While it’s fun to jump back into protagonist Dante’s adventures before the release of ‘Devil May Cry 5’ in March, this ‘high-definition’ collection lacks any of the graphical style you’d expect
The only “Devil May Cry” games I’ve played are “Devil May Cry 3: Dante’s Awakening” and the newer “DmC: Devil May Cry” reboot. So, considering the anticipated March release of “Devil May Cry 5,” I figured it was as good as time as any to pick up the “Devil May Cry HD Collection,” released last year for the PlayStation 4, Xbox One and PC. Man, did I grab the sword by both ends with that decision.
Perhaps I’ve been spoiled lately with remakes and remasters of fantastic older games, like “Shadow of the Colossus,” “Yakuza” and “Assassin’s Creed: The Ezio Collection,” which were handled with care in their own way, either being scaled up visually and with modern-day adjustments being added or rebuilt from the ground up. But this “high-definition” version of the first three “Devil May Cry” games is nothing more than a lazy, disappointing port of the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 versions of the games.
The decision to basically just repackage a barely updated 2013 collection of games from the early 2000s cut on a couple of fronts, not least of all because developer Capcom knows how to make a remaster worth your money (the “Resident Evil” remakes, anyone?). What’s worse, though, is that this is simply an affront to two highly regarded games within the collection — the first and third “DMC” games — and just more salt in the wound for the disaster that is “Devil May Cry 2.”
But I’ll give the collection this much: If you’re looking to get back into the fray with protagonist Dante and his nonsensical demonic adventures before the release of “DMC V,” it’ll at least give you the option to do so on current-generation consoles.
Let’s be upfront: Visually, none of the games has aged well, though the series does improve the later in the series you go. But if you were expecting a true remaster, you’re going to be sorely disappointed. It’s quite jarring to being fighting a boss amid OK graphics, win your battle and then be forced to watch terrible 4:3 ratio videos that look like they were pulled from a dying VHS tape.
Everything, particularly in the first “DMC,” just looks awful. It’s abundantly clear Capcom priced the collection as high as it thought it could get away while doing the least amount of work possible. You do get 1080p graphics and a steady 60 frames-per-second, but almost nothing else.
I’m not blaming the games. Very few games for 2001 look good today, no matter how much you may love them. (I love me some “Final Fantasy VII,” but you won’t hear me defending its aged graphics.) But I did expect something more than an explosion of low-resolution textures and anachronistic camera controls that made me want to throw my controller at my TV. There’s really nothing more infuriating than having to jump up a building again because you missed the last jump due to a sudden hard camera cut.
It’s not really worth getting into the plot of any of these games (though, if you’d like to check out individual reviews with more detail, you can do so at silverscreeningreview.com) because the plot doesn’t really matter, especially in “DMC 2,” in which I still don’t understand what happened.
It’s all about the style and weapon slingin’ for our guy Dante. And for whatever flaws the collection has, its has plenty of style. The first and third “DMC” games stand out with their take on a brooding, baroque world in which demons cause mayhem and chaos. The mix of sword play and gun play creates ample opportunity to develop your own demon-slaying style. Combine that with lightning-quick pacing across the board, and you have a chaotic blast of fun. (Each game is super short, through there’s some replay value if you want to take on harder difficulties.)
”Devil May Cry 3″ is my personal favorite of the bunch, going all-out in its kinetic frenzy. Its set pieces still wow all these years later, and I continue to be a fan of the impressive boss battles in that game.
And Dante still is somehow the coolest, dorkiest demon hunter known to man. That slick red trenchcoat is stylish as can be, but all his silly one-liners just make you want to cringe. (OK, so maybe Dante isn’t all that cool, but he was back when I was a kid!)
The second “DMC,” however, stuns with its fall from grace, and no amount of visual upscaling is going to fix that. The fact that I played both character sequences of that game and still find myself scratching my head in sheer confusion speaks volumes. Plus, I fought an “infected” helicopter. What am I supposed to do against that?
The collection also comes with extra out-of-game content, such as fan art and soundtracks, for those who appreciate that type of stuff.
In the end, I have to say this about the “Devil May Cry HD Collection”: I did learn a few things about the series, and it gave a chance to actually play the first two games myself as I wait for the release of “Devil May Cry 5.” (I had heard that the first “DMC” was supposed to be “Resident Evil 4” before it became its own game, but I didn’t realize how true that was until I found myself escaping an exploding island with a woman in two in an underground tunnel on a water-skimming vehicle.)
It’s a shame more work wasn’t put into this collection to make the best use of the current-gen consoles it’s running; some newer character models and true high-definition graphics would have done wonders. It was enjoyable to make my way through Dante’s story (not including “Devil May Cry 4”), and there’s something to be said about experiencing the train wreck that was “DMC 2” firsthand. But, with the lack of effort put into this collection, particularly in regards to graphics, I find it hard to recommend it to most anyone. Still, I feel like I put in the time for “Devil May Cry 5,” and I have a little bit better of an understand of our protagonist. Here’s hoping his next adventure is as stylish as he is.
You can contact Dominic, especially with game suggestions, at email@example.com or follow him on Twitter @Silver_Screenin. You can check out his blog at silverscreeningreview.com.