From the get-go, Devil May Cry was a franchise that offered a sort of escapism. Being this badass Devil Hunter that can hack and slash through demons with heavy metal blasting in the background, sounds like a power fantasy. With abilities far beyond what the human body can handle, it does offer a form of wish fulfillment that many of us can only experience through fiction.
Devil May Cry 5 is no different. It comes at you, just oozing with style. Almost everything about this game was made to be flashy. Lovingly made and handcrafted by its developers to give their audiences a thrill. And what better way to do that by coming back with everything you’ve got after 11 long years of absence?
Playing Devil May Cry 5 is like meeting an old friend you haven’t seen in a long time. Much of its gameplay, characters, and general atmosphere carry a sense of familiarity with it. But much improved and refined than that last time it was experienced. The game has aged like fine wine.
If style could be materialized, it would be Devil May Cry 5. Just about everything in this game was made to be visually appealing–the graphics, the artwork, and the environment. That’s not to say that looking good is the only thing this game does. But if it could be judged on looks alone, then Devil May Cry 5 gets a perfect score.
Graphics are amazing on this game. Built from the impressive RE Engine, Devil May Cry 5 can be downright photo-realistic in its character models. And its cutscenes are downright jaw-dropping.
Unlike its previous entries, Devil May Cry 5 introduces a more mature story. Characters curse more frequently and the game isn’t shy on how it shows what a nightmare demons really are if you aren’t half-human. The opening shows Dante losing to a powerful demon, and it really sets the tone well for the rest of the game.
Devil May Cry 5 is a hack-and-slash game and much of it revolves around fighting the forces of hell. But it’s not how you dispatch your foes that make the gameplay fun; it’s in how stylish you make it look. To put it in simple terms, it’s basically chaining and varying together your attacks while avoiding getting yourself hit. The more you pull off insane, high-speed combos the higher your score gets; the higher your score gets, the better the rewards.
Combat mechanics can be incredibly complex, more so on Dante’s side. Mastering them can take some practice to get used to. That being said, it is possible to get by with just button mashing if you’re a beginner but not always. Finding ways to chain together your combos can be very rewarding. But it can be a bit difficult to adapt to the move-sets of three different characters you’ll play as.
Nero is essentially Devil May Cry 5’s main protagonist. While the other two do have their own story, Nero is most certainly the center of attention. If you’ve played Devil May Cry 4, then you should have some familiarity with his move-set.
Out of the three protagonists, Nero’s move-set is the most relatively simple. Despite that, he’s still fairly complex and can chain together some pretty sick moves with his Blue Rose and Red Queen. You can blast enemies away and hack-and-slash them to death.
Much of what Nero does revolves around his new Devil Breakers. Its this robotic arm with multiple different functions that you can use at your own leisure. Gerbera gives you air mobility allowing you more movement to dodge attacks. Punchline can allow you to send your arm flying at the enemy over by the distance. And Overture basically sends enemies flying away in shock.
The catch is, is that these Devil Breakers are extremely fragile. If you get hit while in the middle of using them even once, then they get destroyed, forcing you to put on another one. So you really need to think before you act with them.
The newest character to enter the fold. V carries a more tactical arsenal to dispatch his foes. Out of the three protagonists, V is the weakest. He isn’t strong enough to dispatch demons himself and thus has to rely on his demonic pets to do damage for him.
You may find him a bit difficult to play as. You have to keep an eye on 2 of your demon pets as well as your own health. It can be difficult to keep track of what’s happening on the field. And you may frequently find one of your pets knocked down in a state called stalemate if you simply pay attention to one. And during this state, V’s ability to dodge is severely minimized. As he cannot move around much, dodging effectively demands that he summons one of his pets back to get him out of harm’s way.
While demon pets are powerful, they can never really kill demons themselves. This forces you to put V near them once their health is low enough to deliver the finishing blow. And this does carry several risks. As V, you want to stay as far away as possible from enemies as he has no real means of defending himself other than his pet demons.
If you’re having a hard time, you can always summon Nightmare, a giant titan that destroys enemies in front of you. Unlike the other two of V’s pets, Nightmare can make do without instruction and has infinite health. So you don’t have to worry about him. You’ll most likely be relying on this guy to do the heavy lifting when there’s too much to handle.
Dante is definitely one of the most iconic characters in gaming. And he makes a big comeback in Devil May Cry 5, albeit not really playable until much later on. This is due to the circumstances of the story. And once you do get a hold of him, his move-set can be quite overwhelming. As Dante has four different styles, four different guns, and four different melees to choose from. You can switch them anytime you want during gameplay.
To many, this can be quite overwhelming. Out of the three protagonists, Dante has the most complex move-set and will take some time to get used to. But once you do, you’ll be able to pull off deadly attacks that will make Nero and V’s combos look tame in comparison.
Getting used to changing styles alone can be incredibly difficult. As each style introduces an element that can change the way you play him. His styles are also upgradable, so you’ll always have more to learn on your plate than you can stomach. That not even touching how this affects the many weapons he can get during his part of the game.
While Dante’s styles do follow the same patterns of older Devil May Cry games, it is more newly improved to catch up with the game’s new engine. But older fans will still find his four styles to be largely familiar. Trickster allows him to dodge enemies at a rapid pace, Swordmaster gives him new move-sets for his melee, Gunslinger allows him to do more with his guns, and Royalguard allowing him to block enemy attacks when timed correctly.
Dante also brings back his Devil Trigger, which allows access to more devastating versions of his old moves as well as regenerate health. With everything this legendary devil hunter has in his arsenal, he can honestly seem rather overpowered at times.
Devil May Cry 5 is honestly one of the easiest installments in the series. And feels far more forgiving than it has any right to be. Its combat never really pushes you to learn to survive as much as it encourages you to be stylish. The two initial difficulties, Human and Devil Hunter, aren’t too challenging themselves. You unlock higher difficulties as you progress, but there’s this feeling that the game should’ve offered Son of Sparda difficulty from the start.
Speaking of unlocking difficulties, the game highly encourages repeated playthroughs. In fact, almost feels like the game was made for longevity. Without spoiling it, the game introduces a new gameplay mechanic right after the game ends and you’re going to wonder if it carries over to another playthrough. It does. And it greatly changes the way you play a specific character.
That’s not to even mention upgrading your characters through Nico, a fresh face introduced to the series. Through her, you can upgrade your skills or get new ones, get new devil breakers, or even increase your health. She’s accessible every after mission, or strangely enough, still-working payphones being located in the strangest of places.
Since some of the upgrades on the store can be rather pricey, you will be encouraged to explore levels to find more red orbs, the currency of the game. Thankfully, if you do really well on missions then you get more orbs to spend.
Boss fights are some of the most memorable in the game. And despite how easy most of Devil May Cry 5 is, the boss battles really do push you to learn the patterns as these bosses to a lot of damage. They can really push you to be in the defensive and think more carefully on your approach as they don’t stagger like most enemies when attacked.
For people who wish to practice their combos, Capcom thankfully gave us The Void, which is essentially practice mode to help us get used to chaining combos. And even if you do lose, the game can be forgiving as it allows you to revive using precious Gold Orbs or a certain number of Red Orbs to try again. But unlike previous Devil May Cry’s, this entry doesn’t allow you to heal at your leisure. While you can find health items scattered throughout the environment, you can’t use items on the menu to heal yourself. Which makes sense as the game is already easy enough as is.
Devil May Cry 5 reintroduces some of the already established characters in the franchise. In itself, their reappearances almost feel like fanservice to people who have waited so long for a numbered installment of the series. Though it is disappointing that Kyrie herself, one of Nero’s biggest motivations for fighting, only has a voice cameo.
While older characters do make a comeback, they don’t exactly overstay their welcome. In fact, they barely really have much of an appearance. Which is mildly disappointing as well. But don’t let that stop you from playing the game. It’s a bit of a letdown that these characters don’t really serve any purpose than being a cameo. While it’s understandable that they can’t cram everything into the story. Capcom does a fine job for the game that it’s forgivable.
The story Devil May Cry 5 has to offer is excellent. While it isn’t the best writing out there. It may be the best story the series has to offer, going all out on its lore and characters. There are also quite a few callbacks that older fans will appreciate.
Devil May Cry 5 is an amazing game. It is a must-own for fans of the hack-and-slash genre. Chaining combos feel fresh and there’s always the motivation to do better. Nothing gives you an adrenaline rush quite like killing demons with heavy metal in the background. And for that, this game is highly recommended by us.
If you haven’t played any of the previous entries, it isn’t necessary. As the game does allow you to get a quick recap of the history of Devil May Cry if you so choose. Nico also keeps an extensive library of information about characters and lore if you’re into reading. All of this is implemented into the game to make sure you’re never lost with who’s who.
Disclosure: This review is based on a review code provided by Capcom. Read our review policy to know how we go with our game reviews.
Tested on: PS4