Devil May Cry has long been one of my favourite franchises, mixing fast paced action with stylish cinematics. The series has been on a sort of break for a while now – with no new game being released since the controversial reboot DmC: Devil May Cry. We’ve had a selection of ports and remasters since then, and it doesn’t seem Capcom is stopping anytime. While we can only hope a Devil May Cry 5 is on the horizon, Devil May Cry: HD Collection brings the first three games to Steam, Playstation 4 and Xbox One though with little fanfare.
The Devil May Cry games are basically action games, but with a little bit of a difference. In them, you largely play as Dante, a demon hunter, who must carry out certain missions to defeat a greater evil. Each game has its own little idiosyncrasies, but one thing is common amongst all of them – they reward varied and stylish combat. Devil May Cry HD Collection, now releasing on the PC, Xbox One and PS4, is pretty much the same game that released a few years ago for Xbox 360 and Playstation 3. Make no mistakes, this is as barebones as a remaster can get, but it’s the strength of the games that carry it.The first game, Devil May Cry, began life as a Resident Evil title before being quickly repurposed into something else when Capcom realised it was a bit too out there for the franchise. It shows – the game favours backtracking more than any of the other Devil May Cry games while also featuring a combat system that’s much slower. That’s not to say it’s bad, just that future games amp the speed up considerably. The game is bordering 17 years old now and is easily showing it’s age the most of the three games included in the remaster.
Menus are poorly presented, most cutscenes are lifted directly from the PS2 version without any form of upscaling (creating a weird, blurry aliased image) and the typeface not only looks dated but is riddled with translation errors. During gameplay, however, the image is sharper and clearer than ever. The gameplay itself is still fantastic too, but harder to come to grips with than later titles or even contemporaries like Bayonetta and Ninja Gaiden. You’ll eventually feel like a master in Devil May Cry, but it’ll take you a bit more effort to get there than the other games.Devil May Cry 2 is easily the most controversial of the package. First released in 2003, the game has oft been criticised for it’s simplistic gameplay (especially compared to the game that came before and after it) as well as its reduced difficulty. There’s not much to say here for Devil May Cry 2, it’s the same game that released 15 years ago and with that comes all of it’s problems. More uniquely, the game lets you play as a second character named Lucia, who herself is badass, but the game is just unremarkable in almost every way. I don’t hate it, it just isn’t as strong a game as the other two.
Devil May Cry 3: Special Edition is easily the best of the package – a huge offering in almost every way. The game is a prequel to the first games, following Dante and his brother Vergil before they met their tragic fates in the lead up to the first Devil May Cry game. The big difference here is that Dante can select a “style” that grants him new moves – some give new abilities for his guns, others for his swords, some give him evasive or defensive maneuvers. Picking the right style for the right encounter gives a degree of strategy to the flow of the game, though it’s fun trying to make your own style fit whatever situation you’re i.Devil May Cry 3 is easily the biggest of the games. Not only are there heaps of missions, bosses and weapons to conquer and master – there’s even the option to play as Dante’s super stylish brother Vergil too. It’s great fun to run through the game with a completely different move set than Dante’s. To top this off there’s a slew of difficulty options and unlockables too. In terms of pure hours alone, Devil May Cry 3 and it’s comprehensiveness increases the value of the HD Collection.
The question remains – just how much of this is new when compared to the HD Collection that releases on Xbox 360 and Playstation 3 just over six years ago. The short answer is absolutely nothing. There’s a small bump in resolution but nothing that takes advantage of the power of the Playstation Pro or Xbox One X. The game’s still look great though – running at a buttery 60 frames per second with no slowdown whatsoever, though some models are beginning to look their age in-game. All of the games may only be rendering at 1080p, but the performance is rock solid regardless.Some other issues that occurred in the HD Collection for Xbox 360 and Playstation 3 persist in this port though. For one, the sound effects and music are slightly off in this collection, especially for the first game. Ambient tracks loop poorly – sometimes stopping completely for a few seconds – before resuming. Some sound effects have been completely replaced with other sound effects. It’s a bizarre thing to port these games across and not fix the issues that were in the original release, but nothing super jarring that affects gameplay or the like.
THE PLAYSTATION 4 VERSION OF THIS GAME WAS PLAYED FOR THE PURPOSE OF THIS REVIEW. DIGITAL REVIEW CODE WAS PROVIDED BY THE PUBLISHER.
Devil May Cry HD Collection is one of the most lackadaisical remasters that I’ve ever played – featuring little improvements on the same collection that released for older consoles back in 2012. That being said, the sheer strength of the games included (Devil May Cry 2 notwithstanding) and the modest asking price still make it a more than viable way to experience these games before an inevitable sequel.