The third installment in the Devil May Cry series, Dante's Awakening will not let you down. While it is put in the same action genre as games such as Prince of Persia, this game sets itself apart from the other button-mashing games in many ways. While the actual battles in the game have developed since the last game, several new features have been added to make the game more than an all out brawl. Thanks to several new styles, Dante can improve himself in several fields, each having its own advantage and disadvantage. While most games of this type can become very repetitive and almost boring, Devil May Cry 3 manages to keep the gamers wanting to play more.
First and foremost, Devil May Cry 3 is a unique blend of the action and RPG genres. Obviously, anyone can tell that this game will be action packed; from the very first opening scene your lust for blood will be provoked. You see Dante engaged in a sword fight with his brother, and sure enough – Dante thrusts his sword through his brother's stomach, leaving him to die. From this point on, you know this game is going to be insanely violent, and believe me, it is. From this point you can tell that the game is going to involve you kicking lots of ass, but there is also a strategic side to the game.
From the beginning, you have the option to choose from 4 different styles: Trickster, Swordmaster, Gunslinger, and Royalguard. You can change what styles you use between each mission, and as you practice with each Dante will gain experience and become stronger. As the Trickster, Dante uses an evasive style of battle, and utilizing ducking and diving techniques will lead you to victory here. Next is the swordmaster, who, as the name implies, wields a sword that you can use to cut off the limbs of your opponents. The Gunslinger style is also self explanatory; Dante will wield dual pistols to blast away him enemies. Lastly, the Royalguard style has you minimize damage inflicted on you by using blocking techniques. All of these styles have their strengths and weaknesses, and over time you'll have no trouble finding the one that best suits you.
Furthermore, as you defeat monsters they will leave red orbs behind. These can be used to purchase items, weapons, or abilities. The items you can buy will used while in a mission, and they will give you a decent amount of health back, which will serve as a big help in some of the later levels. There are two types of weapons you can purchase: Guns and swords. You start off with the default Ebony and Ivory Pistols, and the Rebellion Sword. Better weapons can be purchased, but more important are the upgrades and abilities. For guns, you can buy improvements, such as the ability to shoot your weapons much faster than initially. For the sword, you can purchase new moves, such as the Stinger, Drive, and Air Hike, all of which are effective, yet easy to perform.
The game plays a lot like you might expect it to; from level 1 you start mashing buttons and beating the hell out of demons. There is also a "tutorial enable" option that will guide you through the beginning levels. The game is very easy to jump right in to for people new to this type of game. The controls are pretty basic, and a lock-on feature is provided to make sure your gun is nice and accurate. For those who are struggling beating levels, there is hope: If you die 3 times on the same level, "Easy" becomes unlocked, which takes the difficulty down a notch, but still offering a lot of fun. For the more advanced players, combos will be introduced that you can use to brutalize the enemy. Such combos include shooting while in the air, performing an uppercut with a sword, and also jumping high into the air, bringing down a thundering sword into your enemy's skull. While it might feel as if you are being bombarded with combos to memorize, they are rather easy to perform, and after 10-15 minutes you'll feel right at home. The only drawback to the gameplay is that it becomes repetitive if you use the same style for a while. You are forced to try different styles and techniques to avoid boredom. However, you are constantly learning new moves to keep the game feeling fresh. Unfortunately, a major drawback would have to be the boss levels. During these levels, the best technique is to stay out of reach from the boss by stepping back and firing your pistols. Dante stands a very little chance fighting sword to sword with the bosses, which is really what the game is meant to be about. The pistols do very little damage, and unless you're a samurai warrior be prepared to tap the "fire" button furiously.
The last notable aspect of the game would be the "Battle Summary" page. After completing a mission, you will be graded on certain aspects of combat. These aspects include: Time to complete the level, “Number of Orbs Collected”, “Number of Style Points Earned”, “Amount of Damage Inflicted”, and “Number of Items Used”. You receive letter grades based on your performance, S being the best, and F being the worst. All of your grades affect your "Devil Hunter Rank," which determines how many bonus orbs you'll be given to spend. This is a nice feature to have because it keeps the gamer always wanting to do their best, instead of slacking off on some of the easier levels.
The sound in the game, while not completely terrible, can be rather corny at times. Dante has the typical "tough guy" voice in the cinematic sequences, but in battles his voice changes. Speaking with a rather high voice, Dante makes rather lame sounding cries when he is struck. While this can be disturbing at some times, it's nowhere near as obnoxious as him shouting out the name of every combo you perform. While some people might not care to much, others might be given a headache from Dante's constant sword cries. The music, although not actual songs or bands, will get you into the mood of the game. Whether it's a wailing guitar, or the booming bass of the techno, you'll become immersed into the game with a desire to kill.
Devil May Cry 3 is one of the better looking games for PS2 currently available. The character models are detailed, and the textures for buildings, roads, and characters look realistic. In the cinematic sequences, you can see each individual hair on Dante's head, but more importantly, you can see the world around him reflect in his sword. While the game doesn't look like this when you actually play it, it is still impressive. Watching a demon crumble into a pile of dust is rather interesting to watch, but more than that, it looks great. Probably the greatest feature would be the environment, as objects such as tables, chairs, and even a drum set can be broken. While the levels can seem rather cramped at sometimes, the surrounding environment looks very convincing. The only problem concerning the graphics would be the camera angles; at times you won't be able to see Dante and will most likely get mauled by the enemies. Except for this minor glitch, Devil May Cry 3 is simply a great game to look at.
In conclusion, Devil May Cry 3 seamlessly blends the action and RPG aspects that many games in this genre are lacking. Although there have been many games in this mold, Devil May Cry 3 sets itself apart from others by incorporating fighting styles to keep this game fresh, instead of just repetitive. However, certain drawbacks, such as a lack of decent voice actors and missions that seem endless, leave Devil May Cry 3 as a good game that could have been great.