Devil May Cry has always been about style as much as substance, and the HD collection has Dante looking better than ever
In many ways, the character of cocky demon-hunter and wannabe seventies rockstar Dante is a microcosm of Devil May Cry's own personality.
Dante is the epitomy of a video game action hero. Like a Savile Row suit, he is as stylish as he is business-like and his juggle-happy sword and gun play reinvented the hack 'n' slash genre,
The question with a remastered collection is less the hard-to-dispute quality of the games themselves and more a question of value for money. Does the Devil May Cry HD Collection do enough to justify its re-release?
Devil May Cry HD Collection: Graphics
We're thoroughly unsurprised that Capcom has decided to remaster Devil May Cry. The original and its follow ups were already decidedly pretty on release, but a chance to re-experience the trilogy in glorious high definition is unmissable, as much for Capcom as it is for us.
And overall, developer Pipeworks has done a good job. The Devil May Cry series always looked great, and the improvements have made them look noticeably crisper and more vibrant. Some of the textures have not been upgraded and things can look a little patchy at times as a result, but this is a minor quibble.
There are no other graphical issues though. We did not notice any screen tearing, the frame rate is excellent and the whole thing plays as dreamily as it did ten years ago.
Unlike the graphical alterations made to the Metal Gear Solid HD Collection, the updates don't really affect any of the gameplay. What we're dealing with is a much simpler case of a great series with updated graphics.
Devil May Cry HD Collection: Features
Devil May Cry and Devil May Cry 3 are individually two of the finest hack 'n' slash games ever made. The original influenced some of the great games of the last decade; God of War, Bayonetta, Ninja Gaiden 1 & 2... we could go on. Devil May Cry 3 is not just one of the best games of its genre ever, but one of the best games ever released on the PS3.
Devil May Cry 2 by contrast was an enormous let down. Such was the quality of the original game, it's sequel was met with equal amounts of confusion and disappointment as Capcom chose to take the game in a rather different direction.
Dante's personality was muted, the combat was less challenging and far less interesting as a result and the whole experience was one that had regressed. It's a shame that the story was so well crafted, and so wasted on such a bland game.
It is not that Devil May Cry 2 was an awful game, far from it in fact. But in contrast the excellence of the bread it was sandwiched within, it just doesn't match up.
All three of these games have been graphically overhauled, but the games themselves remain identical so purists and new demon-hunters alike can truly relive them in their past glory.
Devil May Cry HD Collection: Gameplay
Devil May Cry is not about grinding through waves of pointless boring enemies a la Ninja Gaiden 3, nor does it cause alarmingly high levels of buttock-clenching like Dark Souls. But arguably it has influenced both these games, and many more by being the franchise that really opened up the mind-bending sub-genre of hack 'n' slash.
In Devil May Cry though, the chief gameplay mechanic is one that totally befits the games' main protagonist. You're killing demons to progress the story, but also to earn points. What you do is far less important than how good you look whilst you're doing it, and your points score and ranking at the end of each mission reflects that.
Ignoring Devil May Cry 2, which is not really worth your time outside of the storyline, the combo system in the original Devil May Cry, and Devil May Cry 3 still gives us little fits of joy from time to time. It is beautifully crafted, simple enough to pick up with so much depth that even after finishing the whole collection, you will still have ideas for new ways to take down the demon hordes you face.
Devil May Cry HD Collection: Verdict
Like we said with the Metal Gear Solid collection, whether you want to know what the fuss is about or you fancy a dose of nostalgia, this is a great time to get involved. For two of the best games of the last decade alone, this collection is worth picking up.
It's a slight disappointment that Devil May Cry 4 was not included in the package, presumably as it was developed for a different platform from the other three, an excuse we can understand.
Graphically, the update is a little patchy in places but honestly, you'll be so engaged in the gameplay that you won't notice or care most of the time. For the most part, the HD Collection looks superb, and plays true to the original games. Ultimately, this is what we always would have asked for, and Pipeworks and Capcom have delivered.