As I’m writing this exact sentence, I’m already second guessing how to express my zealot like love and passion for the Devil May Cry series. I would first come across Devil May Cry in a trailer from Electronics Boutique on early Sky Box’s with the interactive feature (showing my age here lol), I watched Dante high-time a marionette with Alastor shoot it in mid-air with twin pistols Ebony and Ivory and suspend it there, the trailer oozed adventure, action, atmosphere and above all cool I was immediately enamoured and knew I needed a PS2 (which is a complicated story on how and when I would get one lol). The series is a combination of some of my favourite things such as gothic settings, over-the-top combat and stylish main characters, Hideki Kamiya conceived the game, but he created it for someone like me most definitely.
Yet despite all this love I hold for the series being a fan hasn’t always been easy, Devil May Cry 1 was a successful and acclaimed title but its sequel Devil May Cry 2 was utter trash, the follow-up Devil May Cry 3 wasn’t just a return to form but a benchmark for the series which subsequent sequel Devil May Cry 4-whilst good and very enjoyable- wouldn’t quite meet. Then came the ‘truest’ of terrors for DMC fans in D.m.C an act of pure violence towards DMC fans, that game would really splinter the fanbase and for me felt like an unwarranted betrayal that really threatened to take away my ability to enjoy Devil May Cry ever again.
E3 2018 Hideaki Itsuno and Matt Walker come on stage at the Xbox Conference and with full vim announce Devil May Cry 5. I was truly stunned, Capcom didn’t seem so Crap(com) anymore. Que the trailer I’m seeing Nero go to town on demons, his Devil Bringer being stolen by an unknown assailant, the Devil Breakers and the trailer ending with an older Dante riding out on a motorcycle. I’m happy but I’m slow to hype because I’m not liking Nero’s new appearance (looks a little too close to D.m.C Dante for me and honestly his fit is trash), sailorsteph tells me I’m tripping and that I should wait and see for more, she was right. More trailers, more gameplay and more time allow me to warm to Nero’s new look, he doesn’t look so bad right? Regardless it brings us to this very moment, game having been played and considerable time being poured into it. Did it deliver?
The graphical quality in Devil May Cry 5 is considerable not only in comparison to its predecessor Devil May Cry 4 but just by the game’s own merits. It’s been said that Devil May Cry games have always strived to have a realistic look despite the fantastical and hyperbolic elements it presents, the photo-realism seen in DMC 5 in characters such as Dante or Nero are the best efforts of the series so far to be as realistic as possible. I think what really sells you on how good graphically the game looks are when the camera pulls in for a cinematic finish when you defeat the last enemy on screen, it’s very satisfying to see how good they all look and how stylishly you might be finishing of the enemy. The high graphical quality also shows some of the great enemy designs in the game such as the Fury. Environments in Devil May Cry 5 are serviceable, in a first for the series it moves away from its gothic aesthetic and European architecture for a more metropolitan look with primary location Red Grave City being heavily designed to look like London, later environments become more demonic and chaotic but overall environments in DMC 5 are just forgettable arenas in which the action takes place.
The voice acting for the most part is top notch with Johnny Yong Bosch’s Nero being the best acted character, Reuben Langdon’s Dante is a good but has some spotty moments here and there, Brian Hanford is well cast to play new comer V and convey the mystery surrounding him. Dan Southworth returns to voice Vergil retaining the characters stoic and steely presence. The games soundtrack is memorable with some real adrenaline inducing tracks to start or maintain your excitement as you play, the iconic Devil Trigger still slaps with my favourite The Voltaic Black Knight being a real motivator, The Duel dripping with style and Silver Bullet being a memorable final track. DMC fans won’t be disappointed. Design wise Devil May Cry 5 is like its predecessors with a mission structure and grading at the end of said mission, it boasts a more interactive UI which makes load times long and can slow the pace of the game down as a result.
The gameplay in Devil May Cry 5 is fan-fucking-tastic! It’s the absolute best in the series. I can’t even try to build suspense in order to sing its praises, particularly with Nero and Dante I’m confident that players will feel power and satisfaction as they play as those characters, V is where it can become boring or even hard for some. New comer V plays vastly different from established characters Dante and Nero, where as the later are close-quarter combatants with ranged weapons V himself does not physically carry out the attacks instead depending on his familiars for both melee and ranged attacks with a 3rd tied to the Devil Trigger button that works autonomously, however, his familiars cannot kill enemies and V himself must strike the finishing blow in order to kill them. This leads to assumptions that V must play like a spellcaster in RPGs but that’s not right, Vs position relative to his familiars must be considered as inputs can be difficult from long range, Vs two primary familiars can also be commanded to fight autonomously of him which is tied to his Devil Trigger and V can also read his book in order to build his Devil Trigger. I feel V is simple enough to understand in terms of how he plays but like Dante and Nero does possess a high skill ceiling in order to utilise his character to the max and not so much achieve S-Ranks but just exhibit high level play. Our boy Nero is back and returns with a new prosthetic weapon (since his Devil Bringer was stolen lol) in Devil Breakers, there are a range of breakers for Nero to use and you can use the breakers continuously at your pleasure but doing so or being struck by an enemy whilst using one will lead to it breaking. You can’t swap between Devil Breakers like Devil Arms but you may eject your equipped Breaker-which breaks it-in order to equip and use another you have in your loadout. I can say with the entirety of my chest that Devil Breakers > Devil Bringer they are so much fun to that I would eject them at enemies as a kind of taunt because of how much freedom and variety to playing with Nero they gave me. Nero retains his iconic Red Queen and Blue Rose and plays much like he did in Devil May Cry 4, however, the breakers add a real mixture to Nero’s gameplay elevating it from DMC 4; Nero feels not only equipped to handle more situations, but his potential gameplay seems infinite now with the addition of the breakers. I honestly prefer the Breakers for Nero because they give him a scrappy demon hunter vibe in contrast to Dante’s omnipotent demon hunter vibe. Speaking of omnipotent The Legendary Demon Hunter Dante is no slouch himself in terms of his gameplay, Dante is at his apex in Devil May Cry 5 boasting his usual 4 styles, Devil Arms, Side Arms and Devil Trigger and thus will familiar to anyone whose played him. Dante remains the most versatile of the three protagonists with the most options to handle situations but still the most difficult to master, there are new elements to Dante’s gameplay such as the Sin Devil Trigger however the more fresh and new ways to play as Dante come in his weapons with some being familiar and others very new, there will be no end to DMC 5 videos on YouTube with players showcasing their own unique playstyles with Dante. Gameplay is absolutely king in Devil May Cry 5.
In terms of story Devil May Cry 5s is mediocre which is honestly a shame, Devil May Cry 5s story begins strong with potential but ultimately doesn’t lead to any sort of emotional pay-off like in Devil May Cry 3, the series is capable of doing great well told story as seen in Devil May Cry 3 which arguably DMC 5 tries to rehash but not very well. The story follows the emergence of a hellish tree known as the Qliphoth in the Human World which has attracted the attention of an unknown and new Devil King Urizen, Dante and later Nero are hired by the mysterious V to defeat Urizen who plans to use the Qliphoth to further increase his power. The story is told between the past and the current day. The early points of the games story strike a great tone with a real air of desperation and struggle as both Nero and (surprisingly) Dante are completely overwhelmed by Urizen, its upon the late game revelations that the story falls apart and the tone shifts in order to accommodate the return of fan favourite Vergil, like us the game wants to relish in the return of Vergil and suspends the world-altering events of the Qilphoth in order to indulge in the Dante/Vergil sibling rivalry only to then rush the resolution of the Qilphoth and completely ignore the crimes Vergil committed as Urizen. It is a genuine shame.
I’ve waited so long for Devil May Cry 5 even when I thought we might never see the series again, I’m happy I’m satisfied and I’m still playing the game long after I completed the story, I’m motivated to achieve S-Ranks amongst all the missions and do so for subsequent playthroughs on the higher difficulties. But above all Devil May Cry 5 makes me want to capture my gameplay and show as many people willing to watch my style and cool with these characters. Devil May Cry is BACK!!