- Developer: Capcom
- Publisher: Capcom
- Release date: 20/02/2020
- Price: £15.99 / $19.99
- Review code provided by Capcom
Remember all those Dante in Smash predictions? Turned out it was a load of nonsense (until Fighter Pass 2 at least). Everyone got their knickers in a twist earlier in the year when Capcom announced they would be revealing something related to Devil May Cry in advance of the next fighter reveal for Smash. As it turns out, the reveals were nothing to do with Smash and were in fact some cool new features to be added to the Switch version of Devil May Cry 3 Special Edition for the Switch.
Many of you will be familiar with the game, from its initial release on PS2 way back in 2005 and the HD re-releases last gen (and more recently on PS4 and Xbox One). For those who have yet to experience it, let me say up front – Devil May Cry 3 is an all time classic! This special edition takes the original, spruces it up for the modern age and adds some lovely Switch exclusive features which make the game more approachable for new players and freshen the experience for those who have been through Hell many times before!
Heaven or Hell
Devil May Cry 3 is a third person action game, in the same vein as the Bayonetta or Ninja Gaiden series (if you count the more recent games). You play as Dante, the son of a powerful Demon as he embarks on a personal journey to enact revenge on his brother for killing him at the start of the game. Thankfully, as the son of a Demon, Dante has some pretty special powers – including the apparent ability to resurrect himself!
The original Devil May Cry was created by legendary developer Hideki Kamiya who also went on to create Bayonetta and current game du jour, The Wonderful 101. Whilst Kamiya wasn’t involved in the development of DMC3 his DNA can be felt all over it, from the slick cut scenes to Dante’s quips and of course in the combat. Despite its age, DMC3 manages to feel among the best in class third person action games!
Prepare to die
The combat is the beating heart of the game and how you’ll spend the majority of your time, so it helps that it is so slick and satisfying. Combat plays as a dance between ranged and melee attacks, with players having access to two ranged weapons and two melee weapons at any one time. You can switch between these on the fly and use them to juggle opponents and build insane combos.
You can select from one of four combat styles initially, which allow you to put a unique spin on how you approach combat. Each style provides some unique abilities and can be levelled up to unlock further unique skills.
Trickster, my favourite of the four, focuses on mobility. The style unlocks an evasive dash and a wall run. Levelling the style up through use unlocks further abilities which increase your mobility again.
Royal Guard is a defensive style, offering blocks and parries as well as the ability to absorb energy from enemy strikes before unleashing this energy in a devastating counterattack.
Gunslinger, as the name implies, focuses on ranged combat and offers a number of skills that improve your guns.
The fourth style, Swordmaster, unlocks additional attacks for each of your weapons and allow you to play a much more aggressive game.
Each of the styles allows a really unique approach to combat, but where the Switch version of the DMC3 shakes things up is by introducing Style Switching, which allows you to switch between these on the fly, allowing for some truly creative combos. The feature was included from DMC4 onward, but its addition to DMC3 really does change up the game and adds something new for veterans of the original release. I found the option to switch styles on the go quite overwhelming at first and chose to stick with one style at a time until I had got a handle on them, but over time the ability to switch really opens up the game and makes it feel more modern.
This version of the game also includes the ability to switch between any of your weapons using a radial menu. The original version of the game allowed you two equip two of each type of weapon and switch between these, forcing players to be much more selective about their ever-expanding arsenal. This feature, combined with the ability to switch styles, really changes the way the game plays and allows for lots of experimentation.
Combat is extremely fast paced, and this can be cranked up again with the included “Turbo” mode, which boosts the speed by a further 20%. Thankfully the game runs very smoothly and is extremely responsive, making split second dodges and parries a breeze. That said, this is an extremely unforgiving game. The original DMC3 was notoriously difficult, with the Western release having its normal difficulty matched with the Japanese version’s hard mode. The Special Edition tones this down a little but battles still require your full attention or you risk being cut to ribbons by one of the game’s many nasties. Checkpointing is fairly generous so death rarely results in significant lost progress.
Enemies drop red orbs which can be spent on unlocking new abilities and upgrading your weapons, allowing a degree of customisation and ensuring the combat never gets stale as your combat style continues to evolve throughout the game.
Leave a good-looking corpse
The game appears to run at 60FPS (I’m no Digital Foundry) and feels very slick. Enemy designs are great, but I found the smaller enemies lacked variety. Bosses are particularly well designed, with a range of grim looking creatures providing some standout moments. Boss battles range from thrilling one-on-one fights with similarly matched opponents to David and Goliath style battles with screen filling beasts. There are also some interesting battles with roaming bosses where mastering the environment carries equal importance with showing your combat prowess.
The environments in the game are well designed and still hold up well. Environments tend to stray towards the style of Gothic architecture, but some other fun locales pop up, including the inside of a giant beast whose digestive system Dante must hack through to escape.
The game looks and plays well in both docked and handheld, although I did notice some real jagged edges in the initial opening cutscenes. This cleared up as soon as the first combat section started and wasn’t present in any of the subsequent cut scenes, but it was quite jarring initially and made a poor first impression.
Devil May Cry 3 Special Edition takes a stone cold classic and adds a nice lick of paint and some new features which manage to make the game feel fresh and even more enjoyable than the previous incarnations. The game includes the popular Bloody Palace mode, which offers 9999 levels to progress through in an arena survival mode. The Switch version allows for local coop in Bloody Palace, which should allow for some fun cooperative attacks and different combat strategies. Bloody Palace offers hours of replayability and kept me coming back to see how much further I could get as I unlocked more combat abilities and weapons.
Smash fans may still yet get their wish of Dante in fighters pass two. It’s quite obvious from running through the Special Edition again that he would be an ideal fit. The range of stylish attacks would lend themselves well to the over the top combat found in the series! For anyone who wants to see what all the fuss is about, I thoroughly recommend you pick up Devil May Cry 3 Special Edition for Switch!
- Devilishly good combat
- Deep customisation options
- Gorgeous chunky PS2-era graphics
- Economy for consumables unfairly weighted
- Some strange jaggies in early cut scenes.
Devil May Cry 3 Special Edition is an awesome way for first timers to experience this classic and offers some cool new features to make it worth another trip to Hell for veterans of the series. The new gameplay features keep everything flowing smoothly and help players get the most from the game’s perfectly balanced combat system.