As a kid, I was mostly a PC gamer. After I turned 7 or 8, my parents deigned me too old to play videogames and granted me only a mere hour a week to dedicate to gaming. It seemed like they feared that if I played anymore, videogames were going to “rot my brain” and turn me into a future Neanderthal.
Their ruling also meant that they would no longer allow me to have any new consoles. So, being the little snot I was, I circumvented their wishes by secretly buying and installing PC games onto the house desktop. All the renaming stuff that people do to hide their porn stashes I had already mastered in order to hide my guilty pleasure away from my parents.
PC gaming had its advantages and disadvantages. I could play games and then ALT+TAB out to something else to look like I was studying whenever a nosy parent came to investigate. Still, being purely a PC gamer meant that I missed out on console exclusives. Among them was the Devil May Cry series.
It’s okay, the story doesn’t end there. I did eventually get my hands on Devil May Cry.
My first experience with Devil May Cry was at a parent’s friend’s house. Their son was in high school or college (or something or another, details that my little self didn’t pick up on) and he had a PlayStation 2 he never put down. I talked to him for quite a bit about Final Fantasy VII and VIII, which were really the only two games I played the crap out of on my PlayStation One besides the Spyro series. He first introduced me to Final Fantasy X. Soon after, he lost interest and then decided to switch to something a little edgier: Devil May Cry.
Back then, I hadn’t been exposed to any game darker than Diablo. The visuals, cutting edge and glorious for the time, were absolutely entrancing. I’ll admit, the undead puppets scared the shit out of me back then. However, horror breeds morbid fascination, and I was obsessed. I’d never played a game that so utterly made me want to duck under my covers, but at the same time made me want to play until my eyes were bloodshot. Unfortunately, at the end of the evening, I had to leave Devil May Cry behind for years.
It wasn’t until the end of middle school that I got my PlayStation 2. (My parents had become somewhat lax then.) I finally had my happy reunion with Devil May Cry.
So here I am, holding the Devil May Cry HD collection almost seven years later. I’ve had a chance to play many an HD re-master in the past few months, but none of them have gotten me this excited. Of all the series needing a re-master to recapture the market’s attention span for just another while, none is more deserving than Devil May Cry.
A lot has changed since the first Devil May Cry. As with most games that are older than seven or eight years, Devil May Cry is a little bit of an eyesore. Perhaps the most disappointing thing about the HD re-master is that it’s been blown up to HD resolutions, but its aspect ratio has been left at 4:3. And really, 4:3 ratio on a widescreen television does not pretty make.
Devil May Cry really shows its age through some pretty outdated mechanics. I don’t know why I didn’t notice this in my first play through of (and maybe it’s because I’ve become spoiled by moveable cameras), but the awkward “Resident Evil” camera angles are absolutely bothersome in a game as action-oriented as Devil May Cry. I’d often be platforming off of one ledge to another, except I’d be unable to see the ledge I was jumping towards. Basically, I was jumping off a cliff blind and hoping that my feet touched something.
Devil May Cry has also got the stereotypical, Japanese, sophistication to the point of confusion type story. I initially thought it was just because I was younger when I first played this game that I didn’t understand the point of the story. Nope. I was wrong. I couldn’t understand the story then and I still can’t understand the story now, because it just doesn’t bloody make any sense. The game’s not memorable for its story, but the dark, macabre setting and the “holy shit” moments when enemies or bosses pop out of nowhere.
All petty complains aside, Devil May Cry is a classic. Age’s really taken a toll on how well it plays, but the gameplay mechanics are tight and fun. There’s still nothing quite like a character that handles melee and ranged weaponry equally smoothly. Transitioning between the two is so seamless that combos mixing up styles are easily executed.