Devil May Cry 3’s Switch Port Pulls My Devil Trigger
Devil May Cry 3 on Switch is a solid port of one of the greatest action games ever made and now sports a few tweaks that will allow fans and veterans to push their capabilities even further. SSStylish!
Devil May Cry 3 on Switch is fantastic. Of course, that was true of the game for its original PS2 release and has remained true regardless of what system or version you’re playing on. As such, it’s nice to see that the Switch port is no exception to that rule.
While some could make a case for last year’s excellent Devil May Cry 5 being the pinnacle of the series, that crown unquestionably went to DMC3 previously. Playing it once again now with the new tweaks that the Switch port brings? It is clear as ever to see why it’s still at the zenith of action games even after 15 years. Few other games of its style can match the enjoyment it can provide for those willing to put in the time to master it.
It wasn’t an easy ride for Capcom to get to this point, though. The original Devil May Cry started life as a PlayStation 2 installment of Resident Evil, but the shift in style and tone was evident enough that it was then transitioned into its own title. Action became the heavier focus in combat and mechanics, and the project was given a new name and life as DMC. Dante’s demon hunting adventures and light-hearted, devil-may-care attitude (how fitting!) were well received.
By contrast… the 2003 sequel was anything but. Hideaki Itsuno was brought on to replace the unknown director and try to salvage the game, but it was a little too late. Mercifully, the mistake that is Devil May Cry 2 did not spell the end of the series. With Itsuno leading from the outset, DMC3 returned to many of the established factors that had made the first a success.
Devil May Cry 3 serves as a prequel to the previous games, presenting a younger and more arrogant Dante at the beginning of his demon hunting career. From the first introduction to the player character, he’s flipping chairs before sitting on them, mocking his opponents, then charging headfirst into the fray with a smirk and a one-liner.
What follows is a game that presents a grim and serious gothic horror facade, only to completely slice it apart with its own sense of style. Dante traverses a demonic tower and the areas around it, exploring and seeking upgrades or secrets within as he climbs higher. But the bulk of the gameplay is the action. Demons and monsters are scattered all throughout, which you have to kick the crap out. You’ll get new skills and weapons as you go, but even from the outset, Dante feels like a stylish badass.
And style is crucial here! It’s entirely possible to run through the game and not really embrace the systems on offer. There’s a fun, challenging, and ultimately solid and complete action game here for anyone who wishes to partake. You’ll probably get something out of Devil May Cry 3 even if you’re the one-and-done sort of player. However! The game is at its best not when you’re playing just to finish it, but to absolutely style on it.
During combat sequences, you’ll have a style meter that grows depending on how long you can keep a combo going without taking damage or falling into too much repetition. Watching that rank rise from D all the way to SSS is addictive and I constantly found myself trying to push it further. I’m far from a perfectionist, but there were times where I’d want to just replay a mission or try again to get a better score. It definitely invokes that old school arcade mentality of pushing oneself to new heights.
At the end of every mission, you’re awarded ranks depending on how much time and damage you took, or how stylish you were. Doing well and looking badass gives you more currency to play with, and thus more moves to unlock and tools to utilize. The feedback loop of doing well in order to have more moves to do even better with is intoxicating. Further, there’s multiple difficulties to select for those wishing to challenge themselves or replay the game.
In fact, DMC3 is somewhat legendary for only unlocking Easy mode after you’ve died three times. This happened to me in one of the first major boss fights, and it really spurred me to grit my teeth and push on through. How could I take that lying down? The subsequent victory was all the more satisfying for it.
Dante has four different Styles that you can select from, each giving you different offensive and defensive options. Trickster focuses on dodging, Royal Guard on defense and parries, Swordmaster on melee weapons, and Gunslinger on ranged. Defeating enemies with a style equipped grants it experience, with level-ups furthering what you can do with them. Additionally, you’ll collect new weapons and guns as you progress, each with their own moves, gimmicks, and purchasable upgrades or skills. Since style points are awarded for minimizing repeated moves, you’ll frequently be switching up what you’ve got equipped and changing weapons on the fly.
This is where the new additions to the Switch port segue in nicely. On starting a new game, you can select between Original and Free Style. The original version lets you select a single Style, two melee weapons, and two guns that you can switch between on the fly, which can be changed during mission select or at Divinity statues. Free Style, on the other hand, lets you swap out your arsenal or styles at any time, even in combat. For those really wishing to push themselves and master the systems on offer, the wealth of options this provides is significant, and a welcome feature!
Even so, should you never choose to engage in this at all, Devil May Cry 3 is still a solid game from beginning to end. All the inclusions from previous Special Edition updates and ports are present here, also. You’ve got a playable Vergil mode after you beat the game, the Bloody Palace survival mode is available after the first mission (and now features fully supported couch co-op for the Switch version, built up further than the Doppelganger mode), and the gallery is fully stacked from the outset.
As for the performance on Switch, it’s perfectly fine. Yes, it’s a PS2 game from 2005, so that’s to be expected. Despite a few minor touch-ups, this isn’t a remaster or overhaul. Don’t go in expecting something with the graphical fidelity of, say, Devil May Cry 5. Nonetheless, the game ran smoothly and without errors for me on both handheld and docked. The controls are responsive and fully customizable for any configuration of Joy-Con or Pro Controller. I personally had no trouble seeing and reading things on the handheld screen — aside from needing to turn the brightness up slightly. That said, I don’t tend to experience the difficulties of reading small text that some users have reported for other Switch games, so your mileage may vary.
With all that in mind, should you pick up Devil May Cry 3 on Switch? For returning players, it’s hard to say. The new additions are largely extensions of the combat system potential, bringing additions from Devil May Cry 5 back to its predecessor. If you’re already well acquainted with the game, then it might not be worth going to grab a second copy. That said, if you’re a combo technician looking to take your DMC3 sessions to the next level? This is the version for you. Those looking to take a favourite game for a spin on a portable system will also not be disappointed.
If you’ve never played Devil May Cry 3 before though, I would absolutely encourage getting into it. Itsuno and his team approached development with a go for broke attitude, and the results speak for themselves. The very best games in this stylish subgenre of action titles always aspire and rarely achieve the level of quality that DMC3 attained. DMC4 and 5 may be great games for series veterans, but Devil May Cry 3 is likely why those veterans are fans in the first place. The sheer ridiculousness of the action and Dante’s antics are a sight to behold, whether you’re just planning to see it once or want to become a master. You deserve to see Dante at his best.