Another day and another ‘remaster’. This time it is Devil May Cry. Again. And again the Devil May Cry HD Collection is one fans are already familiar with, having released on the 360 back in 2012. Existing fans of the series will have likely picked this up before so it is with disappointment that this new release offers nothing new for existing fans… except some great gameplay.
The Collection includes Devil May Cry, Devil May Cry 2 and Devil May Cry 3: Dante’s Awakening Special Edition. Despite these games being part of the same series, they offer wildly different experiences.
The Devil May Cry series is a hack-and-slash experience with an emphasis on despatching enemies in the coolest way possible using both sword and gunplay. Each encounter gives a rank ranging from D to S – because this is a Japanese game, and an A grade simply isn’t good enough.
The main character throughout the collection is a chap named Dante who – with his red trenchcoat, names for his pistols (Ebony and Ivory) and wise-cracking in the face of danger – has become one of gaming’s greatest heroes in years gone by. For newcomers to the series that started nearly 17 years ago, and those who missed the opportunity back in 2012 when the exact same collection was released on the Xbox 360, this is the perfect place to start.
Devil May Cry started out life as Resident Evil 4 back in the day, before becoming something wildly different and spawning its own franchise. The similarities are still there though, not least it all taking place primarily within the same location. Resident Evil had its mansion, Devil May Cry has its castle.
Dante has been sent to this castle by a woman named Trish as she believes the demon known as Mundus is planning a return there. Dante holds Mundus responsible for the death of his father and brother.
As good as Devil May Cry is, it features a lot of repetition. Repeatedly going down the same corridors, facing the same enemies and even repetition of the bosses. What is here is a very good hack-and-slash title still, but one that doesn’t use too many unique assets.
It is also notoriously difficult. The first boss, Phantom, has since landed in gaming folklore for being one of the toughest first bosses around, and still lives up to that moniker now. But, with a more difficult game comes a greater sense of accomplishment, and that is definitely still here nearly 17 years on.
And then we get to Devil May Cry 2.
Devil May Cry 2 features a story involving Dante and another female called Lucia who teams up with Dante as they try and recover a set of items called the Arcana. It’s a very confusing plot – in a series of confusing plots – as the first half of the game features very little in the way of cutscenes, so it’s easy to forget what has happened.
This was the first Devil May Cry game I played growing up – also interesting to note this is the last game chronologically even including Devil May Cry 4 – and back then I adored it. Now though, sandwiched between the other two, it is easily the weakest of the trio. Gone is Dante’s attitude, gone is any resemblance of the previous games difficulty, gone is any sort of personality. In its place, we have the notorious Infested Tank and Infested Chopper.
In comparison to the other two games in the collection, Devil May Cry 2 feels like a bare bones experience. It still features the same stylish gameplay, but it feels like there are far fewer enemies to slash away at. And any that do spawn into the empty environments are pitifully easy to take down.
This version does still contain Lucia’s campaign, which will excite and disappoint in equal doses. The original PS2 release shipped on two discs back in 2003, which was considered cheap from Capcom as many of the missions were virtually identical between Dante and Lucia. In the HD collection, you get the choice of which campaign to load up from the main menu. But even Lucia’s missions are almost identical to Dante’s, following much the same path.
Thankfully Devil May Cry 3 wrongs these rights, and is the most complete game in this collection.
Acting as a prequel to the series, Devil May Cry 3 features a wise-cracking Dante once again, and the more confined spaces like the castle in the first game. He must climb to the top of a tower that suddenly appears from the ground to take down a man named Arkham and his brother Vergil, who he believes are working together.
The version in this collection is the Special Edition which includes the lower difficulty – absent from the original Western release. It also includes an additional survival mode and Dante’s brother, Vergil, as a playable character. It’s the best-looking game of the trio by far, replacing the gothic architecture of the first and the drab, urban areas of the second into a more neon infused gothic setting.
Whilst the combat remains virtually identical, DMC 3 made it much more fluid and ‘current’ by allowing weapons to be switched on the fly, removing the need to go into a menu every time. This is useful because this game certainly ups the difficulty and will punish players that got complacent with the far easier second game. It is perhaps even more tricky than the first game in a lot of places.
As a result, the achievement list isn’t for the feint-hearted. Yes the entire collection offers 99 Achievements for you to aim for, but many of the tougher ones require multiple playthroughs since they don’t stack. You are looking at at least 10 playthroughs to unlock every achievement. These games are fast-paced and not overly long to complete, but this is still a tough completion.
If you’ve never played a Devil May Cry game, then you really have no excuse with its availability on the last three console generations. If you already have this collection, then there is nothing new in this version – it’s got the same great gameplay, just now with a squeaky clean 1080p and 60fps.