Devil May Cry’s latest franchise entry is DmC Devil May Cry, a retelling of the origin story of Dante, when Dante never really had an origin story, save for perhaps the opening movie of the first Devil May Cry. This opening movie was actually not remastered for the HD collection I am about to review, which is kind of telling as to the amount of effort put into this repackaging. The games themselves are known quantities and have essentially not changed. Though they are presented in widescreen and in high definition with anti-aliasing, with some new, higher resolution textures, the gameplay in Devil May Cry HD Collection is exactly the same, for better or for worse.
Devil May Cry
In Devil May Cry , you can press the sword button three times to do a combo. When you do this combo, your character will remain facing the same direction the entire time. I am reminded of Ninja Gaiden and God of War, where in mid combo, the character will turn to face the nearest enemy, but I had forgotten that Devil May Cry wasn’t like this. Dante will still turn, but he wouldn’t do it at the quick or magnetic pace that I am used to. I also find it funny that there is still a callback to Resident Evil; Dante can examine odds and ends by pressing Action near them. It’s all inconsequential, and Dante will often remark “Whatever” after examining them.
Notwithstanding is the fact that I don’t have manual camera control. Devil May Cry was born from the ashes of a Resident Evil project, which also do not have manual camera control. I can’t tell you how much trouble I have with boss fights when I can’t move the camera to look at what I want to look at. All that said, I can’t think of a game that was primally satisfying to perform combat in; the style meter rising ever higher as you caused more and more carnage. I don’t know what it is that feels so good about shooting at an enemy that you popped into the air with your sword, keeping them bouncing on your bullets. It’s been theorized that Mario is a good game because the jump “feels” right, the amount of time you spend in the air and the acceleration up and down being aesthetically pleasing. The way an enemy dances on your gunfire provides a similar feeling.
Devil May Cry 2
Going on to Devil May Cry 2, the next game benefits much more from the HD remake, as if it were more likely to have been made with HD in mind. Still some uneven presentation, as some videos are widescreen, while some are not. Menu screens remain 4 x 3. I feel a bit more freedom, but man, did I forget how easy and, as a result, flat-feeling it is. Lack of camera control is still a problem, but the game provides more open environments that allow for more sweeping cameras, as an attempt to mitigate the problem of the narrow corridors and viewpoints of the first game. The mission structure feels much more linear, as Dante is no longer exploring a single mansion. Of course, it’s still Devil May Cry 2, a game that was wholly too easy for its pedigree. One other thing: you can’t switch between Dante and Lucia’s campaigns unless you quit the entire game.
Devil May Cry 3: Dante’s Awakening
Devil May Cry 3: Dante’s Awakening has a more uneven presentation, with the opening movie in Widescreen, but the option screens in 4 x 3. However, with somewhat free camera control and much more fluid combat mechanics, it’s the most accessible of the three games.
“Accessible” might be a funny word here, as Devil May Cry 3: Dante’s Awakening is known for its difficulty, but the way the game plays is most similar to modern action titles. However, even though I said above that the camera is freely controlled, the game often has specific angles it prefers to use in situations, and you are somewhat limited as to how far you can change it. Often, you can change it enough to see any missing or stubborn foes.
Strangely, I didn’t feel like Devil May Cry 3: Dante’s Awakening benefits as much from the HD collection as its predecessor. Textures look washed and faded, and Dante doesn’t look as crisp as he did in the previous games.
Bells And Whistles
As far as extras go, there is a vault in the main menu that contains artwork from both the production of the trilogy, and from a few fans collected at Capcom-Unity. You can also listen to the soundtrack. That’s it. In fact, once you launch a game, you cannot quit and start a different game unless you exit back to the system dashboard, and relaunch the game. Admittedly, most HD collections don’t have much in the way of extras, but the creation of Devil May Cry is interesting, and many of its mechanics became benchmarks for other games to meet and then surpass. A documentary would be really welcome here, although getting the principals together would be difficult, to say the least.
At the $40 price it launched at, the Devil May Cry HD Collection is a hard recommendation. These days, it can be found for around $20, a price I think is worth paying for a trip down memory lane. The improvements in HD didn’t wow me, but given the nature of backward compatibility, this maybe the only chance you have to play these titles. The score I am giving this collection represents the effort and the package that the Devil May Cry HD Collection provides, rather than judging each game as a whole.
+ Combat still feels fresh and satisfying, even after over a decade.
+ Devil May Cry is a game that could use more real estate, and widescreen presentation helps expand the viewable window.
-Have to quit entire disc to switch games.
Available on: PlayStation 3, Xbox 360
Version Reviewed: PlayStation 3