Walking back in to the Devil May Cry franchise after 2013’s less than average DmC reboot, I’ll admit I was a bit cautious. All the trailers, all the hype, the gameplay footage that had been shown over and over again at numerous conferences… everything seemed to be pointing in the direction that the series was taking gigantic steps backward in order to recapture the magic it was once known for. Last year’s Mega Man 11 and this year’s Resident Evil 2 Remake should have told me everything I needed to know, and they did. I just didn’t realize it. Capcom is back, and in a huge way.
Title: Devil May Cry 5
Available On: PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One
Reviewed On: PlayStation 4 Pro
Release Date: March 8, 2019
Game Purchased for the Purpose of This Review
Devil May Cry 5 brings back the hacking and slashing action adventure style it is known for. It’s been eleven long years since DMC4 hit the market in 2008, and while the wait was long and arduous, it certainly was worth it after seeing everything this had to offer. In a sense, DMC5 is a perfect love letter being sent to the older games in the series. A love letter that tells of stylish combos, amazingly well designed and implemented characters, and a very important thing for gaming… fun. Stripping everything away, it’s just fun.
The narrative is set five years after the events of Devil May Cry 4. Nero is running a demon hunting agency out a van with his partner in crime and series newcomer, Nico. While making some repairs to the van in the shop, an injured demon appears in front of Nero, rips off his Devil Bringer arm, and uses the Yamato to open an escape portal. From there, events are set in motion that will see Nero, another series newcomer in V, and the returning Legendary Devil Hunter Dante go off to kill a pretty badass demon known as Urizen that has made his home in the demonic Qliphoth Tree.
One thing that I wish Capcom would have avoided is the story structure itself. It oftentimes jumps back and forth so you’re seeing events slightly out of order, which makes it a little harder to follow along. Granted, most aren’t playing DMC5 for the story elements, but for those that do enjoy it, having it be one cohesive unit is always more appreciated than when it jumps back and forth between times and days. This is obviously done since you are playing more than one character throughout the campaign, but I feel it could have been more tightly knitted so that the pacing didn’t feel slightly off at times.
Let’s talk about these characters we keep mentioning. Starting out with Nero, he plays and feels almost exactly as he did at the end of DMC4. Equipped with the Red Queen sword, the Blue Rose double-barreled revolver, and Devil Breakers, he’s a force to be reckoned with in combat. What are Devil Breakers, you ask? Debuting for the first time in this game, they can do many different things, such as grappling and pulling enemies closer to you, allow you to ride around on a makeshift skateboard, or even stopping time itself. Devil Breakers can be found all over the place in each mission where Nero is playable, and they can also be purchased from Nico in the van. This is important, because using Devil Breakers comes at a cost. If you’re hit by an attack when using them, they shatter and are lost forever.
Newcomer to the series, V is my absolute favorite character to play as anytime he is available for use in a mission. His weapons of choice? A book and a cane. No, seriously. A book and a cane. He controls three beasts which fight for him. Griffon, the smart-talking eagle, is your ranged attacker. Shadow, a panther with a shadowy look to him, is your melee attacker. Nightmare, a rock golem beast with a menacing presence, is your “time to mess things up” attacker that can only be called out in combat every so often and once he is, he is unable to be controlled. Once demons and enemies are low enough health, V himself must initiate the final blow using his Silver Cane. It works so freaking well and felt stylish as hell. PLUS! He reads poetry from his book in order to restore the devil trigger status bar. It doesn’t get much better than that, people.
The final playable character is the one everyone comes back to Devil May Cry for, Dante. Featuring the signature blade Rebellion and the demonic sword Sparda, Dante has a lot going for him this time around. He has four different stances that can be set for combat including Swordmaster, Trickster, Royal Guard, and Gunslinger. He also has four melee attack weapons and four ranged attack weapons on top of everything else. It gets pretty chaotic at times, but when it works, it works so well. A new melee weapon known as Cavaliere is made from the wreckage of a motorcycle.. yes.. you can wield a freaking motorcycle as a melee weapon. The final melee weapon is a set of fiery gauntlets and boots known as Balrog. Dante is quite fun to play as this time around, if only because he has a weapon choice and style for any type of gamer that exists.
Finally, I want to mention the supporting cast once again. Lady and Trish return and it was insanely fun to see them again and have them be apart of the action. But the star of the damn show is Nico. Sporting a goofy country accent and slight imperfections here and there, she is the perfect example of how to make a sexy character without being over the top (looking at you, Square Enix!). Yes, her entire midriff is showing and she is wearing insanely short shorts. But she’s a total badass and her personality is endearing beyond belief. One of the best moments with her is early on in the game when Nero first begins fighting the demons again. They stop near a cop that is badly injured, and while Nero slowly walks into the midst of the demons with the cop yelling at him to stop and get back, Nico casually leans forward, tells him to chill and relax, and watch the carnage unfold. Scenes like this and anytime she crashes through a wall or portions of the stage after calling her at a payphone mid-mission, are reasons why she absolutely MUST return in future iterations of this series.
Graphically, this game is gorgeous. Running on Capcom’s own RE Engine (the same one used for Resident Evil 2 Remake), these two recent releases are proving this to be a beefy and powerful engine for Capcom to use moving forward. Not only that, but it performs almost flawlessly! There really aren’t any glitches, bugs, or slow down to speak of in terms of performance.
Everyone is here for the gameplay though, and thankfully, it does not disappoint. Spread out across 20 main story missions and various other secret levels found in a good chunk of those story missions, you’ll absolutely get your money’s worth out of Devil May Cry 5. Combat functions the same way as it did in the previous mainline entry, which just leads more to the incredibly strong experience the gameplay is able to provide. Littered about throughout the levels are red orbs and gold orbs, and you’re also able to earn red orbs from defeating enemies. These red orbs can then be used to further upgrade your skills and combat abilities. The score system is also still there at the end of each level, with the way you are able to control the characters during combat and the more stylish you are at pulling off tricky combos, the higher your reward will be in terms of even more red orbs.
I cannot go without mentioning this unfortunately, but red orbs can also be purchased from the marketplace for real money. Yes, there are microtransactions in Devil May Cry 5. If you want to fully max out everything, you’ll probably need to plop down some chunk of real money to get more red orbs. This is especially annoying to me, because red orbs can also be used to revive yourself from near death without having to start a mission over. Gold orbs can also be used, but they are extremely rare to come by and are certainly not as plentiful as the red orbs for a design reason. I take slight issues with a system that allows you to revive yourself for actual money, but thankfully, it isn’t really needed since red orbs are fairly easy to come by simply by just playing the game. Just know this system is there and in place.. and I’m not to keen on it.
Like before, DMC5 features linear levels that have a distinct starting and ending point to them, with very little branching paths. There is room for exploration to find more red orbs or hidden secrets, but the levels themselves are fairly contained to the area’s being presented to you. Which in all honesty is perfectly fine, as the developers put a lot of tender loving care into each and every area you’ll explore over the 13 or so hours you’ll get from a main story playthrough. Plus, the boss encounters are excellent and test your skills to ensure you master certain mechanics in every stage.
One thing I wasn’t necessarily expecting that caught me completely by surprise is the shared world multiplayer element that exists. Certain missions throughout the narrative are supposed to be happening parallel to one another (remember how I mentioned earlier the plot points jumped around a bit? Yeah, like that.) and this creative way of showcasing that lets you see other real players going through the missions. If you see a weird name in the “Featuring” section of the mission at times, it most likely is another actual player going through that particular mission with a different character. If it says “DMC5 Team” it’s just a ghost character that doesn’t have someone physically controlling it behind them. While not really multiplayer per say, it was a fun way to see multiple story elements existing at the same time as one another.
I said this before at the beginning and I’ll say it again here. Capcom is back with a vengeance, ready to reclaim portions of the gaming industry for themselves. If their recent games are anything to go off of, my excitement levels are through the roof for whatever new project they’re cooking up next. Featuring an amazing soundtrack that is worth listening to, excellent scripted moments, characters that are incredibly well designed and implemented, and gameplay that is just fun to experience, Devil May Cry 5 is a must-own title for fans of the franchise and fans of action games in general.
9.0 / 10