Tag Archives: capcom

A Gaming Round-up: DmC, Sleeping Dogs, etc. Games | My Reviews 11 JAN 2014

I have a confession to make. I’m pretty much over single-player gaming these days. Blame lack of diminishing returns, or just pure apathy, but I no longer find it hugely entertaining to sit down by myself with controller in hand for an hour or two at night. Maybe I’m simply tired of it, or maybe I’ve simply outgrown the hobby or whatever you want to call it, but the fact of the matter is that I no longer enjoy the pastime as much, and as such, probably won’t be doing a hell of a lot of gaming on my own going forward any longer.

That said, I do still enjoy the multiplayer gaming experience to a fair degree, but that is a completely different kettle of fish mind you – it’s the social interactions that keeps it enjoyable, not the gaming necessarily itself!

All of that said and done though, my blogging hiatus means I’ve spent some time on a fair bit of titles without mentioning them here yet, meaning it only seems fair to do a quick round-up.

dmc devil may cry xbox promo image

First up there is Capcom and Ninja Theory’s awesome action adventure, hack and slash genre entry, Devil May Cry (DmC) (2013), a re-imagination to the original Devil May Cry series, this time from a Western perspective. There was a lot of online moaning about how much people despised the changed story and character designs, but you know what, I have to say I thoroughly enjoyed it. The story was tightly woven and nice and involving, the characters were actually quite believable in their motivations for a change, and just to drive the awesomeness home, Ninja Theory got the Devil May Cry game mechanics spot on, leading to a raucous, gorgeous looking, stylishly executed button-mashing gaming experience.

I’m a big fan of the original Devil May Cry franchise, and quite pleasingly, this new addition to the stable is just as fantastic as the rest!

Battlestations: Pacific (2009) is a action real-time tactic World War II game from Eidos Hungary, which basically allows you to tackle either a US or Japanese campaign by working through a variety of airborne, seaborne, and combined missions.

Although the voice acting is a little cheesy and the graphics aren’t particularly fantastic, if you are part of the target market for this game like I am (in other words, love World War II planes and boats), then it is an absolute joy to take to the sky in some classic beasts of the air, like a Mitsubishi Zero or a Lockheed P-38 Lightning to name but a few!

Naturally the single player skirmishes do get a little boring after a while, but for me (and Jessica mind you – my little 3 year old likes nothing more than taking a plane up into the sky, doing some rolls, and then ploughing straight down into the see. She screams in delight literally every single time!), the flying time was all that I was really after anyways!

There is a huge selection of ships, submarines, fighter planes, sea planes and bombers to be piloted, and the simplified arcade controls makes for an easy enough title to pick up, though I suspect only lovers are the genre will really get some entertainment value out of this one!

battlestations pacific mitsubishi zero in flight

Shoot Many Robots (2012) from Demiurge Studios is an Xbox Arcade release recently featured as part of Microsoft’s Games with Gold initiative. It’s a typical action platformer that sees you and a partner or two, strap on some silly big guns and costumes, and then run through a variety of stages shooting at pretty much anything that moves, before taking on the slightly bigger bad boy boss at the end of each level.

It’s a redneck-themed game which means the appeal is probably quite limited (seriously, rednecks just aren’t my idea of funny), and as such a lot of the items are geared in design, appearance and function to fit in with the theme.

Ryan and I had some fun shooting down robot after robot, and I have to say, the art direction on the game is really well done, though by that I mean the implementation, not necessarily the stupid theme. Overall, it’s a competent and polished XBOX Arcade title worth picking up if you are looking for some mindless side-scrolling shooting to be had.

shoot many robots xbox arcade title screen

If you are a RPG fan then without a doubt CD Projekt RED’s The Witcher 2 (2012) is a must play. Massive world, gorgeous graphics, classic RPG elements, enjoyable fight mechanics, and engaging and mature storyline, the Witcher 2 is undoubtedly a RPG done right.

Sadly for me though, it turns out I’m not that really into RPG games any more, meaning that it didn’t have my full attention nor a decent enough allotment of my time. Despite that, I do have to recognise just how good an entry into the RPG genre this game actually is, and it is definitely worth the recommend.

(One small gripe though. Why in the world did this game not have better movement mechanics. Seriously, I should not have to trigger a context button for the character to hop down a stone ledge or climb up a simple ladder in this day and age!)

UPDATE: (2014-05-28) I ended up coming back to this one and spending a whole lot more time with it. In the end, same result: great, mature RPG that’s an enjoyable play, but with some slightly annoying control issues. Well worth recommending though!

the witcher 2 xbox screengrab

Next to Devil May Cry, Sleeping Dogs (2012) from United Front Games and Square Enix sits squarely in the list of favourite games played recently. Turns out I rather enjoy Asian-set action games (like John Woo’s Stranglehold, Yakuza and the True Crime series – which I only recently found out are technically forerunners for this game – to name but a few), and as such I’m quite enjoying the open world action-adventure video game, running around doing jobs for the Triads, helping out the cops, boosting my stats, and in general just causing absolute mayhem, all the while wrapped up in a brutal but engaging storyline of crime and justice.

In essence it is pretty much like playing any installment of Grand Theft Auto, except that this time around you are the good guy, doing bad things to fit in, and with a lot more focus on martial arts-based hand to hand combat than what you would see in a GTA title.

Driving, shooting, and fight mechanics are all well implemented, and combined with some good graphics, a fantastic sound track and great voice artist work, this is definitely fast becoming one of my big time favourites.

sleeping dogs xbox screengrab

Review: Street Fighter II V (1995) Anime | My Reviews 29 NOV 2013

street fighter ii v animeRyu gets an unexpected letter which contains a plane ticket and a fair amount of US currency, along with a cryptic message from Ken that he should come to America. On his arrival in San Francisco, Ryu is astounded at how well Ken seems to be doing. The two friends have been sparring partners for as long as they can remember, and almost nothing can keep them apart. The two year long break had been a long time for them, so it was great to see one another once more.

Ken decides to take Ryu out on the town for their first evening. Armed with Ken’s Harley Davidson, the pair hit San Francisco’s night-life. While having a drink at the Mount Fuji bar, Ken and Ryu run into a little trouble with a couple of airforce troops.

Just what Ryu and Ken needed – an opportunity to get back into fighting form! However, after facing off against and getting beaten up by the airforce sergeant Guile, Ryu and Ken come to realise that there is a whole world of fighting out there, far removed from the confines of competitive tournaments. This is the dangerous world of Street Fighting, where a fighter’s skills are all that might protect their very life. Deciding that this is the world which they both need to explore, Ken and Ryu decide to travel the world, honing their skills and becoming the greatest street fighters of all.

But out from the shadows, a dark and powerful figure watches. He recognises the potential in these two young fighters – and will claim it as his own!

Street Fighter IIV is based on Capcom’s hugely successful Street Fighter game franchise. As usual, the story revolves around the two main antagonists, namely Ken and Ryu.

Although the inspiration for this anime is a simple fighting game, there exists enough depth in the characters to weave a convincing storyline for the anime to follow. The writing is well done, and the characters carefully selected. The story remains as true as possible to the original game characters, introducing new cast members only to further the developing plot. This is great for fans of the game who enjoy seeing their favourite fighters appear in the anime. Unfortunately, not all the characters from the game are included in the story, so some fans may feel a little let down.

The focus on martial arts and the mysticism surrounding it is incredibly well researched. The story takes this research and embellishes it a bit, making for a great story that somehow manages to stick on the side of reality. The end of the anime may lose the plot slightly, but in general, the realism of the story is always maintained.

The animation throughout the series is superb. The fight scenes are great, with much attention paid to the various styles each character is supposed to be representing. The action is fluid and the characters are very well designed. The only complaint I have about the art is the incredibly hairy eyebrows everyone seems to have.

The voice talent for the anime, both the original and dubbed version, is really good. This is one of the few times that I really enjoyed a dubbed anime. The music is okay, but it doesn’t really stand out. Both the original and dubbed versions have a really stupid opening track though.

Overall, I really enjoyed this anime. It concentrated a lot on the fighting, and as a fan of the game, it was great fun watching all your favourite characters battling it out with one another. You can almost shout for joy when you see Ken performing his famous Sho Ryu Ken or Ryu performing his Hadou Ken special attacks. A fun anime to watch, the violence does pick up a little towards the end of the series. The story also seems to lose the plot slightly, introducing a whole supernatural angle that would have been better left out. Still an enjoyable watch for both fans and newcomers to Street Fighter alike.

street fighter ii v anime wallpaper

(Historical Note: This was written way back in July 2003. Thankfully my writing has gotten a whole lot better since then!)

Related Link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Street_Fighter_II_V

Gaming Update: Dead Rising 2 | Assassin’s Creed II Games | My Reviews 18 SEP 2013

I game few and far between these days, with the greatest slice of my gaming time being made up of online FIFA 13 battles with Ryan. That said, here’s a quick round up of my thoughts on the games that I have played over the last couple of months – funnily enough, all coming my way courtesy of the current Microsoft Games with Gold initiative…

Dead Rising 2 (2010)

Five years after the events of Dead Rising, former motocross champion Chuck Greene is in the casino town of Fortune City, Nevada, to take part in Terror Is Reality, a controversial sports entertainment game show where contestants kill zombies for money and fame. Chuck needs the prize money to buy Zombrex (a daily medication that suppresses the zombification process) for his daughter Katey, who was bitten by her zombified mother during a previous outbreak in Las Vegas.

However as you might have guessed, caged zombies seldomly stay caged for long, meaning that pretty soon Chuck is running amok to clear his name, save people’s lives and keep Katey from turning into a zombie!

Dead Rising 2 is a 3rd person action game from Capcom that features some fantastically detailed shopping complex environments to move around in and beat up horde upon horde of shuffling zombies (interspersed with the odd crazy and psychopath) with whatever tool or fixture you can find lying about. (Seriously, just about anything can be used as a weapon, and best of all, you can combine multiple items into bigger badder zombie killing devices, some of which get pretty inventive in the process!). All of this open world beat-down action then gets wrapped up in a pretty enjoyable character-driven mystery story and complemented with a great soundtrack, voice acting and cutscenes, the end result being a pretty polished and neat zombie game.

That said, I don’t really enjoy zombie stories, meaning that I didn’t really enjoy this outing, and consequently haven’t bothered finishing it.

However, if you ARE a fan of zombies and their like, then without a doubt you’ll get a proper kick out of it – so worth it if you’re in that boat then.

(Oh, and in terms of gameplay overall, my only real gripe, apart from the plenty of load screens you encounter, is the fact that the strict time limits put on missions and the main storyline stops you from fully exploring the wonderfully built environment and properly exploring the various ways of mowing down zombies like you should have been able to!)

dead rising 2 xbox game chuck greene

Related Link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dead_Rising_2

Assassin’s Creed II (2009)

After being forced to relive the genetic memories of ancestral assassin Altair ibn-La’Ahad through a machine known as the “Animus”, Desmond Miles is freed from his imprisonment by Abstergo Industries employee Lucy Stillman and together they make a daring escape.

Now in a safe place and in possession of Abstergo data and an upgraded Animus 2.0, Desmon agrees to re-enter the Aimus and relive the genetic memories of ancestral nobleman Ezio Auditore da Firenze, who lived during the Renaissance period of the late 15th and early 16th centuries in Italy. An assassin born from the murder of his family, Ezio, and thus Desmond, are now on a hunt to solve the mystery surrounding the age old Knights Templar movement.

If you are a fan of historical pieces then you are going to love Assassin’s Creed and its incredibly detailed conspiracy-driven story line. If you are not, then you are still going to love Assassin’s Creed and its incredibly detailed conspiracy-driven story line.

Seriously, this game is that good.

An absorbing story told via the polished and well executed platform of a 3rd person stealth-action open world game which sees you scaling walls, running along rooftops and causing all kinds of bloody chaos, before slinking back into the shadows or blending in with a cloud to avoid capture. A massive world, beautifully rendered environments, fluid movement mechanics, loads of cutscenes, and some decent enemy AI, all work in conjunction with a great setting, beautiful musical score and enjoyable voice acting to result in a game that is really worth your time to play.

In other words, I REALLY enjoyed this one from Ubisoft.

assassin's creed ii xbox game ezio drawing sword

Related Link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Assassin%27s_creed_ii

Review: Asura’s Wrath (2012) Games | My Reviews 26 JUL 2013

Gaea, a world much like our own, is inhabited by a variety of human tribes. However, it is under constant attack from the bloodied, demonic, destructive and impure race know as the Gohma, created by the terrifying Vlitra who rests as part of the very planet itself. On the other hand, Gaea’s protectors are a group of powerful and technologically advanced demigods, ruled by Emperor Strada and his unstoppable Eight Guardian Generals.

After the latest open conflict with the Gohma and with Vlitra finally beaten back for now, Asura, one of the Guardian Generals is betrayed by his comrades, framed for the death of the Emperor, witnesses the death of his wife and kidnapping of his priestess daughter, and ultimately is killed by the scheme’s orchestrator.

12,000 years later, an reawakened, rage-fueled, and wrathful Asura has the chance to rejoin the land of the living… revenge the only thing on his mind!

asura's wrath xbox 360 capcom cyberconnect2 game screenshot 4

A joint game venture by Japanese gaming houses Capcom and CyberConnect2, Asura’s Wrath is a very interesting experiment in gaming to say the least. Featuring a hugely distinctive manga-inspired art style, the game could be described as a rich, multi-part, Buddhist lore-infused anime series, punctuated with bouts of action brawling gameplay.

Seriously.

Split up into episodes and chapters, each with its own narrated introduction, credit sequences and some gorgeous CG cut scenes, the actual gaming is very much a stop start affair, and at no point are you never not aware of the all important progressing story line.

At the heart of the actual gameplay, Asura’s Wrath is a 3rd person brawler, with your character being gifted with the standard light and heavy attack options, a dodging/jumping ability, as well as the ability to unleash ranged mystic bolts, all of which can fluidly be combined as you are pitted up against horde after horde of both Gohma and demigod constructs. Boss battles make up a large percentage of your battles and as expected from such a stylized game, the battles are epic, very varied, and quite satisfying to compete.

And mind you, if the gameplay wasn’t already punctuated enough by all the story breaks, Asura’s Wrath goes one step further by utilizing the full range of context button motions, quick time events and good old single button bashing to constantly change things up in terms of the fight scenes, not to mention the clever shooter on rails sections they throw into the mix every now and then as well!

Like I said, everything is done on a grandiose and epic scale, and some of the animation sequences are without a doubt the most thrilling and awe-inspiring you’ll have seen in quite some time – but in the same breadth exactly what you kind of expect from a Japanese-made game by now. (For heaven’s sake, you even fight a former colleague who transforms into a being bigger than the planet and who is trying to crush you with his finger which is technically now a meteor approaching you in the sky!)

As expected from this type of game the combat is pretty fluid, though ultimately shallow and not particularly challenging, meaning that if you are looking to play a decent game, you’re probably going to be left disappointed. However, if you want an entertainment experience, then Asura’s Wrath certainly won’t disappoint.

An epic and hauntingly beautiful soundtrack complements some fantastic voice acting, and when you throw in the gorgeous and dynamic visual style of the game combined with slick and action-packed cut scene choreography that is simply on a scale of awesomeness not usually seen, you get one hell of an interesting gaming experiment that is quite unlike anything you might have played before.

asura's wrath xbox 360 capcom cyberconnect2 game screenshot 1

Certainly worth looking at then if you have a soft spot for anime or Japanese-told stories, but perhaps not such a good bet if you are looking for a more traditional hack/slash action game or come from the first person shooter world.

I have to say, I myself enjoyed the experience but in the same breadth I can’t say that I loved it. Still, Asura’s Wrath is definitely a good surprise package, that’s for sure!

asura's wrath xbox 360 capcom cyberconnect2 game screenshot 2

asura's wrath xbox 360 capcom cyberconnect2 game screenshot 3

Related Link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Asura%27s_Wrath

Omar Dogan: Street Fighter Legends: Chun Li #4 Cover (2009) Comic Book Art | Comic Books 24 NOV 2012

The fantastic crew over at Udon Entertainment have been responsible for producing some truly stunning pieces of comic book art over the years. Having grabbed a number of licenses from Capcom to produce comic books based on their franchises, one of the titles to really launch Udon into stardom was that of Street Fighter II, and in 2009 this initial work was expanded by a limited series focusing on the First Lady of fighting games: Miss Chun Li!

Apart from handling the interior art chores, issue 4 of Street Fighter Legends: Chun Li also featured this jaw droppingly beautiful artwork of Omar Dogan, depicting a defiant Chun Li staring up into the cold eyes of a rather aloof Sagat.

Related Link: http://www.udonentertainment.com/

Omar Dogan: Street Fighter Legends: Chun Li #2 Cover (2009) Comic Book Art | Comic Books 28 JUL 2012

The fantastic crew over at Udon Entertainment have been responsible for producing some truly stunning pieces of comic book art over the years. Having grabbed a number of licenses from Capcom to produce comic books based on their franchises, one of the titles to really launch Udon into stardom was that of Street Fighter II, and in 2009 this initial work was expanded by a limited series focusing on the First Lady of fighting games: Miss Chun Li!

Apart from handling the interior art chores, issue 2 of Street Fighter Legends: Chun Li also featured this jaw droppingly beautiful artwork of Omar Dogan, depicting a chuffed Chun Li cuffing a hapless perp.

Related Link: http://www.udonentertainment.com/

Alvin Lee: Street Fighter Legends: Chun Li #4 Variant Cover (2009) Comic Book Art | Comic Books 02 JUN 2012

The fantastic crew over at Udon Entertainment have been responsible for producing some truly stunning pieces of comic book art over the years. Having grabbed a number of licenses from Capcom to produce comic books based on their franchises, one of the titles to really launch Udon into stardom was that of Street Fighter II, and in 2009 this initial work was expanded by a limited series focusing on the First Lady of fighting games: Miss Chun Li!

With the talented Omar Dogan handling the interior art chores on issue 4, along with the main cover art, it was given to Alvin Lee to come up with this awesome piece to be used as the main variant cover, depicting a very dynamic Chun Li against a backdrop of some pretty nasty Street Fighter characters.

Related Link: http://www.udonentertainment.com/

Review: Devil May Cry 4 Games | My Reviews 22 MAR 2010

Hands up if you were a fan of the trigger-happy button masher on steroids that was Devil May Cry 3, featuring everyone’s favourite son of Sparda come Demon Hunter, Dante? Yes? Well I absolutely loved it and I’m happy to say that Devil May Cry 4 kicks off exactly from the level set by Devil May Cry 3 and then raises the bar just that little – Oh and it even looks a whole lot prettier this time around!

For this outing the story follows a man other than Dante, a young trouble-maker with a itching for a fight and a demonic hand to match, who just happens to be in the employ of the Order of the Sword that currently worships Sparda as the saviour of its people. Nero is however drawn into an unlikely conflict as demons are unleashed upon the world once again and at the same time, a mysterious man in red appears to murder the Order’s leader and spiritual guide Sanctus. With only the safety of his beloved Kyrie in his mind, Nero accepts the challenge and enters the fray – though the extent of the deception and danger that still awaits him has yet to fully reveal itself!

Released in 2008 from makers Capcom, Devil May Cry 4 slips snuggly in the same fast-paced 3rd person, hack and slash gameplay of its predecessors, though it brings a new element into play thanks to Nero’s Devil Bringer demonic grappling arm. Again we have the fixed camera locations, the industrial metal soundtrack, the over the top sound effects, screams and one-liners, a variety of some fairly strangely designed demons together with a LOT of very cool, well executed CG cutscenes to take in.

Ice demons can just be so cold, you know?

In terms of gameplay, you get to experience the game controlling both Nero and Dante through the course of the game, though it is without a doubt that this new upstart Nero is the main protagonist from stage 1. Armed with both a ranged gun attack as well as a sword attack, Nero gets the added grappling abilities gifted through his Devil Bringer arm, a new gameplay mechanic and one that actually elevates the Devil May Cry experience and actually makes Nero more fun to play with than Dante himself! In terms of Dante, you have access to the same abilities and styles as from Devil May Cry 3, meaning you still have your various guns and swords available to you to switch through as you like (though now you can switch between all at a simple button press during a stage whenever you want), plus the added four styles of Trickster, Gunslinger, Swordmaster and Royal Guard to play with.

Both Nero and Dante have access to a Devil Trigger ability that when activated grants them a cool new look, increased power and abilities and also a slow health regeneration boost. As for the actually running around and playing, the pace is still frenetic as you jump, hack and slash away at enemies to eventually reveal over the top, larger than life boss characters and of course obtain those all important red orbs that can be used to upgrade your weapons and abilities at designated divinity statues and stage begin menus. As before, the style system is in place to judge your overall score on a particular stage as well as the amount of orbs dropped from defeated enemies, meaning that it is in your best interest to constantly switch between attacks and avoid get hits – all in order to reach that sought after Smokin’ Sick Style (SSS) ranking!

Visually Devil May Cry 4 is as polished a game as what you could hope for. Character models are well detailed, special effect are beautiful to behold and the character animations and movement is smooth and shows off all the right visuals. Of course, no Devil May Cry game would be complete without beautifully rendered and often over the top CG cutscenes and I’m pleased to report that DMC4 has these dripping in abundance, complete with those crazy Dante performance that you got used to witnessing the last time round in this particular franchise.

In terms of difficulty, DMC4 is not overly aggressive and will actually dumb down boss characters should you find yourself on a game over screen just one too many times. Also, because the red orb and experience point accumulation is exactly that, accumulated, it means that you’ll keep levelling up even if you keep losing, meaning that eventually you should be able to make your way through to the end. Most of the boss fights are pretty simple to work out and give a decent challenge, but be warned that the final battle has a trick to it that you’ll need to think around in order to beat it (Devil Bringer – it’s all I’m going to say!)

Aurally Devil May Cry 4 delivers the good exactly as what you would expect from a AAA title, featuring a beautiful and haunting soundtrack mixed in with some frenetic and hardcore riffs during the fight scenes. Voice acting is top notch and for the most part there is very little to complain about.

In summary, Capcom’s MT Framework game engine is once again responsible for bringing to life a superb entry in the fast-paced, button bashing and trigger happy hack and slash genre that is difficult to put down and even harder not to enjoy. It is satisfying building up style points, getting good ratings for levels and eventually beating the game. It looks good, sounds good and plays smoothly, making it a firm favourite of mine – in other words, pick it up if you are a fan of this genre… you won’t go wrong! :)

(Just a tip though. In order to unlock the secret game ending cutscene, you need to protect Kyrie and basically ensure she doesn’t take a hit. Not go after the bad guys like I did. Doh!)

Demon bosses. They're generally on the big side

A dragon... flower... seed-flinging demon boss? Don't ask.

I'm really not lying when I say that the bosses really are on the big side at times!

Related Link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Devil_May_Cry_4

Review: Devil May Cry 3: Special Edition Games | My Reviews 16 MAR 2008

Devil May Cry 3The undisputed king of PS2 frenetic-paced action titles without a doubt sits squarely with Capcom’s legendary 2005 release, Devil May Cry 3: Dante’s Awakening which exploded on the scene and left millions of frustrated gamers on an complete adrenaline rush. One year later and Capcom decides to treat us all by releasing Devil May Cry 3: Dante’s Awakening – Special Edition which features a whole lot of new extras plus the chance to play with Dante’s rogue brother Vergil as a main playable character (and at budget price just to make the deal so much sweeter to boot).

Devil May Cry 3 is best described as frantic-paced, high-energy metal that sees you controlling the brash and arrogant Dante, half human and half demon, devil hunter and detective as he attempts to stop his brother’s insane plan of bringing the demon world to Earth while at the same time cut his way through half of Hell itself just to do it. The focus of the game is on unrelenting action and sees you tackle hordes of demons with a wide variety of weapons (both melee and ranged), all instantaneously switchable mid combo just for the hell of it!

The action and fighting is about as fluid as you can get and combined with the upgradeable move set for the various fighting ‘styles’ that you can employ makes for a pretty deep combat experience. There are a number of very detailed and finely connected levels to make you way through, usually battling scores of demons just to get to the other side where you are more often than not presented with some or other fiendishly difficult boss battle to deal with. There are one or two annoying puzzles you get stuck with, a little backtracking and a few infuriating Fight Adjudicators to deal with, but other than those, it is pretty much gun-blazing, sword-slashing action through the good number of hours it will take you to beat this game.

On the story-telling side of things, Devil May Cry 3 has one of those epics stories that reels you in and is jam-packed with intrigue, twists and poignancy and in the end makes for one of those games that stand as tall on the story that they deliver as on the game play that they dish out.

Visually, Devil May Cry 3 comes out on top with extremely detailed and moody backgrounds, fixed cinematic camera angles and extremely stylish and fluid movement animations. The environments themselves although confined in one building are so diverse and styled that you never ever seem to get bored or tired of your surroundings – not that you notice them all that much with the non-stop action flowing around you anyway!

The game is also literally littered with breathtaking cutscenes that makes full use of the exciting Asian choreography and special techniques that makes so many Hong Kong and Japanese action movies stand out above traditional Western offerings.

Of course, even with all the breathtakingly designed characters and backgrounds and the non-stop button mashing, the true genius behind the frenzy that is Devil May Cry 3 is the extremely cleverly picked hard rock/metal soundtrack and scintillating sound effects that propel the pace of the game to a new level. The extreme energy and aggression that comes from the soundtrack is enough to get any gamer’s adrenaline flowing and this heightened aggression is what makes Devil May Cry 3 an even more action-packed adventure that what it should perhaps be.

Another reason for Devil May Cry 3’s massive popularity is its legendary difficulty that was guaranteed to put even the most ardent of gamers through their paces and leave you with a sense of owning the world should you ever actually beat the damn game! Funnily enough, the main reason for this was the rather strange decision to set the initial American release’s normal difficulty level to the Japanese release’s difficult setting and the easy setting became the Japanese’s equivalent normal setting.

For better or worse, Devil May Cry 3: Special Edition sets the difficulty level back to the normal setting it was originally meant to be on, meaning that many who haven’t played the original will be left wondering as to why Devil May Cry 3 used to be hailed as one of the most difficult games to get through. Although this reduced difficulty doesn’t take much away from the game as a whole, it does become slightly less rewarding for gamers who clocked the original but thankfully there is still enough added bonuses and extras to make old gamers come back for more.

First off, the most touted extra feature is the ability to play through the game as Vergil, complete with his own set of upgradeable moves and styles. As cool as it is to play with this new character, you can’t help but feel a little cheated when you realise the developer have done nothing more than create the new character and generate his new moves set but then simply tack him into the game and strip the cutscenes to make the story more or less move forward. And if you think you are going to finish the game by fighting against Dante, think again – you’ll simply be fighting a differently coloured clone of yourself I’m afraid.

Secondly, we get a new boss battle tossed into the mix, this time a fight against Jester, though this boss battle is a lot more forgiving than the original bosses that you still need to mix it up against. You do however get to experience this new fight a whole three times during the game, increasing in difficulty with each encounter.

Another major change that has been implemented has quite an effect on the frustration that was the original version, namely the continue system. In the original you needed to buy yellow orbs which could be used to continue with on death, but these orbs quickly became prohibitedly expensive and you pretty much had to replay level after level simply because the tough boss at the end of it wasn’t going to let you have your own way. This time around you can set it that you have unlimited continues which makes for a far smoother and less frustrating trip through to the final battle, something that goes a long way in making this game more accessible to casual gamers.

And then there is all the other bonus material of course. Tons and tons of images to view, alternative costumes, video theatre and soundtrack material to unlock plus a little extra in the form of the Blood Palace, a 9 999 level big play area which pits you in endless combat and is best suited to those DMC3 professionals that want to squeeze the most out of the game.

Overall, the reduced difficulty level and infinites continues structure lessons the impact of this classic title ever so slightly, reducing the personal reward gained in clocking it, however it does make it far more inviting to players new to the Devil May Cry 3 mythos and remains as worthy an action title as what it ever has been. If you are looking for non-stop, heart-pounding action featuring some of the most breathtaking cutscene choreography ever devised combined with some of the toughest boss battles out there, you really can’t go wrong by picking up this legendary title. And at the price it is going for, you would really have to kick yourself if you miss out!

Devil May Cry 31 Devil May Cry 32 Devil May Cry 33 Devil May Cry 34

http://www.gamespot.com/ps2/action/devilmaycry3specialedition/index.html