About five weeks removed from the smash hit Resident Evil 2 remake, Capcom’s busy 2019 stays hot with Devil May Cry 5; a proper (and long overdue) continuation of the popular action-adventure series.
Title: Devil May Cry 5
Platforms: Xbox One (version reviewed), PlayStation 4, PC
Release date: March 8, 2019
Stepping into Devil May Cry 5 is like returning home for the first time. Time has passed, and things have clearly changed, but there’s a familiarity there that can never be lost, and reclaiming that feeling once more is emotionally satisfying.
Devil May Cry 5 sticks to the core values and roots of the series, maintaining a healthy balance of macabre and comedy. It’s a game that recognizes the silliness of its over-the-top action and flamboyant cast of characters and remembers to not take itself too seriously even in its darkest moments.
With the excellent RE Engine, Capcom has painted a beautifully grotesque world that mashes the home environments of demons and humans together. As the story progresses, these worlds begin to combine more and more into one cohesive unit. There is a great deal of surrealism that creates strong diversity in mission-to-mission setting and gives the player more to explore and discover.
This is now Capcom’s third release with the RE Engine, and it follows in the footsteps of its predecessors in being a visually remarkable work of art. Every character model has been gorgeously sculpted in a way that teeters on photorealism, matching that of their fleshed-out environments. This is as good as visuals can get on the current generation of consoles, and Devil May Cry 5 deserves to be applauded for such an achievement.
From the gritty streets and sewers of Red Grave City to the malformed botanical fortress of the Qliphoth tree, players will hack and slash their way through hundreds of demons to reach the game’s main antagonist, Urizen.
Players will struggle to get the hang of the game’s combo mechanics early on but can work on their skills in The Void, an extensive training mode that allows players to work on their fighting technique against whichever enemy they desire. As more progress is made in the game, players will be granted access to more combos and abilities to make style point grinding significantly easier.
All three playable characters bring their own unique style and strengths, but also have some weaknesses in terms of viability and overall enjoyment. Occasionally, players will have the freedom of selecting whichever character they prefer, though most missions are tied down to one specific character.
Each character has their own set of upgrades that can be purchased with Red Orbs, though I’d recommend players to mainly focus their resources on the progression of Nero and Dante. There are only a few mandatory missions for V, and his gameplay was too underwhelming for me to select him over his two counterparts when prompted.
To be more specific, V is a tactical character who commands the demon equivalents of a panther and a raven to do his bidding from afar. The panther, Shadow, acts as V’s sword, while the raven, Griffon, is the gun. The only time V is hands-on in combat is to finish off an enemy after its life has been drained. He does have some flashy combo potential, so his gameplay isn’t entirely boring, but it’s the least eventful of the three protagonists.
Nero is the most utilized character of the three, and thankfully his fighting style is a lot more engaging than V’s. Now equipped with a new robotic arm called the Devil Bringer, Nero can grapple toward enemies or pluck them for a fun mixture of ground and air combos.
As players dive deeper into the story, more Devil Bringers can be purchased from Nero’s partner Nico. Each Devil Bringer has a unique ability that can be used as a combo extender, or even help the player reach secret areas and shortcuts they otherwise wouldn’t be able to. It’s a fun system that adds a few more strategic options entering each mission.
The most enjoyable character, of course, is the face of the series; Dante. Swords, nunchucks, pistols, shotguns, rocket launchers, and even a magical hat—Dante has it all. And no, I did not forget about his motorcycle that can break in half and be used as dual-wielding buzzsaws.
But Dante has so much stuff in his arsenal that it’s hard not to overlook or forget at least one thing. This doesn’t even account for the four different fighting styles players can easily switch between mid-battle that specifically affect each of Dante’s weapons.
Swords, nunchucks, pistols, shotguns, rocket launchers, and even a magical hat—Dante has it all.
Having all of these tools at your disposal can be overwhelming at times, and the one downside to it is that it can make going back to V or Nero feel restrictive and less rewarding. Depending on your style of play, however, that could also be looked at as a positive as some may view Dante as the game’s “easy mode.”
No matter which character you choose, though, the combat is a heap of fun. Even in the case of V, there is still a lot of room for experimentation, and landing a complex combo string to a SSS style rank is ultimately very satisfying.
The gameplay in Devil May Cry 5 isn’t groundbreaking by any means, but it stays true to its origins and allows players creative freedom to push boundaries and make their personal experience with the game unique.
By far, my favorite aspect of Devil May Cry 5 was the boss design. Both beautiful and brutally revolting, the bosses in this game are some of the most visually unique of any action-adventure title this decade. Too often have I seen games either entirely miss the mark or show off one or two visually appealing bosses that wind up being rehashed as common enemies later on. This is not the case in Devil May Cry 5, and it’s extremely refreshing.
On more than one occasion, I felt legitimately excited to reach a mission’s end to see what the next boss had in store. I was rarely disappointed, only having felt let down when a mission did not have a boss. But even the designs of the game’s general enemies are genuinely intriguing, with a handful of the mini-bosses that appear from time to time having some of the best designs in the game.
With 20 story missions in all, players are looking at roughly a 12-15 hour experience on a first playthrough, though it could easily be rushed through in just a matter of hours. Completionists and diehard fans alike, however, will be pleased to hear that the game has more to offer after the final credits roll, including New Game Plus (called Son of Sparda).
A copy of this game was provided to App Trigger for the purpose of this review. All scores are ranked out of 10, with .5 increments. Click here to learn more about our Review Policy.