Devil May Cry HD


Written by Chris Price
Photos and illustrations by Capcom
09 Monday 09th April 2012

Japanese producer Hideki Kamiya, formerly with Team Little Devils (and now with a veritable supergroup of developers at Clover Studios), took an initial Resident Evil 2 spin-off and hosed it down in style and swagger - and stuck in a style meter to constantly tell you if you were any good.

Originally released in 2001, the series has gone on to shift well over 10 million copies. It also introduced a rather polarising lead character in the form of half-demon half-human demon-hunter-for-hire Dante. Effortlessly cool to some, cosplay fodder to others, bag of dicks to the remaining.

It’s always adopted what I’ve considered a strangely reverent position in gaming, until the same team came along and injected the whole thing with ten tonnes of PCP laced with oestrogen and birthed the obscenely racy Bayonetta. DMC is a hyperbolic collision of east meets west mythology – Tomb Raider goes J-rock - a confusing mire of nobility, demon hunters and leather strides; all shouted out of your television with LOTS! OF! ENTHUSIASM!, a cocky wink and toss of bleached bangs.

But it’s testament to DMC’s depth that with a little bit of HD tweaking, it still plays with a crisp freshness. Pipeworks Software have taken on visual duties, spit-shining the first three games with an HD lustre. The HD remake constitutes a fair whack of sharpening to textures - but menus and pre-rendered cut-scenes remain in the PS2’s 4:3 resolution (except for widescreen cut-scenes in DMC3) and the lack of anti-aliasing that has proved so effective in the Metal Gear Solid HD collection.

There are hangovers of a past generation - an irritating fixed camera designed to deliver dramatic effect rather than utility, and a labourious cutscene each time a room is entered. The second title has always been a rather spectacularly unspectacular sequel (partly by removing a lot of the goth-chic look). But this ultimately proved a necessary evil, paving the way for the the third title reboot.

While this contributes to an effortless experience by today’s standards, the thrust of each sword is palpable, as is rattling several hundred rounds into various melodramatic gothic demons.

DMC HD is a brisk, if not effortless symposium through a quirky series of surprisingly hardy titles. It’s got a competitive sub-£25 price for three complete games – each packed with trials and mini-mission, along with a whole stack of achievements and trophies to hunt for (along with an art gallerynice to know it’s there).  

The Dante trilogy still holds up well by today’s standards, and the HD job is solid if not mind-blowing, purely emphasising how far ahead of sensory game that DMC was. The action is as robust and deceptively deep (and tough) ever, even if the delivery is a little bumpy. Playing devil’s advocate I would suggest that if Bayonetta is still residing in your latent muscle memory, it might prove slightly underwhelming, but there’s no denying that the cocky one man rock band and his sweeping red coat has had a significant effect on many, which still feels very relevant in 2012. Even if he is a bit of a douche-cougar.


Devil May Cry HD Collection is out now on PS3 and Xbox 360.

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