When I was a younger man, I was a confirmed Playstation guy. I had a Playstation, I had a PS1, I had a PS2, I had a PS2 Slim, I had the memory cards, extra controllers, the lot. I loved Gran Turismo and God of War, I also really, really enjoyed the Devil May Cry series of games from CAPCOM, and still to this day list their completion on the original consoles as one of my proudest achievements. So, when in 2009 I made the jump to the Xbox 360, I was very pleased to see the upcoming release of the first three Devil May Cry games as an HD collection.
In 2012, the collection was released, and you better believe that I went scurrying down to GAME with money in my hot little hand, and grabbed a copy straight away. In the intervening years, you see, I had fallen in love with the idea of achievements, and with my first ever one unlocked on November 28th 2009 (Bottomed Out in Forza Horizon 3, in case you were wondering), the thought of replaying some of my favourite games, with achievements added in, had me very excited.
For those of you who have been living under a rock or deep in the jungle for the last ten years, the Devil May Cry games feature a protagonist called Dante. And this is Dante when he was just effortlessly cool, rather than whiny emo Dante in the newer games like DmC: Devil May Cry Definitive Edition. Anyway, must not get sidetracked!
In the first game – Devil May Cry – we are introduced to Dante when a woman bursts into his shop and pins him to a wall with a massive sword, purely as a test. She explains, after Dante shrugs this off, that the Devil Emperor, Mundus, is going to come back to the world and take over. This is a bit of an issue for Dante, as Mundus was the one who not only killed his brother, but also his father, the demon knight Sparda. So, going to a castle, Dante has to clean house and stop Mundus from reappearing on the scene.
Devil May Cry 2 is traditionally the weakest of the three, but I still enjoyed playing it, both on the PS2 and in this HD Collection. This time there are two separate characters to play as; Dante and also a demon hunter named Lucia, who is, as you’d expect, a lady. Apparently she was added in due to complaints from some players that Trish wasn’t playable in the first game. This time around, the two are working to prevent the demon Argosax being brought back to life, and as usual, combat heavy exploration is the way forward. Devil May Cry 2 was criticised at the time of launch as it was a whole lot easier than the first game, and players were concerned that it was being dumbed down. It is also famous for not having the creator of Devil May Cry, Hideki Kamiya, or any of the studio who made the first game, behind it.
The third game – the snappily titled Devil May Cry 3 – represented in this collection by the Special Edition version of the game, brought some extras. This is set in time as a prequel to the first game, and features Vergil, Dante’s brother who went on to be Nero Angelo in the first game. And shock horror, Vergil is a baddy, who is trying to raise and open a massive tower to unlock the power of the underworld or some such nonsense. What this translates into is not only the hardest game in the whole Devil May Cry series, but some still say one of the hardest games ever made. To make this even more surprising, the North American version of the game is actually harder than the Japanese version, with the NA game’s “Easy” mode being equivalent to the Japanese “Normal” difficulty. This was addressed when the Special Edition was released, that allowed the difficulties to be rebalanced. It is still flipping hard to this day, however, and I count myself lucky to have finished it back in the day, before my reflexes diminished to the sorry state they are in today.
The combat was always the big draw with these games, and the focus on stylish combat was new to me at the time of release. Killing enemies in different ways, juggling them with gunfire, utilising different weapon attacks which would lead to increased style scores, ensured that the more stylish your fighting, the more red orbs you earned. And, as we all know, red orbs make prizes, as this is how you buy new moves and weapons in all the games. The double jump in the first game, as an example, was an expensive upgrade, but it transformed the way the game played, so was worth investing in. Fighting enormous bosses, getting new Devil Arms to fight them with (I still love Alastor, I think the lightning sword is my favourite weapon from the series), and getting tougher, as well as gaining access to the Devil Trigger special powers kept you playing the game.
The Devil May Cry HD Collection did do a good job of prettying up the old games, especially when it came to making them work in the new fangled 16:9 screen format after being made in 4:3 all those years ago. The change wasn’t across the board, oddly, and some of the menu screens were still in the old ratio, for instance, which made some reviewers at the time sad. With a re-release on the shiny new Xbox One back in 2018 (you can grab it from the Xbox Store), a whole new generation could play these games again.
So, these are my memories of the release of the Devil May Cry HD Collection, back in 2012. But what about you guys out there? Did you play the original release, or the re-release a few years later? Are you old enough to have played them on the Playstation 2? What was your first achievement? Let us know in the comments!