Devil May Cry is just one of many of the fantastic franchises Capcom was regularly fielding in the last few decades. Its utterly stylish blend of melee combat and gunplay mixed with numerous enemies and over-the-top boss fights have influenced a ton of hack n’ slash action games that would come out around the same time and afterwards. Still, where the original Devil May Cry may have established the formula, it was arguably Devil May Cry 3: Dante’s Awakening that brought the series to its apex when it arrived on North American shelves.

Devil May Cry 3 was very much a response to the mixed reception of Devil May Cry 2. Where Devil May Cry 2 garnered criticism over Dante’s dull personality, the lessened difficulty, the recycled weapons, and the somewhat cheap environments, Capcom addressed almost all concerns with Devil May Cry 3 to bring players a much more enjoyable game. Devil May Cry 3 featured much more detailed environments that played into various boss battles more prominently. These bosses, when defeated, provided Dante with some sort of weapon, each of which played drastically different from one another. In addition, Devil May Cry 3 was a prequel featuring a young and much cockier Dante in contrast to his quiet and toned down appearance in Devil May Cry 2.

Capcom

In addition to bringing about a revamp in the Devil May Cry series, Devil May Cry 3 introduced several iconic elements to the franchise. The original Devil May Cry introduced Dante’s brother Vergil briefly as the recurring boss character Nelo Angelo, but it was in Devil May Cry 3 that this character was fleshed out and given his iconic look and personality beyond being a simple adversary to Dante. He was a cool and quiet foil to Dante’s cocky and aggressive nature and we got to see the rivalry and events that led up to him becoming the troublesome dark knight serving Mundus in the first Devil May Cry that would eventually enable Dante to unlock the legendary Sparda Sword.

Devil May Cry 3 also brought us the recurring, but somewhat poorly named, femme-fatale, Lady. Led by obsession for vengeance against her father who happens to be Arkham, one of Dante’s enemies, Lady finds herself butting heads with Dante on multiple occasions throughout the game’s events as they chase after Arkham. Toting her signature weapon, a large-bayonetted rocket launcher called the Kalina Ann, Lady blasted her way into our hearts and into an eventual partnership with Dante as devil hunters by Devil May Cry 3’s end. Both Lady and Vergil easily became fan favorites of the franchise, making recurring appearances in future games such as Devil May Cry 4, Ninja Theory’s DmC, Project X Zone and Ultimate Marvel Vs. Capcom 3 as everything from cameos to fully playable characters.

Capcom

Finally, Devil May Cry 3 saw the introduction of the style system to combat, which allowed Dante to swap out different styles, each with a different emphasis on his abilities. Swordmaster focused on providing Dante with different versatile melee attacks where Gunslinger focused on Dante’s firearms. Trickster gave Dante options for agility and dodging and Royal Guard provided defense that could then be turned into retaliatory counters. Each style contained moves that would suit players differently and gave an extra dimension to combat and playstyle in the game. Devil May Cry 4 would see the return of the styles system when players were playing as Dante and DmC would use a change of styles in its gameplay mechanics as well.

Devil May Cry has had a pretty successful run over the years and there are a lot of good things to say about most of the core entries. That said, Devil May Cry 3 rose from the disappointment of Devil May Cry 2 and shot for the moon. With its memorable characters, combat and story, Devil May Cry 3 injected a lifeblood into the series that would garner the affection of fans worldwide and though many players may have their own opinion about their favorite Devil May Cry game, Devil May Cry 3 is arguably where the series bloomed into its most iconic form. Here’s to Devil May Cry 3 staying SSStylish.