The concept behind HD collections is a solid idea. Re-release fan favourites in glorious HD, offering a stabilised framerate, maybe a few improvements and new features, and also potentially exposing the franchise to a new generation. Recently gamers were treated to Shadow of the Colossus, which was given a complete remaster on PS4 featuring new graphics and other updates to bring it to modern standards. Unfortunately, Capcom’s Devil May Cry HD Collection hasn’t been shown quite the same amount of love, and at best is a bare bones release.
The Devil May Cry HD Collection includes the first three games in the franchise which were released between 2001 and 2005 on the PS2. The games are action adventure hack-and-slash titles starring Dante, a private investigator/demon hunting vigilante who is also the son of a powerful demon lord named Sparda. The focus of each title is to explore environments and kill demons with a flurry of speedy combos. Stringing together a variety of combos grants you an improved rank at the end of the level, with there being encouragement to later go back and improve scores to obtain the elusive S ranking. Despite their age the games do hold up fairly well due to the simple yet engaging gameplay design, but compared to the likes of Bayonetta and the newer DmC: Devil May Cry, they will seem a bit sluggish.
The biggest complaint I have with each title is that the menus and FMV cutscenes have not been optimised. They look like they’ve been ripped directly from the original PS2 versions, meaning that in the leap to current generation systems they’ve become blurry and distorted. It isn’t so bad in the later releases, but definitely more noticeable in the original Devil May Cry. Thankfully, during the main gameplay visuals look sharp and better than they ever have. Keep in mind though that these games are nearing 20 years old and no effort has been made in updating the character models or environments. Expect the overall graphics to look dated and definitely not as appealing as more modern takes on the genre. Xbox One X and PS4 Pro players may be disappointed to learn that the games do not support any 4K enhancements, but they are running at a true HD 1080p display with a consistent and steady framerate.
In terms of the actual games included in the package, it is a bit of a mixed bag. The original Devil May Cry, released in 2001, started development as a Resident Evil title before being repurposed. As a result, the levels aren’t as linear as other games and some backtracking is involved. In fact, you would be forgiven to think you were playing a Resident Evil game at times given the level design and some of the “jump scares”. It has arguably aged the least well, but it’s also nice to see where the series began.
Devil May Cry 2 is the black sheep of the franchise. While it helped to further some of the trademarks in the franchise it was also heavily criticised for its lack of challenging gameplay. Indeed, I was able to complete levels with little to no damage received from enemies. It also introduces the option to play as a second character, in this case Lucia, gaining some perspective from their side of the story.
Devil May Cry 3 is the true star of this collection, being the most modern of the three and having benefited from, at the time, refined physics and graphics engines. I instantly noticed the gameplay was faster than the other two games, with combos being easier to trigger but enemies also posing a more genuine threat. It’s no Bayonetta levels of intensity, but it’s still surprisingly engaging and holds up reasonably well by today’s standards.
The Devil May Cry HD Collection is a bare bones release that will only appeal to die-hard fans of the franchise or gamers who want to experience the games for the first time. The games are beginning to show their age, menus and FMV cutscenes are poorly optimised, and no extra effort has been put into the collection to upgrade it or even offer new content. In fact, this is an identical port to the collection that was released on the PS3 and Xbox 360 a few years ago, so many gamers may already own the collection. Let’s hope that Capcom will give fans a new entry to the franchise soon.
- Smooth frame rate - Three games in one package
- Games are starting to show their age - Menus and FMV cutscenes are poorly optimised - No new content or enhancements