The Playstation 2 was home to some of the most important video games in gaming history. So, it’s no surprise that titles from this generation are dragged out of Publishers archives, given a new lick of paint, and dropped onto the current generation of consoles for an all-new audience to buy and enjoy. But dear reader, there is a right way and a wrong way of going about it.
Devil May Cry (DMC) HD Collection contains DMC 1,2 & 3, making it easy to hack and slash your way through some of the true gaming trendsetters of the adventure/ slasher genre. DMC 1 hit the PS2 in 2001, DMC2 in 2003 and DMC3 arrived in 2005, so these games are up to 17 years old now.
This ‘HD’ Bundle is, in fact, a re-release of the original HD-ified collection that was sold for the PS3 and Xbox 360 back in 2012. The only difference being that, the three games have since been up-rezzed from 720p to 1080p for the PS4.
Now that we are clear on the nuts and bolts of these games and this packages history….how does it fair in 2018. Frankly, not well. As much as it pains me to say, as I was a DMC fan back in the PS2 days, especially of number 3. This HD collection has seen little love to make it feel at home on the relative powerhouse that is the PS4.
Aside from the improved resolution and smoothing out of the graphics, these are essentially the same games that dropped in the 2000s. DMC 3 being the younger of the others, does fair the best in approach-ability and is still absolutely a joy to play through for a fan.
All the titles gameplay and cut-scenes are now in 16:9, however all the menus screens are in the original 4:3, which is fine from a nostalgic perspective perhaps. But on my 60inch Smart TV, it looks silly and gives the impression of the bare minimum being invested into getting these titles up to spec for a new audience.
Many of the cut-scenes seemed to have been smoothed or just made, well, a bit blurry. Like an application of Vaseline has been applied to make them look a bit less polygonal. It’s essentially the gaming equivalent of beer goggles.
The games stories and dialogue are products of their time, and are all a bit silly, but that’s fine. The long-term protagonist, Dante, is still fun to be around. His cocky one-liners and his ability to just brush off taking a sword to the chest in almost every cut-scene, was always a laugh.
But gamers didn’t tend to come to DMC for the story or character development. They kept coming back for the combo-driven, slasher gameplay and the gun juggling. And these frantic mechanics remain unchanged and are still absolutely true to the original releases, which is great. Building combos and becoming more powerful is what DMC was all about.
While playing through these ‘old’ games, it was funny how small things jumped out at me, in the context of how revolutionary some aspects of their design was. Especially considering they are now 15+ years old. One example that grabbed me, was the sweeping camera at the opening of DMC 1, as it follows the player, running Dante, up to a castle. It was an absolute master-class of game development, the sort of revolutionary game design that now, for us gamers in 2018, we take totally for granted.
So there is something to be said for gamers getting a chance to experience these great titles again in 1080p, but resolution is only a small part of a good remaster. The Shadow of the Colossus remake this year showed what is possible when an old game is treated with the respect it deserves.
Many, many…. many valuable lessons have been learnt by developers over the last decade and a half, and playing clunky old games like these only reminds me of how far we have come. The old fashioned menus, the bad save systems, the aging graphics -are all just a bit too jarring to be fun in 2018.
So, true fans of the Devil May Cry series who want a trip down ‘Nostalgia Lane’, this HD collection is made for you…..but, for you alone.