Fans of the Devil May Cry series have had a long 11 year wait to jump back into the fast paced, stylish hack n slash series and see what was next for Dante and Nero. But after playing through Devil May Cry 5 I’m glad to say it was worth the wait. While there was the DMC reboot in 2013 that I personally enjoyed I can understand it wasn’t what everyone wanted and it seems Capcom heard the fans loud and clear. They have delivered a new entry in the original timeline of games that continues the journey of characters we know and love and introduces a number of new ones that could become very big players in the series going forward.
The game begins with a cold opening. You’re thrown right into the thick of things trying to piece together story elements and characters you’re not meant to understand yet before facing off against a boss you know you’re likely not ready to confront. But after that action packed opening the game does a great job of filling you in on the story and what lead to the events of that first mission before maintaining near perfect pacing throughout to deliver a story that is full of plot twists, has the ability to drop your jaw with it’s drama but also have you grinning from ear to ear during it’s over the top action sequences. But possibly best of all it does this while also perfectly balancing the juggling act of having 3 main playable characters. A feat that rarely comes off as well-rounded in other games that attempt to do the same.
The birth of multiple playable characters began with the introduction of Nero in Devil May Cry 4. Joining both Dante and Nero this time around is brand new character V. Right from the get go it’s clear V is a dark and mysterious character and throughout the story of the game you’ll learn a lot more about him, his abilities and his motives for helping Dante and Nero take down the demon king Urizen.
When the time came to take control of V for the first time I wasn’t sure what to expect of him as a character as he’d been quite reserved in the story up to that point. But upon using him for the first time I quickly came to love his play style, primarily because it’s drastically different to the combat approach I took when playing through the Nero or Dante missions. Where Dante and Nero focus on being on the front line of combat, chaining together combos with your primary melee weapon, guns or devil breaker prosthetics, V attacks from a distance using 3 magic creatures that are summoned using his magic. It’s these spirits that do damage to your enemies in the V missions but you’re still fully in control of V while this plays out allowing you to freely traverse the battlefield and dodge enemy attacks. You’re also required to deal the killing blow to all enemies on the battlefield as the spirits are incapable of fully eliminating demons. Having to keep one eye on the spirits attacking your enemies and one eye on keeping V safe from attack made his stages just as action packed as the Nero or Dante stages.
There has never been another character in the DMC series that plays like V and I think including him was a brave choice that has paid off massively for Capcom. Because if he played like a simple re-skin of Dante or Nero I definitely wouldn’t have enjoyed that character as much as I did. All three playable characters feel vastly different, each have their own play-style and unlockable skill trees that allow you to customise and prioritise the abilities gained to mold the character to suit how you want to play.
It would’t be a Devil May Cry game without the hordes of demons trying to stop you while you try to take them out with bigger and better combos in the attempt of reaching that SSS style rank. These systems are well and truly still at the forefront of Devil May Cry 5 and by the end of the game once you’ve unlocked many of the skills on offer you’ll be unleashing some outrageously awesome combos.
The enemies in the game are also incredibly varied and posses some fantastic designs. Even though they’re representations of demonic spirits their designs are still great to look at. You’ll need to understand the attack patterns and unique attributes of the enemies on the battlefield as many require their own method to be defeated. Whether that be using a specific type of attack to deal more damage or performing a specific move to break through a shield etc.
And then things ramp up to a whole new level when it comes to the boss bouts. These are often larger than life enemies that require much more strategy and analysing to take down. Especially when you’re playing on the higher difficulty levels.
The whole battle sequence is enhanced in true DMC fashion by the music that begins to ramp up when a new combat encounter is about to start. Providing a nice nu-metal-ish backing track to the carnage you’re about to unleash on screen. Much in the same way Mick Gordon’s score in DOOM gets the blood pumping and makes you feel like a bad-ass. Each character has their own battle theme and you always know something is about to go down when you start hearing it phase in.
Devil May Cry 5 is powered by Capcom’s RE Engine. The same tech that powered the recently released Resident Evil 2 Remake, and we saw what it was capable of then. The engine allows for realistic character models, increased lighting effects and unsettling renders of slime, gore and blood that all lend a part in making this the best looking Devil May Cry title by far.
One of the game’s strengths is that it’s accessible to all types of players. It has a ‘human mode’ that is recommended for first time players which turns on auto aim and strings together combos for you automatically. This mode is completely optional and veterans of the series should know you’re still able to perform combos in the regular fashion too. Upon completing the game you’ll also unlock the much harder ‘Sons of Sparda’ mode that will truly test your skills.
For those that have decided to jump into the series with this entry (not recommended but hey I’m sure someone is going to do it) there is a short recap movie that brings you up to speed with the high level story so far accessible right from the main menu of the game.
Devil May Cry 5 does get pretty tough at times but thankfully if you happen to die during battle you’re able to revive yourself at a cost. You can spend a collected Gold Orb to come back with full health and devil trigger meter or pay using the more common Red Orbs but depending on the amount paid may not come back with all of your HP restored. This is a much more player friendly approach to death rather than forcing a full mission restart but those looking to obtain the best mission ranking will want to try and get through without being taken down at all.
It’s easy to argue that Devil May Cry 5 is the best entry in the series yet. It combines the stylish, fast paced combat that has made the series great since it’s inception with new playable characters, systems and an engaging and well paced story making it an incredibly fun and rewarding game to play through.
Capcom are on fire right now when it comes to hit game releases. After the massive success of the Resident Evil 2 remake and now Devil May Cry 5 I’m really keen to see what series they’re going to tackle next.
An Xbox One review code was provided by the publisher for the purpose of this review.
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