[Review] Devil May Cry – Nintendo Switch

  • Developer: Capcom
  • Publisher: Capcom
  • Release Date: 25/06/2019
  • Price: $24.99/ £15.99
  • Review code provided by Capcom

Switch Blade

After eighteen years, Dante’s original adventure lands on a Nintendo console for the first time. Is this a journey worth taking, or should the Son of Sparda have avoided the trip down memory lane?

Originally released in 2001, Devil May Cry was born from the ashes of a cancelled Resident Evil title. A third-person character action game, it sees half-human/half-demon Dante slaying monstrosities with style, swinging a sword and firing pistols at any evil stupid enough to get in his way. 

To this day, Devil May Cry is a title dripping with attitude and atmosphere in equal measure. Whether he’s carving up creepy marionettes or battling an arachnid demon, Dante remains the same cool, calm and collected demon hunter he’s always been, while the gothic surroundings are still just as fun to explore.

And explore you will – the original Devil May Cry focuses more on finding items, solving minor puzzles, and no small degree of backtracking in a way that bridges the gap between it and its sister franchise Resident Evil. Whereas more recent incarnations (such as this year’s excellent Devil May Cry 5) focus on a combat sandbox, the original game feels less preoccupied with slaying with style (although there is a full suite of rankings for your combat prowess) and more with creepy enemies in spooky environments where you never know what could be around the next corner.

Swords, Guns, and Demons – Oh my!

Thankfully, the combat that is here is excellent. Dante can swing his sword with the press of a button, while his twin pistols are able to mix things up. They stagger opponents but do less damage, but are a good way to chain slashes and strikes while jumping from enemy to enemy. It all feels as balletic today as it did in 2001, even with the smaller combat toolkit of the franchise’s later installments.

Each combat encounter feels fresh, and when broken up by the aforementioned exploration feels well paced for quick bursts of action on the Switch. Even when you’re carving through hellspawn at an accelerated rate, the diminutive console matches Capcom’s vision every step of the way – in handheld or when docked.

In fact, the Switch version is an impressively faithful port – to a fault. Lacking some of the high-def textures found in the HD Remaster found on previous generation consoles, the game’s enduring architecture doesn’t look quite as sharp, but the timeless style helps mitigate that. Unfortunately, certain screens including the pause menu remain in boxy 4:3 aspect ratio, while there are plenty of hard edges to be found in the character designs. 

There’s also the game’s fixed camera angles, a hangover from its origins as a Resident Evil title. While this can lead to some minor directional confusion in combat scenarios, the bigger issue is that it can be hard to pinpoint Dante on your screen when the view is particularly zoomed out. It isn’t as much of an issue on the TV, but its definitely something to consider if you’re likely to play predominantly on the go. 

Conclusion

Those looking for a taste of a gaming classic will find a lot to love with Devil May Cry on the Nintendo Switch. Combat is fun and rewarding, its world is a joy to explore, and Dante remains a fun character that we’d love to see in Smash Bros at some point. This port might be no-thrills and barebones, but it’s still a great chance to experience the Son of Sparda’s first adventure again – or see where the franchise began.

Pros

  • A hellacious ride (sorry)
  • Great combat
  • A piece of gaming history

Cons

  • Some Switch-specific quirks
  • Graphical rough edges

Verdict

An excellent first step in a franchise still kicking to this day, Devil May Cry is well worth revisiting.

4/5

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