Beauty, Brawn and Brains
Capcom has been on a role recently, what with the likes of the excellent excuse to buy a GameCube that is Resident Evil 4, the quirky cross-platform Viewtiful Joe 2 and the superb Onimusha 3. The Japanese giant has seen a large share of my funds go to their accounts, and now another £40 heads their way as Devil May Cry 3 is yet another reason for me to look forward to anything that has the Capcom logo emblazed on its front cover (except for Mega Man, because he’s never been any good).
But before I start I want to point something out. You may have seen some ridiculous scores given to this game; while I admit it is very good, it isn’t as good as some reviewers would have you think. If you’ve never really liked the series then you’re not going to like this in the slightest. It’s basically the same as before but with some enhancements. The franchise hasn’t received any major overhaul in the same style as Resident Evil 4, but at the moment it really doesn’t need to.
If I was to try and find a way to best describe the presentation in Devil May Cry 3 it would be Ryuhei Kitamura’s Versus. Devil May Cry 3, however, is thankfully a lot better then that, but it does share many similarities with the Japanese horror/action film. The awful techno/rock music, the over exaggerated voice acting, the cheese-filled one-liners, and of course all the martial arts posing and Matrix-style dodging of bullets. At times this can be a bit too much; everyone knows that Dante is a majorly cool badass, but Capcom seemed intent on reminding us of this time and time again. In fact, they’ve even dedicated a button to showcase his badassness.
At first I felt both under- and overwhelmed. The game seemed to have many of the flaws from the previous two entries (i.e. the camera, the lack of a block button, no natural double jump), and it was overly complicated. I looked at the control option menu and noticed that every button on the PS2 pad has been assigned a move, this with all the confusing menus made me feel as though I was reading the game rather than playing it.
What I appreciate about Devil May Cry 3 is its simple to follow but still engaging plot. The trend nowadays is to have deep, complex stories that only serve to send the gamers to sleep, but Capcom went the other route and simply created a handful of characters and let them tell the story through their interactions during cutscenes. The rivalry between brothers Vergil and Dante is far more involving then anything seen in the Metal Gear Solid games, and filled me with the feeling that I was playing through a genuine epic.
Devil May Cry 3 is by no means perfect; it is unfairly difficult in places, the levelling up aspect isn’t handled as well as it is in Resident Evil 4 (or even Onimusha 3, but what it is is pure old school Capcom. It’s a game that will grow on you over time and increases in excitement and fun as it opens itself up. It’s beautiful to look at, and is one of the finest looking PS2 titles to date. Gameplay requires you to use your brains as well as Dante’s brawn, and the only thing I ask is that the next time Capcom makes a Devil May Cry title is that they make life easier for gamers by making us actually love this game from the start rather then after the first five levels.