I can’t believe it’s been 15 years since the original release of Devil May Cry 3, the game that left its predecessor in the dust and a game that is considered one of the best games of its genre. Now, the Nintendo Switch is getting another excellent title for on the go and Capcom is adding new mechanics to make an excellent game even better.
So, what exactly is Devil May Cry 3 Special Edition and what is new this time around? The biggest addition is the new selectable combat styles like Swordmaster and Gunslinger being adjustable on the fly in battle, making combat feel similar to newer entries Devil May Cry 4 and Devil May Cry V. Also, the addition of Bloody Palace local co-op and weapon switching on the fly rounds out this definitive prequel.
If you’ve never played a Devil May Cry game, this is the earliest game in the timeline and takes place when demon hunter and son of Sparta, Dante, is starting as a mercenary for hire. It’s easily the most entertaining game of the series but features growing pains that come with being an older video game. Dante’s twin brother Vergil and a mysterious man named Arkham are working together to release Temen-ni-gru, a tower from thousands of years ago, and a portal to the demonic realm.
Being a game from almost two decades ago means the cutscenes are not pleasant to look at. At the time, Capcom pushed some exciting content and I remember being wowed by their engine at the time. Now though, the transition hasn’t been as kind and the years show on the face of Devil May Cry 3 Special Edition. In 2005, many of us were still playing on CRT televisions, so the old 4:3 ratio, getting everything into 16:9 and high definition is challenging but it works out decently here. From the introduction cutscene, things don’t look as sharp and these rendered videos are the weakest part of the game when bringing it to Switch.
As for the most important part of the game, combat is superb in Devil May Cry 3 Special Edition. Capcom went above and beyond by adding the truncated and modern version of style change. Previously, one style at a time could be used and only at the Customize menu during the start of a mission. Now, it’s far easier and is called FreeStyle mode, and includes Swordmaster, Trickster, Gunslinger, Royalguard, Quicksilver, and Doppelganger.
With no hurdles now in your way, Dante is now in his finest form and I found pride in uncovering the best combos to tackle enemies and juggle opponents. I do wish FreeStyle was available in the original release because it makes a huge difference and makes the gameplay that much more fun, and intricate. Combat relies on style, and Dante’s combos start at Dope and If you can keep it going, all the way to SSStylish.
Capping off combat is Dante’s Devil Trigger, which allows Dante to release his latent demonic power, and physically transforming him into a demon. In Devil Trigger, Dante becomes fasters and stronger and I found myself saving the gauge for bosses who were a bit more challenging.
Devil May Cry 3 Special Edition is as satisfying to play as it was 15 years ago. While certain elements do show their age, the gameplay is timeless, the characters are great, and the fresh additions are welcome. Capcom not only ported one of their better games over but improved upon it for newcomers looking to invest their time and for series veterans familiar with the mechanics. Bloody Palace offers its piece hell that I can’t put down and the local co-op is a nice touch.
[A copy of the game was provided by the publisher for review purposes.]