The first three Devil May Cry games, all originally released on PlayStation 2, pretty much laid the foundations for future stylish action games. In fact, there are many who believe that Devil May Cry 3 is still the pinnacle of them.
With the existence of Bayonetta and its even more over-the-top sequel, it’s not an opinion I share, but I won’t deny that the Devil May Cry games of yesteryear still have a great deal of charm, despite now being rather dated.
While there are clear advancements with each release, compared to more modern titles, the movement in all three games now feels clunky, and the combat in the first two titles has lost its shine. But still, all three games are highly playable and enjoyable in their own right, and with rumours abound that Devil May Cry 5 is soon to be announced, there’s never been a better time to experience them. Unfortunately though, if you were hoping that the Devil May Cry HD Collection‘s leap onto PlayStation 4 and Xbox One was going to bring the titles a little more up to date for the masses, you’re going to be sorely disappointed.
This re-release of the first three Devil May Cry games all bundled together into one package is a simple port of the same we saw for the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360, albeit now in 1080p instead of 720p. There are no new features or content; nothing to entice those who have played the games to exhaustion other than the fact that they’re now playable on yet more consoles. And while for many that won’t particularly be a problem, I can’t but help feel like there should have been more.
Okay, so I didn’t exactly expect Capcom to perform a miracle and make the games feel like new; being honest, there’s already enough content in the three games included to make the £24.99/$29.99 asking price feel like a steal. But what I did expect is for the games to be made more consistent in terms of presentation. Anyone who’s played the Devil May Cry HD Collection on PlayStation 3 or Xbox 360 will know what I mean; I wanted them to eradicate the 4:3 aspect ratio menus, work some magic on each of the games’ video scenes, and maybe just spruce up each of the games’ textures. Alas, none of that has been done, which gives the impression that Capcom really doesn’t care.
What’s worse is that on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, these inconsistencies stick out like a sore thumb more than ever. Honestly, the menus in all three games are now quite a blurry mess, and the videos, particularly those which are made using in-game engines, look atrocious when compared to the in-game visuals, which surprisingly hold up well in most cases.
I expected the original Devil May Cry to be a real eyesore as I booted it up, but was pleasantly surprised to find that it still has the ability to make you gawp at its scenery, and both Devil May Cry 2 and 3 are even more impressive. But just imagine how impressive the collection could have been if a little work had been put in to make all three games look a little prettier.
The Devil May Cry HD Collection on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One is what it is though, and that poses the question: should you buy it? If you’re a fan of the series who’s yearning to once again play through its formative titles I’d say of course! As a simple port, it’s disappointing for sure, but there are still three great games here (yes, I actually enjoy Devil May Cry 2), looking and performing as good as they ever have done at a bargain price. For those who have never played a Devil May Cry game and are looking for a welcoming entry point, however, I fear the lack of rose-tinted spectacles will have them abandoning this collection in disgust.
If Capcom wanted to use this re-release as a way to drum-up interest in a new Devil May Cry game then I feel they’ve gone about it the wrong way, as there’s nothing here that’s going to expand the series’ player base. But, for those who simply want to play the games and rekindle memories of times gone by, the Devil May Cry HD Collection may just suffice.