Devil May Cry HD Collection review for Xbox 360, PS3

Platform: Xbox 360
Also On: PS3
Publisher: Capcom
Developer: Capcom
Medium: DVD-Rom
Players: 1
Online: No

The Devil May Cry HD Collection is a pretty fantastic pick-up, regardless of whether you?ve played the hell out of the three games included, or you?re looking to get your feet wet with Capcom?s premiere action series for the first time. It?s a testament to how well designed DMC1 and 3 were that they hold up as well as any modern title, and this HD re-master certainly improves upon the display found in the original PS2 discs.

This collection contains Devil May Cry, Devil May Cry 2, and Devil May Cry 3 SE, in complete form with no unnecessary cuts or edits that I could find. The action is just as bone-crushingly hard as it ever was, and the controls carry over to modern systems well enough. I had no issues jumping back into the mix, and thankfully these titles seem to be devoid of any glaring technical issues that sometimes plague HD up-ports of last gen titles.

Devil May Cry 2 is still the odd one out though, but I?m glad that it gets included. It?s worth checking out for its superior Dante design, but the gameplay and action is so neutered in comparison to DMC 1 and 3 that it?s really hard to have any fun with the game. If you?ve ever been put off by the difficulty of the other 2, you?ll probably find DMC 2 the most manageable title to play, but that lack of challenge kind of kills the excitement.

DMC 1 holds up remarkably well for its age, and while it certainly shows a bit of wear on the visual side (polygons everywhere!), it?s definitely aided by a superior character, monster, and level design that keeps it feeling pretty modern in HD. The only real complaint I have against DMC 1 is that the fixed camera will still sometimes work against you, and the sub-HD rendering of the game menus is a bit of an eyesore compared to everything else. Still, it?s a really unique title, even compared to 3, and if you missed out on it before, or skipped ahead to DMC 3, then you should definitely try it out.

Devil May Cry 3 SE, though, is where the fun really is. It?s easily my favorite of the series, and for me it?s where the whole stylish action system really came into its own. There?s an amazing fluidity to the combat, the bosses are all top notch, and while the game can be pretty punishing on its original difficulty, figuring out exactly how the combat system works and then going back to SS rank stages is incredibly satisfying. It?ll also be the most familiar of the three for those of you that have only played through Devil May Cry 4 on current hardware, but DMC 3 SE blows DMC 4 out of the water in my book, and is nearly worth the price of admission alone.

As far as complaints go, I don?t have many. The HD renders for each game, 2 included, are pretty fantastic. I didn?t have any noticeable framerate, screen tearing, or odd visual hiccups like those that plague the Silent Hill HD Collection. This is a pretty top-notch transition that I?d easily put up there with the Ico and Shadow of the Colossus collection as one of the best HD ports so far.

My only real gripe is that the  menu?s for each game aren?t rendered nearly as well as the on-screen action, and the reverting back to 4×3 when you?re in a menu or at the start screen is kind of a glaring transition. Or course the cut scenes are also rendered at a lower resolution than everything else, and the earlier two games tend to have a Vaseline smear look to these segments. I?ve grown used to the idea that cut scenes in last-gen HD ports will never look great, but DMC 1 and 2 look particularly ugly when stuff doesn?t occur within the game engine.

But really, those complaints are pretty minor overall. You?re getting 2 incredibly awesome games here, and a sub-par experience with DMC 2, but all three are worth playing. For $40 it?s a great deal, as the experiences of both DMC 1 and DMC 3 have barely been matched this gen, the closest game I can think of would be Bayonetta as far as pure, balls out action goes. If you?ve never played the series before, then I?d consider this a must buy, and even if you?ve played the hell out of these games before, the addition of upscaled graphics and achievement/trophy support is bound to be appealing enough to play through them again.

Grade: A-