It’s been 11 years since we last got a Devil May Cry game actually developed in-house by Capcom, with the 2013 reboot (which I loved by the way) developed by Ninja Theory. So with 11 long years passed, does Devil May Cry 5 hold up compared to previous instalments in the series now that we’re in 2019?
Devil May Cry 5 is set about 7 years after Devil May Cry 4, fans of the series will know that protagonist Dante, owns a demon hunting agency, which adds as somewhat of a front for his world-saving antics. Nero, who was a playable character in the DMC4, who was then greeted with a mixed reaction from fans, also owns a demon hunting agency, located in a mobile van with the awesome Nico, who is a master weapon crafter full of southern American charm. However, when a mysterious character simply known as V walks into Dante’s agency with a job to hunt, track down and slay a demon by the name of Urizen. It is insisted that both Trish and Lady accompany Dante on this job, and when their paths eventually cross with Nero, it soon becomes apparent that this is no mere run of the mill job, and perhaps more than just the fate of the world is at stake.
Powered by Capcom’s in-house engine, the RE Engine, which has previously been used on Resident Evil 7 and the Resident Evil 2 remake, Devil May Cry 5 offers as a fantastic example of how versatile this engine really is. The Resident Evil games powered by the RE Engine are of course much slower paced to that of DMC5, but considering how fast paced this game is and an entirely different genre at that, in most cases it seems that the game appears to perform very close to 60fps and when you consider how highly detailed the visuals alone are, that’s a very impressive feat to say the least.
Throughout the entire series, as well as the 2013 DmC reboot, one of the strongest aspects, other than its leading characters, is the fantastic enemy design and DMC5 is no exception. At quick glance during a fight, the gruesome enemy design looks fantastic alone, but when the action is briefly paused to introduce a new enemy type, at close inspection, the enemies are created with the utmost detail and fit perfectly into the world of DMC. And that’s just talking about the normal everyday grunts of DMC, and not even going into the at times quite brilliant bosses that you will encounter during your playthrough. I won’t say anything more about the bosses, because I don’t want to take away from the “WTF?” encounters.
As already stated, DMC5 seems to run as close as you can get to 60fps on a console (at least on the PS4 Pro); this is fast and frantic action at its best, a luxury 5-Star serving from the finest Capcom Hotel. But with DMC5 having a total of three playable characters, what do they each bring to the table? In DMC5, Dante has at least two new Devil Arms to play with a motorcycle called Cavaliere, which can be split into two as a slow, but heavy hitting pair of weapons. And there’s the melee focused Balrog Gauntlets, for close-quarter combat. But for me, having the old faithful sword Sparda is always my preference, as it has a good mixture of range, speed and damage. But being able to switch between the two mid fisty cuffs adds a great tactical advantage and is a great way to earn you some bonus stylish points. Dante will unlock a variety of weaponry for the Devil Arms, but I won’t reveal them here.
Dante will also be armed with fire arms such as his iconic Ebony & Ivory pistols, his Coyote Shotgun and more weapons are you progress further into the game. Additionally, just like in recent instalments, Dante can switch fighting styles on the go with the use of the D-Pad. Such as the Trickster, which is more about speed and movement, Gunslinger offers range, Swordmaster for close range combos and Royalguard for something a little more defensive and counter based. Dante will also be powered by his Devil Trigger ability, which has somewhat of an evolution in DMC5. Likewise, both Nero and V have their own Devil Trigger equivalents, Nero offering extra harnessed powers for his Devil Breakers and V unleashes a huge, powerful demon called Nightmare.
Nero’s Devil Breaker arm, can now equip a variety of devastating arms (8 including 1 being DLC), each with unique powers and abilities and his Devil Bringer is as great as always at pulling in enemies who may appear to be out of reach. You can also choose various loadouts of Devil Breakers, so knowing which to use for a particular mission or boss fight can be a handy strategy. Nico, in the Nero’s portable demon hunting agency, will craft new Devil Breakers for you to purchase and equip. Likewise, she will also work her wonders for Dante and V, as well as selling new abilities and items in exchange for Red Orbs. Nero is also armed with his Red Queen sword and Blue Rose double-barrelled revolver.
Finally the third and new playable character V, offers something different to the series. V will prefer not to fight enemies head-on at close range like Dante and Nero, but instead he will keep somewhat of a safe distance from imminent danger. In doing so, he commands the powers of mystical beings, Griffon, a cocky demonic bird that uses lighting based attacks from a high vantage point and Shadow, a powerful panther that unleashes mighty spikes and blades from its body into the enemy. And finally, we have Nightmare, who V brings forth into the fight by activating his Devil Trigger ability. Nightmare will fight enemies on his own freewill as you do your thing. I must also say, that being used to how Dante and Nero play, I was a little unsure whether or not I would like V, but once I got used to his play-style, in his unique way, I was having great fun playing as V, in his quite badass, dark and mopey kind of way.
Quite surprisingly, DMC5 includes online multiplayer, but not in the way that you might think. Called the Cameo system, how this work is that a fellow online player, will join in on certain missions. For example, in some missions, you will get the choice of playing as either Dante, Nero or V. So if you choose Dante, the game will find two other players to take control or Nero and V, without the need of waiting for the game to matchmake as it is all linked seamlessly in the background. In some other cases, you may not even notice that another player is involved in your mission, as sometimes you might see them in the background on another sub-path doing their thing as one of the other playable characters. Sometimes they’ll be fighting the good fight alongside you and sometimes, they’ll be doing some unsung work.
You can switch this feature off if you wish; you can even filter it to only select players from your friend-list. But coming from someone that suffers with anxiety at the best of times, even when playing online, the Cameo system is the most unobtrusive form of multiplayer that I have ever encountered and I feel you’d be missing out if you turned it off. You won’t even have to verbally communicate with the player, as there is no voice-chat enabled. Plus at the end of each level, you can rate your fellow player and if they rate your skills, you’ll be rewarded with in-game goodies and vice versa.
In terms of soundtrack, it doesn’t matter which game in the series you play, the music has always been fantastic and high octane, and that remains the case here too. For a soundtrack that is quite heavy at times with its style, it’s also quite oddly subtle. But what it does do is get you pumped for the fight in hand and does an excellent job in getting you hyped, especially during boss battles. So extra credit must go to the fantastic work done by composer Kota Suzuki, likewise, each and every character is portrayed brilliant by their representing voice-actor with all the added charm and swagger that one would expect from this series.
Now of course, as great as DMC5 is, no game is perfect, so I have to at least attempt to find some kind of fault. So if I was to be picky, I find that the game ends quite abruptly with its conclusion. However, it does seem to bait a sequel, which I’m all for. DMC5 will also have microtransactions, which never sits well with fans, as it always puts questions against a grind of a game to entice players to jump the queue and power-up. In DMC5, microtransactions come in the form of buying Red Orbs and Blue Orbs from the digital marketplace, so that you can level-up quicker and purchase items. Prices range from 79p to £2.49 and going by past experiences with previous games in the series, the grind in DMC5 feels no different. As long as you search for hidden items and secrets, as well as collecting Orbs during the mission, you’ll be able to level-up at a natural rate in my opinion. With me, it often takes me at least two playthrough’s to fully level-up and I believe the microtransactions in DMC5 are no hindrance to the gameplay progression.
2019 has already been a standout year for Capcom with the likes of the Resident Evil 2 remake and now with Devil May Cry 5 and it’s mad to think that we’re still only in March! Despite being a game released towards the back-end of this console generation, DMC5 has all the style and flamboyance of the PlayStation 2 era, and that’s a great place to be at. Not since the original Devil May Cry in 2001 and maybe Devil May Cry 3 from 2005, have I had this exciting buzz from the series, with DMC5 offering a game that I struggle to put down and find it near impossible to be away from. Devil May Cry 5, is stylish, sexy and spectacular, and signals an epic return to form for this beloved series. This is a must own for fans, as Devil May Cry is back to its best!