A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that kids with any fear of the occult should probably avoid this title. The game is set in motion by the coming of Hell on Earth -- while the main character tries to lighten the mood with stylish moves and sassy dialogue, darkness permeates the game's atmosphere.
What's it about?
In this prequel, you control Dante, the half-demon offspring of an underworld outcast who betrayed his evil colleagues by sabotaging a plan to destroy the Earth. Now, it's up to Dante to use his demonic bloodline and an arsenal of weapons and firearms to repulse the impious invaders and settle the score with his evil brother. To do this, he has to invade a massive, hellish clock tower that blew a hole in the middle of his city and navigate its many puzzles and traps, all while hacking away at a menacing menagerie of malevolence: 24 demon types, all intent to slicing, chewing, dicing and shooting our hero.
This seemingly endless supply of enemies would be tolerable in a lesser game, but DMC3 goes the extra mile to give the baddies the advantage over the hapless player. Enemies are intelligent: They change their movements to increase their strategic advantage, combine short-range and long-range attacks to keep you on the defensive, even pinning you into a corner to finish you off.
Is it any good?
DEVIL MAY CRY 3: DANTE'S AWAKENING ups the mayhem and increases the difficulty (to an almost unplayable level) to inject new life into the franchise. The result is a game experience that is equal parts fascinating and frustrating, immersing payers in a dark world where Hell and humanity collide in a perpetual gruesome battle. Once you get over DMC3's difficulty, there is a lot to like here. Combat is about strategy, reflexes and timing -- not just rapid and random button pushing.
The game has a nice streak of humor running trough it, showcasing Dante's adolescent cockiness and nonchalance in some memorable cut scenes. On the other hand, an apocalyptic sense of dread sets the tone for the whole game, complete with burned-out cars, smoldering buildings and the impending end of the world. Parents should use caution when considering this game for kids and teens who are easily impressionable, or who will find the game's dark tone frightening.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about what drives Dante. Is he fighting for good or just to settle the score with his brother? Also, you might use Dante's teen-like personality to discuss video game heroes: What archetypes exist? What's good or bad about each one? You may ask if he or she could imagine a different kind of hero.
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