Devil May Cry 5 modernizes a classic with one of the greatest character action games ever created.
Release Date – March 8, 2019
Platforms – PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC
“Nature calls? It’s in the back.” The opening moments of Devil May Cry laid the foundation for what has become a classic action franchise. A bad sequel here, spin off game their and Devil May Cry would ultimately go dormant for several years. Like much of Capcom’s storied franchises it just seemed as if the passion was gone, and outside of a reference or cameo fans of the series just assumed it would stay that way.
Luckily for us, Capcom changed all that when they finally announced Devil May Cry 5 and blew everybody away at E3 2018 with a stunning debut trailer. Spearheaded by Hideaki Itsuno, Capcom set out to do what they have done with near perfection as of late, and modernize a classic franchise without losing what made it so special to begin with.
Devil May cry 5 picks up where 4 left off more than a decade ago. Dante has taken a job, hired by the mysterious new character named V, to tackle a demon lord who has occupied an entire city. Nero gets involved, Lady and Trish are around and that’s the gist of the story when you start up. I’m not going to spoil how wild things end up because the story goes places and for a game not lauded for its plot much, I was genuinely surprised by how well the story was told, and the surprises it had in store for me as I progressed through it.
While most of the action is tried and true the game does feature a number of changes. In terms of plot, while the structure of the game is familiar to any returning veterans the way the story is laid out is a bit unusual. Dante, Nero and newcomer V are all playable and who you play as is largely based on the story-line. Every new and then a chapter will allow you a choice of character but for the most part the game will dictate who you are using at any given moment.
The story-line itself is also told in a non linear fashion. The game will constantly shift and weave forward and backwards through time. It’s an initially confusing way to tell the story but after a couple chapters the full picture comes into view and the jumps in time will become clear. While it seems limiting all three characters are a blast to play, and provide enough unique upgrades and skills that any one of the three could power an entire game by themselves.
The return of Dante and Nero also brings a return to their gameplay. Nero, losing an arm from the onset is given a set of prosthetic arms called Devil Breakers. His friend Nico, the latest gaming trend towards pretty mechanics drives a super van that can be called upon to perform upgrades for the team. Part of the upgrades are numerous devil breakers for Nero to buy, equip and make loadouts with. Each one is vastly different and brings unique attacks and gameplay styles with them. however each arm is limited, and after several uses will break and leave you without an arm until you pick up more strewn about his stages,
Nero also uses his trusty blue rose and red queen, fully rounding out his arsenal with the ex gauge timings and special attacks you expect if you played the previous game. Dante also returns with just about every trick in the book you would expect and even a little bit more. He has the ability to swap between four different sets of melee weapons, ranged weapons, and fighting styles. Dante seems purely built to be a combo creators dream. His flexibility with the real time switching between gun, sword and style can truly lead to spectacular moments in combat.
V, the mysteriously Klyo Ren-esque new character is where the gameplay changes the most. He is a radical departure from Nero and Dante, as he is weaker and more frail than his buddies. V is a summoner, and has three different companions he can summon to help him in combat. Griff, Shadow, and the leviathan Nightmare are his three summons and they are the backbone of his combat. V, cant actually physically attack his foes, and his summons, cant finish anybody. When an enemy is weakened, V has to go up to them and finish them off and until he does that enemy will not die.
This mechanic truly pushes V into a different category of action. managing his summons, his own positioning and keeping track of which enemy you have to finish off next all at once feels akin to spinning four plates while trying to say the alphabet backwards. It’s a lot to take in, and he probably has the largest skill gap in the game but when you dig into his style the carnage on screen is unmatched by any other action game. A panther uppercutting an enemy while a bird is juggling them with lightning while your riding on the back of a giant is a sight to behold, and I found myself gravitating to V whenever I had a choice of character to use simply because his style is completely unique in this genre.
Outside of the traditional gameplay and game structure, the one unique mechanic introduced is social co-op. At various moments through the campaign the characters will often cross paths or have sight lines of each other. If networking is turned on other online players will seamlessly fill the roles instead of AI, and although its a small touch it goes a long way towards creating some truly epic moments during the campaign. I hope to see this co-op come back for the free Bloody Palace update that is launching shortly as well.
Rounding out the package are the visuals and performance that you can expect from the RE engine. Absolutely stunning graphics are front and center alongside a blistering frame-rate. No matter which platform you will play this on, it will look incredible and perform great.
The same great tone is also represented with the games audio design. Each character is voiced well and the music hits hard and brings plenty of corny rock into the mix in the best way possible. Devil Trigger is a great theme, and even though the other main battle tracks cant compete it’s still solid. The older battle tracks are available as DLC if you want to jam to some classic tunes instead.
Overall Devil May Cry 5, like Resident Evil 2 and Monster Hunter World before it is a fantastic entry in a classic franchise. Modernizing the visuals and story while maintaining the combat depth the series is known for leads to the best case scenario for veterans and newcomers alike.