Devil May Cry has always been a series I hold dear to my heart; the PlayStation 2 is my all time favorite console, and I retain many fond memories of Sony’s sixth generation console. Although games like Bully, Okami, and Shadow of the Colossus are usually games I would say are my top 10 favorite PS2 games of all time, I will not deny that I have some good memories of the original Devil May Cry games.
So, when Capcom announced that the first three installments would be released on current-gen systems in the form of the Devil May Cry HD Collection, it certainly caught my eye. However, after revisiting these three titles once again after all these years, unfortunately, the games do not hold up today, and Devil May Cry HD Collection is such a disappointment to me.
The game runs at 1080p at 60 frames per second, and it is atrocious, to say the least. Visually, the game looks like something you would see from a seventh generation title with the textures being extremely outdated. While the character models are more appealing to look at and are not too noticeable, you will be distracted by the background textures, which are very pixelated, as if the textures never fully loaded and stick out like a sore thumb, regardless of whether you are watching a cutscene or actually playing.
I understand that graphics do not determine the overall quality of the game, but for 2018, these graphics are unacceptable, even by HD port standards. But I cannot help but feel like Capcom recycled the assets from the original Devil May Cry HD Collection, which was released back in 2012 with just a slight better coat of paint with nothing new being offered to the table.
While the graphics clearly show its age, it’s the camera as well as the overall gameplay which take the biggest hit, although the gameplay is a bit of a mix in the bag. When it comes to controlling Dante, it feels unnatural and stiff like I am managing a tank rather than an actual person. Whereas the actual combat he moves with ease, with the first installment having the best controls regarding actual combat in the game. While it is noted that the Devil May Cry trilogy has not aged like a fine wine overall, the overall combat has stood the test of time, more or less. Which is impressive to say the least, especially when factoring in that the first Devil May Cry game opened the gate and established a new subgenre, with games such as the Bayonetta and God of War series heavily influenced by the franchise.
Over the course of the compilation, you can acquire additional weapons and moves, which provide more options for how you want Dante to play and what type of attacks you want him to execute. Grinding will eventually lead to no longer needing to rely on point-type rewards to help indicate your progression, but of course, it is still present. It’s the overall combat of the game, which drove me to the series, unlike its narrative. To put it nicely, the whole story is weak, and it is quite apparent that the game was heavily dependent on the gameplay.
Of course, not every game is going to have The Last of Us levels of emotional journey’s and a solid story does not make or break a game. However, the cutscenes are still enjoyable to watch. However, they are interesting because of the low-budget production value they offer. More often than not, it reminds me of cheesy cartoons from the 80s, and 90s and I still love Dante’s character…in the first game. Primarily because he was exciting and while I did not find the overall narrative enjoyable his personality provided me an incentive to continue playing the game, then the second game completely ruined his character making him feel like a piece of wood.
While the overall combat is still just as addicting as it was all those years ago, the game can still be a pain to play, primarily because of the camera. More often than not, I found myself fighting with the camera to get it in the direction I wanted it to be placed in, it doesn’t help the fact that Devil May Cry 2 already had a problematic camera, to begin with. Considering this is the second time these three games have been ported, it would have been presumed that the issues with the camera should have been corrected.
Driving my focus onto Devil May Cry 2 it is quite obvious that I find the sequel not only a disappointment but also the weakest link in Devil May Cry HD Collection. In addition to ruining the protagonist and featuring a difficult camera, the combat has been dumbed down, which is a bit questionable considering the combat controls were never difficult, to begin with. Sure the game was vastly bigger than its predecessor, but the monotonous gameplay and high repetition in both enemies and boss battles made Devil May Cry 2 feel like a chore to play. Unfortunately, it feels more like a quantity over quality was prioritize for this particular title.
Then came Devil May Cry 3: Dante’s Awakening was released in 2005 and everything that made the first game great such as the level design. As well as further exploration of making combat feel more varied than its predecessors. In total, Dante includes four separate styles of play that allow him to excel at either dodging, blocking, swordplay or shooting, accommodating every play style possibly imagined in this particular subgenre. Additionally, it encouraged experimenting too, as you could modify between each of them by accessing the pause menu, increasing the overall replay value.
But play styles were not the only thing added to make combat more intriguing; players were also able to hold to of each weapon type concurrently and change between them in real-time. While this type of feature is standard by today’s industry standards as a game released on a sixth generation title, it was, innovative. When factoring in all these features offered it further reassures that Devil May Cry 3, despite it aging rather severely still holds up better out of the entire trio, making this the best game in Devil May Cry HD Collection.
All in all, Devil May Cry HD Collection the second go around is an unacceptable product, which feels like a waste of money. As stated before, this game was initially released back to the seventh generation and while things like graphics and even the issues from the original releases could be forgiven back then; it is 2018. A simple HD port of an already existing HD port is a copout and to be perfectly honest, these games should have either been remade or better yet been remastered. To allow more polish to the gameplay, controls, and most importantly the camera.
While the Devil May Cry HD Collection may be a bit of a disappointment, there is no denying that the first Devil May Cry games are significant and have impacted the industry in a positive way, this industry has evolved and a simple port alienates old and new fans to the series. I hope that in the future, Capcom decides to make a Devil May Cry 5 as the original Devil May Cry continuity is still adored by many. Nevertheless, no matter what the future of the Devil May Cry series holds, I do hope that Capcom decides to take into a serious account on the flaws of the first three games while also implementing everything good about the first and third titles.
When factoring in on whether or not I can recommend this game to newcomers to the series, I honestly do not think I can; Devil May Cry HD Collection‘s re-release poorly-made compilation fails to show what made the franchise as popular as it is, while old fans of the series will be disappointed to see this game is nothing more than a rehash, and obviously, if you did not like the series already, then there is a high probability that this compilation will not change your mind.