Better the HD devil you know…
That’s right, the release of yet another HD collection is upon us, with the Devil May Cry being the latest series to get touched up for release on the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360. Are the HD remasters of these three PlayStation 2 classics worth picking up, or should this collection be condemned to the depths of hell? Read on to find out.
Game: Devil May Cry HD Collection
Developer: Capcom/Pipeworks Software
Without a shadow of a doubt, the jewel in the Devil May Cry gameplay crown is the combat, mixing gunplay with fast paced hack and slash action. Sadly, the combat dips in terms of quality in Devil May Cry 2, but the core experience remains as smooth and fluid as it was back on the PlayStation 2. Whether you’re taking on a group of weird looking enemies or a massive boss, the combat is one factor that remains enjoyable through each game. In fact, compare the games in this collection to most current generations releases belonging to the same genre, and you’ll find that the remastered PlayStation 2 titles more than stand the test of time. Bayonetta is the closest modern day comparison, and even that takes inspiration from this now iconic series. The only negative in relation to the gameplay in all three titles is the camera, as the lack of control over it can lead to frustrations in some combat situations. Devil May Cry 3 offers you some control over the camera, but still has its own awkward moments.
Staying focused on the combat, each title in the collection kicks off with the hero Dante being equipped with a sword and guns, both of which can be upgraded by spending red orbs gained by defeating enemies. Doing so unlocks new moves and combos, adding a layer of depth to the silky smooth combat and keeping the action fresh. The only change in the combat formula comes when you move onto Devil May Cry 3, as the game allows you to switch between a variety of six different styles. Trickster, Swordmaster, Gunslinger, Royal Guard, Quicksilver and Doppelganger all adequately match up to their descriptions, and you can change between them at the start of a level or when you reach a checkpoint. Experimenting with each style and knowing when to switch plays a key role in Devil Mary Cry 3, adding a certain level of mystique to the combat and making it even more enjoyable when compared to its predecessors. In fact, with the Doppelganger style equipped, if you’ve got a friend sitting nearby, he or she can connect a second controller, press start and take control of Dante’s shadow. It’s not exactly a full-on co-op mode, but it’s still a cool little feature nonetheless.
Being the special edition incarnation of Devil May Cry 3, the game also introduces Dante’s brother Vergil to the mix, allowing you to play as him using his Dark Slayer style (similar to Dante’s Trickster). As you’d expect, Vergil plays a huge part in the Devil May Cry 3’s story too, but even though the game has plenty of twists and turns, it isn’t exactly Shakespeare. In fact, that sentiment applies to Devil May Cry and Devil May Cry 2 as well. Over-the-top and cheesy, that would be the best way to describe the tales that are told throughout the three games. That said, each story manages to be oddly compelling and cool at the same time, mostly thanks to the hotshot protagonist Dante. It wouldn’t be an exaggeration to say he carries each of the three stories, and his interaction with other characters is the narrative related highlight.
Gameplay and story aside, the remastered visuals are likely to be the biggest draw for the majority looking to pick up this collection. For the most part, Pipeworks Software has decent job with all three Devil May Cry titles. The in-game visuals are incredibly sharp and smooth, with both character models and environments looking fantastic. However, some of the textures in each game are a tad ugly, looking blurry and stretched out rather than detailed. Pre-rendered cutscenes and pause menus don’t look that great either, retaining their old 4:3 look rather than being polished up in widescreen. The number of times (especially early on) gameplay switches from widescreen to 4:3 when you pause the game or go into a cutscene is a bit jarring to say the least. With each game in the collection being several years old, this is somewhat expected, but it’s slightly disappointing to see that Pipework Software hasn’t paid full care and attention to all the visual aspects of each title. Thankfully, the audio for all three titles is just as good as it was back in the PlayStation 2 days, with the voice acting and background music complimenting the on-screen action well.
Whilst the visual remasters aren’t perfect, the core gameplay of each title in the Devil May Cry HD Collection more than matches up to any current day offering belonging to the same genre. The satisfying gunplay and fluid melee combat is just as enjoyable as it was back in the good old days of the PlayStation 2, making it a joy to take out a group of enemies. If you’re a fan of the series, wanting to relive memories of slicing and dicing enemies with Dante, the Devil May Cry HD Collection is a more than worthy purchase. For newcomers, if you can overcome a few niggles, this touched up re-release is a fantastic introduction to one of the most iconic series in gaming.