It would seem Capcom’s stock has never been brighter. Following the success of Monster Hunter: World, Resident Evil 7, and Resident Evil 2, things are pointing towards a golden age for the Japanese game developer, especially in the eyes of a new generation.
And Devil May Cry 5 continues that remarkable run, off the back of gorgeous visuals, top-notch combat, and a perfectly paced campaign that weaves in three unique playstyles that demand your attention.
Right from the start, Devil May Cry 5 throws you into the deep end against the demon king Urizen, as play Nero. While you are meant to lose, it is a testament to the finely tuned combat that you can actually beat him, and achieve a hilarious alternate ending.
The story will jump around different time periods after the loss to Urizen, rotating between Nero, Dante, and the mysterious V, while recounting the rise of the demon king. The enigma that is V fuels much of the curiosity in Devil May Cry 5, as well as Urizen, and it is definitely an enjoyable and intriguing ride trying to figure how they all fit in the lore.
Throughout the 9-10 hours spent decimating demons and saving the world, the appreciation for how Devil May Cry 5 tells a captivating tale while providing satisfying payoffs for longtime fans only grows. However, it would all be for nought if it were not backed up by its truly stellar combat that the Devil May Cry series has always been known for.
One button press for melee, one for ranged, and another for Nero’s Devil Breaker, Dante’s style technique, or V’s finishing blow – it is a simple enough system to get. There is also an Auto-assist mode that can help beginners perform elaborate and visually awesome combos by mashing attack.
Still, for the more technically inclined, there is an astounding amount of depth and freedom afforded to veterans to truly go wild. Both Dante and Nero boasts their respective swords and firearms, but the unique mechanics for the demon hunters stand on their own.
Nero’s Devil Breakers, disposable armaments made by the new character, Nico, provide differing abilities both on the ground and in the air.
You could start things off with Punchline, an arm that independently punches an enemy and keeps them in place. And as the arm returns, Nero can ride on it like a supernatural hoverboard and perform humiliating and damaging stunts. If foes are closing in, you can escape easily by expanding your current arm and back away explosively.
With eight different Devil Breakers, there is much to experiment with and master, and Nero can augment that with the Exceed ability, revving and igniting his sword which grants increased damage.
Dante, with his four styles of Swordmaster, Royal Guard, Gunslinger, and Trickster, will feel familiar to those with experience with Devil May Cry 4. Swapping at will, together with four different weapons and four firearms, Dante is equipped for any and all situations.
Like teaching old dogs new tricks, Dante’s arsenal mixes in the old with the new, tweaking familiar weapons and adding new techniques. Fancy a magical motorcycle that can cleave your enemies apart, or elemental nunchucks with a rocket launcher, this instalment offers the whole nine yards.
When all things fail, there is always his Devil Trigger, where the Son of Sparda metamorphosizes into a powerful demon. With an updated moveset and weapons, the possibilities are only limited by your execution and imagination.
Finally, we have V, whose combat style offers a fresh, new challenge. Eschewing much of the combat, V summons three familiars that do the dirty work. Griffon is his ranged option, a bird that brings electricity to the battlefield.
Shadow the black panther morphs into varying melee appendages, while the gigantic beast, Nightmare, wreaks havoc autonomously once summoned, usually through a wall or falling spectacularly from the sky.
Effective use of these companions can take some learning, even with locking on. Their respective positions and directions determine their attacks, although enhancing them with V’s Devil Trigger allows autonomous attacking while you keep V’s frail body away from harm.
V’s familiars cannot kill, however, needing V to apply the finishing blow with his cane like a teleporting gentleman of doom. These kills, when chained together, are some of the best action sequences you will get in Devil May Cry 5, and that is saying a lot.
All these would not function well without interesting enemies to test your mettle against, and fortunately, we have those in spades. From easy bug fodder to their more terrifying demon brethren, it is a joy to fight in Devil May Cry 5. This extends to each of the bosses as well, throwing a variety of archetypes that will yield only to strategy and cunning.
It would not be Devil May Cry if there were no red orbs to spend, and there are plenty of upgrades for all three characters and their various weapons, all reasonably priced except for one particular technique. Much has been made about microtransactions that allow players to purchase red orbs with real money, but thankfully, there was never a need, given the game’s pacing.
Be it movement or combat, there is no doubt this is the most stylish and memorable Devil May Cry to date. The animations are beautiful, and every moment is delightful on the senses. And if you need more evidence of how Devil May Cry 5 is so self-assuredly confident, just marvel at this (minor spoilers):
While Devil May Cry 5 offers a solid enough challenge at the base difficulty (Devil Hunter), the game offers plenty of replay value with four more escalating levels of difficulty for the masochistic. Playing on Hell and Hell is no joke, and here’s a salute to any and all gamers who can overcome its unique changes.
That said, the crux of Devil May Cry has always been more about achieving SSS ranks in combat more than anything else, and replaying levels with new techniques only adds to the fun. Devil May Cry 5 is truly a magnificent package that has a substantial amount of content for players to go through.
Despite the long wait, Devil May Cry 5 has emerged as the best in the series. With its magnificent combat, riveting tale, and style oozing out of every corner, the trio of Nero, Dante, and V brings back sweet memories and an even sweeter future.
GEEK REVIEW SCORE
Setting a new bar, Devil May Cry 5 is the perfect blend of action and style delivered in inch-perfect portions.
Gameplay - 10/10
Story - 9/10
Presentation - 10/10
Value - 10/10