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Video game review: 'Devil May Cry HD Collection' is a passable port of the classic series

SALT LAKE CITY — Alongside offering great new experiences in recent years like “Resident Evil 7” and “Monster Hunter World,” Capcom has also been in the habit of releasing versions of their classic games for newer gaming consoles.

“Devil May Cry HD Collection” is the most recent addition to the lineup, completing the series’ availability on modern platforms (“Devil May Cry 4: Special Edition” and “DmC: Devil May Cry” have been available since 2015).

As the title indicates, “Devil May Cry HD Collection” is a collection of the first three “Devil May Cry” games, released initially on the PlayStation 2 from 2001 to 2005. Fans of the originals can rest assured that the collection's games are the same ones from their childhood, simply cleaned up for a modern generation. Besides a resolution bump and a steady framerate, however, Capcom hasn’t done much to help these titles stand out alongside the newer generation of action games.

In terms of gameplay, these are relatively untouched from the original versions. Across three games, players will fall into the role of Dante, a moody private investigator and the child of both demon and angel. Each game in the once-innovative series is exactly as remembered: Tight controls help players quickly slash through monsters, while the style-based score system encourages you to mix up your combat style, rather than rely on a handful of basic abilities. Each game runs smoother than ever thanks to a 60 fps framerate, which helps mitigate any difficulty in pulling off Dante’s more time-sensitive abilities.

Dante utilizes several weapons and abilities to slice through monsters in the most stylish way possible.
Dante utilizes several weapons and abilities to slice through monsters in the most stylish way possible.

While “Devil May Cry's” gothic anime-inspired story never quite makes much sense, it provides enough motivation to press forward through each game in the series, Dante shouting lovably lame one-liners all the way. Dante’s been hired to fight demons and explore castles, and that’s all that really matters. Other characters inspired by “The Divine Comedy” also make appearances, and generally get their chance to shine.

Even though the games still hold their original M rating, there’s very little by modern standards that would make “Devil May Cry” inappropriate for a teenage audience. Any violence is mitigated by rudimentary graphics, and only one curse word is uttered throughout the entire series. However, some female characters are dressed provocatively, and one scene plays up Dante’s partial nudity for comedy, which may cause some concern for parents.

While “Devil May Cry HD Collection” may check enough boxes to justify a playthrough, some technical stumbles can be a little baffling. Game menus and cutscenes are blurry and somewhat unresponsive, and the settings menu is limited.

For example, if you want to adjust the game’s brightness, you have to do so in your TV settings, rather than changing up the game itself. While gameplay runs in a modern 16:9 aspect ratio (the shape of your modern widescreen TV), menus, cutscenes, and post-mission results screens are all locked in at 4:3 (the shape of an older TV or monitor), and occasionally displays in ratios that fall somewhere in between. The three games are all playable, but their presentation, for whatever reason, feels sloppy and unrefined.

“Devil May Cry HD Collection” is easy to recommend for both fans of the series and anyone looking to experience a trio of games that revolutionized the action genre, for their time. However, players interested in a more modern, polished game would be better off picking up the other available “Devil May Cry” games, or even “Bayonetta 2.

While the pieces are all there, the collection’s technical issues make “Devil May Cry HD Collection” feel like a half-measure.

Game:Devil May Cry HD Collection

Platform: PS4, Xbox One, PC

Price: $29.99

ESRB Rating: M for blood and gore, language, partial nudity and violence