In the year 2000, Hideki Kamiya stumbled upon something incredible on his way to making the next entry in the Resident Evil series. Playing so differently from its survival horror predecessors, the team decided to abandon the Resident Evil idea altogether and create something new. Calling the new project Devil May Cry, the game quickly became a commercial success. Fast forward 4 titles later, and Dante, the son of Sparda has virtually become a household name. Now collected for the first time in HD by Capcom, the Devil May Cry HD Collection for the PS3 and Xbox 360 contains the first three entries in the series. Did the upscaling cause the series to lose its luster, or does it still manage to shine?
The Devil May Cry series tells the tale of Dante, a professional demon hunter. A supernatural being with inhuman abilities, lighting-quick reflexes, and an expert in combat, he runs a shop that specializes in dealing with the unholy. In Devil May Cry, Dante is visited by Trish, a female devil who implores him to stop the resurrection of the powerful demon emperor known as Mundus. In Devil May Cry 2, Dante and female associate Lucia battle megalomaniac businessman Arius, who wishes to control the power of Argosax, a powerful demon, and finally in Devil May Cry 3, the story portrays a younger, brasher Dante in his quest that leads to him clashing with his twin brother Virgil. The stories contained in the collection are well done and varied, full of plot twists and cool stylish action-packed moments that rival the best in Hollywood.
The game also looks gorgeous. Thanks to the HD upscaling, the games hold up well and still look great today, especially DMC 1 & 3, whose environments and level design are tremendous. Unfortunately, DMC 2 does not hold up to this same standard, as although character models are well done and animated, the backgrounds are muddy and uninspired wide-open spaces.
The greatest part about this collection is that the three titles are pretty much intact and contain everything that made the series popular.
The DMC series combat system is recognized for being flashy and fun, full of great sword fights and gunplay. With a button for swords and another for firearms, a limitless amount of possibilities and combinations for destroying Dante’s enemies are available to the player (this is especially true for DMC 3, which possessed a number of selectable fighting styles). The controls are responsive and precise, so every sword slice and gunshot is accurate and under the player’s control. It’s a fun combat system, and it never ceases being exciting and cool.
A large variety of weapons exist across all three titles, also changing up the way Dante deals with his opponents. From new firearms, like shotguns, uzis and a rifle, to weapons like gauntlets, giant swords, and even a guitar!, players will always have fresh ways to change up the combat, land combos and more. In addition, players have access to the “Devil Trigger,” an ability that transforms Dante into a powerful demon himself, granting him increased damage, speed and health regeneration.
By performing stylishly, players can earn red orbs, the series currency. Red orbs can be used to purchase a number of things, such as new abilities and attacks in order to make Dante stronger, or a number of items to heal Dante, regenerate the Devil Trigger, protect him, or even upgrade his health or devil trigger. These options keep the game fresh and varied, and allow players to build unique characters and tackle the game as they wish.
The DMC series hasn’t always been fighting enemies only, as the game also has some light platforming sections and some puzzles. Puzzles range from simple fetch quests to timed sections where players must reach an area before it’s too late. Never too tedious, the puzzles and light platforming are welcome breaks from the frequent combat.
The HD Collection also offers a healthy dose of content to keep gamers busy for a long time. In addition to DMC 2′s second disc where players can play as Lucia, DMC 3 is the “special edition” of the game, allowing players to play through the campaign as Dante’s brother Virgil. Both of the additional playable characters have their unique play styles and storylines, adding quite a bit of replay value to the titles.
The only real problem the Devil May Cry HD Collection has is that DMC 2 is still the weakest entry in the series. Due to being handled by another development team, the gameplay is not as tightly executed and excitng as the other two, and the wide-open environments are boring and pointless. The story isn’t that exciting either, so there’s no reason to follow it.
At the end of the day, the Devil May Cry HD Collection is a worthy purchase for those wanting to experience the series from the very beginning. All three titles are faithfully recreated in their entirety, and they still hold up pretty well. If you’ve never helped Dante take on the hordes of hell, and love action-packed games, then this is the collection for you.