Saturday, December 08, 2007

Devil May Cry 3 Special Edition

Devil May Cry 3 Special Edition
Stylish Action - Playstation 2
Memory Card - 8 saves
1 player

Delays are temporary, mediocrity is forever.

Probably the only thing I liked about Working Designs is that quote from Vic Ireland. What does that have to do with DMC3? Not a whole lot, actually - other than the part about mediocrity.

Devil May Cry 3's main claim to fame is its combo system. You can equip two weapons and two guns, and there's a lot of flexibility to chain long strings of combos and juggle opponents into oblivion. One button is reserved for your gun attacks and another is for your melee weapon, so it's easy to manage. Also appreciated is the ability to switch to your other weapon/gun on-the-fly with a single button press. Everything is very fluid.

The only problem is that the game doesn't revolve around the combo system. The game IS the combo system.

DMC3 is broken up into stages. Littered throughout the stages are tons of enemies to fight. But the enemies exist only as fodder for you to juggle. They are not very powerful, nor do they require much pattern recognition. The game just surrounds you with enemies and lets you do your stuff. Then there's the half-assed platforming. The combination of loose controls and dramatic camera angle changes make the platforming a chore. Perhaps Capcom chose right by not making platforming a key ingredient in the game. But in the end, the enemies and the stages themselves feel like they're there just to pad the game and hold you over until the boss fights.

But what incredible bosses there are. Easily, the best part of the game, they will have you tearing your hair out in frustration. That's exactly the type of game I like. The bosses are ruthless and have very limited opportunities to strike. The difficulty forces you to utilize every technique from running to chaining combos to double jumping in order to win. It's the only part of the game that feels like you're playing a game.

I do not understand why developers have forgotten how to make a proper game that is engaging throughout. Sure, normal enemies were never on the level of bosses, but the padding in DMC3 is a bit too much. Unless you're the type of person who gets off of watching yourself pull off 30 hit combos on defenseless enemies, the experience is rather empty in between boss fights.

I have not even begun to discuss the other elements that bring DMC3 down like the awful camera that loves to obscure your view so that most of your enemies are off-screen, or the fact that the entire game takes place inside of "rooms", or the pathetic combination of over-the-top cheese and forced melodrama.

Devil May Cry 3 is a one trick pony. But I don't particularly enjoy the trick. The combo flexibility means that instead of mindlessly executing 5-button combinations, you slightly-less-mindlessly execute 20-button combinations. That's hardly my idea of fun, and does little to pass the time between one boss fight and the next. DMC3 is strictly for the ADD crowd.