How can you improve an almost perfect action game? Devil May Cry 3 Special Edition is already considered one of the best titles in the genre already. But when Capcom decided to port the adventure to Switch, it thought to give Nintendo fans something extra. Or should I say, extras? This enhanced version of the game has three features not present in other editions. They are: “Style Switching,” “Weapon Switching,” and co-op Bloody Palace mode. With their powers combined, Devil May Cry 3 Special Edition becomes pure gaming bliss.
The old versus the new
In every previous iteration of Devil May Cry 3, players had few options regarding their play style. At the beginning of each mission, or by accessing a Divinity Statue in the middle of one, Dante could choose his Style, Devil Arms (short-range weapons), and Guns (long-range firearms). There were four styles to choose from (which level up as you defeat enemies), and gamers could unlock more Guns and Devil Arms as they progressed. Only one Style could be used at a time, and Dante could only pick between two Guns and two Devil Arms. While it was fun to switch between a sword and electric guitar in the middle of a combo, that only opened up a limited range of possibilities.
Devil May Cry 3 Special Edition on Switch, however, has a new Freestyle Mode. It can be accessed before you start the game, along with the original game’s limited option (though why you’d choose that is beyond me). Freestyle Mode does away with the Style and weapon limits of yesteryear, making this iteration of DMC3 more in line with its sequels. With a press of the D-pad and left/right triggers, Dante can freely utilize any and all abilities/tools of destruction he has obtained in the game. This opens up a ton of combo potential: Now, players can use ice nunchucks, fire gauntlets, a shotgun, and a rocket launcher during one attack. Also, combating bosses means you can now utilize Trickster dodging attacks and switch to Royalguard to block strikes. You’ll never be able to play an older edition of DMC3 again.
Team up with a friend for Bloody Palace
Another Switch exclusive is the co-op Bloody Palace. Available after you complete the first mission, this survival mode consisting of 9,999 floors is now playable with a buddy. One player controls Dante while the other inhabits his twin brother, Vergil. In the main game, Vergil is unlocked once you complete all 20 missions. If you decide to play Bloody Palace before using Vergil in the story, he will be at a base level with health, Devil Trigger, and abilities. Keep this in mind before you start!
Each floor in the Bloody Palace has a set number of baddies to conquer. You’ll gain orbs after vanquishing them and can then choose to advance one level, 10 levels, or 100 levels. My partner and I went all in, advancing 100 levels each time we cleared a stage. Though they played as an underleveled Vergil and had never played Devil May Cry 3 Special Edition before, they did pretty well. Attacking a wide variety of foes together was loads of fun, especially given the assortment of powers between Dante and Vergil. The only drawback I noticed was during boss encounters. During these, the screen would split and the frame rate would drop. In addition, it was hard to keep track of what was happening because of the two pictures.
Devil May Cry 3 Special Edition is a classic mostly unchanged, for better or worse
While Freestyle Mode opens up the main gameplay of DMC3, everything else remains the same. Gamers still have to complete the entire game to unlock Vergil. Orbs are still used to upgrade Guns and Devil Arms and net you health and Devil Trigger power-ups. There is never enough to get everything you want, though — revisiting older levels is a must if you want to max out your attributes and munitions early. The camera is still a pain, as well: Dante will sometimes target a demon offscreen or he’ll be moving towards the camera and suddenly switch to walking away from it when the screen shifts locations. Some cutscenes do not use in-game graphics and are PS2-era quality. (Believe me, you’ll know when you see it.) And don’t get me started on those shield demons and mist spirits. They were always annoying to fight and still are to this day.
Other than those quibbles, though, the Switch port of Devil May Cry 3 Special Edition is a wonderful upgrade to an excellent action-adventure video game. The Freestyle Mode gives players so many options to inflict pain on hellspawn, and co-op Bloody Palace is a fun diversion. If you’ve never played DMC3 before, or you did years ago, this version is the definitive way to play it. I can’t recommend it enough for series fans or outsiders alike.
A review code was provided by the publisher.