In 2005, Capcom released the best Devil May Cry game (and that’s just facts). Now, fifteen-years later, we have the definitive version of it, with the Nintendo Switch release of Devil May Cry 3: Special Edition offering a more enjoyable, accessible, and ultimately s-s-stylish way to indulge into its brilliant slash ’em up-action.
Taking place before the events of the first game, Devil May Cry 3: Special Edition puts you into the shoes of series protagonist Dante in his younger-years as he looks to pursue his evil-minded twin-brother Vergil. Devil May Cry 3: Special Edition gives gamers the first taste of Vergil in his human form, but it is here where he’s at his most mischievous as he looks to open a portal to the demon world and cause all sorts of chaos – you’ve got to stop him.
So what made Devil May Cry 3: Special Edition such a special game to begin with?
Whilst the other games in the series (Devil May Cry 2 included… *shudder*) feature stylish combat with a blend of melee and ranged weapons used in combos to unleash powerful attacks on your foes, Devil May Cry 3: Special Edition takes things to the next level with its introduction of styles. These styles offer moves and skills that focus on the different ways to utilise Dante’s abilities, with six available across the entirety of the game that can shift the flow of play. Want to hit out some sweet sword combos? You’ll want to be a ‘Swordmaster’. Prefer shooting foes from afar? You’ll want to take on the role of a ‘Gunslinger’. Want to dodge attacks with ease and pick off foes with a quick side-step? You’ll want to be a ‘Trickster’. That’s just listing half of them too, with a good variety of ways to play in-game – each of which can be upgraded to unlock all-new goodies that ensure you’ve got an even wider range of moves to play around with the further you progress through the game.
It all makes for some super-slick combat that flows together perfectly in-game, but it came with one caveat: you could only use one style at a time that you couldn’t easily change mid-combat. The Nintendo Switch version of Devil May Cry 3: Special Edition changes that with the introduction of its Freestyle mode, which allows you to change styles on the go with a quick press of the d-pad. Not only does this make the game a hell of a lot more accessible to play, but it feels SO damn cool – you can string together some fantastic combos by changing styles on the go and it simply makes Devil May Cry 3: Special Edition all the more enjoyable to play.
Add to that the brilliant encounters with the intimidating yet expertly-crafted bosses, the bizarre narrative and its eclectic cast of characters (including Dante who is at his arrogant best), and the wonderfully grotesque world, and you’ve got yourself a damn fine slash ‘em up which feels better than ever to play. The main story alone will take you about ten-hours to get through, but it’s a real blast and you’ll be itching for more when you’re done. Fortunately, Switch gamers have another treat with the Bloody Palace, which offers 9999 floors (no, that’s not a typo) of non-stop frantic action against myriads of the game enemies. Want to know the best part of all? It can be tackled in multiplayer co-op, with one player taking on the role of Dante and the other Vergil. I’ll admit that I’ve barely scratched the surface of this mode, but enjoying Devil May Cry 3: Special Edition’s all-out action with a friend has been a WHOLE lot of fun so far.
I’ve got a lot of love for Devil May Cry 3: Special Edition, but it does have some flaws. For one, the camera in-game can be very finicky, with it shifting the angles that it views the action from across the large environments on a regular basis. Whilst this isn’t generally a problem when simply exploring, it can make combat a bit more frustrating when you’re in the middle of a showdown with a foe but find an awkwardly timed camera change breaking the flow of the action. It’s not a problem that ruins the gameplay by any means and it isn’t ever-present in every location you visit, but it is guilty of happening at the most inappropriate moments.
Then there’s the fact that the cutscenes haven’t had the same face-lift that the rest of the game has, with them often looking blurry and utilising a different aspect-ratio. Whilst this can be jarring in-game, it’s a bit more forgivable – this sort of thing has happened in plenty of modern remasters and there’s not much the developers can do to change it, so it can’t be held against the game too much.
Devil May Cry 3: Special Edition remains a brilliant game fifteen-years on from its initial release, with the Nintendo Switch version of Capcom’s classic action-title proving to be the best way to enjoy its s-s-stylish action thanks to the introduction of the accessible and combo-focused Freestyle mode.
It does have a couple of flaws here and there with its sketchy camera angles proving to be the worst offender, but they don’t stop Devil May Cry 3: Special Edition from holding its own (and in some cases excelling) when compared to modern releases in the slash ‘em up genre. It’s just a special game that Switch owners will NOT want to miss out on.
Platform(s): Nintendo Switch (Reviewed), PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC