Talk about a game franchise making a comeback. Devil May Cry 5 was a return to form for the franchise after the controversial DmC: Devil May Cry reboot.
Devil May Cry 5 was officially unveiled in Microsoft’s 2018 E3 Conference to the delight of many a Capcom fan who wanted to see this series come back. Hideaki Itsuno said it best: “DMC is back”. And it delivered on it’s promise.
The game is a natural evolution of the franchise in just about every way. Taking the thing mechanics that DmC: Devil May Cry did right and improving upon them while giving us the likable characters that make the Devil May Cry series what it is. Devil May Cry 5, alongside games like Monster Hunter World and Resident Evil 2 Remake made Capcom harken back to their glory days.
Let’s go into the specifics as to what makes this game great.
This game epitomizes what the franchise is all about: having fun with style. You play as three different characters: Nero, Dante & newcomer V and they are all very fun in their own way. They all play very differently as well and you have to get used to their style to be able to succeed. However, I do think V feels a bit unintuitive in comparison to both Nero and Dante.
All three bring something to the table that is their own. Nero is the aggressive style, Dante is the flashy, stylistic way while V is another thing altogether with summoning. They all have a learning curve that is very intuitive and fun which makes the New Game+ have more value. The game is similar to a fighting game in terms of intuitiveness, something that is quite apparent to the series. And considering it’s developer, it’s not surprising.
Nero is the first character you play as in the game. He is the most balanced of the three so he’s probably going to be the first character you master. His new Devil Breaker arms give him plenty of versatility and ease of access. Gerbera in particular is a very practical Devil Breaker for beginners to play with due to it’s ability for movement and easier combo potential.
Dante is actually the last one of the three main characters you play as and for good reason. He is easily the hardest one of the three to master but he is easily the most fun. Rebellion, Dr. Faust Hat, the Cavalier, Devil Trigger and later weapons give him the most amount of options in terms of weapons and skill upgrades. Like stated, this does make him the hardest to master but once you do, prepare for some of the most fun in the game.
The newcomer of the game and unfortunately the weakest of the three. V is the most unique of the three, using summons and familiars to attack enemies instead of himself but he does the killing blow. The thing with V is that he feels quite unintuitive at times. His style is also tricky to get used to in comparison to Nero and even Dante. That isn’t to say he isn’t fun or can’t be fun because he truly can. V’s Devil Trigger is awesome as he calls down Nightmare to clobber opponents and some of the ways he finishes enemies is brutally stylish. But one has to be the weakest link and V so happens to be it.
The gameplay itself is extremely satisfying, flashy, visceral and awesome the whole way through it’s campaign. The bosses are memorable and pretty big in scope, which makes them spectacles through and through. All the while having some of the best visuals in an action game and really awesome soundtrack on the side. The game gives you everything one needs to enjoy an action game and it delivers in spades.
The game can be a bit intimidating, however. Learning three different characters, learning them well and getting the huge amount of skills they have is daunting. This is especially true with Dante’s gameplay due to the sheer number of options he has with every weapon he possesses. This is all excluding the Devil Trigger options every character can learn.
However, all of these elements give it a humongous amount of replay ability. You unlock more moves and skills for every character, which incentivizes experimentation with those moves to increase your skill level. Add in the Bloody Palace and New Game+ and you have a game you can sink many hours into.
Do not let the sheer amount of options overwhelm or scare you. You can choose to play how you play, but the game expects and trusts you to get better at it and learning it’s intricacies. It’s not a hard game to learn, but it is hard to master.
Story & Narrative
The game focuses on Nero going on a quest to defeat the being known as Urizen to stop a worldwide apocalypse. All the while Dante is hired by this mysterious person only known as V to take on Urizen and defeat him. Throughout the story, more and more secrets unfold between all three of the main characters.
The story is exactly what it needs to be for a Devil May Cry game. A story that doesn’t take itself seriously, but with enough stakes and likable characters to keep you engaged all the way through. I think it’s the second best story in the series, only behind Devil May Cry 3.
Like stated previously, all of the characters are likable. Newcomers V and Nico are excellent additions to the roster with their own personalities and distinctions. Dante remains the same awesome goofball we’ve come to know and love but he’s also more wiser and mature from his experiences. Nero has gotten better as a character since Devil May Cry 4 and has cemented himself as a worthy successor to Dante.
The narrative is a pretty simple one, but it works because of it’s characters and it’s lighthearted tone. All of the characters take the situation with the right amount of seriousness and levity within the franchise. There’s even a good amount of well done drama by the end with the three main characters, making the final boss more impactful.
Visuals and Graphics
It’s pretty clear according to these pictures I’ve been showing you all that this game looks fantastic. It is one of the best looking action games of the 8th generation and it pretty much lets you know it at every corner you look in this game. The particle effects are top-notch, the textures and visual detail are extremely well done and the character models (especially Dante’s and Nico’s) are fantastic.
The environments all look excellent from a technical standpoint. Nothing looks noticeably off, everything fits. The demon locations are among the games strongest highlights from a visual standpoint. There are some very etherial looking environments by the end, however, which are straight up stunning in cutscenes.
Speaking of cutscenes, they are among Capcom’s best. Well directed, well choreographed, expertly voice acted from the cast and they all look visually stunning. They actually are some of the more grounded ones in Devil May Cry, but that doesn’t mean they are among it’s worst either.
If there is one complaint I have with the visuals is that I think the game needed more color. While the game from a technical aspect is superb, the color palette is pretty drab. While Devil May Cry has never been extremely colorful (Devil May Cry 4 being the exception), this game I think could have benefited from more color in it’s palette.
Sound and Music
The soundtrack is also really well done and crafted. All of us at this point know “Devil Trigger” and for good reason. It basically embodies everything about the game. The boss theme’s are excellent and themes against the final boss are some of the best in the series. The song “Legacy” is certainly a new take for a Devil May Cry song, but considering what it’s about, it makes sense and it works.
As mentioned earlier, the voice acting is splendid from everyone in the cast. Johnny Yong Bosch (Nero), Reuben Langdon (Dante) and Brian Hanford (V) all did spectacular jobs with their characters. Faye Kingslee gives a purposefully over the top accent with Nico, but her performance is still great, just like the rest of the cast.
As a whole, this is one of Capcom’s best work with the production values in a game. I dare say that this is one of the best looking games on an 8th generation system. The fact that it can handle the amount of chaos you get to see on screen at 1080p, 60FPS is very impressive.
Overall, I consider Devil May Cry 5 one of the best action games of the 8th generation. The game doesn’t waste time with anything. It just wants you to enjoy all it has to offer. It is a love letter to everything that is Devil May Cry. The characters, the story, the continuity within the stories, the bosses, the call backs, the dialogue, it’s a game that just wants you to have fun.
The game can be a bit difficult to get used to with the amount of styles you have available. This isn’t a fault for the game, but it’s something new players of the franchise should know before going in. It has a learning curve, but it’s deep and engaging enough that it you’ll want to come back for more. Like stated before, it’s like a fighting game in terms of replay ability, you back to get better at the game.
If you are an action fan, I highly recommend this game if you haven’t played. It’s the most accessible one in the series, which makes it very easy for beginners to jump into Devil May Cry. If you want to try out a full blown action game, this is one of the best ones to start off with. The possibility of this game having DLC is high with a certain character making a possible playable appearance. It’s one of the best action games that you can buy and gives you plenty of value for the price. Capcom, you done real good.