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Devil May Cry review for Nintendo Switch


Platform: Nintendo Switch
Publisher: Capcom
Developer: Capcom
Medium: Digital
Players: 1
Online: No
ESRB: M

Here’s the thing about Devil May Cry: it’s not a great game.

I say that with all the necessary provisos: it’s a classic. It revolutionized the action genre. It was widely considered to be great when it first came out. All of those things are indisputable.

But it also came out 18 years ago. While the distance between games today and the original Devil May Cry may not be as great, quality-wise, as the difference between, say, Devil May Cry and 1983’s Lode Runner, it’s still looks, feels, and plays like an incredibly dated game that has been surpassed several times over.

Understand that this is no knock against Devil May Cry. Some of the other highest-rated games from 2001 have aged just as poorly, and were also surpassed by what came next in their respective series. It’s just that you really seem the seams here, with a game whose ambition both went far beyond what was capable at the time in 2001, and, which, at the same time, feels very much of the era.

Take the camera: it’s not great. You have no control over it, and it does its own thing, regardless of what’s happening on the screen. Whether you’re in the middle of a battle or running through some enormous hall, it doesn’t matter: at some point, the game will abruptly shift point of view, and you’ll have to adjust accordingly. It never feels anything less than awkward.

The music and visuals are likewise dated. In terms of graphics, this is basically the same game that came out in 2001 on PlayStation 2, not even the remastered (but still pretty ugly) HD versions that have come out on both PS3/Xbox 360 and Xbox One/PS4. How do you think it’s going to look? Likewise, the soundtrack sounds…well, like 2001, all nu-metal-y guitars and pounding drums. Thankfully, Capcom resisted the urge to throw in shouty rapped vocals, but that doesn’t make the game sound any more modern.

If you accept all those things as being just part of the package, then Devil May Cry isn’t so bad. Indeed, when you manage to chain together some crazy combo of slicing and shooting away the demons, you can definitely see why this game was considered the height of coolness 18 years ago — while still accepting that this Dante looks like a hero that could only have emerged in the post-Matrix/pre-Matrix Reloaded world.

All of which is to say, Devil May Cry isn’t a great game by today’s standards — but, if you look at it through the perspective of 2001, you can see why it blew so many people away. It probably doesn’t stand up if you’re directly comparing it to more modern action games, but if you go in hoping for a slice of history that’s still playable, then it’ll do the trick.

Capcom provided us with a Devil May Cry Switch code for review purposes.

Grade: B-