Easily one of the coolest additions to this list, “Devil May Cry 3: Dante’s Awakening” was anarchic, bloody, loud and violent. Exuding a stylistic combat system that benefitted from an absurd visual fluidity that made every blistering encounter with the malformed demons feel as though it was your last. From the very first confrontation, instigating one of the most justifiable acts of violence, after Dante’s pizza is crushed by the foot of a cloaked assailant, Dante eliminates several adversaries by slicing a pool table in half, shooting the cue ball into the suspended cluster of balls that has hurtling past him for multiple Fatalities, I knew this was something special. Having already played and completed the series previous two incarnation I knew what to expect from this Gothic themed aberration of the Resident Evil series. You can immediately distinguish the games emphasis on a more effectual approach to combat that was sadly absent from its predecessor, establishing confrontations that necessitated a formidable agility, fleet dexterity and a logistical objective. Though the game excelled at the traditional hack n slash, liquidate enemies into a fine sulphuric paste methodology the game was brutally relentless.
If Dmc3 were obliged to shack your partner’s hand it would steal them away, marry them, take both the house, your kids and the dog in the divorce settlement before you even introduced them. Enemies, though singularly were easy to resist relied on sheer numbers to overwhelm you, coordinating horde like advances that required crucial versatility of your progressively expansive artillery and proficiency in their utilisation. Almost every stage introduced a new foe or a variant to engage with, one that demanded an adaptation to an immediately redundant strategy. It was challenging and downright frustrating at times, yet satisfying in masochist kind of way. There was this energetic sophistication that made every recurrent button press seem urbane and graceful, even though I looked like an agitated shopper trying frantically to get my pin code to verify. The bosses too posed their own significant challenges, providing conflated dangers due to their embellished physicality and exceedingly hostile yet singular combat styles. Whether it was their inflated stature or malformed concepts, each boss looked and felt unique.
The gothic architecture and other garish aesthetics only compounded the real sense of encroaching peril, as the suppression of reality became more distorted and sense of isolation became an arresting anxiety, as Dante slowly navigated his way through this dilapidated tower that at times assumed a façade reminiscent of a cathedral. The ornate arches sweeping along corridors and elaborate doors played havoc with your sense of direction, becoming the games most persistent impediment. But as brooding and macabre the clustered environments appeared to be you could always rely on Dante to provide commentary and insight that, uttered by anyone else would sound derivative and cliché. Dmc3 for me portrayed the most realised interpretation of Dante, and really the first time he was given a personality. His pithy, petulance and egotistical proclivities somehow made him a more appealing character, exhibiting an abstract masculinity that was both irritating yet endearing. Not to mention a destructive sibling rivalry that could challenge even the Gallagher brothers enduring contempt.
The most compelling reason for elevated and coveted position on my top ten is an amalgamation of all these many formidable attributes, but it’s most perennial influence was its riff heavy, orchestral/metal soundtrack. The rousing orchestral tempo, fused with the aggressive fervour of metal punctuated every battle in this game to such an exhilarating degree. The soundtracks energizing compliment made every slice of your blade seem like the difference between life and death. I can still recite the individual themes for most the boss encounters including all 3 Dante VS Vergil iterations. In fact it’s a soundtrack I still listen too.
The series, at least for the time being is seemingly on a permanent hiatus, owing to the rather divisive nature of its passive re-imagining, which is sad and by no means a way to end my first entry into the top 10 most inspirational games. Instead here is one of my favourite scenes from Dmc3 that emphasises the absurd violence, humour and intoxicating awesomeness of this franchise. Cheers.