Devil May Cry paved the way for fast-paced 3D action games and you can now enjoy the pinnacle of the franchise on Nintendo Switch.
Sure, last year's Devil May Cry 5 was a great game but in my opinion, Devil May Cry 3 remains the best in the long-running series. It perfectly presented a highly challenging action-packed gameplay formula that both thrilled and frustrated gamers when it originally released back in 2005. In fact, it was so brutally difficult that Capcom released the Special Edition a year later which made it a more accessible game by tweaking the difficulty as well as featuring a more forgiving continue system. It also included a whole host of new features but I'll discuss those later. For now, allow me to say that Devil May Cry 3 Special Edition runs beautifully on Switch and surprisingly, it doesn't feel dated at all as its visuals hold up impressively well which is rare for a port of a classic game.
Devil May Cry 3's combat is visceral, intense, and tight. It even rivals many recent games in the genre which is truly a testament of its timeless level of quality. Specifically, you control Dante by slashing and shooting as well as using style-specific actions. These styles allow Dante to focus on certain aspects of combat: Trickster for evasive moves, Gunslinger to excel in firearms, Royalguard for a defensive stance, and my favourite, Swordmaster which specializes in melee attacks. Experimenting with the styles and different weapons while purchasing new moves and upgrades makes combat feel much more personal with its open-ended customization element. This aspect is especially welcome when you consider just how varied Devil May Cry 3's campaign is complete with many stand-out boss fights.
As promised, let's take a look at the extra features in Devil May Cry 3 Special Edition that make an already great game even better. For starters, you can play as Dante's brother Vergil which adds even more variety to the gameplay. You can also challenge Bloody Palace mode which is essentially a survival arena and acts as a rewarding feat for hardcore fans. Plus, you can play through this mode cooperatively with a friend where one player controls Dante and the other plays as Vergil. How awesome is that? Anyway, upon completing the story after fulfilling various criteria, you can unlock alternative costumes and additional difficulty settings as if Devil May Cry 3 isn't difficult enough already. It goes without saying but you can spend a long time trying to master everything.
Finally, this Switch version of Devil May Cry 3 Special Edition has its downsides. For starters, impatient and casual gamers will find it hard to enjoy. Aside from the obvious reason being its level of difficulty, there are moments that are rather perplexing and may force you to use a guide. For example, some bosses are far from intuitive and you may find yourself getting lost in certain stages. Next, there are occasional camera issues such as when you're fighting enemies then the perspective shifts while simultaneously obstructing your view. Whenever this happened, I found myself running and jumping to a more open area and hoping that the enemies would follow me. Last but not least, this Switch version may contain the co-op Bloody Palace mode but nothing significant has been added besides that. Oh, and you can switch Devil Arms, Guns, and Styles mid-game by the tap of a button which is very cool and convenient.
It's hard to believe that a 3D action game as supremely enjoyable as Devil May Cry 3 released 15 years ago. It's a modern masterpiece that genre fans need to play even if they already have dozens of times before.
- + Refined action-packed gameplay that's extremely challenging and rewarding
- + Graphics hold up surprisingly well
- + Loads of extras to master
- - Can be far too difficult and tricky for casual and impatient gamers
- - Not much changed for this Switch release
- - Occasional camera problems