Much as a leap year will predictably occur every 4 years, so too it seems we can expect a re-release of an old Devil May Cry game on a similar timescale. Perhaps at Capcom HQ, whenever their petty cash tin gets a bit low, they decide to send out another re-release so that they can all get mimosas that day or something. Whatever the reason, we now live in a world where you must specify which HD remastered collection of Devil May Cry you mean. It’s a Brave New World indeed.
Devil May Cry HD Collection for PS4 and Xbox One is almost identically the same collection that came out on PS3 a few years ago. It is, in fact, largely an unchanged port of that same collection. Only a couple things have been changed, as far as I can tell – you can now quit one of the games and head back to the game selection screen without needing to quit the whole application (a revolutionary inclusion), and an audio bug that should never have been in the original remaster has been fixed. Well done you. Although everything runs at 1080p, 60fps gameplay, the cutscenes remain at their dinosaur-like VHS quality from the early 2000s, which is immensely jarring.
As for the games themselves, they include the original Devil May Cry from 2001, Devil May Cry 2 from 2003, and Devil May Cry 3 from 2005. For those who are not familiar with the franchise at this stage, perhaps because you have mistakenly clicked on this link while looking for a knitting pattern and have found yourself here by accident, welcome. I will not give a full summary of each game’s plot once again, except to summarize: you are Dante, a half-demon killer of demons. You spend each game killing very bad demons in a very stylish way. People enjoy these games because they can explore, solve puzzles, and kill demons while looking cool.
These games are generally regarded as “classics,” (well, aside from Devil May Cry 2 perhaps), and are certainly favourites of mine from my youth, but I have played them enough times over the years to keep up perspective, I feel. It may seem blasphemous to some people to say this, but for me, the only one that is really still playable as a great game is Devil May Cry 3. Let me explain.
Devil May Cry 1 laid a lot of the groundwork, but all that it does has been surpassed by later games, both in this series and in ones influenced by it. It is still far too obviously a Resident Evil game with a new skin over it, and the gameplay has not been refined as it would be. The cutscenes have a lot of camp value but are not inherently good. The setting is tonally interesting, but you keep on seeing things that make you think the dev team were just experimenting with ideas that don’t go anywhere.
Devil May Cry 2’s problems are well-known. A rushed development cycle led to boring characters, uninteresting areas, and forgettable plot. Although the combat is better and you get an extra character to play as, it’s the most forgettable game, for good reason.
Finally, Devil May Cry 3 is where the series finally achieved most of its goals. The combat is smooth, dynamic and stylish. The setting and plot progression are excellent. There is variety in terms of gameplay and combat. You feel like a badass while doing it. I can come back to Devil May Cry 3 any day and still push myself, trying to achieve more.
Devil May Cry HD Collection never escapes the fact that it is fundamentally unnecessary. I cannot imagine it drawing the attention of a new audience to a large extent, and thus I can imagine it primarily exists so that super-fans do not have to change out their machines for the older console before playing the game again. On average, these are all fine games, but their time is passed.
Each time this happens, it just makes me more upset that we never got a proper Devil May Cry 5, although I hold out hope of that still happening.