Capcom decided to burst through the floodgates with a bang this year with some heavy hitters. First, they unleashed the horrors of Raccoon City with the sensational remake of Resident Evil 2. Now, after years of waiting, they’ve brought us Devil May Cry 5, over a decade after Devil May Cry 4. Is this a dismal entry in the series? Or is it full of smokin’ sexy style?
Devil May Cry 5 ignores the reboot of DmC: Devil May Cry and continues years after the fourth entry in the series. Protagonists Nero and Dante are fighting a new threat, but this time accompanied by a mysterious man named V. When faced by a powerful demon that absorbed Nero’s right arm, these three must do what it takes to restore order.
Each of the three protagonists are radically different in their styles. Starting out with Nero, his moveset from Devil May Cry 4 returns with a few notable upgrades. He’ll still have the Red Queen sword and his Blue Rose revolver, but his Devil Bringer will be quite different this time around. With the help of his work partner Nico, he’ll have access to a multitude of weaponized prosthetic arms to replace his missing limb. Now known as the Devil Breaker, Nero will have a vastly expanded moveset based on the arms he has equipped.
The Devil Breaker offers a lot of options for players to customize their moveset for Nero. Gerbera moves Nero around in the air with ease using rocket propelled boosts while Ragtime can slow down time. A personal favorite of mine is Punch Line, which sends Nero’s arm off like a homing missile to deal multiple hits. Even better, you can ride it and deal damage using various tricks. This new arm can also bring enemies closer to Nero, or bring him closer to them. The Devil Breaker was exactly what Nero needed to make him more fun to use while still keeping his unique traits from DMC4. It’s also worth noting that the Devil Breaker is a consumable, and if attacked while using it, the arm will break and load the next one in your magazine.
Next up, we have V, the enigmatic newcomer that uses familiars in battle. V is a great addition to the series, offering a unique style to his gameplay. Using three familiars, Shadow, Griffon and Nightmare, V can attack his enemies while avoiding danger. When the enemies are about to die, then V can use his cane to come in for the kill. Shadow performs all of V’s close range attacks while Griffon deals damage from a distance. Nightmare acts as V’s Devil Trigger, arriving like a meteor to bring devastation upon V’s foes. As players get accustomed to V, they’ll slowly uncover more of his origins. Trust me, it gets pretty crazy.
Finally, we get to Dante, the original hero of the series. Fans may be familiar with Dante’s ability to change weapons on the fly, and it works great in Devil May Cry 5. He’ll always have his trusty sword, as well as Ebony & Ivory, but players will gain new weapons during the journey. Dante will also have his style choices, allowing players to choose between Trickster, Swordmaster, Gunslinger, and Royalguard. This allows players to switch up their moves with ease, feeling as good as ever.
Style is the name of the game with this franchise, and Devil May Cry 5 is no different. Players will have to mix up their moves and do well to maintain their style gauge, aiming for the coveted SSS. For newcomers to the series, the game offers an assist option that helps to perform stylish action regardless of skill. It is of course just an option, as series veterans can easily ignore this and pull off the action with their own sick skills. Fans may be happy to know that the lock-on ability is more important than ever too, especially for V.
Enemy variety starts small, but more enemies are introduced throughout the game. Each one requires a different approach and it helps to adapt players to new changes. Bosses are unique as well, offering challenging yet rewarding fights that keep you on your toes. It helps that the enemy design is so varied, with some resembling insects, others going to full blown armored knights.
Defeating enemies will earn red orbs which can then be used to buy new abilities and upgrades. Players can do this between missions as usual, but a new entertaining option can still show up during missions. Occasionally, players will come across a payphone. Using this phone can summon Nico and her Devil May Cry van to the scene, which often adds to the presentation. It’s worth mentioning that other collectibles like blue orb fragments and gold orbs will always do the same “item obtained” sequence, which gets annoying after a while.
Speaking of presentation, Devil May Cry 5 proudly displays high quality production values all throughout. The graphics are gorgeous, using Capcom’s RE Engine in a way that makes Devil May Cry feel more realistic, yet still maintaining the series charm. Gameplay is presented in a mostly smooth 60fps (depending on platform), and looks phenomenal to boot. Cutscenes are also done with fantastic animation and choreography, making it a treat to watch the insanity on screen. The music is also full of badass tracks like “Devil Trigger” and “Subhuman”, among many others. Newcomers can also enjoy a nice “History of DMC” video to catch them up on the series.
Reuben Langdon returns as Dante, bringing his snarky attitude and cool charm to the character. His performance is just one of the many reasons why the character works so well, and I wouldn’t want it any other way. Johnny Yong Bosch also reprises his role as Nero, providing a savage rendition of the more rebellious hero. Both Nero and Dante have some pretty hilarious moments too, which fans are sure to enjoy. Finally, the sultry and somber V is given life by Brian Hanford, who does great for his DMC debut.
Environments are gloriously detailed with a variety of locales. Red Grave City sets an apocalyptic tone as the city is on the verge of collapse from a demon threat. Classic Gothic architecture still finds a way to make an appearance too, as it tradition in the series. Areas are full of roots from the Qliphoth, a demon tree that is at the very center of the story. Inside the Qliphoth is filled with a labyrinth of organic tunnels and cavities. Since it’s an environment that gets visited often, it does eventually grow a little repetitive. It’s also where some of the level design has the most issues, as players will likely fall past some platforms or even miss sections entirely.
Devil May Cry 5 decided to try something new with its trio of playable characters. Trying out a non-traditional multiplayer mode, the game offers the new cameo system. During certain missions, players will come across other players as the other characters. Sometimes this means a player will be fighting in the background, but others might have them in the battle with you. These players can either be present in real time, or through ghost data provided over the internet. It’s a cool feature and really makes the world feel more involved, even if you’re just watching a replay of another character.
As said before, this is another heavy hitter from Capcom’s stable in 2019. Devil May Cry 5 is intense, stylish, and full of over-the-top action that fans will likely love. Without spoiling too much, the story answers several questions and even delivers some welcome interactions. It even sneaks some fan service into a few places. While it suffers from a couple poor design choices, Devil May Cry 5 overcomes these flaws with solid gameplay and fantastic presentation.