In June last year, Capcom brought everybody’s favourite Demon slayer to the Nintendo Switch with a port of 2001’s Devil May Cry. It was of course followed up quickly with the 2003 sequel and Devil May Cry 3 coming later this month. Although I’m here talking about early 2000 dates, this is not entirely accurate as the versions released on the Switch are the HD remasters which were released for PS3 and Xbox 360 more recently in 2012. So why am I sat here in 2020 blabbering on about these old-ass games? Well it’s mostly down to the fact that unlike the original HD collection eight years ago, these Switch ports have reignited my love for the original trilogy and here’s why.
Now I love a good HD remaster, they were all the rage on PS3 and 360. As well as the Devil May Cry collection we had the likes of Metal Gear Solid 2 & 3, God of War 1 & 2, Prince of Persia, ICO, Shadow of the Colossus and much more. It became the best way to play these classics and meant we could all stop pretending that the drop in graphical quality when going back to play these on PS2 didn’t bother us. But most of these HD remasters are approaching ten years old themselves now and all of a sudden, they don’t look too hot and find themselves suffering the same fate as their unmastered counterparts… is unmastered a word? It works so I’m sticking with it.
Now we can’t expect a second upgrade on a game like Devil May Cry. The HD version is the best that game is ever going to look without rebuilding it from the ground up like Capcom did with Resident Evil 2 and the upcoming Resident Evil 3. Now I’ve thought about it, I really want Capcom to do exactly that for DMC 1, 2 & 3 but that will hopefully be another story for another time. Until then though, we have these classics available on the Switch, so having recently purchased the console and being a long time DMC fan, this port was one of the first games on my list. I’ll admit though that the appeal was simply down to the fact I could keep Dante in my pocket and go Demon hunting whenever I fancied, it was a purchase which was simply intended to break up massive sessions on Breath of the Wild and Pokémon Let’s Go. With that in mind it was quite a surprise that two hours into my latest Devil May Cry playthrough I was addicted again, I felt the game dig it’s Griffon-like claws into me the same way it did nearly 20 years ago.
It’s hard to explain why this is. There’s nothing new about this HD port, it’s practically identical to the one I played in 2012. The only difference being.. I can play at work, I can play while the wife watches TV, I can play on the toilet. Seriously I know everybody reading this will be saying “yeah, that’s kinda the point of the Switch dumbass” but the 13 year old version of me is losing his mind at seeing how beautiful this game looks on my Switch Lite and more importantly, how well it plays. The smaller buttons on a handheld device don’t hold back the quality of gameplay that Devil May Cry is known for and this little port easily holds its own against today’s more modern action titles. My only nitpick is that pushing down on the analog sticks causes Dante to taunt, and in the heat of an awesome sword fight this is all too easy to do by mistake and has stopped me achieving that sweet sweet SSS combo on multiple occasions. Aside from that slight annoyance though, I can confidently say that I’m enjoying the handheld version of the first game almost as much as the latest entry to the series – Devil May Cry V from last year.
I think the way the game was developed has accidentally played into this working great on handheld. The camera angles (although sometimes frustrating with the lack of user control) are always close into the action meaning you’re not losing anything on a smaller screen. Said smaller screen is also the reason for why this looks so great visually. Again, it’s the same remaster that we played on PS3 but shrink it down to a 6 inch screen and it’s always going to look tons better. Sure, you can still tell this is a PS2 era game and it doesn’t hold a candle to your Zelda’s of the world when talking visuals on the Switch but it’s way less offensive to the eyes than the version we all played on the big screen. With that being said, I’ve only played this on my Lite so can’t comment to how well it looks when docked on a proper Switch. My guess though would be to keep this one far away from the TV.
This isn’t a review, at least I didn’t intend it to be. Though as I’ve been writing this, I’ve fallen into the trap of doing just that! So I feel it’s just right to give this a score and that score is 9. The same score I’d have given to PS4’s Devil May Cry V. I completely stand by my statement in this articles title, the Nintendo Switch versions of the original Devil May Cry’s are undoubtedly the best way to play these classics in 2020. I’m still yet to play the second instalment of the franchise but whereas before it was just a passing interest, it’s now something I can’t wait to play again. And yes, you can bet your bottom dollar I’m now counting down the days to February 20th’s release of Devil May Cry 3: Special Edition on my beloved Nintendo Switch.Become a Patron!