Review: Devil May Cry HD Collection

Ninja Theory’s DMC is a game that’s caused much discussion, and just as much debates amongst gamers, especially fans of the cocky demon-slayer Dante. So what if he looks a little different in Ninja Theory’s upcoming prequel/reboot of the Devil May Cry series? The game’s in very capable hands and I’m sure it’ll be of high quality. But if it, for some reason, does end up sucking more ass than Jester, then we can always head back to the classics. And now, thanks to the ever so popular practice of releasing HD collections, we can experience said classics (minus one) in high-def.

It’s been a little over a decade since the world was introduced to Leon’s half-human/half-demon brother Dante (hey, he does look like Leon). Since then, gamers were given one of the most beloved series in the action genre and a new gaming icon– with Dante’s original adventure pretty much paving the way for other action games like God of War. With its heavy gothic vibe and RE style of progression and atmosphere, the original Devil May Cry is a classic, and now it’s been given new life with this HD remaster.

In Dante’s original adventure you’re spending most of your time in a huge castle making for an experience that’s equal parts Castlevania and Resident Evil. Castlevania for apparent reasons and Resident Evil for the way the castle (which is pretty much the main setting) is structured and how you progress through it. Yes, you’ll be back-tracking many times and yes, you’ll also be hunting for keys and other items needed to progress. See, told ya, Resident Evil! And guess what? The game also manages to have a strong sense of horror, more so than the entries that followed.

Of course there won’t be anything on the level of true survival horror games here, but you really do get that creepy castle feel thanks to the game’s heavy gothic art style and music. But yeah, there won’t be any ammo conservation here (you will have to always keep an eye on your health bar,though), just a whole lot of shooting and slashing away at demons!

The gameplay is still as insanely fun as it’s always been. And this is the game that truly led to other action greats like God of War,that also rely on building up combos with your attacks (though some might just opt to spam the same attacks over and over). I must say, it’s really satisfying to get up to an S rank with a combo, and keeping up the momentum also makes for quite a sight as Dante is taking on foes from every side in a visceral ballet. Things do get quite challenging, though, and I still find this game to be the hardest in the series.

You will die, many, many times thanks to some tough enemies and crazy boss encounters. My favorite boss battles are the ones against Nelo Angelo as they truly feel epic thanks to…you know…who Nelo Angelo really is. And I have to admit that I was infuriated while fighting the last boss again. I had forgotten how tough a battle that was when I played the game years ago. Thankfully my controller survived and so did any animals surrounding me (come on, who throws a controller at a cat?!). But how does the actual HD remaster fare?

Thankfully, the game does look nicer than it has before, with textures being more refined and everything just having a cleaner look to it. But, and there’s a big but(t), not all is great with this remaster. Sadly, not all of the cut scenes in the game are actually, you know, HD. The FMV scenes still play in their original ratio, an aesthetic disparity that’s also shared with the game’s menus. It’s jarring to transition from standard-def visuals to HD, but it doesn’t entirely damage the overall DMC 1 part of this collection.

This is the part of the review where you might expect me to just devote a sentence or two to my opinion of Devil May Cry 2, where I just say how much it sucks and how it’s one of the worst games of all time and just call it a day. I won’t do that though. Yeah, it’s not on the same level of quality as its predecessor and successor, but still, it’s not 100% horrible. It’s definitely more than 50% bad, with the only “good” coming from fun combat and…Screw the math, I’ll just lay out all the issues I had with the game.

First and foremost, why are the environments so damn big? I mean, sure, if said levels were populated by a bunch of enemies and more stuff to do then yeah, that would be acceptable. But in DMC 2, the levels are expansive just for the sake of being large. It’s incredibly boring traversing through these vast expanses. But then you do end up being greeted by hordes of enemies, making for fights that can even be ignored at times. I’ll be honest, I tried my very best to rush through the game as quick as possible and no, I didn’t play Lucia’s story. So this is just based on my Dante playthrough. Thank God.

And then we got the game’s plot…What the hell is the point of the story? Chronologically, this takes place after every other game in the series. But still, the story just doesn’t make any sense and feels like random events strung together. Well, at least to me it seemed that way. The main baddie was also pretty laughable and not as epic as Mundus or Arkham.

I’ll give the game credit for having pretty cool enemy design though, even though said creatures are so easy to take down. Yes, unfortunately that also includes the bosses. You could pretty much just stand in place and shoot the holy hell out of incoming foes and big baddies, moving only to dodge when needed. Skill!

The HD remaster cleans up the visuals here like it did for DMC 1, with the same drawbacks rearing their head: standard-def FMV cut-scenes and menus. It’s a shame really, and does look weird when put up against the nicer-looking in-game visuals. But, hey, what can you do right. Regardless, this HD remaster isn’t enough to make DMC 2 a better game. (And here I thought I would actually like the game, since this was my first time experiencing it.)

Ah, yes, Devil May Cry 3. When it comes time to pick my favorite entry in the series, I always have a hard time deciding between the original and the threequel. I love DMC 1 for its atmosphere and overall level of fun and challenge, but then you have DMC 3 which presents a very engaging experience that serves as an epic prequel to the entire series (Ninja Theory is looking to change that). It’s all about Dante and Vergil, baby. (I still scream out loud like a little girl when they both aim their guns and yell out “jackpot!”.)

I’ll get the bad out of the way first (*gasp*), this HD remaster isn’t exactly perfect. Visuals are sometimes blurry and again, menus are in standard-def. Which in this case isn’t really a big deal since all the cut-scenes play out in wide-screen now, as opposed to the first two games’ remasters. But aside from that, things do look nicer and the visuals are quite vibrant, making some of the environments an even bigger joy to run through.

Devil May Cry 3 is all about variation, and you find this out yourself when you take a look at the different attack styles you have at your disposal. I always go with Swordmaster but there’s many ways the game can be played, with more styles unlocked as you progress through the lengthy adventure. And yes, you will die here, too. Many times. I ended up playing the game without continues enabled, meaning that I would have to purchase yellow orbs if I wanted to avoid being sent back to the beginning of a mission if I died. And that happened so many times for me. But you know what? I was still having an immense amount of fun, and this is still one of my favorite “hack and slash” games of all time.

The story is also very engaging as you’re experiencing the events that set up the original game. The introduction of Vergil is also very, very awesome and the battles with him are truly superb. The entire game will have you hooked, eager to see what happens next. And it all ends on quite an emotional note that lives up to the series’ name. It still gets me good even after beating it multiple times.


This HD Collection is truly worth the full price. You’ll get hours of demon-slaying fun despite one of the games being quite lackluster. Devil May Cry 1 and 3 are definitely amongst the best tiles in the action genre, and continue to be satisfying experiences years after their original releases. Now it’s time to replay Devil May Cry 4 and patiently wait for Ninja Theory’s DMC.


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