Review: Devil May Cry HD Collection
Join us for a stylish hack and slash trip down memory lane with Dante and friends.
Eleven years have passed since the original Devil May Cry was released on the PS2. Hard to believe I know, but now Capcom have bundled the three games together and given them a shiny new HD polish. So is it any good then?
Well I’m pleased to say the combat remains as stylish as ever. At its heart DMC was always about making the player look and feel cool and time has in no way lessened that. Stringing combos together against weird puppet-like demons is as satisfying as ever and the first time you hit an enemy up into the air with your sword and keep them there with a volley of bullets, you’ll definitely crack a smile.
Straight from the first DMC I was struck by how even though the graphics had dated (even with the HD polish), the environments still kept their weird and menacing feel. The sound design contributes massively with eerie ambient noise giving way to rock and sometime techno once the bullets start flying. After a few minutes practice I was soon back to my old ways, slaying demons like I was born to do it (which to be fair Dante was). Switching to gun mode gets Dante bouncing on his feet ready to execute swift evasive rolls and the other main character animations are all, equally impressive.
The game cleverly makes use of its tightly enclosed environments by piling on the enemies and keeping the pressure ramped up. You really are going to have to learn how to evade attacks or you won’t be getting very far. Enemies drop red orbs which can be used to purchase abilities and items to help you along the way. Top of the queue is the Air-Hike (a double jump). One of the other main things to remember is to upgrade your Devil Trigger Gauge. This increases the amount of time Dante can spend in his pure demon form which deals substantially more damage and should ideally be saved for tense encounters and boss battles.
Each mission is ranked at the end on time taken, items used, etc. This then assigns you a Devil Hunter rank, rewarding you with an appropriate amount of red orbs. This adds to the games lifespan as perfectionists will find themselves going back again to reach that fabled S rank. Higher ranks also open up bonus content so there really is plenty of incentive to replay.
DMC2 added a second character in Lucia and larger environments in which to fight. Unfortunately this makes the combat less intense as you are able to pick off enemies from range and you don’t have to use all moves available to you. Lucia’s levels are basically Dante’s cut up and re-ordered and there is little incentive to play through both stories. The boss battle feel uninspired with their attack patterns being easy to work out. That said, Lucia has some cool moves of her own and DMC veterans will doubtless want to get the highest combat rank they can, so there is enjoyment to be had. The key here is your combat style rank which can goes up or down based on how well you string your combos together and in DMC2 contributes towards your mission score.
DMC2 also has its own awesome combat moment and that’s the first time you run up a wall, backflip over an enemy and shoot them in mid-air. Priceless! Dante’s character seems a lot quieter in DMC2 and it’s only towards the last third of the game that we get some of his trademark snaky comments which fans expect. The route through the levels in both the first two games is not always signposted in any way, but those with experience of action adventure games should be able to find their way through quite easily. At least both games include map screens which can aid the player if they wish to use them.
DMC3 is the most graphically impressive outing and features a great opening scene with an impressive fight in the son of Sparda’s office. Straight away you sense that the fun has gone back into the series with some great character comedy.
Gameplay wise the combat has been given an overhaul with four different styles to choose from. They include the evasive Trickster class, the self explanatory Gunslinger and Swordmaster classes, and the enemy damage reducing Royalguard class. These classes can be leveled up by gaining experience from defeating enemies and this leads to new combat moves being unlocked. You can switch between these styles throughout and it really adds to the variety and lifespan of the game as there is an incentive to discover all the sweet new moves on offer.
The on screen combat prompts telling you how well your stringing combos together return (e.g. ‘Sweet’ or ‘Awesome’) with a bar underneath encouraging you to get your next hit in before your combo rank falls. This is a neat touch, ramping up the intensity of the game as you frantically search for the next enemy to hit.
The defining moment in DMC3 for me is the first time you get Dante to jump on a fallen enemy and ride him around like a surfboard, spraying bullets around as you go. Seriously cool. One thing that DMC3 can’t be accused of is being too easy. In fact the difficulty curve is incredibly steep, especially at the start of the game when you have less of your characters moves available and a shorter health bar. This may put some people off but I would recommend persevering as the game is well worth mastering. In this version of DMC3 Capcom have included an option to play as Dante’s twin brother Virgil and even included two new modes (Bloody Palace and Turbo). There’s bonus content throughout and trophies and achievements have been added which, as always, add that little bit extra to games.
Despite the graphical update not being much to shout about, all in all this is a superb package for DMC veterans and newcomers alike. With three games that are still great fun to play and new content too, this is one HD collection is definitely worth buying.
Devil May Cry HD Collection is released today on Xbox 360 and PlayStation and you can order it from our online shop.