At the turn of the millennium, Capcom was working on a title for the Resident Evil series. As development went on, the team decided that the title was too action oriented and moving away from the survival horror theme that Resident Evil was known for. Instead of scrapping the game, Capcom continued in this direction.
That game became Devil May Cry, which released in 2001 on the PS2. Devil May Cry was a huge success and this led to Capcom working on the sequel. Devil May Cry 2 released in 2003 and, although it received mixed reviews, it sold well. Devil May Cry 3: Dante’s Awakening followed in 2005, with a Special Edition which featured a playable Vergil.
These three titles are what make up the Devil May Cry: HD Collection, including the DMC 3 Special Editon. The games follow Dante, half human and half demon, whose mission is to stop any demon threat from taking over the human world. His father is the demon Sparda, who helped humanity repel the demons from taking over the world, so Dante is really following in his footsteps.
Though the story may sound like it could be quite gritty, it isn’t. The Devil May Cry series is a fun, over the top experience featuring a cocky hero.[drop2]As this is an HD upgrade it’s the graphics that will be the focus of many. In every game the pre rendered cutscenes have not been upgraded, while Real Time cutscenes have. The contrast between the pre rendered graphics and the upgraded gameplay is staggering. It really is like looking back in time.
The character models look fantastic with the HD makeover, but even between titles you’ll notice how Dante from DMC looks less impressive than Dante from DMC3.
The same goes for the environments of each game in the collection.
In Devil May Cry you are reminded that this is a port of an 11 year old game. Though the environments and objects you interact with have generally been treated with the better graphics, there are parts which look like they have retained their original looks. Mixing the original gameplay with the HD graphics does look slightly strange in some areas, such as Dante’s animations. That hasn’t been upgraded and the movement seems quite stiff and a relic of the last generation.
Devil May Cry 2 looks slightly better but there are still areas which look dated, this time in the larger, more open areas, while the more linear corridor areas look much better. It’s the scenery in the open areas that looks dated, but this is more down to the original designs.
The designs look a bit cartoony and some areas look bad enough to break immersion. When I was watching one real time cutscene I focused less on the story and more on how the HD characters clashed against the last-gen looking floors and walls.
Dante also feels like he plays slower in this game than in the other two, which does take away from the fast combat the series is known for. However, Lucia is also a playable character in Devil May Cry 2 and she moves much faster. Playing as Lucia also allows you to experience the game’s, rather lacklustre, story from her perspective.
You can play as either Dante or Lucia as soon as you start the game but if you want to switch then you have to quit the game entirely and relaunch the disc. That goes for the Collection in general: if you want to switch from one title to another, you will have to exit the game and start the disc again.
It’s a bit of an annoying thing to do and I feel it would have been nice to implement an option to return to the main title select screen from in game instead of having to quit the disc outright.[drop]Devil May Cry 3: Dante’s Awakening is the crowning title in the collection and it’s here where the HD upgrade really comes into play. It’s the title where everything comes together. The environments, which were mixed bags in the other two titles, look great here.
There is the rare instance of some textures looking slightly out of place but nothing that takes away from the experience. You can really see where the original developers took lessons from the previous titles and improved upon the series formula in DMC 3.
There’s a much more engaging and interesting story here, as well as featuring the best combat of the three titles with different styles to choose from, such as Swordmaster, where the use of your sword helps you learn more moves, to Trickster where combos help you unlock more moves to work into combos as well as better evasive options.
As mentioned, you can play as Vergil, Dante’s brother, but this option doesn’t become available until after completing the story with Dante.
The combat is just as frantic and combo heavy as in the original releases, with 3 showcasing the best combat of the series. It’s great to see Dante effortlessly switching between his sword and guns to tackle the hordes of enemies that come after him and pulling off different combos doesn’t ever feel boring. However, this isn’t a simple shoot and slash type game. When it comes to certain battles you will have to come up with tactics and different situations require different approaches. The games are also pretty tough even on normal mode.
There are also tactics involved when spending orbs. Do you buy a weapon upgrade or a vita star to replenish health? Once you use your orbs and items they’re gone, so choose wisely or you could find yourself in a combat situation which has become harder for lacking an item.
As well as the combat, you’ll also have to deal with puzzles to advance through various levels. There’s very few hints on what to do so you could end up getting stuck in places. This can prove frustrating as the lack of direction really can slow down the pace in what should be a fast moving action game.[videoyoutube]Outside the story there’s a mode called Bloody Palace, available in DMC 2 or DMC 3. The mode features 9999 (not a typo) levels and works as an elimination tournament. You fight various enemies through the levels but health doesn’t replenish between levels, instead stocking up on Vita Stars is a good idea, or you could hope for a health drop.
At the end of each level 3 portals appear. One will advance you one level, another 10 levels and the third will advance you 100 levels. It’s a fun mode and adds something to prolong your time with the games.
One complaint is the camera. There is no player control in the DMC or DMC2, though DMC 3 does offer some control in a few areas. The lack of control and the switching to different angles will mean that sometimes enemies will be off screen, making combat difficult in some cases.
Luckily, the auto aim of the guns helps to dispatch the enemies that disappear from view, though the aiming is a bit fiddly as well and will always target the enemy closest to you even if an enemy with ranged attacks is causing more damage.
- A great collection for new and old fans alike.
- Hours of content.
- Requires some tactical approach.
- Fast & frantic gameplay.
- Some environments look dated despite the upgrade.
- Lack of camera control leading to enemies being off screen.
- No real hints on how to advance past certain areas.
- Fiddly aiming.
Overall, the Devil May Cry HD Collection is a great way to either revisit or, for the first time, experience Dante’s adventures as a demon hunter.
Yes, there are certain areas where the graphics look dated and the lack of camera control can be annoying, but past these complaints you have a collection of games with the frantic gameplay that inspired the likes of God of War & Bayonetta, and it offers a lot of fun.
These screenshots show a comparison between the HD and original appearances of the game.