Devil May Cry 3: Special Edition - Review

As many may know, Devil May Cry is a popular series created by Capcom, and it's main character Dante has become iconic in the video game industry. The original game's unique "devil may care" attitude helped it stand out from other games in the same genre, and fans quickly fell in love with it. However, after the release of the first game, the DMC series sadly took a sharp turn. Devil May Cry 2 was handed off to another team, and they were told to recreate what DMC1 had done before it. So they did... Sorta...

Although DMC2 was still an action game, it was much easier than the original, and it stripped away much of the game's personality. While DMC1 featured a Dante who cracked jokes and really didn't care what happened to him, DMC2 went down the serious route. This didn't go over well with fans, and the future of the series was put into question by many. That is until DMC3 came around.

Devil May Cry 3 is "the" DMC title that most fans will recommend others to play. It's the game that returns to the roots of the original game, while also expanding on everything that came before it. It's the game where Dante's personality really shines, and it's also one of the more challenging titles out there. Of course this did cause some backlash from fans, as the US release's normal mode was actually the Japanese version's hard mode, but thankfully this was fixed in the Special Edition release. But putting that aside... Just how is the game? It's considered to be one of the best action games out there, but is it a game you should check out for yourself? Maybe? Who knows! Let's find out if this one is a bust, or a jackpot.

The Story:

Unlike the previous entry in the series which was a sequel to 1, DMC3 is a prequel. Taking place even before Dante opened his Devil May Cry detective agency, the game focuses on Dante and his rivalry with his brother.

In the distant past a demon by the name of Sparda turned against others of his kind, and became a hero of justice. He fought back against the of the demon world, and then sealed it off from the human world as well. Because of this act Sparda would go down in history, and tales of the evil power located in the demon world would be passed on for generations. Sure, not everyone believed the stories they heard, but there were others who did...

Being the sons of Sparda, both Dante and his brother Vergil were not like other humans. They gained super human powers from their father, and neither of the two see eye to eye. While they were closer as kids, the two quickly become rivals, and eventually things take a turn for the worst. While Dante works on setting up his demon fighting detective agency, Vergil seeks the power of the demon world. This goal of his is what eventually sets the events of DMC3 into motion, and what brings Dante to face him once again.

While the original DMC featured a Dante who would sometimes make wise cracks, DMC3 is the first time we really see Dante's characterization brought to life. Rather than being angry at the demons who try to kill him, he does what he can to have fun with the situation. Jumping off of buildings, using the ends of weapons that have impaled him, using a motorcycle as a sword, eating pizza DURING a fight, you name it! Dante doesn't care, and nearly everything he does is over the top. And that's just one part of the game's charm. Of course Dante isn't the only character in the story. A girl Dante calls "Lady" has also shown up for the party, but her motives are unknown to him. The only thing that is certain is that she is almost as crazy as he is.

The Gameplay:

Like the previous games before it, Devil May Cry 3 is an action adventure game. Although the game is split into missions that act as chapters, it takes a page out of Resident Evil's book and has a nearly fully connected world. Most areas have fixed camera angles, and those from previous chapters can be accessed at almost any time, and often you have to back track through these older areas to achieve your new goal. Sometimes you'll come across a room you cannot access until you've found the correct key or item, and other times you'll have to solve a puzzle if you want to progress. This is where the exploration aspect of DMC3 come into play, as most of the time the game will not tell you where you need to be. On top of that there are also hidden "Secret Missions" for you to find, which will lead you to new areas with specific goals you need to complete. They are a nice distraction from the main story, and they reward you with upgrades if you complete them. Of course all of this is only a small part of what DMC3 really is.

Although the exploration is nice, the real main focus in DMC is none other than it's combat. This time around Dante as a bit more customization than in previous entries. Just as before he starts out with his long sword and twin hand guns (which have unlimited ammo), but he has new style options as well. These styles give Dante new moves and abilities, and they become stronger as you use them. For example the Trickster style allows Dante to quickly dash to dodge enemy attacks, but when it levels up it eventually gives him the ability to warp in front of the enemy he has targeted. Meanwhile styles like the Doppelganger allow you to create a clone of yourself to help in combat, and the Gunslinger increases the effectiveness of ranged weapons. Each of these styles have their own use, and by switching between them you can change up your play style to keep things fresh. This also gives you a reason to use the built in chapter select to replay previous areas, or possibly even try the harder difficulties.

Outside of styles, the rest of the combat has gone mostly unchanged. Dante can freely switch between his melee attacks and range attacks by simply pressing the designated button (triangle for melee, square for ranged), and the two types of attacks can be mixed together to create all kinds of combos. Depending on what directly you're pushing the analog stick, if you're locked onto an enemy or not, and when you press the attack buttons, Dante will preform different attacks, and these attacks can be chained together. As you pull off these different attacks the game will grade you on your combos, and pulling off longer ones (without repeating too many of the same attacks) will give you a better score at the end of each mission. Higher scores will give you more currency to buy items and upgrades, and that will in return help you progress through the game. Although the Special Edition of DMC3 is easier than the original release, it is still a challenge.

Besides your standard sword and guns, Dante does unlock multiple weapon types during his adventure. One of the earlier weapons he unlocks is a set of dual swords, and a shotgun. These weapons are more useful in different combat situations, and can be swapped in and out whenever they are needed. Dante can hold up to two melee and two ranged weapons at a time, but others can be equip by visiting the statues located throughout the game's map. These statues are also where you can buy items and upgrade Dante's abilities, and are often found near extra puzzles that require specific conditions to clear. In other words, even if you didn't bring the correct weapon with you in a stage, it's no big deal to just stop by and equip it.

On top of having different weapons and styles to use, DMC3 SE also has a second playable character to unlock. Vergil is usable once you complete the game, and he offers a new challenge all his own. While he doesn't have an actual story (as he simply replaces Dante), he has a complete new move set and play style. His gameplay mode is also more challenging than the main game, so it gives players a new way to push themselves. There is also a "Bloody Palace" mode to fight your way through, but it's something only the most hard core players should attempt.

The Good and the Bad:

Devil May Cry 3: Special Edition really is a fun game, and a huge upgrade over the previous entries in the series. While the main tower might not be as interesting of a location as the castle from DMC1, the gameplay itself more than makes up for it. Dante feels great to control, the style system gives you a reason to experiment, and the weapon selection is sure to have something for everyone. The story is fun and entertaining, it's filled with unique characters, and you never know what Dante will do next. The game makes you want to keep going, and no one part ever feels like it drags on too long. Although there are moments you may get confused on where to go, being lost often leads you to discover worth wild secrets, and you'll never feel like you've wasted your time. The combat itself is also spot on, and the second playable character gives you even more of a reason to return even after the credits roll. However, that doesn't mean the game is for everyone.

There's no denying that DMC3 is an older game, and some parts of it might be challenging for others to overcome. The fixed camera angles can still sometimes cause you to get hit by enemies off screen, the dodge roll takes some time to get used to, and the game IS a challenge. Thankfully the Special Edition adds in some options to help with that (such as an easy mode), but if you're not willing to learn to get better, then a lot of the game's enjoyment will be taken away. Even so, DMC3 is still a great game, and it's one that action game fans should really give a chance. It's really no wonder why fans of the series like it so much.

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