By Capcom Released: 3 Apr 12
Also on: Xbox 360
If you ask me, few games exemplify the PS2-era better than Capcom's Devil May Cry series. That savvy mix of smooth moves and fast action represents much of what I used to idealise in games back at the turn of the millennium, a peculiar time in history when the FPS hadn't yet managed to dominate the console market.
Few games represent Capcom better than Devil May Cry, too. Despite some extreme peaks and troughs in terms of quality, Devil May Cry has undeniably become one of the publisher's strongest brands, though its complete inability to find a home on the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 (Devil May Cry 4 is rubbish and does not count) ensures the series is currently sitting anxiously on Capcom's reserve bench. We'll have to see if Ninja Theory's reboot manages to capture some of the series' spirit later in 2012, but playing through the original games for the first time in years has reminded me why it remains cherished by many.
On this HD-ified DVD is all three of the Devil May Cry games originally released for PlayStation 2, including both Dante and Lucia disks for Devil May Cry 2 and the Special Edition version of Devil May Cry 3. There's also a bonus cache of various bits of concept art and so on and so on, which is a nice little trinket for the back of the box but pretty much entirely useless. To complete this comprehensive collection all you'd need is to get your mitts on 2008's Devil May Cry 4, but I wouldn't bother because Devil May Cry 4 is absolutely rubbish.
The conversion to HD has been adequately handled by Pipeworks Software, though the frontend screen looks a touch slapdash in quality - like it's been handled with the same love and attention as the DVD menus of something you might accidentally buy from a 99p bargain bin in an off license after 11pm on a Friday night.
While the actual games have been upscaled and converted to widescreen, the original menus have been kept unedited in their original 4:3 state. My human eyeballs aren't dexterous enough to notice anything out of place, and the action seemed smooth and all the environments remained intact with what I remember. The movies, however, look awful; the HD Collection makes occasional use of seemingly untouched FMV cutscenes, and the mix of archaic aspect ratio and horrendous compression ensures these once-mighty animated scenes look tired and ancient in 2012.
This is not nearly as loving a restoration as the superb Metal Gear Solid HD Collection, then, but there's been just enough done to the games, once they're in motion, to bring these last-gen titles up to scratch with modern times. And thank goodness, too, because you just don't get a lot of games like this any more - at its best Devil May Cry is complex, punishing and befuddling, but Capcom's classic series is packed with just the right mix of cheese and charm to keep you battling on. Definitely recommended, although be warned that the second game is by far the weakest of the bunch.
Virgin Media verdict:
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