capcom announced a third installment for the series and promoters turned their head. But like a sick, demented Phoenix rising from the ashes of its predecessor, Dante's Awakening seared the critics words and blistered the fingers of gamers all around the world, proving at least for now, the Devil is still king.
Everyone said it was too hard
I make no argument that Dante's Awakening, on any given day, kicked my ass. It wasn't, however, a Tekken 5 ass whooping-one where the final boss has an ultra powerful, impossible to dodge attack that would kill you in one hit. Devil may cry's enjoyment comes from actually turning you into a better gamer. The losses (or victory's) in Dante's Awakening were by the skin of my teeth. I found myself playing it over and over, even after a loss, to revamp my strategy and give one more go around to an insanely tough boss. Cursing when I rolled left instead of right, screaming when I got caught off guard and feeling vengeance and humility swell in my blood when I looked at my enemies life bar almost completely down before I died.
Dante's Awakening struck within me a sense of pride and determination. The battles themselves are so close, so frenzied that you can't help but get into it, and even if you lose it's not a completely one-sided loss and you find yourself, time after time, hitting continue just because "you almost had him." Very few games have ever caused me to foolishly move my entire body, few games have torn up my hands and even less were worthy enough of me pushing through the pain just to keep playing. Awakening was one of these. It was a knock out, drag down, blood on my face fight that I refused to let end until I was the only one standing. It may have kicked my ass a good many times, but I proudly took a few down with me.
I thought it would be too complicated
When I heard that Awakening provided you with several different styles to choose from, I thought it unnecessary. "Great" I told myself "Why not just put a bunch of jewels on Lacey Chabert if you want to distract from something already gorgeous". The further I got into the game, though, I realized how important those styles were. Strategy plays a huge role this time around and each boss has his own weaknesses and strengths. "Do I push forward and drive my sword into the huge dog's gut, or should I pull back and give it a shotgun blast in the face? Do I roll under the belly of the worm and pump it full of lead or jump on its back and hack away like a neurotic lumberjack?" I asked myself the same thing going into every battle and found that each style permitted me to do different things, ere go giving me the advantage.
The Trickster style allowed me to get in quick, jab the enemy a few times and dash out before I got smacked. The Gunslinger style allowed me to perch safely and pick at the enemy with each gun provided, all the while looking cool as I blasted enemies over the shoulder and behind my back with one hand. There's a few others that I'll let you discover for yourself, but if you're patient enough and you are willing to spend the time building them up you'll find out that Dante has more moves than a veteran stripper and he makes it look just as good.
I though it wouldn't be stylish
I was really put off, at first, by Dante's punk kid attitude. Spouting out cheesy one-liners like he just stepped out of a bad B-movie made him a bit obnoxious but I discovered that Dante still has style-when he keeps his mouth shut. The cut-scenes where he finds a new weapon were some of the coolest scenes in the game. He would sling two blades around like a circus act, whip three part nun chucks about his body like a kung fu expert and slash and play the sickle/guitar like a grim reaping rock star. He was still the be all, end all bad ass I knew from the first part, only with several stupid catch phrases and a cheeky attitude.
But even those I came to find amusing. Dante would shout out "Let's rock" (yawn) and try to start the jukebox before he charged into battle. I found it irritating, then amusing when he pressed the button and nothing happened, finally getting so irritated he bashes the thing. I rolled my eyes and labeled him a show-off when he leapt from the tower and started swinging his sword and flipping through the air with no other purpose than to be a show off. Then, again, I laughed as Dante, too busy being egotistical, failed to notice the huge demon Leviathan swallowing him whole. Even his motorcycle felt his wraith after he swung it around like a newly found weapon, shoving it left and right, bashing demon after demon only to have it blow up behind his back from all the damage. Most of these antics aren't something I thought I would ever see in a DMC game, however they do help to water down his attitude-which could have turned out to be very, very bad.
He moves that way, because I move that way
If you fail at Dante's awakening, only blame yourself. No more of that whiny "the controls suck" excuse because it's not true here. They're tighter than a fat man in a water slide and more responsive than the steering wheel on a Mitsubishi Eclipse. The analog seems almost molded to your finger as you twist and turn Dante and each button is spot on, providing you with not a second of delay as you mash it endlessly to spit bullets or swing steel. Each move can be pulled off with flawless precision and split second timing, allowing you to furiously flick your fingers and the controller to respond without missing a beat.
I'll admit it isn't flawless
For a Playstation 2 game, I was a bit disappointed in the way this one looked and sounded. Some of the environments are sickly grotesque or ominously daunting, a good many of the bosses have an original look but almost all of the cut-scenes lack polish. They're actually no better than the in game graphics, which sad to say fall a bit flat from what I've seen lately. One of the only females in the game looks like she should be barking, Vergil's sidekick looks like an extra from a low budget horror film and most of the enemies look like props rather than fearsome creatures. It is still as smooth and attractive as the first Devil May Cry, but that was years ago-they could have stepped it up a little.
And while I appreciate-really appreciate-them playing sick metal tunes while I'm in the middle of a fight. I would have liked it even better if they could have bought the rights for more than one song, or at least some that sounded different. And if they could only afford one song, they could also seem to afford only one voice actor for the bosses. Aside from Vergil and batgirl, each boss had the same tone, the same voice and the same growl. What? I'm sorry. I had you on mute.
But I finally got myself a decent brawl
If you want a fight, you'll get a fight. I went into this game, like everyone else, thinking that Devil May Cry had lost its edge. After playing it, I discovered that saying such things is like calling a sexy dominatrix cheap. Devil May Cry beat me up, smacked me around and all the while had me begging for more. This game is brutally stylish, entertainingly difficult and sickeningly entertaining. Capcom, if you're reading this allow at least one critic to be humble. I bow down, to the king.
Disclosure: We are provided copies of games from the game companies for some games that we review.
May I have the strength to lead with compassion. May I have a resolve strong enough to inspire it in others. May my heart be true, my motives virtuous, my spirit valiant. And whether I fail or succeed, may I at least be brave in the attempt.
About the Author: Greg Knoll
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