Initial release date: February 17, 2005
Developers: Capcom, Capcom Production Studio 1
Designer: Hideaki Itsuno
Composer: Tetsuya Shibata
Platforms: Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 2, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 3, Xbox One, Xbox 360, Microsoft Windows
Devil May Cry 3 was a game that originally released in 2005 and was met with both critical acclaim for bringing the series back to its roots and expanding on the sheer gameplay insanity but also harsh criticisms as well (although not to the extent of DMC2) due to its steep difficulty which was done because Capcom felt that western audiences would find the game to be too easy so they gave western gamers Hard as the normal mode which many gamers and reviewers could not beat. A year later we got an enhanced version that balanced out the difficulty, added additional cutscenes, and most of all gave us Vergil as a playable character with his own campaign and new cutscenes. While it’s been nearly 20 years since the original outing of Dante’s Awakening; this is the first time that Dante’s 3rd outing has ever graced a Nintendo platform and the series as a whole as Capcom has recently not only released the original Devil May Cry Trilogy but also most of the Resident Evil series and Onimusha on Nintendo’s current titan of the Nintendo Switch. So does Dante’s 3rd outing with the addition of the Switch exclusive Style switch mode make Devil May Cry 3 SE worth owning or should we stick with DMC’s spiritual successor in Bayonetta and let Devil’s Cry? Let’s find out.
The Story of Devil May Cry 3 kicks off in medias res with Dante and Vergil fighting atop the tower known as the Temenigru with Lady giving a narration of the story of the Sons of Sparda and their recurring clashes which ends with Dante losing the battle to Vergil to only to have his amulet taken and then impaled with his own sword by Vergil. We shift scenes after a phone rings and we find Dante coming out of the shower to answer his phone to say that “they’re not open for business yet” and then eats pizza as a mysterious bald man enters his shop asking if he’s Dante because he has a message from his brother. This leads into the tutorial stage. From here on the core of the story is Dante’s journey to battle his brother Vergil and mature into the Devil Hunter we all know and love as this is effectively an origins story of how he came to be the hunter of legend that he is from 1, 2,4, and 5.
The gameplay of Devil May Cry 3 was a redesign for the franchise built upon the core mechanics of the first entry while utilizing some aspects of the radical changes in 2 to be incorporated into the debut of Dante’s Style System. Moves such as Twosome Time, Bullet Rain, Dodge and more were incorporated into the Gunslinger and Trickster Style while two additional styles were created to add emphasis on Dante’s sword style for more offensive gameplay as well as Royal Guard for defensive styles. In the original release as well as the Special Edition release you were able to select 2 styles and weapons and go into battle; in this Switch edition you are given the option to play the game in its original release or the Switch Exclusive Style Switch mode with gives you all 4 of Dante’s styles at the start allowing you to switch on the fly which is in and of itself a pun and play on the “Nintendo Switch”. This gives you Trickster, Sword Master, Royal Guard, and Gunslinger at the start and mapped to the DPad effectively giving you DMC4 and 5 Dante in 3 and honestly opens up new combat possibilities which when you think about it really makes you realize how amazingly made DMC3 is to still stand the test of time and find new avenues to showcase it’s greatness.
You have your Sword button, gun button, jump button, lock on button, and style button; the beauty in how the buttons are layed out is in how the game rewards you for how creative you can get in dishing out the pain to the various demons and try to grow the Stylish meter. The Stylish meter grows from a D rank all the way up to a SSS rank based on how well you fight and how many combos you can chain together; Get hit and your meter drops and you have to start all over. The benefits of getting your meter up and maintained is it gives you more Red Orbs (This games currency) to use for both gaining and upgrading your abilities as well as buying items for use in the game like healing stars and Devil Trigger restorers; of note is that if you use items then you’ll lose a lot of your rank once you finish a mission and another thing that judges your rank is how quickly you finish a mission.
There’s two final additions that’s added to this edition of the game and that’s the co-op Bloody Palace mode where one character plays as Dante and the other plays as Vergil and you both fight through 9,999 floors of demon fighting goodness. In the original Devil May Cry 3 (and the special edition with Vergil), you could swap between two melee and two ranged weapons each and now, you'll be able to bring up a radial menu and choose everything, yes, EVERYTHING.
Graphically the game still looks good some near 20 years later as the art style and graphical style still hold up very well today. Some assets clearly have not aged well such as some background textures and some facial animations on the main characters. The characters all animate very nicely and still have a life like feel to them thanks to the mocap done by many of the main cast like my friend Reuben Langdon and others like Dan Southworth. The cutscenes still look nice except for in some cases were the look like they were ripped straight from the PS2 original without any touch ups and are incredibly blurry just like Ada’s Separate Way’s campaign in RE4 HD was.
On the Switch docked the game looks and runs silky smooth and looks good regardless of if you’re playing on a 4K, 2K, or even a 1080p monitor or TV. Undocked It looks really good running at 720p at 60FPS and on the Switch Lite it is just vibrant because of the better screen in comparison to the original Switch and the updated one.
The game still sounds so amazing with its timeless battle themes and OST. The characters are voiced so well that even Dante’s cheesy 1 liners come off way better and with less angsty than 2013’s reboot Dante. Vergil is as cool and confident as he always is and Lady’s unbridled rage can be felt so well due to how Laura Bailey’s performance was done. Given that there is nothing new to report on sound wise, the game just sounds great!
Downside aren’t many; primarily the only issue is some of the cutscenes that were just up and lifted from the previous PS2 entry but that’s been an issue since the PS3/360 rereleases so that’s not new. There's also the fact that there is no physical release of this title in the west unless you order it from PlayAsia.com to get the Japanese version. Honestly nothing really to report.
So say it with me and say it proudly, DEVIL MAY CRY IS BACK! The reality of having Devil May Cry 3 in portable form is a true dream come true and with excellent performance docked and undocked and on the Switch lite you just cant go wrong and honestly that goes for the entire DMC Trilogy being on the Switch and between DMC and Bayonetta you just cant go wrong for some hack and slash action. Devil May Cry 3’s FreeStyle Switch system adds tons of depth and replay value to an already insanely great game and for the low price of 20$ not to mention the new co-op Bloody Palace mode will add replay value for even more decades to come and to top it off with portability being a good factor then it’s safe to say that DMC3 SE is a game that YOU NEED if you have a Nintendo Switch!