Devil May Cry HD Collection Review: Stylish!

Unlike my review of the Silent Hill HD Collection, there isn’t any reason to review each Devil May Cry game separately, as there aren’t any unique features to each individual game. Devil May Cry is one of the most influential action games ever made. Its fast-paced, skill-based combat was a major shot in the arm to the action genre, which had been suffering from its transition to 3D in the previous generation, and was quickly succumbing to the burgeoning adventure genre. Being a successful Capcom game, Devil May Cry became a franchise, and there have been four games made for the series, and a reboot is in the works. Devil May Cry 1-3 are included in the collection. First let’s look at each individual game before we get into the enhancements and problems found in the collection.

The quality of the games does not correspond with how badass Dante looks

As many of you know, Devil May Cry 1 was originally intended to be Resident Evil 4 before the concept grew wildly in a different direction. This is its greatest strength over the other two games. Devil May Cry’s environments are claustrophobic, dark and impose a sense of dread. From a gameplay standpoint, limiting movement is not a good thing, but so few games do this, that Devil May Cry still stands relatively unique in this regard. The graphics of Devil May Cry 1 stand up better than its sequels because of its claustrophobic approach, as each environment is more important and detailed. Devil May Cry’s gameplay surprisingly stands very strong after all this time, which is a testament to how good it was originally. While it falters behind recent juggernaut Bayonetta, and Devil May Cry 3, it is definitely above average, putting most modern action games to shame. The amount of enemy variety is staggering and its ranking system and hard modes will keep a player coming back over and over again. Like the atmosphere, Devil May Cry 1’s music takes a queue from Resident Evil, which further adds the horror dimension to the game.

Also, Lava Spider

The downsides to the original Devil May Cry are almost the same now than they were when it was first released. Unfortunately, years of refinement in the genre has made them far more noticeable. The biggest problem is the fixed camera. While it gives a certain level of artistic immersion, it is not conducive for good combat, especially where it is switching between two very different fixed shots in the middle of a combo. The other major problem is the writing and voice acting, which are terrible in every way. The only way to take Devil May Cry’s story is to think of it as a B-movie, and even then the game takes itself far too seriously. These problems won’t be a big problem for old fans, but new ones may find that skipping scenes is preferable to listening to the crap that passed for dialogue back then.

Still badass in 2012

Devil May Cry 2 has always been the black sheep of the series and for good reason. It isn’t a good game by any stretch of the imagination. However, it does do somethings right. Dante’s character model is very well designed, and it offers a neat feature by having two main character campaigns even if they play mostly the same. It introduces in-combat weapon switching, and a customizable devil trigger (super mode) instead of the static one in the original. Devil May Cry 2 also houses much bigger environments than its predecessor, which is a good thing for combat flow.

This is literally the best part of the game.

The problems of Devil May Cry 2 are as numerous as the Goombas I’ve widowed. The major themes of the game are boredom and frustration. If you aren’t bored by a long segment or boss fight, you’ll be frustrated. Fun rarely, if ever, enters the equation. Devil May Cry 2 dumbed down the combat to a ridiculous degree, allowing pretty much every enemy to be safely killed using your default handguns. The environments are big, but insanely bland and boring. Voice acting has improved, but you’ll be lucky to hear Dante speak three sentences. Dante’s character model looks good, but nothing else does. Huge segments take too much “inspiration” (Basically ripping off ideas) from Ninja Gaiden. There is not weapon variety, and enemy variety comes in two flavours: too easy and frustrating. In short, Devil May Cry 2 is not a good game and you’d be a fool to buy the collection for it alone.

Yeah, the creators did this too

Finally there is Devil May Cry 3, which is the crown jewel of the series. Combat has been greatly enhanced from the original game with the inclusion of in-combat weapon swapping (Thank you Devil May Cry 2), and Styles. On top of this, your stylish ranking now takes into account move spamming, so you actually have to pull off cool combos to get high ranks. Devil May Cry 1 had two unique weapons. Devil May Cry 2 had one unique weapon. Devil May Cry 3 has five unique weapons, two of which can be carried with you at any given time. Voice acting has been improved to the point that it could pass for a modern action game (Still not great, but not laughably bad), and the music is less dreary, if not a little too repetitive. I didn’t mention story for the other two games because they were bland and forgettable, and that applies here too, but for what it’s worth, this games story is probably the best, as Dante and Vergil are remotely interesting even if the story itself is bonkers. Finally, the HD Collection comes with the special edition Devil May Cry 3, which allows you to play as the radically different Vergil throughout the entire game, as well as unlocking an arena mode for those of us who care mostly about the gameplay.

This was usually the end of the road for beginners. The game isn’t easy.

The major downside is something that both Devil May Cry 1 and 2 had to deal with: camera. You have limited control of the camera in this game, but enemies will frequently be attacking you off-screen and you will find yourself needed to memorize enemy roars just to survive imminent onslaughts. Aside from the camera, Devil May Cry’s environments are forgettable; although not as much as the second game’s. Really, atmosphere is where Devil May Cry 1 stands tall above all of its sequels. Fans may find Dante’s total personality shift to be jarring, but since he has a different personality for each game, that shouldn’t really come as a shock to anyone. Finally, the game has a much lighter tone than the previous games due to Dante’s general lack of maturity, which can be seen as a downside.

Fight with an electric, electric guitar? The maturity of this game knows no bounds. 

Now let’s look at the HD Collection features. On the main screen there are bonus features which include an archive and soundtrack. These aren’t substantial though. It is a pain that you can’t get back to the main menu without quitting the game, which makes switching between Devil May Cry’s a bit awkward. Graphically the game is a success. The models and environments have never looked better, and it really allows you to appreciate the detail that went into them, specifically the models (Even for Devil May Cry 2). Several minor background elements in several locations have been removed for some unknown reason, but, unless you are a hardcore fan, you are unlikely to notice. I’ve played through these games many times, and it had to be pointed out to me, so take that as you will. Devastating I’m sure, but the loading minigame in Devil May Cry 3 is gone now, replaced with a uniform loading screen used by the collection. Fortunately, I have not encountered a single bug that could be attributed to the collection, making it markedly different from the disappointing Silent Hill HD Collection. Finally there are the trophies/achievements. These are implemented fully in each game, as is standard (Never can tell with Capcom), giving the player a chance for a three platinums on the PS3. The trophies are generally very well done, mostly connected to difficulty and boss fights with a few requiring skill or perseverance through an arena mode. Overall, all games were successfully ported with no significant changes for the worse.

This is your Lava Spider in HD. Go ahead, compare with the other image. I’ll wait.

The Devil May Cry HD Collection doesn’t soar to the heights of the Metal Gear Solid HD Collection or the ICO Collection, but it comes close. Offering three games, two of which are excellent and hold up to today’s standards is enticing for the price of an HD Collection. There are no game breaking glitches to hold anyone back with this one, as such, if you are a fan of action games, you owe it to yourself to check this collection out.

-Mistranslations for the Modern Gamer

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