A few weeks back, I spoke about the Devil May Cry port which hit the Nintendo Switch last year alongside Devil May Cry 2 (which we won’t talk about as I don’t want to get myself all upset). In that article/review, I praised it for being the best way to play the original Devil May Cry in 2020. So when I was generously given a copy of the latest port in the franchise – Devil May Cry 3: Special Edition to review, I was more than excited to jump back into what many see as the best game in the series and one of the best hack n’ slash action games of all time.
As you likely already know, Devil May Cry 3 acts as a prequel to the first game and heavily revolves around Dante’s relationship with his brother Virgil. Even though this bad boy is fifteen years old now, I’m not going to spoil anything just in case there are people out there who are jumping into this for the first time now that it’s available on the Switch, and jumping in is something I’d highly recommend whether you’ve already played this or not.
Just like the the first two ports, DMC 3 hasn’t exactly been given a new lick of paint. In fact when it comes to visuals, it’s the exact same version that came with the PS3 & Xbox 360 HD collection. The major difference this time round however, is that Capcom have decided to include some extra features which they did not do with the original two Switch ports. My favourite addition being that you can now flip between styles (trickster, swordmaster, gunslinger & royal guard) on the fly in a much similar fashion to the way Dante does in last year’s DMC V. This small tweak completely changes up the way you play and sets this version apart from the original and the HD collection. There’ll be a few purists out there who may be screaming at the screen right now about how this change makes the game easier… well yes it does, but fear not as you still have the option to play the original version where you choose your style at the beginning of every mission. This feature is a much welcomed addition in my eyes, especially for players who may just want a bit of fun with DMC 3 again and not fancy the difficult task which the game presents in its original form.
Capcom have also included local co-op to the popular Bloody Palace mode, meaning you can now take on the waves upon waves of demons side by side with your best bud playing as both Dante and Virgil. Both these new additions were a pleasant surprise, especially given that the other two Switch ports were identical to the HD collection in every way. Plus with this being the special edition version of the game, we once again get to play the main story as Virgil after completion which was always fun. It really feels as if Capcom have gone out of their way to make DMC 3 on Switch the definitive version of the title and give returning players a reason to jump back into their favourite DMC game.
As I touched on earlier, the visuals haven’t really been altered from the last time we saw DMC 3, which some may see as a disappointment but it really didn’t bother me. Let’s be honest, the main appeal to these games being ported to the Switch is the novelty of taking Dante on the go in handheld mode. Once the game is shrunken down to a smaller screen, these remastered PS2 era graphics really aren’t too offensive and actually look pretty good in most levels! The way the camera is usually close in on the action also plays to the benefit of playing handheld, even if the often fixed camera can sometimes cause some frustration. The only problem I really had was that the cut scenes still haven’t had the same attention and treatment as the main game, and when the story is as good as this one, that’s a real bummer.
The controls for the most part hold up really well, the smaller buttons on the Switch don’t take anything away from DMC 3’s incredible gameplay. The mechanics are still on par with most modern action games and I had just as much (if not more) fun playing this than I did with DMC V on the beefier consoles last year. The only issue I ran into was when fighting bosses or getting into a really intense fight, having to quickly bash buttons at some pace would start to cause a fair bit of cramp when playing handheld, though this was only something that would crop up after lengthy periods of play and is pretty much expected.
If Devil May Cry 3: Special Edition was just a like-for-like version of the HD collection then I’d still be happy, as I’ve said before about the first two ports – the smaller screen and ability to take Dante on to go makes this the most satisfying way to play these older PS2 games in 2020. But the fact that Capcom have included a fun co-op mode to Bloody Palace as well as the welcomed addition to switch styles on the fly, makes this more than a port. It makes DMC 3 on the Nintendo Switch the best version of the game to date and gives new and old players alike a damn good reason to pick up Ebony & Ivory and go kill some demons. The care and attention that Capcom have put into this has me excited for DMC’s future on the Switch and I can’t wait to see what happens next. Will we finally see Dante appear in Super Smash Bros? Will we get ports of the later DMC titles (praying to Sparta for this one to happen) or is Capcom just going out in SSStyle when it comes to the Switch? Only time will tell, until then I give Devil May Cry 3: Special Edition on the Nintendo Switch…