Review – Devil May Cry 3 Special Edition (Switch)

When Devil May Cry 3 was first released, it changed the entire hack n’ slash landscape. Gone were the “so bad they’re actually bad” plot-lines trying to make the franchise’s story serious. In were the “so absolutely idiotic they’re brilliant” cutscenes that immortalized Dante (and later on, Nero as well) as the poster child for the entire genre. It also set the standard for how a hack n’ slash should behave. It had to be fast-paced, challenging, and above all, extremely over-the-top. Other games inspired by Devil May Cry 3 soon followed, such as God of War, Metal Gear Rising, Bayonetta, No More Heroes, and most importantly, Devil May Cry 5, the crown jewel of the series, and the pinnacle of the genre as a whole.

Devil May Cry 3 had never been released on a Nintendo platform up until a few days ago. It is finally time for Nintendo Switch owners to experience one of the dumbest (in a good way) games of all time on-the-go, with a few additions to try to make up for the long wait. The question is, how does a game from more than fifteen years ago, from a generation in which 3D movement and spatial awareness hadn’t been properly figured out yet, hold up to today’s standards? Well, let’s find out.

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Brotherly love.

The first thing you need to know about Devil May Cry 3‘s gameplay, and the franchise as a whole for that matter, is that it’s all about being fast and stylish. You have a sword, a pair of guns, the ability to lock on enemies, a special move, and an ego the size of an obese walrus. Kill everything in sight by creating combos, switching between weapons and never getting hit by an enemy. The more stylish you end up being, the more points you’ll earn, and the more you’ll be able to spend on even more moves and weapons in order to maintain this vicious but addictive murder cycle.

That’s no different in this version. Thanks to a (near) constant framerate, the Switch version of Devil May Cry 3 is still as fast-paced as it needs to be. One neat addition is the possibility of changing your main attack style on the fly if you decide to play the game on Free Style mode. This makes what is already pure freaking mayhem even more chaotic and entertaining. There is also the inclusion of local co-op if you decide to tackle the Bloody Palace, the game’s survival mode. Those inclusions are exclusive to the Switch port, by the way. Some might even say that this is the definitive version of Devil May Cry 3, and I might agree in some ways.

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He says it loud, he’s dumb, and he’s proud.

Gameplay-wise, it might actually be the best version of Devil May Cry 3 out there. Free Style is just way too entertaining. But that doesn’t mean this version is flawless. Far from it. When it comes to its visuals and sound design, this might only be better than the original PS2 version.

When playing on docked mode, Devil May Cry 3 looks dated, but not terrible. The framerate is decent, the resolution has been vastly improved, and there are some post-processing effects that make the game look a bit more pleasing than before. When on portable mode, however, this game looks hideous. For some reason, the graphics look much worse on a smaller screen, with clearly noticeable jagged edges and grainier visuals. The framerate also stumbles a little bit. No matter which way you decide to play this game on, you’ll also be “greeted” with muddy and excessively stretched pre-rendered cutscenes, as well as menus presented on a 4:3 aspect ratio.

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A portable mode screenshot. No, that’s not a PS2 screenshot.

The Switch version of Devil May Cry 3 also suffers from one thing that has plagued countless Switch games in the past: sound compression. Be it on portable or docked, whether it’s the soundtrack or the (laughably bad but endearing) voice acting, everything just sounds way too compressed. Luckily for this game, the soundtrack is still pretty good, full of industrial rock tunes that just make you want to murder every single demon in sight. It’s no “Devil Trigger” from Devil May Cry 5, sure, but it still gets the job done.

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Just like Blue Oyster Cult once said, don’t fear the reaper.

I really don’t think Devil May Cry 3 has aged that well, but that doesn’t mean this isn’t a fun game. It’s still so downright idiotic and self-aware that I can’t help but smile whenever something stupid happens onscreen, even if the muddy visuals and near nonexistent graphical improvements irritate me a bit. It’s still well worth your time if you’re a fan of the series and the genre as a whole, but now what I really want is for Capcom to port Devil May Cry 4 to the Switch. It is more than capable of handling it if it can also handle Bayonetta. Oh, and DmC as well. That game ain’t half bad.

 

Graphics: 5.5

Not a good remaster. It does run well enough on docked mode and you can see some post-processing improvements, but it looks hideous on portable mode, with the terrible graphics being very noticeable on a small screen. Cutscenes are also very grainy.

Gameplay: 8.0

The addition of the Free Style mode makes the combat even more chaotic and entertaining, but the game still suffers from an unreliable camera, as well as very rare framerate issues.

Sound: 6.0

Just like with the visuals, very little effort has been put in order to improve the game’s sound design. Everything sounds grainy and excessively compressed. Thankfully, Dante’s ridiculous voice acting is still somewhat charming, and the soundtrack isn’t all that bad.

Fun Factor: 8.0

Luckily, Devil May Cry 3 is still tons of fun despite not looking or sounding nowhere near as impressive as it once used to. Being able to play this lovely piece of chaos on-the-go is easily its best selling point.

Final Verdict: 7.0

Devil May Cry 3 is available now on PS2, PS3, PS4, Xbox 360, Xbox One, PC and Switch.

Reviewed on Switch.

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