(Capcom for Xbox 360)
By Mike Delano
The first and third Devil May Cry games are PS2 classics and essential playing for anyone interested in third-person action games in the Ninja Gaiden/God of War vein. The first game introduces us to ridiculously cool protagonist Dante and his unendingly stylish approach to vanquishing demons. Devil May Cry 3 refined and expanded on both the original’s sweet neo-Gothic vibe as well as its gameplay, offering Dante a ton of ways to customize his fighting style and a long, challenging adventure in which to try them out. DMC 2 is as bad as its reputation: Confounding in its bland, lazy approach, it’s here for completionists only. This HD compilation is a fine way to revisit or to discover for the first time the charms of the original trilogy, since these games should be in any action fan’s collection. But maybe more importantly, this collection is a sometimes stark reminder that now is a good time for the series to evolve into something new. Camera issues annoy throughout, as does the frustration of having limited continues and the recurring feeling that the games are punishing you for playing poorly rather than encouraging you to have another go at their daunting challenges. These are issues that have been worked out by many other titles in the years since these games were released, so it will be exciting to see how the incredible wealth of great ideas from the first three Devil May Cry entries come alive in a more modern design later this year when the franchise gets a reboot.