Devil May Cry remains the peak of the action shooter genre. While the series has started to slowly lose its relevancy compared to its sister franchise, Bayonetta; Capcom appears to have taken renewed interest in bringing it back again and the approach that they seem to be taking here is to release the classic games on the current generation consoles, perhaps to prepare the fans and newcomers for a potential new entry in the series since rumors about such a project have been ongoing for a while now.
Devil May Cry HD Collection brings the first 3 games in the trilogy to the current generation systems. It is not exactly a new attempt from Capcom since they have released almost a similar collection for the PS3 and Xbox 360, however this is the first time it has been made available on the PS4, PC and Xbox One. Despite what it tries to achieve here, the collection feels like a rather minimal effort release on the modern platforms going as far too even ignore some of the awful looking 4:3 UI and pre-rendered movies. Despite this, there is no doubt that the trilogy as a whole remains the pinnacle of the action shooter genre on the PlayStation 2. It might have been overtaken by Bayonetta now but back during its time, there were simply no other games like it and those who did try to clone its success failed miserably.
If you are fan of the franchise and hoping to go through the original trilogy again, perhaps it is best to avoid it for now. The collection just doesn’t seem to hold up well, especially when we talk about its fixed camera perspective that starts to feel intrusive for the combat. This is most an issue for the first two games in the trilogy. The silver lining here is that the game runs at 60 FPS so the controller response is better. This is something that was the case for the PS2 originals so it isn’t exactly a selling point for this collection. Aside from that, I wouldn’t lie when I say that there is still a certain charm to the first game but let’s just ignore the horrible and complete mess of sequel which was Devil May Cry 2.
Devil May Cry 1 is a very special game. It was originally conceived as a spin-off to Resident Evil and it still carries a certain horror theme with a gothic nightmarish castle that is full of demonic creatures. However, the game is fully focused on its action which still feels great when the camera doesn’t disrupt it. It is also one of the hardest games in the series even on the normal difficulty setting. Basically if you are not ready to dodge and combo your way through enemies, it is easy to die in the game and the archaic checkpoint system makes it even more difficult to retry and continue without losing any progress.
Compared to the classic atmosphere and simplified action of the original Devil May Cry, the sequel ups the ante and takes the action even further. It offers top notch action especially the shooting is on a whole another level here, but it suffers from a myriad of issues ranging from terrible enemy design, poorly designed boss fights and a story that is overtly dark without any meaningful conclusion. It also suffers from a repetitive campaign where you have to play through either Dante or Lucia with interchanged boss fights and levels. It is just a plain bad game that still feels awful to play today and I will add that it has aged worse than the original Devil May Cry.
Compared to the first 2 games, Devil May Cry 3 feels like it is just on a whole another level. It was the first time the series started to offer styles that could be switched. The story is easily one of the best in the trilogy and introduces the rivalry between Dante and his twin brother, Vergil. There are plenty of amazing cutscenes and new characters like the Lady. Boss fights are also exciting and challenging on the higher difficulty while the game rewards skills and stylish gameplay with its ranking system. This is easily the best game in the trilogy although I am not sure if it is worth the asking price for the whole collection.
If you have the patience to sit through the terrible and dated design of the first 2 games, I think you will feel satisfied with the content presented by Devil May Cry 3. The game offers an incredible amount of replay value and has aged well even today. It is a shame that some of the UI and cutscenes are restricted to old aspect ratio so they are extremely dated now, and it would have been far better if they were updated to coincide with this new release, but alas this is not the case here.
Devil May Cry HD Collection includes 2 great games (and 1 terrible) and it is being sold at a modest price. It is a shame that there is not really much to offer here for this recent release in HD and just an upgrade is resolution makes it a rather simple port, and harder to recommend for those who already own it on the PS3 or Xbox 360.
Devil May Cry HD Collection Review (PS4)
Game Reviewed on: PS4
Game description: The popular stylish action games Devil May Cry, Devil May Cry 2, and Devil May Cry 3 Special Edition return in one collection!
A classic trilogy of games featuring the titular hero Dante, which is now available to play with its warts and all on the current generation consoles and PC.