Devil May Cry HD Collection (Xbox 360)
Posted by Vince Osorio on 05.16.2012
The first three titles in Capcom's revered franchise make their first appearance on Microsoft's consoles! But is this the HD Collection that diehard fans and newcomers have been waiting for?
Title: Devil May Cry HD Collection
Rating: M for Mature
I never had much of an experience with the Devil May Cry series outside of a few choice demo playthroughs and a handful of mission attempts with the first game. Otherwise, I more or less took found myself drawn to the games that found inspiration in the classic Capcom series- God of War, Bayonetta, Van Helsing, Danteís Inferno even. I always wanted to revisit the franchise but never found an opportunity to until Devil May Cry HD Collection saw its release earlier this year. From my time with the three games, I have to say that this might not necessarily be the be-all, end-all, lavishly produced release that these games might deserve, but itís a pretty solid compilation nonetheless.
Devil May Cry HD Collection,as the title implies, houses the first three releases in the Devil May Cry franchise- Devil May Cry, Devil May Cry 2 and Devil May Cry 3: Special Edition. The latter is a re-release/title update for the original DMC3 which included a more forgiving continue system, rebalanced difficulty, an added character (Vergil), a turbo mode and some other extras.
I think at this point, most of the people who are thinking about purchasing HD Collection have their own opinions on the series. Maybe they found the somewhat incomprehensible stories entertaining, or the character of Dante an endearing one (I do). Maybe they find the combat still refreshing and rewarding (it is). Maybe they enjoy the cheesy guitar rock that plays during epic boss encounters (I do). The best and worst part about HD Collection is that it is 100% true to the original games, to a fault. If you found the static camera angles in the original game to be a bother, theyíre unchanged here. If you found some of the control changes in DMC3 not to your liking, you canít really go around and change them. And if you thought DMC2 was an awful piece of garbage that tarnishes the legacy of the seriesÖitís up to you whether you want to revisit it and give it the benefit of the doubt this time.
With that said, the compliation here is pretty astounding. Not only will you get the entire three games in full (and remember, Luciaís campaign in DMC 2 is a separate, full mode as well), youíll get access to some neat fan artwork, behind the scenes videos and the ability to listen to all of the music in the game in a separate menu. And if thatís not enough, there are 99 achievements to unlock in the game, so if youíre an achievement hound, this one will push you to your limits, no question. For the MSRP of $39.99, itís a value-packed proposition.
With that said, I canít say that this is the complete overhaul that hardcore DMC fans might have wanted. For starters, the visuals are hit-or-miss, depending on what youíre looking at. The character models, lighting, in-engine cutscenes and environments across the board look excellent- squint, and youíd be hard-pressed to believe that this game was made to run on the previous generationís hardware. Thatís more of a testament to the excellent visual design that the DMC series is known for, but kudos to the development team for giving these visuals an extra sheen (and for the smooth framerate throughout). With that said, the menus are mostly archaic and confusing to use, some of the textures on the environments look muddy or blurry upclose, and the pre-rendered cut-scenes look awful, straight up. Though itís understandable, considering the video was made to play on older hardware, the video defaults to 4:3 and display a wide range of artifacting, pixilation and odd motion blur (this is most prominent in the first game, less so in the other two). Itís such a contrast to the good-looking in-engine stuff that itís laughable (literally-I couldnít stop laughing while watching the opening cutscene for DMC1).
One thing that bugs me about the HD Collection is the unintuitive menu design. The hub for all of the games looks drab, basic and uninspired, but the worst part is that upon loading up the game, youíre unable to load up another title unless you restart the disc or exit out to the Xbox/PS3 dashboard. There is no menu option to exit to the central hub or to load up a save in a different game. Thereís not even an option to switch between the Lucia and Dante discs in DMC2 without backing out of the game altogether. This is 2012- there has to be some easier way to smoothly load up different games on a single disc.
Other than the art and music options, there isnít much else to Devil May Cry HD Collection other than the games. Unlike the ICO/Shadow of the Colossus, youíre not getting bonus wallpapers or themes for your dashboard. Changing the framework of the game would be a huge task for a smaller release like this, so the game still has the glitches or faults that the original titles had back in the day.
Itís tough to know exactly whom this HD Collection is made for. Newcomers to the series might be off-put by the now-archaic design of the original games, while hardcore fans might not feel like the series they know and love didnít get the proper treatment it deserved (though granted, that wouldíve called for a much bigger release, akin to Resident Evil for the Gamecube). Itís not a collection that actually worsens the experience (like the recently released Silent Hill HD Collection) though, and the sheer amount of content here (you can easily spend 30+ hours across the three games, not including the time it would take to unlock every achievement) makes it a worthy proposition. If youíre looking to see what the series is all about, or if youíre wanting to revisit some of your favorite moments in the franchise (but arenít expecting a complete overhaul of the gameís mechanics & visuals), this is absolutely worth a buy, especially at a $40 price tag.
And hey, maybe if this sells well, we can convince Capcom to put out that oft-rumored Onimusha HD Collection, right?
+ Three full retail games along with music/art galleries makes the $40 price tag an absolute steal
+ Excellent looking environmental design, in-game cutscenes & character models
+Gameplay holds up well in 2012 (yes, including DMC 2)
-Archaic gameplay mechanics across the board
-Confusing/unintuitive hub design
-Lacks bonuses, extra content seen in more recent HD re-releases
Character models/in-game cutscenes look great; menus, pre-rendered cutscenes, not so much.
Though dated, the combat is just as satisfying as it was back on the PS2. Camera angles can make platforming a chore.
Cheesy rock tunes and over-the-top voice acting, as you'd come to expect from the series. Kudos for the included music gallery.
Three full games, 99 achievements to unlock- you're getting a ton of bang for your buck here.
The three Devil May Cry games hold up much better than you'd expect them to, though note that they aren't as fresh as they once were.