Devil May Cry 3 PS2 Review

Dante is back for the third time in Capcom’s attempt to recapture that core fan base that although loved the first game, loathed the second. Whilst not a bad game, it wasn’t the sequel fans were hoping for, so does DMC3 live up to the original? Well fear not fans, your prayers have been answered, Dante is back on to true ass-kicking demon slaying form that will have you hooked from the word go.

Set before the first title DMC3 takes us back into the past before Dante could transform into a demon, and answers a few questions about Dante and his history. To put this much story into a game that’s main function is to kick ass and make it look good is a brave move that is superbly executed. Catering for both action whores and story lovers, the cut scenes (which appear before and after each mission) feature a healthy mix of story and beyond fantastic action.

Graphics

Whilst not the best the PS2 has to offer, it is a very nice looking game, the amount of enemies on screen combined with the amount of special effects that go on every two seconds and the game doesn’t let up one bit. The action is fast paced and hard hitting and it looks it. The character models can look a bit rough around the edges but in some ways it actually aids them in looking less than normal and helps to emphasise that you are alone with no one to help you (I’m going straight to prison). The settings however are truly epic, from the destroyed city to the depths of the Temen-ni-gru tower and beyond. It’s one hell of a surreal experience that helps suck you in to Dante’s demonic world with some good looking locales and location.

Gameplay

Okay, this is what all the Devil May Cry fans are after and you don’t have to worry one bit, this game plays like a dream. You get a large number of weaponry and styles to mix and match creating one hell of an explosive cocktail. You can carry two guns and two weapons at once so that’s four weapons that you can easily switch between by clicking L2 and R2. You start off on the Trickster style, a fast moving acrobatic style that’s rather handy when fighting faster enemies. Also available from the start is Swordmaster, a style that essentially provides you with another attack button giving you two sets of combos for the two weapons you carry. Very handy for those who like to get up close to their opponents.

Gunslinger is essentially Swordmaster for guns, great for those who would prefer to keep their distance against some enemies. The most unique of these would be Royal Guard which relies on you blocking attacks absorbing the energy and expelling it back at your enemy. It sounds just as complicated as it is but it’s there for anyone who likes the sound of having a block button. Later on you will earn two more styles, Quicksilver and Doppelganger. Quicksilver allows you to slow down all your enemies and run around freely for as long as your magic meter will allow and Doppelganger brings your demonic shadow in for assistance (again until your magic meter runs out).

After you’ve earned it the Devil Trigger will allow you to increase your speed and strength whilst also regenerating your health. It does sap at your magic meter so use it wisely, luckily all you have to do to refill the magic meter is fight, and it will slowly increase. Enemies will occasionally drop orbs to rejuvenate your magic and health amongst the red orbs used as currency to buy new moves and style upgrades. Combinations are easy to do but linking a successful chain that will cause your style meter to rise is something that will take a while to get used to. It sounds like a hindrance but it actually adds a healthy level of depth to what could be seen as shallow combat.

Let us make no mistake, this game is hard, it will throw all it can at you and then some. The more times you buy an item its price will increase making them harder to buy (mean isn’t it?). So don’t be disheartened when you’ve died a few times and the game insults you with “Congratulations, you’ve unlocked easy mode”, just take it in your stride knowing that everyone has unlocked easy mode their first time through. The only criticism is that it isn’t very stimulating for the old grey matter and can be a case of “take item A to point B, kill monsters on the way” but what it lacks in puzzles it makes up for with a beautiful montage of over the top fighting.

Sound

Nice voiceovers allow you to believe in the characters you encounter (even the demons) and the occasional witty quip from Dante really adds to the overall experience. Some great background music that really doesn’t try to stand out from the on screen action culminates in some great moments where you pull off a doozey of a combo to some eerie death metal and makes you sit back and appreciate the experience as a whole. The audio here really compliments the game as opposed to trying to standout as an individual feature.

Conclusion

Overall it’s one hell of an experience that is definitely one of the key titles of this generation. A perfect example of how PS2 hardware can be used, providing tight controls, great graphics and good audio. It’s all you could want from a game that demonstrates a good ass kicking. Add in some extra difficulty levels with some bonus mini-games and a plethora of hidden extras and you’ve got some great replay value. This is all aided by some fantastic over the top cutscences that not even John Woo could think up. If you’re a fan of the DMC series or are just after a good action game you’ve no better starting point than this. As it’s a prequel, if you enjoy it you can go on to play the first and second and still be pleasantly surprised. I know I will.

9.3 out of 10

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