|System: Xbox 360*, PS3|
|Release: April 3, 2012|
|Screen Resolution: 480p-1080p||Blood, Suggestive Themes, Violence|
by Adam Dodd
This isn't the first time Capcom's brought back one of its hit franchises, having recently remastered and re-released both Resident Evil 4 and Code Veronica X just last year, and this isn't likely to be the last. The Devil May Cry series is known for a number of things, including its cocky demon-hunting protagonist Dante, its slick visual and gothic style, some rocking good metal music, and fantastic action. This collection comes at the perfect time, when DmC fans are undoubtedly jonesing for more Dante; the most recent game came out four long years ago, and the next game not expected sometime later this year. But is this a collection that will please both the hardcore fans of the series and potential newcomers? Well, yes and no.
Obviously, this is one of the more content-heavy re-releases we've seen, since most tend to be individually remastered games—like with Resident Evil 4 HD or Code Veronica—or dual collections, like the Silent Hill HD Collection or God of War Origins bundle. Three games makes this a considerable deal even if it charged full price, but the $40 price tag makes it a little easier to chew when many of us are still recovering from the intensely busy last couple of months. Like any good re-release, this HD Collection introduces smoother, crisper HD visuals to an already stunning trio of games.
There is however, a downside to the new HD visuals. Because the graphics were updated without the source material being changed at all, it's almost like you're seeing them with glasses for the first time after having played them with terrible vision. The blurriness that's since been replaced by cleaner graphics originally helped cover up the grainy, low-resolution textures. In a way, the HD visuals actually hurt the game, because it makes it difficult to forget you're playing games that came out a decade ago.
It's not all bad; titles like Devil May Cry tend to age pretty well since they don't strive for realism. The stylish and colorful cast of characters and the gothic architecture look great without the remastered graphics, and with them the game does look to run a little more smoothly. I just would've liked to see more time invested into making the first two games look like they weren't released in 2001 and 2003. With Konami's Silent Hill HD Collection, the textures were cleaned up and even the character models were upgraded. With this collection, everything just looks crisper, and that's a bit of a disappointment. Unlike the Silent Hill bundle, however, this collection brings with it exclusive content that definitely makes it a worthy addition to any Dante fan's library.
It's been a while since we've gotten a dose of Dante, and with the next game, dubbed DmC, following a new Dante in a different world fighting new enemies, and even being developed by a different company—Heavenly Sword and Enslaved developer Ninja Theory—it'll be some time before we get more of the original Dante.
For the uninitiated, it's best if you just forget the numbering of the games, because the story doesn't really flow from one game to the next in the traditional sense. Really, the correct order would be Devil May Cry 3: Dante's Awakening, followed by the original game, then Devil May Cry 4, and finally Devil May Cry 2. The good thing about this collection is it gives you an easy way to play these in chronological order, rather than the order they were released (and assuming you have DMC4). All three games follow Dante and his fight against numerous demons and other hellish creatures.
While each installment has improved and added upon its predecessor, one of the core elements of the game that's always there is the highly critical rating system. It will take a substantial amount of practice combined with a high level of skill to achieve the higher ratings, like the S, SS, or the elusive SSS. I've spent an unhealthy amount of time with the series and I rarely get an A, and when I see anything above that it's a feat worthy of serious celebrating. For the ultra-competitive gamer, there are leaderboards so you can rub your skill in your friends' faces.