Devil May Cry HD Collection Review (Xbox360)

HD collections are what I’d now officially call ‘a big thing’. The quality has varied greatly over the course of the last twelve months, with titles like the ICO and Shadow of the Colossus HD Collection being particularly impressive whilst the Splinter Cell HD Collection comprises of mostly lazy port jobs.

Capcom’s third person action series Devil May Cry was one of the biggest success stories out of Japan last generation, and fans will be pleased to hear that this HD collection lives up to the quality of the original releases – even if one of the games in the package is still a very significant swing and a miss.

The Devil May Cry collection includes the first three titles in the series, taking them and dragging them kicking-and-screaming into the high definition generation by giving them smoother visuals and slight performance tweaks that aim to make this version the definitive one of each of the games on this disc.

If you want to know more about the original three games in the Devil May Cry series in detail I’d suggest you head on over to some reviews of those original three titles – as they’re pretty much identical here. Devil May Cry 1 and 3 are the stars of the show here, with Devil May Cry 2 still considered the ‘black sheep’ of the series by fans.

The original Devil May Cry was a major transformative game for the third person character action genre upon its original release, something bright, shining and surprisingly new at a time when ‘character action’ largely meant yet another Dynasty Warriors title. Originally developed as a Resident Evil title, it warped into something all of its own – and it’s that difficult and interesting birth that helped to make it a notable and special title.

Devil May Cry 2 is a game that on paper should be better than the first. It offers a larger open world and a combat system that is designed to be more approachable and easy – and the end result is a game that while theoretically better had the soul of the first ripped out. Its inclusion on this disc is a nod to completionists, but the games you’ll want to play here are the first and the third.

Devil May Cry 3’s version here is the Special Edition, and so carries changes that were only originally in the ‘Director’s Cut’ release on the PS2 release. The speed, depth and challenge is back from the first game return, and with multiple characters to play and progress with even enhanced. It is widely considered by fans to be the best in the series.

All three games hold up as they did then – the first is an impressive first entry for a franchise and has aged well considering, the second is as disappointing now as it was then and the third still feels like the refined experience that it was before.

Nostalgia is a factor, too, but sometimes the age rears its head in not so positive ways. The camera can be a problem in places, these games developed in an age when 3D camera control was still an issue, and cutscenes are a little hokey and less well directed than modern ones.

The actual gameplay holds up much better, the combo-heavy third person action as exciting and engaging as it was back then. It’s hard to play these games now without them being coloured by the existence of the incredibly impressive Bayonetta – the pinnacle of the genre – but even with that in mind these games are still fun and impressive.

At a cheaper price point than a regular full-sized game, this collection feels like great value even if you ignore the second game in the trilogy.

Gameplay in all three games looks crisp and smooth, though menu assets are still at PS2 resolution, meaning they look more pixelated than their in-game counterparts. The important bit, the actual game, looks and runs like a dream, though – smooth in frame-rate with sharp textures and at a way higher resolution.

The HD collection also packs in some fairly significant and decent extras, including an all new control scheme for the first game and soundtracks, art galleries and other similar curiosities for you to explore. It’s a decent little package, and does feel like more than three PS2 ISOs slapped onto a Blu Ray or DVD.

There are small issues with the HD conversion – especially in the menus – but this still feels like one of the more accomplished HD collections this generation. Some people may want to pretend it only contains two games, though – and I understand that sentiment.

Best Game Moment: Just about all of DMC3 - What a classic!

Platform Played: Xbox 360