Gamers play HD Collections for one of two reasons: they loved the series so much they cannot wait to revisit them, or they missed out the first time around and want to visit them for the first time. Well, the good news is that this is a solid and faithful recreation of the first three entries (even the not-so-great second game) in this popular franchise. But, consider yourself warned: that is all that this collection offers. This collection recreates the experiences as they were (for better and worse) and puts them all on one fancy disc.
From a story perspective, none of them are particularly remarkable, but do enough to keep the player engaged. Generally, if you are unfamiliar with the series, they follow the exploits of a half-demon man named Dante. The plot moves the action along just enough for you to feel justified in your demon-slaying, but not much beyond that. Dante is an incredibly cheesy protagonist who drops one-liners, and has an infuriatingly nonchalant attitude about most situations. This is also, however, what makes him such a likeable character. Instead of conforming to the stereotypical good-guy antics, he is literally half-demon and functions as a sort of relatable anti-hero for players.
Most of the supporting cast is devoid of this type of depth in their personalities, but they do a decent job of accenting Dante as the star. To this end, each game definitely stands on its own legs. The first game is a great jumping in point for anyone into the series. The gameplay is the shallowest, the visuals are the roughest, and the overall presentation and execution is lacking. With that being said, it is still a great adventure in the Devil May Cry universe. With that being said, the second is still terrible for all of the same reasons it was last time. If you are new to the series, you can probably skip this one. If you are not new to the series, you can still probably skip this one.
Gameplay holds up relatively well, all things considered. This series established this style of action-game, and made it as popular as it is today (God of War, anyone?) Out of all of the series last-gen, few were as influential as Devil May Cry and having the original trilogy on one disc is a great thing. The fast-paced and brutal combat is still as fun as ever today, which is surprising. I guess this goes to show that one thing always ages well: pure fun.
Overall, my biggest complaint with this collection is probably the fact that it hardly seems, truly, like an “HD Collection.” For the most part, these games really look about the same as they did on the PS2. You can notice textures are a bit cleaner, and gameplay does seem to run smoother, but overall the visual updates are nothing to get excited about. This is especially true when considering the fact that the cut scenes and menus seem to be untouched in the update department. Of course they cannot remake the entire game from scratch, but I can’t help but feel like if they are going to package three popular games together and call it an “HD Collection,” they could have done a better job upgrading the visuals.
Adding on to this, is the audio. In the first game especially, it seemed like the vocal audio files were at about half volume, where everything else was much louder. It made it really difficult to hear the characters, and overall downgraded the experience. Outside of these couple issues though, the music and sound are great. Dante’s character is voiced well and gets the bad-boy antihero persona across very effectively.
While it may not move you emotionally, or provide an exhilarating gameplay experience (although the combat can get pretty intense,) this collection revisits an important piece of gaming history. Dante’s demon slaying adventures are an enjoyable experience whether or not you played the games when they originally released. With three full-length games included in this collection, it’s hard to argue with the bang for your buck. So, strap on your dual pistols, sheathe your sword, and dramatically flip your hair; it’s demon-slaying time!
The Devil May Cry HD Collection released on April 3rd for PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360. Let us know what you think in the comments below!
This review was based on a physical retail copy of the game for the PlayStation 3 provided by Capcom.