Devil May Cry HD Collection Review
Three times the Dante, in HD!
Upon the completion and success of Resident Evil 2, Capcom started making their first PS2 incarnation to the Resident Evil series under the direction of Hideki Kamiya (RE 1 and 2, Bayonetta). It was quickly realized that this installment was venturing farther from the typical Resident Evil style and Survival Horror aspects into a much more intense, action-based title. The Resident Evil sequel idea was dropped and the world saw the birth of Dante, in the action packed new series: Devil May Cry.
The Devil May Cry HD Collection is packed with single player goodness. In this collection you get the original Devil May Cry, Devil May Cry 2 and Devil May Cry 3: Special Edition. I’m still amazed that they were able to include all of this on one disc. I have played these titles in the past but for a lot of people this may be their introduction to the series. Basically our hero, Dante, is the son of a demon named Sparda and being the demon’s son makes him humanities best chance at fighting the evil minions of the world, which he does.
Devil May Cry was released in 2001 for the Sony Playstation 2. I played this game straight through when it was released, but have unfortunately not played it again since. Thanks to Capcom and their HD collection I am able to enjoy it all over again. The first thing that struck me as I started the game was the action. I totally forgot how much fun it is to fight in a Devil May Cry title. The frequency and types of fights you get into in DmC would be considered repetitive and a game killer in most other titles but the fighting system is so much fun it never once becomes boring in any way. You are equipped with a sword as well as matching handguns. Each level consists of several missions where you go through solving puzzles to advance and fighting off evil at every turn.
Devil May Cry 2 has a nice treat with two playable characters, Dante and Lucia, which essentially gives you two stories in one, very similar to Capcom’s Resident Evil 2 with your choice of Claire or Leon. With the release of part two Capcom upgraded to a much nicer menu/status system using only subtle changes. This title introduced a few changes to the series. We were introduced to a dodge feature as well as “Desperation Devil Trigger” which is last ditch effort when Dante is on the verge of death. The action gets a massive boost in Devil May Cry 2 with added features like back flips off walls and the ability to jump twice as high as previously possible.
Devil May Cry 3: Special Edition starts off with a choice of selecting Yellow or Gold with no mention whatsoever of what each means. If you`ve played previous titles of the series you can probably figure it out. I found it strange to not have a quick sentence on the screen to help this to first time players. Basically if you choose Yellow, on death you must restart the whole level. If you choose Gold, then on death you can choose to retry from the last checkpoint. Shortly after starting you are introduced to one of the best upgrades to the series, Combat Style. Dante has six different combat styles you can choose from and each one has a set of features that go with that style. They are; Trickster (for dodging), Swordmaster (more abilities for melee), Gunslinger (adds to your gun attacks), Royal Guard (for repelling attacks), Quicksilver (which slows the speed of enemies) and Doppelganger (which has Dante’s shadow fighting alongside him). My favorite style of choice was personally the Gunslinger option as it had Dante fighting Christian Bale style a la Equilibrium! Extras included in the SE of DmC 3 include: the playable character Vergil, a survival mode called Bloody Palace which consists of 9999 levels, a Turbo Mode which speeds up battle time by about 20%, a new continue system and some new boss battles and boss battle options.
Throughout each mission in the series, you collect different color orbs which are used for various things. Red orbs are suppose to be the hardened/crystallized blood of demons and are obtained by breaking things and defeating enemies through the missions. Sometimes they factor into completing a mission itself. In some cases you will need a certain amount in order to pass through a door to advance in the story. Green orbs are used to heal Dante. White orbs are used to replenish the players “Devil Trigger” which is a state the player can go in to heighten their attributes and have stronger attacks for a determined period of time. Blue orbs will lengthen the player’s vitality gauge. Purple orbs lengthen the players Devil Trigger gauge which extends the amount of time the player can stay in this mode. Yellow orbs are basically your means to continue. The more you find, the more continues you will have. Gold orbs are the same as Yellow orbs except that you will continue in the exact room you died, without having to replay anything to get to that point. Orbs can be used for upgrades or purchasing at locations found through the missions and you can power up in between missions as well.
The controls are amazing. At no time does the system feel like it is being forced on a controller it wasn`t designed for; very natural. The re-mastered HD graphics are fantastic during game play. As mentioned in our review on the Silent Hill HD Collection, at times you for forget the title is from an older system. Capcom has done a great job in the transfer. However, even though the game play graphics are top notch, I am a little confused by the opening movies. The one that plays when you insert the disc and also the movies that play when you choose each title you want to play. They are in Standard-Def and have a 4:3 aspect ratio, unlike the game play which is 1080p and have a 16:9 ratio. I’m not sure why this is and was a little worried about the HD transfer when I saw this upon starting up the game. All fears went aside once I started playing though. The menu screens and pause/options screens are also the originals. Perhaps this was the only way they could fit all three titles on one disc? Perhaps it was on purpose to show what the games looked like originally? I’m not sure. It doesn`t hinder the game play at all; but I would love to see these intro movies in proper Hi-Def.
My only real complaint is the inability to move backwards in the menu system. When you load up the game you have the option to choose which title you wish to play out of the three. If you select DmC 1 and you wish to switch to DmC 2, then you have to go back to the Xbox 360 Dashboard and reboot the disc. It is the same when switching between playable characters. For example, if you choose Dante in DmC 2, and want to switch to Lucia, you again have to all the way back to the dashboard and reboot the disc. To be fair, Capcom is more than aware of this. When you select to proceed you will get a message warning you that you will not be able to return. I really have no idea why they were unable to add this feature but then again, I’m no programmer. The disc also includes a section called “Vault.” This section is packed with concept art and other designs for all three games on the disc. It also includes another “Bonus” section for fan art submitted by or chosen from members of http://capcom-unity.com/. What a great way for Capcom to honor their fans by including them in the release of some of their favorite titles.
There is no multiplayer in the Devil May Cry HD Collection, but there are a few spots in Devil May Cry 3 where a second local player can play when you use the Doppelganger ability.
The Devil May Cry series has raised the bar on action games over the years. It has added stylized visuals and original concepts to a generally mundane and repetitive genre. It helped pave the way for what a lot of modern games currently do. It was the first game I can recall ever being interested in orb collecting. How fun would the orbs in Crackdown have been without being introduced to them in DmC? Who knows? One thing is for sure; DmC has been around a long time and will certainly be around for a lot longer. This reincarnation will introduce a whole new generation to an amazing series as well as give long time fans, like The Controller Online staff, a great opportunity to relive old favorites in great HD transfers.