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Devil May Cry 3: Special Edition (PlayStation 2) artwork

Devil May Cry 3: Special Edition (PlayStation 2) review

"Thatís why Special Edition succeeds as a game and as a re-release: It makes things simple without making them easy. Forget the smooth control system or the sweet level design; Iím talking about the accessibility. How the game offers difficulties for all skill levels, tailored for the weakest of the weak and the hardest of the hardcore."

Vergil rocks.

If you were thinking that his placement in Devil May Cry 3: Special Edition was fluff, if you were thinking heíd just be another skin for Dante, let me set you straight: Heís not. Vergil may only have one style, Dark Slayer, to work with, but thatís enough; the combinations you can mix out by switching between the Yamato and the Beowulf and the Force Edge are nothing less than sick. Almost every move he used in the boss fights, those powerful strikes that knocked chunks off your energy bar, is available to you. Moving from enemy to enemy as a blue blur, slicing through with power and precision that Danteís wild style could never possess.

His blades and punches can destroy any normal enemy in record time, and his energy swords pummel them from afar, far more demonic damage than Danteís guns can muster. He brings a new intensity to an already intense game, and every mission replayed has new life, new strategies to employ and new ways to win all because of him.

Itís not without fault. Thereís only one scene to Vergilís story, and while itís a badass scene that shows the first meeting between Arkham and Vergil with some slick demon slaying thrown in for flavor, itís still just thatÖone scene. Itís also annoying that, instead of switching the Vergil boss fights with Dante, you only fight a crimson-colored clone of yourself.

That might sound like a pithy thing to whine over, but consider this: Instead of taking the time to make Dante into a boss, Capcom choose to give Jester, the annoying demonic clown, the treatment. Bad choice on their parts; the new Jester boss battle is a pure disappointment. Predictable movements, weak attacks, and ridiculous chatter make him the worst boss in the game, possibly the series. Itís a joke. Granted, that may be the point, but it doesnít make things any less pathetic.

You only have to fight him once, though; the second time is optional. And heís just a warm-up on the way to Agni and Rudi, a primer before you go up against the headless swordsmen. Or swordsdemons. Whatever. In light of Special Editionís other additions, itís forgivable.

The Demo Digest, a gallery of Devil May Cry 3ís cutscenes. No longer will you have to walk through a demon-infested strip club in Mission 3 to watch Dante smack-talk a giant, three-headed dog. No longer will you have to fight man-sized spiders in Mission 9 to watch Dante rock out with the worldís only electrifying electric guitar.

Loved it.

Turbo Mode; same game with 20% more speed. Enemies move faster, require more reflexes, more instinct, make every challenge more challenging.

Loved it even more.

And the Bloody Palace. Canít forget the Bloody Palace.

9,999 levels, distinct enemy sets on each one. You can skip it a hundred levels at a time, ten levels, or even one if youíve got the time and the skill. Whatever the choice, Bloody Palace is the perfect way to experience Devil May Cry 3ís furious combat. The arena is flat, round, unspoiled. No puzzles to solve, no objectives to complete. Just beat, slash, burn, or shoot the shit out of everything that comes your way. Points for style, of course. Simple.

Thatís why Special Edition succeeds as a game and as a re-release: It makes things simple without making them easy. Forget the smooth control system or the sweet level design; Iím talking about the accessibility. How the game offers difficulties for all skill levels, for the weakest of the weak and the hardest of the hardcore. How the new Gold mode allows you to continue after any defeat with a Gold Orb, how you can restart from the time-space statues without one. Less pain, less stress than the original, but only if you want it. The old way is still there.

The game may seem easier, but thereís a reason for that: Normal Mode is Easy Mode in disguise, and the old Easy is easier than ever. Hard Mode is Normal. The only new mode, Very Hard, is the same thing as Hard. So, basically, the gameís missing a mode.

Good thing for beginners? Absolutely. The new Easy mode ensures that even the slowest of thumbs can mash their way to victory.

Let down for the hardcore? Definitely. But not a major one. And, if you still seek challenge, the Dante Must Die and Heaven or Hell modes remain untouched.

While I normally detest such statements, calling Special Edition the Ďbest re-release everí isnít too far from the mark. Re-releases arenít too frequent, but if they were, Special Edition would be the standard to go by. Past players can dig it. New players can dig it. Skilled players can dig it. Sucky players can dig it. If you didnít like Devil May Cry 3 to start with, the second coming wonít make you a believer. But if youíre down with Devil May Cry 3ís blazing action, its challenging enemies, its great controls, its insane moves, its cruel bosses, its tight story, its apocalyptic atmosphere, or even its weird-ass cutscenesÖSpecial Edition is a must.


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Staff review by Zack Little (February 16, 2006)

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