Living in a day and age when I can actually play Devil May Cry 5 has been a dream since I was 12 years old. And I’m sure that’s the case for many DMC fans out there as well. Now, after a long 11 years since Devil May Cry 4, Capcom has finally unleashed the latest installment in its beloved, stylish action series for PS4, Xbox One and PC. And you know what? The company kicked absolute ass.
Sons of Sparda
Devil May Cry 5 takes place several years after DMC4, with Dante and Nero working at Devil May Cry as devil hunters for hire. One day, a mysterious man who calls himself “V” shows up to hire Dante to take out Urizen, the Demon King. Just before that, Urizen shows up at Nero’s garage and rips Nero’s Devil Bringer arm clean from his body. This brings the three characters out to Red Grave City, where they team up stop Urizen.
Devil May Cry 5’s compellingly chaotic combat drives me to clear all of the ridiculous difficulties that it throws at me.
For those unfamiliar with the series, it’s akin to legacy God of War and the Ninja Gaiden games. Devil May Cry features third-person swordplay and gunplay built around how stylish you can be in fast-paced, hack-and-slash combat.
At the start of the game, the combat can seem a little simplistic, but don’t be put off by that. Each character has a ton of purchasable upgrades that I am still working my way through, even now as I start the Son of Sparda run.
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And there are quite a few boss fights in Devil May Cry 5 that DMC fans will surely adore. One in particular was the battle against Cavaliere Angelo, whom the player can go sword to sword with as Dante, countering the foe’s moves with the right timing. The best fights in DMC history are good old-fashioned sword fights.
Nero is the vanilla fighter of the group, as he’s equipped with a single sword (Red Queen) and gun (Blue Rose) that can dish out a ton of damage. But his gimmick is his Devil Breaker, which can completely change the dynamic of combat.
The Devil Breaker is Nero’s hot-swappable robot arm, which Nico designed to help combat demons in multiple scenarios. There’s one swappable arm that can launch enemies in the air, another that stops time and one that fires out of Nero’s forearm socket to repeatedly rocket-punch fools while you’re off slicing up some other demons. The Devil Breaker adds a much needed quality to Nero’s gameplay.
Meanwhile, Dante gets the ultimate service. He has his full style set, including Swordmaster, Gunslinger, Trickster and Royalguard (which changes his B or Circle button inputs), as well as a wide variety of guns and swords that he can switch among for maximum combo potential. On top of that, he has his usual Devil Trigger, in which he takes on a demonic form to regain health and dish out extra damage.
My all-time favorite weapon is, of course, Cavaliere, because who doesn’t love chopping demons in half with a motorcycle that turns into dual buzz saws? And I wanted to love Dr. Faust (a gun in the form of a hat), but because it consumes red orbs (currency) when firing, I was reluctant to use it. Side note: When Dante obtains Dr. Faust, he straight-up does the moonwalk and then sends off the scene with fireworks, which completed me as a human being.
V’s gameplay is as weird as his poetry, and it needs a lot more work to be compelling. Not the up-close-and-personal type, V instead commands a set of demons to do his bidding. They are Griffon, Shadow and Nightmare, which are actually callbacks to bosses in the first Devil May Cry. These demons aren’t much of a gimmick, however, because they simply act as the gun, sword and Devil Trigger, respectively. Unless you call Griffon babbling about like the parrot Iago from Aladdin a gimmick (even though he is pretty funny).
The only thing different about V is that he attacks from long range, and once the enemies are low on heath, he has to finish the job himself. V’s gameplay seems to be missing an element, something like Dante’s styles or Nero’s Devil Breakers, which round out those characters so well.
Devil May Cry in 2019
Capcom has done wonders with the RE Engine; I never thought that a Devil May Cry game could look this good.
The detail in each character’s features crosses over to pure realism, which is a first for DMC. Even the camera’s orientation adds to that impression, as it grounds the game in reality and allows a more personal connection to the characters, despite the game’s over-the-top nature. One thing that gave me pause, however, was the lip sync. It’s fine in some scenes, but in others it gave off a weird, uncanny valley effect.
Devil May Cry 5’s world still features a gothic structure, but the set design truly brings the world to life, especially in the urban levels. Some things that caught my eye were multiple white chairs and tables sitting outside of a little restaurant, the detailed underside of a car, and posters for upcoming films in the subway. It feels like people actually exist in this world, unlike in the previous titles, where the world was more like a wacky playground for demons.
There is a photo mode, which I love using, but it needs some work. As of right now, there are no settings for filters or options to add or remove elements from the shot. It’s simply a camera, and one that has limited distance at that. It doesn’t help that there’s a forced DMC5 logo on the bottom left corner either.
“Pull My Devil Trigger!”
To top it all off, Devil May Cry 5’s excellent soundtrack adds character to all of its stunning visuals. Nero, Dante and V all have their own combat music, and you can even swap out each character’s battle track via the Jukebox in the Gallery menu.
Devil Trigger has a fast-paced electronic beat mixed with some angelic vocals that convince me I should just replace every battle track with it, but my body compels me to appreciate other works of art as I tear demons in half. Subhuman is the typical heavy metal soundtrack you’d expect to hear while Dante is wracking up stylish combos. Crimson Cloud has more of a tribal, instinctual sound that literally screams at you to “fight for your life,” which works well with V’s gameplay, as you’re meant to avoid physical combat at all costs.
Devil May Cry 5’s Cameo mode is disappointing. This online multiplayer system is meant to allow other players to show up as one of the three playable characters in areas where it makes sense. However, when the player does show up, as it’ll state on the left-hand side of the screen, you’re actually just seeing a recording of them.
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It seems like wasted effort, especially when Capcom could have put time into making an actual co-op mode. For example, when I attached my Overture Devil Breaker on one of the Angelo enemies, V blasted our foe with lightning, which ignited my Devil Breaker for an epic tag-team combo. It was then that I realized that this game has plenty of opportunities to expand its online options.
Devil May Cry 5 is everything a DMC fan could ever want. It’s not without its flaws, of course, considering that the ending and V’s gameplay both could have been more satisfying. However, it’s a whole lot of fun, and it perfects the gameplay that we oh, so cherished from the previous titles.
I just hope that more story content arrives to expand upon the excellent scenes that did occur. But for now, we’ll have to wait until April to get Bloody Palace Mode, which is a free tournament-style mode featured in previous DMC games.
Bam. Review over. Go buy it. I’m going to play some more Devil May Cry 5 now.