PS2 REVIEW: DEVIL MAY CRY 3: DANTE'S AWAKENING - SPECIAL EDITION

My brother's back....and you're gonna be in trouble...Hey lah dee lah...Vergil's back.... by Vaughn Smith

January 31, 2006 - Last years Devil May Cry 3: Dante's Awakening addressed the complaints many gamers had with what they felt was a lack of challenge. As many of you discovered, DMC3 was a kick in the crotch with an iron boot. With nails on the end of it. Nails with poison on the tips. And the nails also exploded on contact. Okay, you get the point. It was freakin' hard. Ninja Gaiden hard. But some of us liked that considering DMC2 was a tiptoe through the tulips experience...with guns.

Since Capcom is busy preparing for Dante's fourth installment on the PS3, they couldn't afford the manpower to create another DMC from scratch to tide PS2 owners over, so they did the next best thing: they created this budget priced, action packed, kick in the crotch with an iron boot with poisoned nails in it which explode immediately on contact Special Edition! Wahoo! And it's really special, not "special" in the "You're a very special boy, Vaughn" kind of way I heard growing up...

Features of this new edition include: Playing as Dante's brother Vergil and using his Dark Slayer fighting style, a new boss, adjusted difficulty levels, turbo mode, Demo Digest (view all cutscenes), alternate save and continue system and an insane visit to The Bloody Palace where you can try and survive thousands of waves of enemies.

I'm not going to re-review the main game - you can read that here courtesy of our devilishly handsome StewXX - so let's dissect this $19.99 bad boy.

First off, I'm sure you're pumped about playing as Vergil, Dante's far more powerful bro who blows through waves of enemies as though he was blowing his nose. The extra character is a slight misnomer as you will actually have to beat the game or have ANY save file from DMC3 on your PS2 memory card to get your hands on Vergil. Don't crap yourselves though - you can still play as Dante throughout the entire game. And again, you do not need a completed game save from the original DMC3; any save in any spot will do. Using a save from the original game will unlock Vergil and Bloody Palace in the Special Edition. Unfortunately, if you do have a completed DMC3 saved file, you won't be able to use your tricked out Dante in the new game. Yeah, that blows. Turbo mode is unlocked from the start and is said to increase the speed of the action by 20%. While it's not noticeable at first, if you take the game for a spin at regular speed again, you'll feel the difference.

If you were frightened off by DMC3's difficulty rest assured the game has been adjusted. Die three times in Normal and you'll be given the opportunity to play in Easy mode. The other factors that affect the overall difficulty (good or bad depending on how you look at it) is the ability to choose Gold or Yellow when you begin a game. Choosing Gold will allow you to continue from the exact point your weak-ass gaming skills ultimately failed you if you have a Gold orb. It will also allow you to continue from the last checkpoint an infinite amount of times. Yellow requires you to use a Yellow orb to continue from the last checkpoint. With these alterations to the core save system and the Easy mode in place gamers looking for a break will certainly get it. In total there are 5 difficulty levels: Easy, Normal, Hard, Very Hard and DMD (Dante Must Die). To unlock Very Hard, you'll have to beat the game on Hard and to achieve DMD you'll have to beat Very Hard. I'm telling you right now, I'm not even close to getting near DMD mode. How's that for honesty in game journalism?

Players who can walk the walk and talk the talk will enjoy their ultimate reward: playing through Dante's storyline with Vergil. Unfortunately you won't find anything altered - even the boss battles against Dante's bro will feature a doppleganger Vergil, albeit this time in a red trench coat. You will also be treated to a new intro scene as well as the ability to play through Bloody Palace with the super powered demon.

Considerably more than a mere palette swap, Vergil uses his own personal fighting style (Dark Style) which is limited when compared to Dante's variety of styles, but it definitely gets the job done. Dante can use some of the same weapons as Dante but players will most likely focus on using Verg's unique weapons and attacks, since that's why purchased this Special Edition in the first place. Vergil has 3 melee weapons available: Yamato, Beowulf and Force Edge. Like Dante, each can be upgraded by collecting red orbs. Ultra-fans will love all of the extras thrown in such as the extra Vergil costumes and Devil Trigger appearances by beating the games several difficulty modes (check CCC's cheat code section).

To the untrained eye, DMC3 comes off as a nobrainer hack and slash and shoot, but nothing could be further from the truth. Discovering hidden combos, weapons and other power upgrades is part of the games overall charm. That was true for the original game and it's true for the Special Edition. It's those little things you discover that sometimes aren't meant to be part of the game, such as the jump cancel or shoot cancel, that resonate with affectionate DMC enthusiasts. Ask anyone who has seen the ending on Normal, Hard or higher and they'll assure you that this is game is all about skill.

For $20, you'd be crazy to pass this up. It's one of the most intense action games available on the PS2 and it's just begging to be opened up and shot (figuratively of course). Even if you've beat the original; heck, even if you own the original, it's money well spent. If you've walked by the game case at Wal-Mart and thought that this was just a Greatest Hits version of DMC3, think again - and a big Boo Hiss to Capcom for not altering the cover art - it's much more. It's one of the tightest game experiences to come along in a good long while. It's a definite must play and because it only adds to the overall bounty of DMC3 goodness without taking anything away, I see nothing wrong with scoring it higher than we did for the original. It deserves it.

Features:

  • Huge arsenal of weapons including handguns, powerful shotguns, tricked out guitars and much more
  • Combo system allows players to equip up to four different weapons that can be swapped at any time
  • Customize Dante's fighting style with short range, long range, evasive choices and more
  • Enhanced graphics with fully textured 3D backgrounds and real time rendering for in game cut scenes and intro movie
  • Hidden weapons, items, characters, difficulty levels and more
  • Dolby Digital and Dolby Pro Logic II support
  • Special Edition feature: Now play as Dante’s twin Vergil

By Vaughn Smith
CCC Site Director

Rating out of 5
Devil May Cry 3: Dante's Awakening Special Edition (PS2)
4.5
Graphics
The graphics are beautiful, but I don't score as high as StewXX does, so that's why I've scored it lower than a 5.0. It's more realistic.
4.5
Control
The camera can be crap sometimes but for the most part enemies won't gang up on you if you can't see them (except the bosses of course). Everything else is video game buttah.Vergil may require a different control config for ease of use.
4.5
Music / Sound FX / Voice Acting
Great music, great voice acting and great sound effects. Triple threat.
5.0
Play Value
Extra points for this category. So much to do, so little time. Play the real game as Dante or play as Vergil...or do both. Play Bloody Palace. Play Turbo mode. It's all good. 5 difficulty levels to choose from.
4.7
Overall Rating - Must Buy
Not an average. See Rating legend above for a final score breakdown.
System: PS2
Dev: Capcom
Pub: Capcom
Release: Jan 2006
Players: 1
Review by Vaughn

Review Rating Legend
1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid
2.0 - 2.4 = Poor
2.5 - 2.9 = Average
3.0 - 3.4 = Fair
3.5 - 3.9 = Good
4.0 - 4.4 = Great
4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy
5.0 = The Best