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Nov. 4, 2006
Devil May Cry 3: Dante's Awakening Special Edition - PS2 Review
Release Date Distributor Developer Players Rating Difficulty
Save Size Sound Format Vibration 60Hz Mode 50Hz Border Widescreen
364KBDolby PLIIYesYesSmallNo

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DMC3:DA:SE (for short!).
This is a bit of a tough game to review because the vast majority of the content is identical to that in Devil May Cry 3: Dante's Awakening. Needless to say some chunks of that games review have been recycled for this review. What we will also talk about though is the new content in this game, and tell you if it's worthwhile spending another $AU49.95 to upgrade to this version - needless to say, if you don't have the original you need not hesitate for a moment in picking up this Special Edition.

In December 2001 Capcom unleased a hardcore action title called Devil May Cry in PAL territories. It was an instant hit. In April 2003 Devil May Cry 2 was release and was a massive disappointment and sent Capcom's latest series spirialing towards the 'has beens'. Then in February 2005 we were given Devil May Cry 3: Dante's Awakening, a massive improvement over the second game, and a redemption for the series.

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Dante Vs Vergil.
Devil May Cry 3: Dante's Awakening takes place several thousand years after 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.

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!

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This boss fight is spectacular.
Dante will encounter many different types of enemies through this game. Each has their own attack patterns for you to learn in order to learn their weaknesses. This is especially try of the massive boss fights. Not only are the bosses monstrous, often many screens in size, but they can be ultra tough, 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.

If you read my review of the original release you would know that one of my biggest problems was the difficulty level which was bloody tough. This has been overcome in the DMC3: Special Edition with the addition of five difficulty levels. A new continue system has been included in the game with yellow orbs allowing you to restart from the last checkpoint while a gold orb allows you to resume from the same spot in the level.

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Virgil and Arkham...
Other changes to this game include the inclusion of Dante's evil twin brother Vergil as a playable character. In terms of enemies Capcom have include a new "Jester" enemy who previously only featured in cut scenes. The two most exciting additions however are the Bloody Palace Mode which is like a survival mode where the enemies continue to attack in a massive onslaught while a Movie Mode allows you to view all the cut scenes unlocked.

As we discovered in the first release of Devil May Cry 3 the graphics and audio in this title are superb, and this game is pretty much identical to the initial release so the summaries are about the same. 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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Special effects are wonderful.
With the assistance of Dolby Pro Logic II Devil May Cry 3: Dante's Awakening 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 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.

So what do we make of this upgraded sequel. Essentially if you didn't buy the game when it was first released you'd be crazy not to pick it up now, it's PS2 gaming at it's best. If you do own the original then it's a borderline call if you need to spend $AU49.95 to upgrade - perhaps you should give away, trade in or sell your old copy and then add a few dollars to get this one. Capcom must be applauded for taking the step to add more features making Devil May Cry 3: Dante's Awakening Special Edition a more complete package rather then dumping the old game on the market as a 'Platinum' title. An (even better) great game.

Review By: Dave Warner

Order your copy now from Gameswarehouse (PAL version) or Amazon (NTSC Version).
GRAPHICSPretty much identical to the previous game - stunning, as expected.
SOUNDAll the characters have great voices, and music and effects rock.
GAMEPLAYIt's still hard but there's more difficulty levels to help you.
VALUENew enemy, new character, new mode and turbo among upgrades.
OVERALLDevil May Cry 3: Dante's Awakening Special Edition is an essential purchase for those that never purchased the first version. If you did purchase it this is still a worthy addition, especially if you trade in or sell the old game.

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