By Alex Kierkegaard / September 25, 2012
Alright, I've had it with this shit. If you are finally getting an icycalm review of Devil May Cry 3, you have the Scathing Accuracy guys to thank for it, with their "DMC3 this and that" spiel in every other 3D action game review, as if the goddamn thing were some kind of paragon example of the genre, instead of an instantly forgettable semi-hackjob that's not even worth mentioning. I mean seriously, if not for the absurd amount of hype that surrounds the game I'd have been perfectly content dispatching it with a one-paragraph mini review — that's how insignificant and utterly forgettable it is. So gather round once more, you pack of braindead autistic hypocrites, and pay attention to how a real human — an aesthetically sensitive, fully-grown and fully-developed human and videogame lover — thinks about and evaluates games.
I went through DMC3 in my tiny Tokyo apartment, while I was still living in Japan, over the span of a couple of nights circa 2005-2006 (the exact dates escape me). Roughly half-way through the game (or perhaps three-quarters of the game through or something; like I said, it's been 6 or 7 years...), where it takes you into a hub-type area and throws all of the previous bosses at you one after another, I nearly threw the controller in disgust and gave up on the game. After a short break to recharge my bullshit-toleration meter, I picked up the controller again, and with a sigh along the lines of "What the hell, at least I am playing a Devil May Cry game", went on to finish it and put it out of my mind forever (with short relapses of roof-hitting whenever I'd come across someone praising it)... until now.
Fun factoid time: Did you know that DMC3's director is the same dude who directed DMC2? The same dude whom Itagaki was making fun of in one of those hilarious interviews he gives from time to time? The same dude who also directed DMC4? Essentially, the same dude we have to thank for the fact that Capcom lost the mantle of the 3D action genre to Tecmo, and never took it back, to finally give up on the series to such an extent that they ended up throwing it to a bunch of clueless English losers? They took the game away from Kamiya to give it to this Itsuno hack, then they took it from Itsuno to give it to the English yobs, and I am fully expecting them to take it from the English yobs one of these days and give it to Derek Yu or Jason Rohrer lol.
But anyway, let's set aside the mud-slinging for now and focus on ripping this game a new one. What's wrong with DMC3 is basically everything except the battle system (90+% of which was anyway inherited from Kamiya...), with the main offenders being stage design, pacing and setting, art design and to a lesser extent graphics, and ultimately even enemy and boss design, and even the difficulty level to an extent. The stage- and environment-design is atrocious: gone are the original's crumbling, overgrown courtyards, colorful hallways, sun-pierced rooms and sharply distinct in- and outdoor areas — all unique and splendidly designed, each with carefully studied camera angles to match—; the entirety of DMC3 feels as if it's taking place inside a series of drab, colorless copy-paste rooms. I've only really played through DMC once, yet still remember almost every area of the game, whereas 3's entire length has left inside my mind a similar impression to that of some crappy dungeon crawler a la Eye of the Beholder which doesn't even have anything we'd designate by the term "stage progression". And here's where autism rears its ugly, stupid head once more, as the aspies try to defend this utterly unacceptable state of things by arguing that WHO CARES ABOUT THE GRAFIX ITS THE GEAMPLAY THAT MATTER!
O rly? In that case you wouldn't mind if the entire game did, in fact, take place inside a single bare room, with infinite waves of enemies being thrown at you so you can PLAY THE GEAM'S GAEMPLAY forever to your heart's content? A kind of Asteroids- or Robotron May Cry-type game?
But that is how people within the autism spectrum think, not reasonably sensitive, well-developed humans, and it is time we agreed that stage design is a far more important aspect of a game, even an action game — and indeed especially those! — than the battle system, since the main reason we play videogames is to be immersed inside wildly imaginative and strikingly beautiful environments, not to get good at pushing plastic buttons according to the dictates of obscure algorithms. The button-pushing is merely a means of making us more invested in, and thus drawing us deeper into, the game's environment, and when the environment's crap, and the button-pushing is being elevated to the aspect of primary importance, one can safely infer autism and follow one's nose: one will seldom go wrong.
Moving on then, enemy and boss designs — and even boss patterns — are equally unimaginative, and there's absolutely nothing in the entire game like that shape-shifting shadow-cat miniboss, or the spider boss, or the black knight confrontation from DMC1. 3's most memorable and well-designed boss is the very first one you encounter, a multi-headed hydra-like thing, and even he can barely hold a candle to even the lamest of the bosses from the original (I mean seriously). Boss patterns are also pretty lame: the only boss that stumped me at all was again the first one, whom I retried perhaps a dozen or so times, but all the rest could be defeated, either too quickly to even remember how (which segues into the difficulty issue...), or else with some simplistic pattern repeated ad nauseam, as for example with that flying worm/dragon thingie — easily the worst boss battle in the game, and one that felt as if it'd dragged on endlessly for hours.
The enemies, on the other hand, are your standard assortment of DMC-type marionettes, none of which have left any impression on me after all these years. At least in the original I can remember some hell hound-type monsters attacking me at some point, for variety's sake, but here I've got no such impressions. What's worse is that the fights against them seem to drag on forever, way beyond the worst such case in DMC1, as the game likes to simply lock you in a room, over and over again, while it respawns the same one or two drab type of enemies until you die — not from the actual challenge that they pose, but from the boredom-induced coma that you are sure to fall into while mashing the one or two combos needed to defeat them. It's like, at first I tried to vary my moves and mix them up a bit, because that's how you're supposed to enjoy DMC's fights, but since the mixing up is not necessary to defeat the enemies, and the game generally neither allows you to run past them, nor makes an effort to create flowing, running battles across several areas, it's hard to stay motivated enough to remain creative. New moves are generally fairly cheap to buy, so you don't need too many orbs, and the game is by no means hard enough to require you to buy and use the most expensive ones, so there's basically no incentive to try to maximize your orb count for anyone but the most autistic player, for whom an "S" rank on a screen that's essentially situated OUTSIDE the game has any meaning. DMC3, then, is by no means the tough-as-nails game that the hype has made it out to be, and you can take my word for it that the original is even slightly harder — and Ninja Gaiden a little harder still than both of them (all at normal difficulty, of course). I think what's earned DMC3 its reputation is the unusual difficulty spike right at the beginning, during the first boss fight and the barroom brawl right before, but once past those two areas there's nothing that would stump anyone who cleared the first game.
And as for the fighting mechanics themselves, aside from a couple of interesting new moves (which were obligatory for this game to be called a sequel), I don't see what the fuss is all about. The separation of Dante's development into 4 different styles, which was the main innovation here, was a redundant idea, since customization in DMC is supposed to happen by choosing which moves to buy and mixing them accordingly; on top of the fact that Ninja Gaiden had been released a year prior and had moved the genre forward, so any innovation in DMC that didn't take this into account was more or less guaranteed to be minor (which they were — and from what I've heard of the 4th game, still are). I do hear that if you specialize in one of the styles I didn't pick (and no, I don't remember which one I picked; it's been 6 fucking years) you end up capable of running on walls or something? — which is a great idea, but which, if true, not only had already been done in Ninja Gaiden (and probably much better), but which would certainly be wasted in a game with such crappy environment design as this one. And at any rate I am not going to replay the endless copy-paste fights in your crappy game three more times in order to see what the other three styles do. I don't do this even in branching-path games in which the reward is far greater (since what changes there is far more than merely your character's moveset), why would I do it in an action game? — "BUT THE COMBAT SYSTEM REALLY BEGINS TO SHINE IF YOU REPLAY THE ENTIRE FUCKIN' GAME 16 TIMES AND TRY TO S-RANK EVERY TEDIOUS LITTLE COPY-PASTE FIGHT IT CONTAINS." Well, too bad I am never going to see that, because I am not enough of an autist to do anything as utterly ridiculous as that, especially when I already have a continually growing backlog of a couple of 10-cubic-meters' storage space worth of far more interesting-looking games to play. If I gave a shit about "S-ranking" shit I'd still be playing Donkey Kong, loser.
Everything, absolutely everything, is done worse here than in DMC1 (well, except maybe the lack of a Pilotwings-like final stage, which was indeed a good thing), and what little was truly bad in that game is done utterly execrably here. The original's number 1 worst thing was the recycling of some boss fights, but at least the boss fights in that game were far better, and their recycling did not come one after the other, as is the case here. Not only that, but the level in which the recycled boss fights take place — the aforementioned hub-type area — is utterly drab and unacceptable: copy-paste/hackjob game design at its worst! The music also seems a little worse, but this might be a result of the aforementioned bad pacing, as you seem to end up hearing the battle tune far more than in the original, which in conjunction with the drab environments will at times probably make you feel almost disgusted with the setting.
It is at this point that Lady — Dante's romantic interest in this game — and the slightly compelling plot development come to the rescue, and if it hadn't been for those I definitely wouldn't have persevered to finish the game. She darts in and out of the picture in various cutscenes between the action, and thus, with the help of one or two sundry characters, advances a threadbare plot that finally lends the gameworld a little color and interest, and helps you persevere through yet a few more copy-paste fights to see what happens next (not unlike Capcom's other mild stinker of the era, Chaos Legion, which I'd played through in a similarly perfunctory manner a few months earlier).
And at the end of the day, like I said before, you ARE playing a Devil May Cry game, and Ninja Gaiden aside there was simply no better 3D action system in existence around this game's release, circa 2005 (and from what I have seen or played since, there barely exist any today either...), so if you can stomach the complete lifelessness and lack of imagination evident in every aspect of the game barring the character design of the protagonists, you could do a lot worse than spend a couple of evenings with this game, which is why the three-star rating. But to praise the game for anything above that is beyond lame, and marks you out — if you are sincere — as an autistic aspie, and if you are not (and merely rebleating the same hype that everyone else is bleating) a fagot hypocrite who deserves to be rounded up along with all his kind and gassed out of this planet to extinction. So let me hear nothing more of DMC3 again, and let this review be cited every time some braindead loser attempts to play the judge on matters in which he shouldn't even be allowed to speak. There are far better action games out there, and have been for some time, and I personally would rather replay something like Otogi or the relatively lackluster Ninja Gaiden 2, or even properly sit down and finish DMC2 (which, due purely to a busy lifestyle at the time, I only ended up trying for a couple of hours when it originally came out), or even better, try out any number of cool-looking action games on which I've missed out over the years (like PS2 Shinobi, for example, or Ninja Blade, or countless others), than so much as CONTEMPLATE the idea of replaying such a bland and unimaginative by-the-numbers sequel as this.