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April 27, 2005
Devil May Cry 3: Dante's Awakening - Review
Release Date Distributor Developer Players Rating Difficulty
Save Size Sound Format Vibration 60Hz Mode 50Hz Border Widescreen
361KBDolby PLIIYesYesSmallNo

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Now that's a weapon.
Rewind to December 2001. Capcom unleash Devil May Cry in PAL territories and it makes an immediate impact with its hardcore action and wonderful visuals and audio. In April 2003 gamers were offered a sequel, Devil May Cry 2. Unfortunately the sequel was a massive disappointment. It took all the best elements of the original game, threw them out and then compressed the gameplay down into only a couple of hours. Devil May Cry 3: Dante's Awakening promised to bring glory back to the series with a promised return to everything that made the first game so great. One of the most interesting aspects of this title is that Capcom are developing a prequel in setting and story.

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Using the shotgun.
Several thousand years have passed since the demon warrior Sparda raised his sword against the unholy world to save the human race. Victorious and assured that evil forces had been confined, Sparda joined mankind and fathered Dante, a half human-half demon son infused with the power of a supernatural lineage. However, Dante was not the only son Sparda had sired. As devoted as Dante was to defeating the forces of evil, his twin brother, Virgil, was consumed by power and upheld the legacy of his sinister ancestors. One moonlit night, a mysterious tower materialized beside Dante's "Devil May Cry" investigative agency. On the rooftop stood his brother along with his inhuman minions goading Dante into a confrontation.

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It's Dante.
Upon booting the game Capcom's typical "This game contains scenes of explicit violence and gore". The next thing you see is Dante's boot heading for the screen and kicking the crap out of the slogan and breaking the camera - and in doing so sets the hardcore tone for the rest of the game. If you've played either of the previous two titles you know what to expect from this game. This is an action title through and through. Devil May Cry 3 is split up into 20 levels, with 12 bonus levels hidden around the place as well. Dante is well equipped with weapons which include handguns to shotguns, swords to a guitar!

In terms of enemies Dante will encounter many different types during the levels. Their attack patterns are different so you'll need to learn each enemies strengths and weaknesses. It's the boss fights, however, that will really elevate your heart rate. These bosses are simply monstrous, often many screens in size, and it will be a miracle if you don't die many times, or at least have to regain your strength, before defeating each one. Fortunately between each mission it's possible to enter a Customize menu where you can change Dante's attributes including attacking style and equipment, purchase items or upgrade existing ones. This is an imperative step if you want to progress deep into the game.

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Virgil and Arkham...
The biggest problem with this game is the difficulty level - much like the original Devil May Cry it's rock hard. If you're a newcomer to games, or struggled with the original, then you're probably going to have a hard time with Devil May Cry 3. The enemies are unrelenting and the gameplay frantic - but that doesn't mean it isn't fun. It is. Fortunately if you're struggling the game unlocks and Easy mode for you to play - something which I sense many of you will opt for. Being an old school gamer from an era when the only save was the high score table returning to this level of difficulty is quite refreshing. Another issue, however, is that locking onto enemies is also a bit problematic. It's not too bad when there are only one or two enemies on screen, but when your surrounded by five or more it's pretty awkward.

When development commenced on Devil May Cry 3 the developers tossed out the previous game engine and started again. It's clear that with the number of enemies on screen, character detail and superb backgrounds that this game is really pushing the PS2 to its limits. The enemies all look wonderful with the bosses deserving particular mention. They not only tower over Dante, but put many so called "monsters" in movies to shame. Why doesn't Hollywood take more notice of character design from developers like Capcom? One of my biggest issues in Devil May Cry 2 was the camera work, and once again this game isn't perfect. It's improved but still requiring too much manual work for my liking. Finally we get onto the cut scenes. Now I really loved them in previous games in the series, but this game takes it much further with not only many more cut scenes, but a much more solidly built storyline being told. As well as a 60Hz mode the developers have optimised the 50Hz mode to remove all borders. It's nice to see Capcom putting in an effort for all gamers.

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The enemies are impressive.
With the assistance of Dolby Pro Logic II Devil May Cry 3 is one of those games that really immerses you in the action. The surround use is active and combined with the stunning sound effects will often have you on the edge of your seat. The music, much like previous games, is generally rock based, but of superb quality. On more then one occasion the music reminded me of a crossover of Rammstein and Chemical Brothers - excellent stuff. Voice acting - always a concern with Japanese developed games - is fortunately extremely good. As an entire package, the sound in this game rocks.

Despite the difficulty Devil May Cry 3: Dante's Awakening a game which I really love. It's not quite as fresh as the original, but it really is a tremendous return to form for the series. Capcom have maxed out the power of the PS2, and with this third game being so brilliant we will hopefully see Dante back in future. If you like your action games then this is an essential purchase.

Review By: Dave Warner

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GRAPHICSThis game delivers some of the best PS2 visuals, awesome cut scenes.
SOUNDAll the characters have great voices, and music and effects rock.
GAMEPLAYYes - Capcom you've returned the series to the first games brilliance!
VALUEThe game is a little short, but you'll certainly replay the game.
OVERALLDevil May Cry 3: Dante's Awakening isn't Capcom's greatest achievement (that title probably goes to Resident Evil 4), but it's damn close. This third title makes amends for the previous game and shouldn't be overlooked. Hardcore action at it's sword-slinging best.

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