Okay, for all of you asking, "What happened to Devil May Cry 2?", if you didn't know, there WAS no Devil May Cry 2. Ever. So don't ask again.
DevilMayCry3 is the prequel to DevilMayCry, featuring Dante the BadAss half-demon demon-killer. Someone who has played it extensively should actually review the game but I can tell you what I know from listening to people talk about it: it's hard.
Very, very hard.
Nope, still harder than that.
You will most likely unlock Easy Mode in a very short amount of time, as on Normal even the first level will beat the crap out of you a bunch. This causes the game to take pity on you and offer the easier difficulty level. Dante is totally BadAss in many ways, but few of those ways appear to be taking damage. Well, gee, that's a detail, isn't it?
Regardless, the game looks really, really, really cool. And you get to use cool weapons, like an Electric Guitar and the infamous tri-chucks (you kill a three-headed dog, you get three-headed nunchucks. *I* don't see the problem).
Having played through all of DevilMayCry and the first few missions of DMC3, here's my comparison of the two:
DMC3 has much cleaner graphics. They've also fixed almost all of the camera angle problems. You still really want to be able to listen to the game (though not to hear Dante's shouts during his attack combos), because many of the enemy attacks signal themselves primarily via sound effects and because sometimes you can't see enemies. In an often-noisy location like the lounge, expect to be blindsided regularly by enemies dashing in.
The style system has had a much-needed overhaul. In DMC1, you could get Stylish ratings by cheesing the grenadegun and rolling regularly to avoid being hit. In DMC3, you get better ratings if you mix up your attacks, and guns tend to be very bad for ratings. This forces the player to be a lot more in-your-face in gameplay if they want good ratings (and seeing as there's twice as many weapons to buy upgrades for, you want good ratings so you can get more orbs). The game has made this slightly easier, as you can now carry any two weapons and any two guns in your inventory, and instantly switch between them at any time. Here I'm talking switching from swords to trichucks in the middle of a combo. This kind of switching is the key to good ratings, really. In general, it's a lot easier to look bad-ass in DMC3 than in DMC1. This is in large part because of the cleaner graphics and better style meter, though it doesn't hurt that there are a few random things you can do with the scenery (e.g. spin around a stripdancing pole to kick enemies).
The fighting styles are a new thing in DMC3 - you can pick one of four (to start out) styles that slightly affect your baseline stats and give you access to a variety of special techniques. For example, the Trickster style lets you run on walls and gives you a quick dash escape move, while the Swordsmaster style gives you more melee damage and a few extra melee attacks. Styles gain experience as you kill monsters, giving more and better abilities. Depending on your play style, you may or may not find them useful. I'm not a big fan of Trickster (despite the huge degree to which it makes dodging attacks easier) simply because it doesn't look nearly as cool as some of the other styles.
The difficulty is a bit harder to gauge. I'm certainly getting killed a lot in DMC3, but then, I got killed a lot in DMC1, too. I suspect that I'm a better gamer than I used to be, at least for this style of game. However, I also don't have enough patience to play through the same level over and over again when I have people waiting for the chance to play and I have work hanging over my shoulders. Ah, halcyon days of froshy youth, where have you gone? [/bittersenior]
Second impressions, having played through Normal, Easy, and Hard (in that order): I more or less got it right the first time. I think the game is, overall, easier than DevilMayCry was, because you have access to a lot more resources in 3 than in 1. Most notably, you can carry up to 30 full vital stars with you at any time, whereas in 1 you only got 1 at a time. So if you're willing to use up resources, you should be able to clear even a challenging level on the first try. For me, this greatly reduces the frustration level of the game, especially when coupled with the fact that you can always return to previous missions to gain more orbs (mission 7 is great for this, what with the infinite supply of enemies). Now, I've seen people trying to beat various bosses without using items at all, and yes, they're dying a lot. They don't have to be; they're intentionally making the game harder on themselves.
Thoughts on the weapons:
- Rebellion, the starting sword. Since it's required to be in your inventory for at least the first five missions, it's quite versatile. Decent damage, excellent attack speed, and good sweeping movements are its tenets. It has a non-sucky launch move (and I love launching enemies into the air, oh yes I do), and almost as important, a move to quickly get you back to the ground.
- Cerberus, the icy trichuks. Not a weapon I use at all often, because I don't like its range and lack of moveset. Other people seem to love it, though. My biggest complaints are the lack of a) a move to close with the enemy, and b) a move to launch enemies. That being said, Cerberus does have its uses.
- Agni and Rudra, the twin scimitars. They're very similar to Rebellion in many respects. However, I've found that their combos are harder to break out of in a hurry (perhaps because said combos almost universally last longer than Rebellion's, with more hits in them), leaving you vulnerable if something attacks from your blind spot. A&R's closing move is also a lot more dangerous than Rebellion's, because you don't start attacking the enemy until you're in range, and you move a lot more slowly. Still, A&R have slightly more sweep and are thus more powerful against groups of grunts.
- Nevan, the electric guitar. Really just a style builder. I've tried using it as a serious weapon; it doesn't work. Almost all of the serious enemies have stances that they can't easily be shaken out of, which makes using Nevan's two most powerful abilities (Jam Session and Feedback) a dodgy preposition. As far as I can tell, Nevan exists for when you need to fly or you need to gain orbs in mission 7.
- Beowulf, the "flash gauntlets" (i.e. light-element martial-arts weapon). Not an especially stylish weapon, but it absolutely reams enemies. Slow combos leave you even more vulnerable than A&R do. Once you get it, though, it's the weapon of choice for bosses, since most boss fights consist of you dodging the boss' attacks, then stunning the boss, then beating on it for a few seconds.
Thoughts on styles:
- Trickster. As mentioned before, not an especially stylish style. Its great utility in movement makes the game much easier to survive, but if you can't look cool while beating the game, then why play it? Still, I break this out for some particularly assy sections of the game (read: the spike trap corridor later in the game). The level 3 move is handy for when you've jumped into the air to dodge something, since you can come down fighting no matter where your enemy is. AlexBobbs actually likes this style best, since Dante is much stronger on offense than defense by default, and having 133t dodge skills helps balance him out. Royal Guard can accomplish this to some degree, but it's less reliable than just avoiding the attacks altogether.
- Swordsmaster. My personal favorite, as it augments your melee capabilities greatly. Every weapon gets a few extra abilities, and at least one of them is useful for every weapon (Round Trip, Aerial Rave, "Taste This" + Rising Dragon, Feedback, Twister, Sky Dance, Ice Age). Ideally you spend most of your time in melee anyway (just shooting things is a boring way to play), so improving your melee capabilities is always welcome. Note that the combination of Rebellion and Agni&Rudra gives you a near-infinite air combo. Launch, Aerial Rave, switch to A&R, Sky Dance, switch back before last hit lands, Aerial Rave again. This is a great way to deal with the Leviathan's Heart boss, where you really want to stay in the air for a long time. It also racks up massive amounts of style.
- Gunslinger. Truth be told, not a style I've used much. Guns are not an especially great source of damage in this game, and they appear to become merely mediocre if you use Gunslinger. The extra firing rate on Ebony and Ivory is nice, as is the ability to charge up shots, but I've yet to find a good use for any of the other abilities that this style makes available. I'm convinced that the other abilities are mostly there because they look cool, and perhaps some people (not me) use primarily guns.
- Royal Guard. I didn't start using this style until I'd already beaten the game twice, and then I powerleveled it on mission 18 (80000 experience per run, or thereabouts). Similar to Trickster in that it makes dealing with enemy attacks easier. I'm actually finding that I like it more than Trickster, simply because blocking attacks usually leaves you in good position to counterattack during the enemy's recovery. Every once in a while being able to unleash an uber-strike on some poor fool is also nice. And it's particularly useful against spiders (which are harder to dodge than they should be) and angels (whose attacks have ludicrous amounts of sweep). Unfortunately, you can't block most of the attacks that you really want to block. Ah, well.
- Quicksilver. I've only seriously used this when playing with Super Dante, at which point it just becomes silly. Seems to drain your devil trigger really quickly.
- Doppelganger. Used a bit. Seems like the doppelganger either just does exactly what you're doing (doubling your damage, which is admittedly handy), or gets completely mucked up because you're using a different weapon than he is, and is therefore useless. Supposedly you can control the doppelganger with a second controller, though. When used right, you can absolutely destroy bosses with it.