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.