Played on: Playstation 2
This is the first time I’m playing a Devil May Cry game and I must say that I am very impressed with this game. Be warned though, this game is insanely addictive and you should make sure that you either have the willpower to stop playing in order to eat or sleep or you should call in sick for three days in advance before you play the game (and ask a friend or family member to check up on you on the fourth day in case you still couldn’t pry yourself away from the Playstation).
The main and only playable character is Dante, a half-vampiric demon slayer whose twin brother Vergil has decided to open some demonic gateway to hell and unleash terrible, terrible things into the world. It is naturally up to Dante to carve and blast his way through catacombs and tunnels filled with all kinds of monsters to get to and stop Vergil and his accomplice Arkham. Also trying to destroy Vergil is a female gun-totting rocket-blasting demon slayer simply called Lady. Not to spoil anything too much, let me just say that Lady is Arkham’s daughter and she wants to destroy the evil Vergil whom she believes is corrupting and destroying her family. She aids and sometimes gets in the way of Dante, although their banters in the cutscenes are thankfully quite witty (for a Japanese-made game, that is) rather than corny. Some of the cutscenes, by the way, are superb and simply fabulous, such as one where Dante and Lady polish off a bunch of monsters with style before Dante rather unsportingly leaves Lady to finish them off while he goes after more challenging monsters, or the scene where Vergil, Lady, and Dante realize that not everything is what it seems to be at first in a climatic confrontation in the middle of the game. I have to love the fact that every character here, including Lady, can kick ass with style.
But those are the cutscenes. Let’s talk about the game. I don’t know why these people don’t dress up in armors and carry loads of crucifixes or what-not since they are going to kill monsters from hell; instead, Dante just wears a red leather jacket over his bare torso along with a pair of tight jeans and Lady dresses like she’s a schoolgirl from that movie Battle Royale. There are more then twenty stages in this stage and Dante must clear all of them to finish the game. There are also secret mission stages among these stages to gain the all-important blue gems that can replenish Dante’s life bar. At the end of every stage is a boss that will do all kinds of nasty things to Dante. But to meet the boss, Dante needs to figure out which way to turn, what trigger to pull, and other things where a walkthrough FAQ from gamefaqs.com would come in handy. Yeah, I used a walkthrough to navigate myself through the catacombs and tunnels, sue me. I don’t want to spend a week of sleepless nights trying to solve this game after all!
What makes this game great is how Dante can switch attack styles between Swordmaster (using a melee weapon like swords and nunchakus) and Gunsmith (abusing all sorts of firearms). There are also other modes of gameplay, like Royal Guard (which relies on blocking and counterattacking) and Trickster (which emphasizes dodging and sneak attacks). I understand that Royal Guard is one of the most powerful modes of attack but personally I’d stick to a less complicated hybrid style of blasting my enemies to kingdom come with my huge, huge guns and slashing them to pieces when they come too close to me. I even have an electric guitar that can do all sorts of nasty things to those monsters! Dizzying combos can be done involving switches of weapons and I can’t do even a quarter of them yet. This game comes with some combo clips, however, that have me in awe. Those people playing Dante in those clips are insane, I tell you, as they do all sorts of wicked combos on the enemy. Maybe awesome gameplay is some genetic trait found mostly among the Japanese.
The level of difficulty of the game can be adjusted between Easy, Medium, and Hard, although the Easy mode by itself is already quite tough to play. However, Dante can pull off more combos and attack faster in modes of harder difficulty – to experience the game in its full potential, I have to play at at least medium difficulty. Adding to the depths of the game are unique weapons each with their uses and disadvantages. The electric guitar by the way is really too cool for words and Dante turns into a crazy dude when he’s using it, heh.
One major flaw of this game though is the bosses’ pattern which is too obvious. The naked banshee Nevan – heaven knows why there is an opera house in the middle of a cavernous labyrinth, which is where she can be found – for example will utter a specific phrase before she launches into each of her attacks. If she gets “Get ready!” she will then spin around without fail. This means that fighting against the boss always inadvertently lead to “pattern gameplay”, where I have to stay alert and perform the counter attack to the boss’ attack again and again. There is no freedom to do anything else but to counter the boss and hope that Dante can somehow survive the attack. Many of the bosses are super-cheesy with their devastating attacks. Nevan is particularly annoying because it took me three hours of screaming at the TV and trying not to throw the Playstation out the window before I realize that I can’t just shoot at her (she receives no damage from gunshots), I must instead send Dante rushing up to her and slashing her in order to inflict a miniscule amount of damage on her each time she takes a predetermined break in between her patterned attacks.
Dante looks too much like those girly-boy types that Asian, particularly Japanese, love in their action heroes but he has enough attitude to qualify as an appealing lead character in this hack-and-slash quasi-RPG game. The storyline is pretty decent for a game of this genre and the Japanese creators’ idea of banters and wisecracks, American-style, aren’t too embarrassingly corny. The animation is fluid and the graphics are superb. Gameplay is horribly difficult and addictive at the same time. All in all, Devil May Cry 3: Dante’s Awakening is brainless fun at its finest.
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