Sunday 25 March 2018

Devil May Cry HD Collection Review - A unique series worth revisiting

Devil May Cry HD Collection Review
Value for money - 7.5 / 10
Created in 2001, Devil May Cry has somewhat of an interesting development story. Initially thought of as a Resident Evil title, it didn't take long for director Hideki Kamiya to realise that the fixed camera view synonymous with past Resident Evil games didn't suit his upcoming hack and slash project.

After lengthy discussions that culminated in a brief visit to Europe; it's there where Kamiya and his team photographed ancient buildings and statues. On his return home and armed with these new compositions, Kamiya tried to combine gothic stylistics and fast-paced gameplay mechanics into what was supposedly still a Resident Evil game.

Consequently, Kamiya couldn't mix the two together. So, in a bold move, he chose to abandon the Resident Evil element of the game and completely re-write the story. Thus, now set in a world full of demonic entities, and introducing Dante as the protagonist; the Devil May Cry series was born.
Devil May Cry HD Collection Review
Receiving critical acclaim on its release, Devil May Cry produced a sequel, Devil May Cry 2 and a prequel, Devil May Cry 3: Dante's Awakening. Published for the PlayStation 3 in 2008, Devil May Cry 4 was once again met with critical praise. A reboot, DMC: Devil May Cry is the last original instalment in the series and in 2015, it was remastered for the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One.

Now in 2018, Devil May Cry HD Collection includes the first three instalments in the DMC series in one high definition package. And while this latest edition is pretty basic, DMC HD Collection is a fantastic assortment of games that fans of the series will undoubtedly enjoy.

Devil May Cry

Devil May Cry HD Collection Review
The first instalment in the series, Devil May Cry, is my favourite game out of the three on offer. It's here where we first meet the devil slayer Dante and accompany him on a journey fuelled by revenge as he pursues those accountable for the death of his mother and brother.

Beginning with a relaxed Dante minding his own business in his shop, an unannounced visit from an enigmatic woman named Trish leads to the revelation that the demon emperor Mundus is planning a resurgence.

This news is particularly relevant to Dante as it's Mundus who he holds responsible for the death of his family. And so, without the need for any persuasion, Dante follows Trish to a remote castle where she quickly vanishes, leaving him to fight his way through numerous demon marionettes and various evil entities.

As you wander through the castle, you need to solve puzzles or kill enemies in your vicinity to be able to progress through locked doors that are guarded by a big cloudy grabby hand thing.

Devil May Cry HD Collection Review
Since various portals consistently shit out a multitude of demons, combat is fast-paced and exhilarating. Holding R1 and pressing triangle to use Dante's sword or repeatedly hitting square to fire his handguns make up the entire fighting mechanics. And although that may sound relatively simple; it's as enjoyable now as it was nearly twenty years ago.

Backtracking plays a significant part in advancing through the castle, as does overcoming some awe-inspiring bosses. These boss battles are on the grandest scale, and although their scope may now have been surpassed in other games, back in 2001, nothing quite like this had been seen before.

Unique, gripping and most importantly fun, 17 years ago, Devil May Cry was groundbreaking. Now in 2018, Dante's first adventure hasn't lost any of its charms.

 Devil May Cry 2

Devil May Cry HD Collection Review
Released in 2003, Devil May Cry 2 is as disappointing now as it was all those years ago.

Focusing on Dante and a new playable character named Lucia, the story sees you traverse through insipid urban environments searching for Arius; a businessman hell-bent on using demonic power to conquer the world.

Needless to say, unlike Devil May Cry, this sequel hasn't withstood the test of time. Not because it's close to fifteen years old, but more so because it was never a particularly good game.

Bland environments and unchallenging enemy AI means skipping Devil May Cry 2 is probably the best course of action.

Devil May Cry 3: Dante's Awakening

Devil May Cry HD Collection Review
And so we reach the final game in this trilogy, and pleasingly it ends with a bang rather than a whimper.

Devil May Cry 3: Dante's Awakening is a prequel to the first two games and focuses on Dante's development into the vengeful demon hunter we first met in the original Devil May CryArguably the best all-around game of the Devil May Cry franchise, it's only the nostalgia I have for the original Devil May Cry that makes DMC 3 my second favourite game in the series.

This version of Devil May Cry 3: Dante's Awakening is the special edition version of the game and introduces the option to play as Dante's twin brother Vergil. Additionally, it includes the Bloody Palace Mode (a single-elimination tournament) and the Turbo Mode (an opportunity to speed the gameplay up 20%).

Overall Devil May Cry 3: Dante's Awakening betters both its predecessors graphically, and mechanically. Not only are the visuals a stark improvement over Devil May Cry 2, the ability to move the camera and lock on to individual targets means DMC 3 is much more accessible game to get to grips with. R3 now lets you change the camera angle and reset it to where Dante is facing and by pressing R2 or L2 you can equip him with various swords and guns.

Furthermore, before you begin each level, you can choose what kind of style you want to play with. For example:

Devil May Cry HD Collection ReviewTrickster: Gives Dante evasive movements.

Swordmaster: Allows Dante to perfect different melee weapons and maximise their power.

Gunslinger: While firing handguns, it turns Dante into a flashier version of RoboCop.

Royalguard: Minimises the damage of an enemies attack and moves Dante into more strategic positions.

The above-added features make Devil May Cry 3: Dante's Awakening the most complete in the series. And while that may be true, there are times when rage quitting becomes a common occurrence. Indeed, personally, I find DMC 3 an extremely challenging game to get through, but its difficulty spikes are forgiven as if you persevere and advance through the story; the end result makes all the hard work worth the struggle. 

DMC 1,2 and 3

Devil May Cry HD Collection Review
While not being able to control the camera angle was common in games from this era; in Devil May Cry 1 and 2, it can severely impede your progression through each level.

At times, it's infuriating. None more so than when you keep dying in boss battles because the camera is consistently working against you.

In both Devil May Cry and Devil May Cry 2, it's painstakingly obvious that a fixed cinematic camera just doesn't work. Hence, both games are almost crying out to use the right analogue stick so you can at least move the camera to see what the hell you're shooting at. Although you know your bullets are hitting the target, at times in battle, you're essentially just firing at the screen.

Aside from my camera objections, upon completion of a level, each game assigns you a rank based on how well you played. Like most academic exams, you're marked from A to Z. However, the best score isn't A as SSS, SS and S are the most desirable grades. Individual marks for time, orbs collected, style, damage and items used make up your overall rank. Randomly, after finishing one of the levels, my grades spelt out "BADAS", which is close enough to "Badass". A coincidence? I think not..

As for the sound design, all three games have a decent soundtrack. The musical score regularly consists of some gothic horror mixed with a little rock and roll and works well with what's transpiring on screen. Then again, the first Devil May Cry does have a repetitive piano key playing for the majority of its duration. It almost sounds like the developers' left a drinking bird in front of a piano, recorded the audio and decided to use it.

Devil May Cry HD Collection Review
Visually, Devil May Cry and Devil May Cry 3, both look great. Although not groundbreaking by today's standards, the gothic textures and atmospherics look sharp and are pleasing to the eye. However, Devil May Cry 2 still looks drab in HD, but that's more to do with the dull level design than anything else.


So, is Devil May Cry HD Collection worth adding to your game library?

All in all, unless you grew up with the series, you shouldn't lose any sleep if you decide not to become acquainted with Dante. That said, if you're familiar with Devil May Cry and have fond memories of the series, then you won't regret saddling up with the red-coated protagonist for one last ride.


  • All three games in one place for a reasonable price.
  • DMC 1 and 3 are great games.
  • Face it, a blonde guy in a red coat duel wielding handguns killing demons left, right and centre is fantastic.


  • The camera is frustrating, especially in DMC 1 and 2.
  • DMC 2 is worse than I remember it being.
  • Except for DMC 3, the controls and camera mechanics are a bit of a mess.

Score: 7.5 / 10

Game Details
Primary Format: PS4 (reviewed), Xbox One, PC
Game Genre: Action / hack & slash
Rating: MA15+
Game Developer: Pipework Software, Inc. / NeoBards Entertainment
Game Publisher: Capcom
Reviewer: James Coles