Unbelievably fun from beginning to beyond the end

The last time I played a game of this genre, which was as gripping and enjoyable, was at the beginning of the year (Prince of Persia: The Two Thrones). As most gamers know, transcoding a PS2 game into one that’s suitable for the PC can be a ‘dodgy process’ and often results in a game that feels awkward and unnatural to play. Such was the case with Onimusha 3. Initially one would assume the same to be true about Devil May Cry (DMC) 3 due to the strange way in which keys are mapped from the PS2’s controller. These keys are practically impossible to re-configure and it’s most advisable to use a compatible game controller to play the game. However, once you get accustomed to the keyboard configuration, which usually takes about 20 minutes of practice play, this impediment seems somewhat trivial; inexistent even.

For those, like me, who haven’t experienced the other titles in the DMC series, fear not! The series story line, when being designed, was made not in order of the sequence of the games released. This resulted in the story progressing as follows: DMC 3, 1, 4, 2. Quite messed up indeed!

Betrayal is the primary theme of the story of this game. The plot revolves around the eternal feud between two half-demon, twin brothers: Vergil and Dante. These two are the sons of the legendary demon, Sparda. Sparda was a powerful demon who betrayed his demon brethren in order to rid the Earth of the chaos that the demon world had caused. Dante and Vergil, despite being siblings, are arch nemeses whose souls desire opposing goals. Vergil, the antagonist, represents everything that Dante doesn’t. He is driven by his desire for his father’s demonic power while Dante, the protagonist, is motivated by the need to serve justice and uphold his father’s goals by keeping the portal to the demon world sealed. The game focuses on Dante’s acceptance of his demonic side while maintaining his human goodness or humane side.

Much like POP (Prince of Persia), DMC hasn’t only an incredibly deep and fascinating story. Gameplay and graphical detail are given high priority too! The game is a visual masterpiece with smooth flowing graphics and highly detailed texturing. Levels are well designed and are minimally monotonous. World architecture, too, is brilliantly represented, providing the gamer with the atmosphere and sense of a mysterious and evil time. Although, arguably, it’s hardly comparable to games such as F.E.A.R and Hitman: Blood Money in terms of graphics but the gameplay more than makes up for it, making it one of the best released titles for the PC of 2006. An array of weaponry and fighting styles give rise to some of the most astounding combos which, in my opinion, is what makes this game exceptional. Dante carries with him a choice of two guns and two melee weapons, each with their own unique fighting styles and powers. The moves are beautifully choreographed and are reminiscent of the free form fighting system of the POP series. Once cleared, the second playable character, Vergil, is unlocked. This bonus was a brilliant idea from the game’s creators as the player can re-experience the entire game through the eyes of the antagonist. Vergil has his own chic technique as a swordsman. His moves are focused more on speed, efficiency and accuracy as opposed to the brutish methods of Dante. Vergil carries no guns but can summon various amazing spells instead.

The game, like POP, is not all hack and slash either. Many levels require the player to think as there are various intricate puzzles to be solved. These puzzles within the game are, unfortunately, not as detailed or extravagant as those in POP.

The music and sound effects are magnificently scored and perfectly enhance the intended mood and feel during the game. Dante’s colourful commentary and dialogue during fighting and cut-scenes seem adolescent but, at times, gave insight into the true depth of his persona. Vergil’s cold and calculating character are illustrated using similar means.

Some of the negative aspects of the game include minor lip sync problems and the fact that the gamer first needs to become familiar with the keys of the game. Also the script and screenplay could have been done better but nevertheless it’s not something that I expect many users to moan over. I’m quite sure that the PS2 original of this game is superior but I can’t imagine it to be significantly so. Overall, the meticulous design of this game across all its qualities produces a 3rd person, action-adventure that all PC gamers should be sure to play. It’s truly a must-have that embodies great panache and will have gamers desperate for the next instalment, DMC 4.

(DMC 4 will only be released in 2007 for the PS3)