Devil May Cry HD Collection Review

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Devil May Cry has been a staple IP of Capcom and a fan-favourite since the first release back in 2001, and it’s easy to see why. Originally intended as a sequel to the Resident Evil series, it was the progenitor for what would eventually become Resident Evil 4. No doubt a happy and lucrative accident for the developers. Much like Resident Evil did for the survival-horror genre, Devil May Cry helped to define the hack and slash style of game and set a high mark for other action games to follow.

The franchise has since seen 3 more titles and 2 special editions arise and even a reboot developed by UK devs, Ninja Theory. In 2012, 4 years after the release of Devil May Cry 4 on PlayStation 3, Capcom followed the trend of other HD collections we’ve seen by re-releasing the original trilogy in one succinct package. The games follow the story of a cocky and hedonistic half-demon Devil Hunter named Dante. He is most famously known as the son of the Legendary Dark Knight Sparda, the demon knight who saved mankind from a demon invasion. After the murder of his parents at the hands of these demons; Dante continues his father’s work while avenging their deaths, based out of his titular demon hunting business.

The first game sees Dante face off against the newly returned Mundus, under the instruction of a mysterious woman who resembles Dante’s mother. It’s the game that started it all, and its original horror roots are still clear to see as you explore an immense Gothic castle haunted by the demons you hunt. Where Devil May Cry stands apart is in its approach to combat. Armed with an array of otherworldly swords and firearms, the player is rewarded for dispatching foes while stringing together combos in rapid succession to increase their Stylish Rank from D through to SSS. All while blasting you with an original score of heavy metal and alternative rock, making you feel every bit the cool and formidable Devil Hunter you control.

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The subsequent sequels focused more on this combat system by improving and introducing new features such as on-the-fly weapon changes as well as the introduction of Style classes complete with their own sets of moves to upgrade and master. While Devil May Cry 2 took a small step backward in making Dante more stoic and the story less compelling, Devil May Cry 3 remains one of the highest acclaimed video game titles of its time. It introduces a younger Dante as he faces off against his twin brother Vergil; now armed with a deadlier move-set, more weapons, better quips and an amazing soundtrack.

Above all else, Devil May Cry excels as the epitome of cool with its focus on swords, demons, bullets and babes. With a smooth-talking, hard-hitting hero at the wheel; to compare Dante to James Bond would be a huge understatement.

These games are known for being unforgiving. So if you’re looking for a simple A to B button-masher, this isn’t for you. Devil May Cry demands skill through dedication and practise, players can stumble through this game without so much as touching the true potential of what’s possible as far as combat is concerned. True to form for Capcom in its prime; these games have extensive replay value. With up to 7 deadly difficulty levels to overcome; as well as a plethora of items to collect, moves to master, weapons to upgrade and more, this franchise will soak up your hours like so much demon blood. Devil May Cry 3 then introduces a punishing gauntlet of survival known as the Bloody Palace; 101 levels of demon hunting goodness that becomes more hellishly difficult as you progress. Only the best of the best make it to the end.

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Throughout each title, Devil May Cry will leave you in awe of its impressive design work, which is only improved by the upgrade to PlayStation 3. The intricate detail and sheer awesomeness in every weapon, enemy type and environment is beautifully conceived and realised. Despite the veritable party of muzzle flashes and sword combos, there is also an intriguing religious and Gothic thematic undertone to undercut the madness and remind you of your demonic heritage. Combat aside, Devil May Cry is also one of the better platformers you’ll play; navigating through the levels and solving puzzles means this series requires as much brain as brawn. Another feature inherited from its spiritual predecessor.   

As HD Collections go, this one isn’t terribly comprehensive; it’s really more of a simple port than an upgrade of graphical quality. Still a little rough around the edges with no noticeable tweaks to actual game play that we might expect from current-gen remasters. That being said, these games have aged incredibly well and any excuse to bring them forward onto more relevant consoles should be welcomed. They remain on my recommended must-play list for anyone new to the franchise. If you’re a fan of such games as Darksiders, Bayonetta, God of War, Heavenly Sword, Onimusha, Ninja Gaiden or Dynasty Warriors; you’ll love this series.

The verdict? These games are a blast. It may not be the greatest remaster you’ve seen, but it’s sharp enough to warrant the price tag. If you want to experience some of the best hack and slash action games out there, you can’t do much better than Devil May Cry HD Collection. So get some beers on ice, pizza to order, slip into your best trench coat and go slay some demons!

Rating 9

REVIEW CODE: A complimentary Sony Playstation 3 code was provided to Brash Games for this review. Please send all review code enquiries to editor@brashgames.co.uk.

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