Devil May Cry 3: Special Edition HD

Devil May Cry 3: Special Edition HD

I bought the Devil May Cry HD Collection exclusively to see what fans were so irate about losing with the release of the reboot. After mostly aligning to the consensus for two games, I’m sad to say that I only kind of understand the adoration lavished on DMC3. I get that it deepened the mechanics enough that technical, high-level play became a prominent niche among genre fans. I get the appeal of the characters – the entertaining irony of pitting dead-serious gothic imagery against a carefree, wisecracking teenage power fantasy – and how the third game appropriately maximized the camp. I get that it restored the challenge level to a more satisfying one, especially after the Special Edition adjusted the labels to be more representative. I get that it introduced a variety of cool features, including surfing on enemies, summoning a doppelgänger, and playing a guitar that shoots electrified bats. And I get how the elaborate boss fights can be great fun, apart from the unfair final one. What I don’t get is how anyone can overlook the bafflingly poor design choices that get in the way of the fun.

For starters, with its confusing fixed camera angles and pointlessly connected missions, it’s clearly still dragging around its origins as a prototype Resident Evil 4. It’s also the point where the series adopted godawful industrial metal for its soundtrack, which combined with endlessly repeating sound bites, makes the action unbearably cacophonic. Furthermore, while the story and controls are noticeably improved from previous titles, the former still isn’t particularly coherent, and the latter is still rather stiff. The Style system is the most problematic area, however. Without the updates to the recent Switch port, players can only switch styles at fixed locations. This creates bizarre scenarios where gaining the ability to block means giving up half of your combat abilities for 20 minutes at a time. The styles are also ridiculously unbalanced; a third of them are totally useless outside of high-level play, making the game feel shallower than it is, because you always feel like you’re missing out on the full suite of options.

5.5/10
5.5/10

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