When Devil May Cry first slammed onto PS2 it was like Godzilla had just stomped into town wearing Ray-Bans. It was monstrously cool. Gallons of style, rampant speed, killer thrills and skull-fracturing heavy metal! The deadly cocktail left everyone who came in contact with it punch drunk with demon slaying love. Everything was rosy... until Devil May Cry 2 came along to ruin the party.
DMC2 was pumped out by the publishers at lightning speed, and couldn't help but feel rushed. But Capcom has learned from its mistake and poured masses of time and energy into Devil May Cry 3 - a prequel to the original game - to reclaim the kingdom of cool and re-establish Danté as the slickest sonuvabitch on PS2.
Moshing With Monsters
We don't usually toss off about intro movies, but when you first witness the younger, fresher and cockier Danté in action you'll be nursing bullet-sized goosebumps.
He's sat in his office chomping pizza, when a gang of demons launch a surprise attack and hack into his chest and legs with giant scythes. Like he's bothered. He walks over to the jukebox, dragging a demon that's still holding onto the scythe buried in his chest, and says, "This party's getting crazy. LET'S ROCK!" In kicks the booming metal, then one of the most outrageous and funny fight scenes we've ever seen sparks off.
Danté surfs enemies like boogie boards across the floor and swivels round peppering out a Catherine Wheel of bullets. But the crowning moment has to be when he flicks some pool balls into the air and shoots the cue ball into the pack of balls as they float in the air, smacking them into the faces of his demon attackers. EAT IT!
Become A Style Guru
This opening mini movie is all about style, and that's Devil May Cry 3's focus: mastering insane fighting styles. At the moment there are four to get to grips with - Trickster, Gunslinger, Swordmaster and Royal Guard - but Capcom has tipped us
the wink that there could be more.
The way it works is that you can customise and tailor Danté's fighting technique to suit your own tastes as you blitz through the gorgeous and now massively destructible new levels. At the beginning of each mission you pick your style and upgrade each discipline with swish new moves and amazing abilities.
Take Trickster Danté into combat and you've got a pretty even balance between gunplay and swordsman skills, but you're nimbler and more acrobatic. You're tougher to corner with unlockable moves like Flip Escape and brilliant at using your surroundings with moves like a Wall Hike. As for Royal Guard, it's the most defensive of the styles, built on well-timed blocks and smart new hand-to-hand moves.
Swordmaster and Gunslinger do exactly what they say on the tin, but the new attacks are awesome. Like as Gunslinger, when you get a shotgun Danté uses it like nunchuks, viciously spraying buckshot. And the Twosome Time upgrade lets the silver-haired slickster target two enemies simultaneously.
Each mission is crafted to suit one particular style, but you've got complete freedom to tackle each scenario with whichever style you feel most expert. And unlike DMC2, all the environments are much more varied, switching between vast, imposing expanses and intensely claustrophobic killing hotspots.
Don't panic, all this style comes with a fat dollop of substance. You have to properly focus and play up to the skills of whichever style you've selected or else the hordes of unholy demons will rip your red-leathered ass to shreds. Capcom's best-dressed demon slayer has definitely got his mojo back, and it can only grow and get more potent with so much development time between now and DMC3's launch early next year.
The new custom-styled combat system and revamped ballsy attitude are exactly what the series needed to remedy the damage of DMC2.