One hell of a HD party
Genre: Hack and Slash / Beat ‘em up, Shooter
Released: February 20th 2020
Within 10 seconds of booting up DMC 3 I’m transported back to 2005. Sitting in my room convinced long leather jackets make everything better and Korn are just the best thing ever imagined, they totally get me. Now imagine booting up DMC 3 for the first time and your bombarded with Dante’s unearned swagger, as he casually shoots his way out of his “office”, slice of pizza in hand and flips into his glorious red leather jacket, all while your ears are assaulted with this gem. I’m already cringing with pride.
Released no longer than a hot minute ago on Nintendo Switch, jumping back into the world of Devil May Cry has been as much a homecoming as it has been an exercise in measured delight. Now for those of you that are new to the games and have even a passing interest in them, allow me to break it down.
Guns and Style Akimbo
Do you see what I mean?
We meet Dante early in his monster hunter career, so early in fact that he doesn’t even know what to call his business. Our hero’s journey begins with a visit from a mysterious, most definitely not a bad guy, figure who claims Dante’s brother Vergil has invited him to join his “party”. Cue monster ambush and aforementioned badass fight scene to start our story off with a bang.
What follows is a bombastic, over the top, anime tropes laden romp that follows Dante’s race to the top of a giant gothic tower to face off with his brother and stop whatever demonic plan is afoot and it couldn’t be more fun. I’ve often found that the English dub of any japanese anime/game can make or break my engagement and 15 years on from its original release it’s as good as ever. The cast are clearly having fun here, chewing scenery left and right. Each character you meet is bursting with personality, from Dante himself, oozing charm in all the wrong places, a Jester that lands out of nowhere to make fun of our hero and some standout bosses (Agni and Rudra) that are way more charming than they have any right to be there’s a lot of fun being had here.
But the Game Though….
DO YOU SEE!?
Gameplay is king here and the special edition delivers on switch. What has impressed me the most about this game is how well it plays today. While it seems, the developers porting this game had a “aint broke, don’t fix” mentality going in, the added Freestyle mode is truly the only way to play this title. Dante has at his disposal 4 styles of play that can be triggered on the fly with the tap of a directional button:
An all-round style that incorporates a dodge move so you can weave in and out of danger with large groups of enemies. My most used style by far.
Powers up your guns (obvs) and lets you cover a large area, opening up gaps when surrounded and quite simply looking badass while doing it.
Counterpart to the gunslinger, boosts your melee attacks and lets you juggle enemies in the air more effectively, great for getting out of a tight spot.
The ironically trickiest style to master here, based more around defense and parrying enemy attacks to yield greater damage.
Of the four styles I’ll be honest, Royalguard is my least used, now that may come down to taste as I’ve always been a bit of a button masher and the nature of that style absolutely punishes mistimed attacks. For those looking to up their game and keep the combo score high, the implementation of freestyle can let you pull off insane combos and the Bloody Palace challenge tower mode is there to really test your skills.
Defeating enemies will land you various colored orbs, the main currency of which are red. These will allow you to purchase upgrades for your various melee weapons and guns you’ll pick up along the way.
Speaking of weapons, there is a fair chunk. Each boss you come across will earn you a weapon to add to your arsenal. This is a rather cool touch that really adds more variety to the gameplay (especially for us button mashers) and has the added function of making these encounters memorable as opposed to just going from point A to B and mindlessly shooting along the way.
So It’s just shooting then?
Mostly but no, in between all the slashing and shooting you’ll also come across some light puzzle elements, harkening back to it’s roots in the Resident Evil franchise and platforming sections that help to dial things down before inevitably going back up to 11 again. This I find is where the game show’s its age the most.
The camera in these sections can really get in your way, sometimes even in fights depending on the arena you’re in. It has this weird semi fixed-but you can move the camera around-style that doesn’t really work. I’ve often missed a platform and fell, not to my death, but all the way back down because the camera decided to switch at the last second and changed my character's movement angle. You’re rarely punished for falling but it is annoying having to restart a climb like that.
So what does it all boil down too? I still love it, it’s aged gracefully for the most part, the DMC series is the grandfather to the current wave of hack and slashers that have dominated the market such as Nier Automata and the Bayonetta series and this re-released package, for the price especially, is the best way to play a classic.
Play this game if…
You are not ashamed of industrial metal
You want fast paced combat in an anime style
You really did buy that long leather jacket
You’re a first timer to this series and want to see just what everyone was talking about
Devil May Cry 3 Special Edition Launch Trailer here
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