Distributor(s)-Special Edition: Ubisoft (PC), EU CentreSoft (PS2)
Platform(s): PlayStation 2, Microsoft Windows
-PlayStation 2: March 1, 2005
-Special Edition: January 24, 2006
-Microsoft Windows: October 16, 2006
Genre(s): Action, Hack, Slash
Despite the success of Devil May Cry 2, fans remained disappointed by the game’s features and, overall, Dante’s lack of charisma. The Devil Hunter remained almost mute throughout the game and showed no signs of his cynical charm as he did in the first game. The open world exploration was another downer for DMC fans as was the ending which presumed to be the end of the Son of Sparda. As mentioned in my previous installment, the enemies were set too far apart to build any good combos and the challenge was more than lacking. After listening to the grumbles of disappointment from fans, it was back to the drawing board for Tsuyoshi Tanaka and Capcom. It was decided to develop Devil May Cry 3 in the same manner as the series’ first entry.
Once again, Dante’s character design was changed, reflecting a young version of the Son of Sparda who is just starting out as a hunter for hire. This incarnation is cockier and more arrogant than in previous games, depicting a reckless youth. Devil May Cry 3 was given an overhaul from the first two entries. The new combat system allowed players to control the weapons in new and “stylish” ways. This included different fighting styles for Dante which are upgradable through experience. The more you use these “styles”, the more experience the “style” gains. Four styles are available initially. You gain two more as the game progresses for a total of six. The inclusion of these new abilities made Dante more versatile than in DMC2. The “action button” used in the second game activates these new abilities. Trickster style gave Dante more mobility, allowing him to dodge attacks via a dash maneuver. He still has his regular dodge from the first game. Couple this with the dash maneuver of Trickster to weave your way through multiple enemy attacks. Swordmaster focused on melee, giving Dante more versatility in his attacks with his weapons. However, melee wasn’t limited to the ground. Dante can use High Time to launch an enemy into the air and continue the combo in mid-air with the Swordmaster style ability Aerial Rave.
Remember how shooting in two directions was only available when an enemy was sneaking up on Dante? Yeah, I thought it’d be cool to shoot in two directions anytime at that time too. Well, Gunslinger style gave the ability to shoot both Ebony and Ivory in different directions without special conditions and what was really cool is that you were able to control which directions the guns were fired. But the crème of the crop was the versatility given to the shotgun. Before, it was just used for stopping power but in DMC3 in Gunslinger style, Dante twirls the shotgun around his body, firing it in all directions. In Gunslinger’s later levels, he can perform the Stinger move with the shotgun. Now, we all know how touching enemies in the series warrants no penalty. However, there were instances where Dante couldn’t attack them. Remember the Fetish puppets from the first game that blocked your attacks? In the third game, Dante was given the chance to return the favor thanks to the Royal Guard style. This style minimized damage dealt to Dante. Time it right and you can keep a combo going. Two more styles are acquired by defeating certain enemies. Geyron bestowed upon Dante Quicksilver, which has the same time-altering abilities as the Bangle of Time from the first game. Doppleganger style was awarded after the demise of the Shadow Devil.
The new styles and weapons were received well by fans and truly showed Dante’s versatility, which was a huge step up from the previous titles. However, the real big hit with fans was that Devil May Cry 3 was brought back to the claustrophobic mayhem that made the first game a success. The enclosed combat was what truly made DMC a survival horror game. The feeling of fighting tight area was what was lacking from the second entry and the focus point of many fans disapproval of that game. Another thorn was the lack of difficulty. DMC2 was easily passable even on “Must Die” mode. According to Tanaka, the difficulty in DMC2 was toned down to reach a wider audience in Japan; unfortunately, this move ran the risk of losing fans on the larger market. Learning from this mistake, Devil May Cry 3 was released with a lower difficulty in Japan while rest of the world enjoyed the game with same craziness and difficult challenge that fans have come to love from the series. A Special Edition of the game was released which allowed players to take on the role of Vergil. Unlike his twin, Vergil only had one style type—Darkslayer, which feature attributes from the Trickster and Swordmaster styles. At higher levels, Darkslayer grants Vergil more evasive maneuvers as well as more moves with his swords. He’s not as flashy as his brother but Vergil makes up for it with stronger attacks.
As with the two previous titles, Devil May Cry 3 introduces a new female counterpart for Dante in the form Lady. Like Trish, Lady attempts to kill Dante with a shot to the head. She immediately discovers that Dante is part demon when he survives the injury and things don’t go so well between them. They later form a mutual partnership which doesn’t last long as Lady’s job is to exterminate all demons including Dante. Unlike the two previous ladies in the series Trish and Lucia, Lady is not playable though fans wanted this to happen. Plus, she served as a boss in the game. Still, it would’ve been really cool to have her as a playable character.
Ubisoft published a PC version of the game developed by SourceNext. The European PC version was the first to come out, even before the Special Edition was released for the PlayStation 2 in that region, being released on June 28, 2006. The North American version was released on October 16, 2006. The game was published in Japan on June 30, 2006.
Tsuyoshi Tanaka redeemed himself and the series by putting it back on a track where it’s supposed to be—loaded with all the craziness, over-the-top action and challenging gameplay that has made gamers fall in love with the Son of Sparda. With the series placed back on its pedestal in the action game genre, the time would to bid the world of Devil May Cry farewell…supposedly.