Devil May Cry 3: Dante's Awakening is an 3D action game that was developed by Capcom Production Studio 1 and published by Capcom in 2005 for the PlayStation 2, it was later ported to PC in 2006.
The third installment in the Devil May Cry series of hack-and-slash 3D action games, Devil May Cry 3 was, upon release, widely criticized for its high level of difficulty but was praised for improvements over its controversial predecessor and its return to the challenging gameplay of the original Devil May Cry game.
Set in modern times in an enchanted tower named Temen-ni-gru, the story centers on the dysfunctional relationship between Dante and his older twin brother Vergil. The events of the game take place just as Dante has opened up the Devil May Cry agency, and before Dante's demonic heritage has reached its full potential. The story is told primarily through a mixture of cutscenes using the game's engine with several pre-rendered full motion videos. A manga prequel to the game was first published in Japan in 2005.
In 2012, the game was included in an HD compilation, alongside the original Devil May Cry and Devil May Cry 2, ported to the PlayStation 3 and later to PlayStation 4, Xbox One and PC in 2018. The Special Edition of the game was released for the Nintendo Switch's eShop in 20th February 2020. A physical Devil May Cry Triple Pack, containing of all three original games, was also released for Switch in Japan on February 20, 2020.
Gameplay in Devil May Cry 3 consists of levels called "missions", in which players must fight numerous enemies, perform platforming tasks, and occasionally solve puzzles to progress through the story. The player's performance in each mission is graded from D at the bottom, up through C, B, A, with top ranks of S and SS, which have the strictest requirements. Grades are based on the time taken to complete the mission, the amount of "red orbs" gathered (the in-game currency obtained from defeated enemies), "stylish" combat, item usage, and damage taken.
"Stylish" combat is defined as performing an unbroken series of varied attacks while avoiding damage, and is tracked by an on-screen gauge. The longer the player attacks without repeating techniques and evades damage, the higher the gauge rises. The gauge starts with no grade, becomes "Dope" after a minimum number of attacks, and peaks at "SSStylish"; if the character receives damage, the style rating resets. The game's battle system allows the player to chain attacks together, with each weapon having a number of unique attacks. Although the game mainly focuses on an aggressive approach to battle, the player must employ some strategy as the enemies have a wide variety of artificial intelligence tactics, and will respond to a number of events.
The Devil Trigger ability enables the player's character to change into a demonic form. This alters the character's appearance, increases attack and defense, slowly restores health, and enables special attacks. The Devil Trigger state lasts as long as there is energy in the Devil Trigger gauge, which is refilled by attacking or taunting enemies in the normal state, and decreases when using the Devil Trigger transformation or other abilities which draw on Devil Trigger power (such as the Quicksilver and Doppelganger styles discussed below). Devil Trigger mode is not available to Dante until one third of the way through the game, while Vergil (who is playable in the Special Edition) has the ability at the outset.
The major difference from previous Devil May Cry titles is the combat system, which allows the player to choose one of six different combat styles with different special techniques related to the style's focus. Style selection is available at the start of each level, as well as during gameplay at checkpoints. The styles available are: Trickster, for dodging and agility; Swordmaster, with extra abilities for swords and other melee weapons; Gunslinger, which has more techniques for firearms; Royal Guard, which allows the player to repel attacks with a properly-timed button press, and thereby charge energy for retaliation; Quicksilver, which slows down enemies while the character attacks at normal speed; Doppelgänger, creates a shadow double that fights alongside Dante. A second player can also control the shadow double by pressing "Start" on a second controller. A two-player mode, similar to Doppelgänger style, is accessible while fighting against Arkham. In the special edition of Devil May Cry 3, the character Vergil has one style called Dark Slayer with techniques similar to Trickster.
The Switch port also include three additional content, the first being the new "Style Switching" system which allows players to change Dante's Styles, the second being "Weapon Switching", he ability to equip and switch between all weapons during combat, and the third being local co-op partner in the game's survival mode, Bloody Palace.
- Gigapede - is a giant tapeworm-like demon who entered the Human world through a time-space rift. Relentlessly strikes down foes with a high voltage attack.
- Mundus - (cameo)
Chronologically-wise, Devil May Cry 3 is the earliest game in the series' timeline order.
The game opens in Dante's as-of-yet unnamed shop as a mysterious man called Arkham appears to offer an invitation from Dante's brother Vergil, in the form of a brutal demon attack. After Dante defeats the monsters inside and outside his shop, an immense tower erupts from the ground a short distance away. Sensing Vergil atop the structure, Dante takes the situation as a challenge.
At the tower's entrance Dante encounters Cerberus, defeats him and claims the monster's soul, which transforms into a new weapon. In what becomes a recurring game mechanic, the souls of some defeated boss monsters are transformed into new weapons for Dante's arsenal. Dante is then attacked by a woman on a motorcycle, whose name later becomes Lady. It is revealed in subsequent cutscenes that Arkham is working for Vergil and they plan to take Dante's half of the amulet their mother gave them, and use its power to reactivate the tower's ability to connect the human and demon worlds. It is also revealed that Arkham is Lady's father, that he murdered her mother, and that she is pursuing him to seek revenge.
After numerous battles, an encounter with a being calling itself Jester, and another run-in with Lady, Dante attains the tower's summit and battles Vergil. Vergil soundly defeats Dante, steals Dante's amulet, and departs. As a result of his defeat Dante's dormant devil powers emerge, and he sets off in pursuit. He eventually catches up in the control room located in the tower's basement, where Vergil is having no luck reactivating the tower. The brothers battle again and seem evenly matched, until they are interrupted first by Lady and then Jester. Jester reveals that he is in fact Arkham, and has been manipulating them all to reactivate the tower. Arkham's plan is to cross over to the demon world and steal the Force Edge, the dormant form of Sparda's original sword which contains the bulk of Sparda's old power, and use it to rule over a demon-infested Earth. The tower then transforms as the spell is broken, carrying Arkham upwards to the summit, while Vergil vanishes in the confusion.
Dante battles his way back up the tower, and eventually fights Lady for the right to pursue Arkham. Dante wins, and Lady lends him her most powerful weapon. Reaching the summit once again, Dante crosses over to the demon world and catches up with Arkham, who has assumed Sparda's demonic form. Overwhelmed by the power, Arkham transforms again into a blob-like creature and battles Dante. Halfway through the fight, as Arkham is gloating that Dante has no chance, Vergil reappears and the brothers work together to bring down Arkham. Arkham is thrown out of the demon world in a weakened state and lands atop the tower, where Lady kills him. In the demon world, Dante and Vergil battle over ownership of the Force Edge and the amulet halves. Dante is victorious. As the portal closes, Vergil decides to stay behind and vanishes into the darkness with one half of the amulet.
Returning to the human world, Dante meets Lady outside the tower where she coins the phrase "devil may cry" while trying to comfort Dante over the loss of his brother. They form a friendship and the beginnings of a partnership in demon-slaying, and he names his shop "Devil May Cry". A scene after the credits reveals a weakened yet determined Vergil, still in the demon world, where he charges into battle against his father's old foe, Mundus.
After the mixed reception of Devil May Cry 2, Capcom developed Devil May Cry 3 in a similar manner to the series' more critically acclaimed first game, Devil May Cry; its gameplay elements, such as environment size and battle engine, were reexamined. Other aspects of Devil May Cry 2, such as the toning-down of Dante's cockiness and the game's lack of difficulty, were brought back in line with Devil May Cry.
As during the original Devil May Cry Vergil was said to have been killed by demons early and had his soul under the control of Mundus, Bingo Morihashi wanted to create an alternate universe in which Vergil was alive. However, Hideki Kamiya gave Morihashi the freedom to retcon this and make Vergil into a living teenager for the events of Devil May Cry 3.
According to a pre-release interview with the game's producer, Tsuyoshi Tanaka, the focus of the game's design was a battle system which allowed a player to control weapons in new, "stylish" ways. This coincided with the design of a new type of in-game camera which kept the character in focus, avoiding disorientation in crowded battle scenes. Devil May Cry 2's difficulty was reduced for greater acceptance in the Japanese market, but this move cost the game support elsewhere. To remedy this, the Japanese release of Devil May Cry 3 had a lower degree of difficulty than the North American and European releases and Dante was a younger, more arrogant character than he was in the previous games. Reuben Langdon provided the character's voice and motion capture. Although he was directed in Dante's portrayal, Langdon (confused by staff suggestions) played his own version of the character.
Capcom promoted Devil May Cry 3's release with a multimillion-dollar television campaign and extensive advertising in video-game magazines; both emphasized the game's plot and number of fighting styles. The company produced a second, "special" edition, released in North America on January 24, 2006. A Microsoft Windows version, with minor graphics changes, was developed by SourceNext; it was released by Ubisoft on June 28, 2006 in Europe and October 16, 2006 in North America. The Devil Trigger versions of Dante and Vergil were designed by Atlus' Kazuma Kaneko, who previously collaborated on Zone of the Enders: The 2nd Runner, Shin Megami Tensei: Nocturne and Persona.
After Devil May Cry 3's release, Capcom introduced merchandise based on the game, including a manga (written by Suguro Chayamachi and published by Tokyopop in North America) and a Dante action figure manufactured by Revoltech. A 2006 sourcebook, Devil May Cry 3 Material Archive - Note of Naught, featured previously unreleased production and CG artwork, storyboards and a UMD video disc for the PlayStation Portable with trailers and videos (region 2 only). A three-disc Devil May Cry 3 soundtrack was released on March 31, 2005 (shortly after the game's release), produced by Tetsuya Shibata and Kento Hasegawa with lyrics and vocals by Shawn McPherson.
Devil May Cry 3: Special Edition
At the 2005 Tokyo Game Show, Capcom announced a special edition of Devil May Cry 3 with gameplay changes and additional content; most notably, Dante's twin brother Vergil was now playable. Other changes included an additional survival mode, "Bloody Palace", with 9,999 levels; a Jester fight early in the game, with optional fights later; a "Turbo Mode", increasing game speed by 20 percent; a "continue" feature, allowing a player to revive a character or restart a lost fight, and rebalanced difficulty.
Vergil's gameplay differed from Dante's; although Dante was weaker than Vergil in terms of skills and combos, he was easier to control. Because of the game's space limitations, not all of Vergil's moves were included in the special edition. They still tried keeping the moves he uses when being faced as a boss in Dante's campaign. His moveset was made to reflect his calm personality that contrasted Dante's cocky character. When making the characters, Vergil was made stronger than Dante but harder to control as the player learns more moves. Vergil became a popular character within the game's development team with Hideaki Itsuno noting he was also popular in the United States because several characters from Hollywood films wield katana. His popularity resulted in Itsuno discussing with his producer ideas for a game focused in Vergil.
Vergil has one style, "Dark Slayer" (similar to Dante's "Trickster" style), with evasive maneuvers which can be leveled-up twice like Dante's four styles. He has three weapons: a katana known as Yamato, Beowulf gauntlets and greaves and the Force Edge broadsword. Vergil has two ranges of attack: "Summoned Swords" (creating magical swords for a variety of effects) and "Judgment Cut" (creating spheres of force).
The new boss is Jester, a character encountered several times in first-edition cutscenes but not fought. In Devil May Cry 3: Special Edition, he is a boss who may be fought three times. The special edition was released on January 24, 2006 as part of the PlayStation 2 greatest-hits collection, and it was later confirmed that the PlayStation 2 version of the game would be released in Europe.
On February 1, 2006, Ubisoft announced that it would release a Microsoft Windows version of the game developed by SourceNext. The European PC version was the first one released (before the special-edition PlayStation 2 version in that region), on June 28, 2006. The Japanese version was released two days later, and the North American version on October 16. Devil May Cry 3: Special Edition was re-released in the Devil May Cry HD Collection for the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 (with Devil May Cry and Devil May Cry 2) on April 3, 2012.
Devil May Cry 3: Dante's Awakening was praised by critics. Reviews typically praised the game for avoiding its predecessor's mistakes and for its storyline, customization options, gameplay and combat engine. The style-based combat engine was considered to produce fighting sequences superior to games such as Ninja Gaiden and Prince of Persia: The Two Thrones, and the camera and controls were praised. Devil May Cry 3 was included in the 2010 book, 1001 Video Games You Must Play Before You Die.
The North American and European release's difficulty was criticized in otherwise-positive reviews. Critics disagreed with Capcom's decision to make the Japanese version's "hard" mode the North American and European "normal" mode, and Devil May Cry 3 has been cited as one of the all-time most-difficult video games by a number of websites.
The special-edition PlayStation 2 release ranked ninth on GameSpy's 2006 "Game of the Year" list; it was commended for recalibrating its difficulty, a survival mode known as "Bloody Palace" and making Vergil a playable character. Playing as Vergil was cited for the character's difference from Dante, although the reuse of Dante's bosses and the lack of cutscenes was criticized.
The PC version was considered inferior to the PlayStation 2 version. Issues included its game engine (thought rough and underpowered), its controls and the inability to save the game and exit, a feature of most PC games. Jeremy Dunham of IGN gave the PC version a score of 5.8 out of 10 (compared to the PS2 version's 9.6), citing its "awful performance" and "craptacular controls".
Devil May Cry 3 was a commercial success, and was the eighth-best-selling game in Japan a week after its release. The game sold over 1,300,000 copies worldwide (earning Capcom's "Platinum Title" status), and the special edition sold an additional one million copies.
- YouTube: Devil May Cry 3 - Behind the Scenes [Making of]
- cite book|title=Devil May Cry: 3142 Graphic Arts|publisher=Capcom, Udon Entertainment|year=2015|isbn=978-1927925485|pages=211
- title= Games TM (Issue #30) - March| year=2005| pages=120–123
- title=1001 Video Games You Must Play Before You Die|last=Mott |first=Tony |authorlink= |year=2010 |publisher=Quintessence Editions Ltd.|location=London |isbn=978-1-74173-076-0 |page=187
- Official site (Japanese)
- Official site for Special Edition (Japanese)