Thursday, December 13, 2012

Devil May Cry: HD Collection - One Great Price For Two Great Games

To truly conclude my streak of reviewing the Devil May Cry series of games, I'm here to tackle the HD Collection, comprised of the first two games and the Special Edition of the third. Its ultimate purpose is to present these games to a newer audience who may not have even played the original releases of these titles, at the same time updating the graphics and providing some extra content for collection owners. For the most part, it succeeds.

The first thing to mention would have to be the proposed graphical improvements. While Capcom didn't go all out by using the MT Framework engine they use now, which would have basically made it look like Devil May Cry 4, they still managed to make the original graphics look great on newer consoles. The games all look more appealing and blurry objects were cleaned up to make them clearer and less off-putting. However, the lighting is still the same, which can lead to something like in the first game on here where there was a weird outline around the lit objects in Mundus' chamber. There's also the matter of the games now having a very jarring difference between the newer in-game graphics and the cutscenes. The cutscenes rendered in real time still look as great as the games they are in, but the ones that are pre-rendered didn't receive the same treatment and look incredibly muddy by comparison; I commented to my brother that one shot of a certain Devil May Cry 3 cutscene looked like it was filmed through a Heineken bottle. I feel as though Capcom dropped the ball here, perhaps out of fear that trying to improve the cutscenes would ruin them, or something to that effect.

As for the gameplay, it remains largely the same, save for a change in the control scheme of the first game to make it less awkward than it was on the original PS2 version. This change I appreciated, but otherwise if you had any problems with how the games functioned, they're still going to be there. I still had a blast with two of the games anyway so it didn't affect me as much, but I can also understand how the problems that are intact would show signs of aging for the series. It didn't really deter me, but it's still good to be warned of this. Another thing to know beforehand, in case it will bother returning players, is that the loading screen minigame for Devil May Cry 3 can no longer be played and that if you want to access the semi co-op, you'll now have to press Start on the second controller.

Of course I'd also like to mention that I have no clue why they decided to remaster Devil May Cry 2. That game wasn't good when it first came out and it isn't any good this time around. Capcom didn't magically make it better or try to improve it in any way, except for making the aesthetic more flattering to the eye (although remaking it is an option I would have wholly endorsed). If this can get away with re-releasing a rather mediocre game, then I hope it doesn't turn into a trend where other game companies do the same for their HD Collections in the future.

Finally, there's the promised extra content, which is basically artwork for each game as well as some of each game's soundtrack. The artwork is very interesting, since it shows off concept art for different items, characters and backgrounds, along with final and promotional art. Then there's the music, which can highlight either how awesome or lame each game's score is. While you may not be getting the full package, and some song selections aren't there, it's still fun to listen to some of my favorite tracks before going back to a game.

Overall, I would consider Devil May Cry: HD Collection a pretty solid investment. While the improvements can't completely hide the aging problems of each game, two of them are still a blast to play. Older fans of the games may want to weigh their options a little, while people who are new to the franchise or those who don't own the PS2 versions of each game should consider jumping on here. I can assure you that if you can get over any reservations you may have about gameplay, you'll have one hell of a time. As long as you avoid Devil May Cry 2.

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