Monday 23 April 2018

Devil May Cry: HD Collection ★★★☆☆

I expect like a lot of people, my introduction to Devil May Cry was in the form of a demo disc that came with the PlayStation 2 release of Resident Evil: Code Veronica X. This was enough to convince me to go out and buy it, immediately.

A little bit odd, now, knowing that Devil May Cry is one of several rejected Resident Evil 4 ideas. One that shot way past the series roots, but clearly had something so intrinsically good about it, that it became its own project. You can still see parts that stuck around for Resident Evil 4, like the slight zoom in, while fading out, as Dante enters a door. Everything else, though, couldn't be further from its Racoon City counterpart. Devil May Cry is a ruthless and unforgiving hack and slash where you can juggle an airborne enemy with your dual pistols; that have more ammo per clip than a gun in a John Woo movie.

The first game sees Dante hunting down Mundus, a demon he blames for the death of his family after a mysterious woman named Trish shows up in his office and attacks him and informs him that Mundus plans to return. After the success of the first game, it wasn't a surprise to see a follow up, so soon. Sadly it failed to live up to any potential it had. Widely considered the bit crap one, of the series, Devil May Cry 2 took a turn for the worse. Taking a lot more inspiration from The Matrix movies, Dante was given an onslaught of elaborate flippy and wall running moves. Sounds good on paper but, in practice, with the addition of the level design being more open and less in the way of tight corridors; it broke any challenge the game had to offer. The second game also had the addition to play as Lucia. In hindsight, it probably took a lot more hate than it deserved but that did lead us to Devil May Cry 3. Taking all the complaints, of the second game, to heart. Capcom used all the criticism, constructively, to create the best game in the franchise. With a new style switching system and abundance of weapons, Dante has his biggest set moves to date. Although maybe going a bit too far on the difficulty; so that the game had to have a second release to balanced it out a little more, (although still leaving it ridiculously challenging).

All three games are complemented by the badass mixed range of the soundtrack. Shifting from the gothy choir ambience into a metal inspired barrage of electric guitars and vocals, any time the action kicks off…. Which is a lot.

Disappointingly, this is the same HD release we got on last gen, in 2012, with a slight boost from 720p to 1080p. Even through the paint, the games show their age. Having grown up with them, I'm fine with how they play, but someone new to the franchise is likely to be less forgiving of how stiff some of the movement can be and how awful the, fixed (in position) cameras are. By the third game, the controls are a bit more accessible. Only minor changes have been made to gameplay, like the jump button being shifted to X rather than ○ (on PlayStation).

For PC owners, this is the first port of the games. Awkwardly, as always, this brings its own share of issues. Running the game at a higher frame rate can break it, with comedy effect, and have everything running at multiple times the regular speed. On a whole, this is a good set of games but, as mentioned, the HD remaster loses a point just for being a lazy port of 2012's effort. One for people who want to go back and revisit the memories or want to see what all the fuss was about. "The Devil is not so black as he is painted" - Dante Alighieri (The divine comedy).

Bry Wyatt

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