Posted on 19 Apr 2019 by L Coulsen

Devil May Cry 5

The Defence

Developer: Capcom
Publisher: Capcom
Genre: Action, Adventure
Platform: Consoles, PC
Review copy: No
Release date: No data.

The Prosecution

Minimum
Recommended
OS: Windows
CPU: Intel Core i5 4460
AMD FX 6300
VGA: Nvidia GeForce GTX 780 3GB
AMD Radeon R7 260x 2GB
RAM: 8 GB
HDD: 35 GB
DirectX: 11
Controller: Full
Mod Support: No
VR: No
FOV Slider: No
FPS Lock: 120+
OS: Windows
CPU: Intel Core i7 3770 @3.4 GHz
AMD FX 9590
VGA: Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060 6GB
AMD Radeon RX 480 8GB
RAM: 8 GB
HDD: 35 GB
DirectX: 11
Controller: Full
Mod Support: No
VR: No
FOV Slider: No
FPS Lock: 120+

The Case

Well now, this came a bit out of left field, wouldn’t you agree? After the somewhat divisive fourth game, and the lukewarm at best reboot, we pretty much all resigned ourselves to the fact that Devil May Cry was a dead franchise. And that sucked harder than a donkey in a wind tunnel made of cheese. Because S ranks. S ranks everywhere. But then we got the announcement, unfortunately putting Nero front and centre, but still…and now we’re here, and we have it, so let’s give it a thorough once over.

The Trial

Sod it, it’s a great game. A fantastic return to form, and though not what I would consider the best in the series, it stands tall. I could have beat around the bush, waxing poetic and making things needlessly obtuse, but that’s not the Devil May Cry way. It jumps up and teabags you in the tonsils, and makes you smile gleefully while it does it. Even DMC 2, which is most decidedly on the wanky side, has its moments. And this one just takes us back and gives us more of the same. In a good way.

Powered by Capcom’s RE (Resident Evil) engine it’s a good looking game that runs really well. However, I wouldn’t go so far as to say its visuals are great. They’re somewhat less impressive than the recently released Resident Evil 2 remake, as well as being perhaps a tad less optimised. Though I don’t think that has as much to do with the engine itself, as it does the staff working on it. I get the impression the dev team was less familiar with the software, perhaps less experienced in their fields and thus produced a less well polished end product.

Don’t let that put you off though, there’s nothing of note to complain about, on a technical level. Just be aware that coming off the back of Remake 2, despite this being a little younger, you will notice a difference in overall quality. Having said that, it’s still a solidly built game that holds its own, rightly earning its very positive reception from returning fans and newcomers alike.

Whatchu' talkin' about, Nero?

So, what is Devil May Cry then? Well, for those who still don’t know, it’s a series of action platformers about a half demon called Dante, the swaggiest mofo that ever did live, and his repeated pissing contests with his twin brother Vergil. The basic flow of which, consists of Vergil doing something bad, and Dante stabbing and beating the shit out of everything in his path until it all just sort of deals with itself. Rinse and repeat through six games, more or less. There are some deviations along the way, like Vergil being a mindless puppet in the first, and missing entirely (sort of) from the second and fourth. But that about sums it up, and this is no different.

Oh yeah, spoilers by the way, shock of shocks, Vergil’s in the game. His initial reveal is supposed to be all mysterious and leave you guessing, but he straight up rips Nero’s arm off and turns it into the Yamato sword, who the fug did you think it was going to be? Okay, stopping for a second, there probably should be genuine spoiler warnings here. If, for any reason, you want to avoid learning about the ‘twists’ in the story, skip the next paragraph. But let’s be honest, if you are playing Devil May Cry for the story; u r doin it wrng!

So, spoiler time. Let’s go to work. Right, so, somehow (because fuck time and all that) Nero is actually Vergil’s son. Somehow, this means Yamato turned into his arm, and that’s why the llama’s made the opening credits of Monty Python and the Holy Grail. Hey, it makes as much sense as anything else. Anyhoo, Vergil is back, again, from hell, because he’s Vergil, and he wants his sword back, so he splits himself into two beings and rips Nero’s arm off. The other half of him is the suspiciously Vergil looking dude with white hair, V, who turns up out of nowhere as a brand new character for this game. Got all that? Good, let’s continue.

Once upon a nighttime moody.

Now, truth be told, this is actually one of the better narratives in the series. I’d still say three holds up as the strongest thematically, but I’d actually go so far as to say five has a stronger story overall. There are more moments of character interaction that can be genuinely quite compelling. The twist about Nero and V is telegraphed so massively it wouldn’t surprise a dead snail, but the emotional payoff of the scenes playing out, not gonna’ lie, it had me invested in the moment. Yeah, seriously, I was actually really digging Nero as a character.

Still played by Johnny Yong Bosch, he’s not a whiny little bitch this time. He’s grown up and become kind of a proto-Dante. He doesn’t have the intergalactic swag level, and he’s still a bit too reserved in personality, but he’s getting there. For, like, the third time in his entire career, Bosch isn’t playing an insufferable little teen bitch. Which is good, because he’s actually a pretty damned fine actor when he wants to be. And a surprisingly good director too, actually. But that’s another story.

Dante, meanwhile…you know, I was a little underwhelmed at first, but he really grew on me. It’s like the two characters are sort of meeting in the middle as time goes by. Dante has definitely softened, not quite losing his arrogance, but firmly shifting it to a more self assured confidence. This initially really turned me off, because despite Reuben Langdon not being a newcomer to the roll, he just felt a bit off when we first met him. Just a tad too reserved, which I initially put down to the time gap between the games, but as I said, later came to see as the character, y’know, developing. He still has that very wry, almost but not quite condescending sense of humour, but it has a less sharp edge to it now. More playful, and ultimately, making him even more likeable.

Chamone!

Rounding up the cast is the above mentioned V, who fits the edgy emo quotient, even going so far as to read freakin’ Edgar Allen Poe as his taunt! Other newcomer Nico, a fast talking auld Southern gal who makes Nero’s new bionic arms. And Lady and Trish who do next to nothing, but it was still cool to see them anyway. Actually, speaking of the main cast, Dante is actually absent almost entirely until half way through the story, leaving our trio of erstwhile protagonists to be bleach blonde Timothy Olyphant, redneck Sarah Palin, and emo Adam Driver. Seriously, just look at them.

Okay, but enough of all that, let’s dig in to the real meat and two veg of the series: the combat. The Devil May Cry series has always been about being as slick and stylish as possible, and this does not disappoint. Featuring three playable characters, each with their own distinct play style, we have a lot to choose from even before we start factoring in different weapon sets and new skills to bolster your move roster.

V is the simplest, having some demon pets do most of the actual fighting for him, but he has a few unlockables that help mix it up a little bit. Nero is also fairly straightforward, only having the one sword, he nevertheless has his bionic arms to add some depth, and a fair amount of new abilities. Meanwhile, Dante is the star of the show, featuring several weapons that are good at different things. The motorbike ‘shortswords’ (seriously) are probably my favourite. It’s big and a bit slow, but it has massive sweeps and is great at both dishing out damage and crowd control. And, of course, he has an extensive list of both new and returning skills, as well as four fighting styles now switchable on the fly. These add even further depth as the Swordmaster and Gunslinger also have different associated actions depending on the equipped weapons.

Head's up, it's a very bad day calling.

Combat is where the game truly shines. It is fast, frenetic and has more than enough variety to keep you coming back through multiple play throughs. Not to mention the fifteen billion or so difficulty settings to unlock. Yeah, Dante Must Die mode wasn’t tough enough, to we had to start adding in heaven and hell difficulties. Because git gud, that’s why.

If I was to make one complaint, which I will, because that’s my job. Having three different characters does mess with the flow, constantly switching back and forth between them makes it difficult to properly get into a groove with any one character. Nero is the easiest because he was the most back to back missions, while V is the simplest to use. But Dante has the most variety and, well, he’s frikkin’ Dante.

This problem is further expounded by some missions allowing you to choose which character to play. It would have been appreciated if there was, perhaps, an option to play all of one character as its own campaign. Perhaps unlocking sequentially, or a New Game+ which says to hell with continuity and just lets you play who you want. But eh, it’s not the end of the world. And hey, we have Bloody Palace (challenge missions) now, so it’s all good I suppose.

The Verdict

Devil May Cry 5 is a great game. After such a long gap, it was so refreshing to see a resurrected series that lived up to nostalgia. Very little has changed when push comes to shove, but that’s a good thing. Some of the latter stages descend into a bit of irritating cheese, with enemies teleporting every third of a bloody second, and knock backs firing off more often than MCU movies, but none of it is enough to stop the game being just plain fun. You have a good 10 hours worth of slick, hella’ rewarding hack and slash demon murder.

Case Review

  • Combat: Fast, slick, intuitive and gloriously ridiculous.

  • Nero: I frikkin’ despised Nero in DMC4, he’s a pretty cool guy now.

  • Visuals: Not as impressive as REmake 2, this is still a very pretty game.

  • Character Switching: It works for the story, but gets a bit irritating for gameplay pacing.

  • Difficulty: Late stage enemies don’t really up the challenge, they just get cheap.

4 Score: 4/5
A superb return to form for a franchise which desperately needed to return.

Evidence

  • Audio: Everything you need to get the sound balance just to your liking. The default is perfectly fine, but there's enough here to shift it around to your liking should you choose to do so.
  • Controls: Better with a controller, mouse and keyboard is still perfectly serviceable. And with both control schemes being fully customisable (and personalised by character) you can get everything to be exactly the way you want it.
  • Graphics Settings: DMC5 offers a positive cornucopia of options to make the game look and run just the way you want. Featuring a notifier of precisely how much system draw each option will utilise to give you an at a glance impression of the end result.

Appeal

4 Score: 4/5

Devil May Cry 5 is a game about a poetry spouting Adam Driver clone who can summon a demonic panther and sassy bird to stylishly beat up other demons. Oh, there’s Nico and Nero too but no one cares about those two. V pretty much steals the show in terms of personality and presence. The three playable characters; Dante, Nero, and V, each offer unique combat styles and have their own quirks. Dante has different equips he can use. Nero has various prosthetic arms. And V will make you develop a boner (or lady boner) as he spouts Edgar Rice Burroughs while murdering demons.

Level design seems to borrow from later entries in the series and is quite linear. Missions are presented as small snippets, rarely more than ten or fifteen minutes at most, and jump between the three characters as the story progresses but the story pretty much takes a back seat to the excellent action. There are some funny moments like Nico arguing with V’s bird familiar and Nero is a lot more likeable than his previous appearances. Unfortunately, overall the story a bit limp, a mess of timeline irregularities and jumping perspectives just makes it feel like filler there to pad out the bits when you’re not shooting or stabbing things. In other words; it’s a typical Devil May Cry story – it’s stupid, cheesy, at least one voice actor is overly enthusiastic, and you won’t give a single solitary shit about any of it because it’s fun.

Detractors of the much despised DMC will be glad to know that world has been consigned to the pit of hell. Devil May Cry 5 is old-school Devil May Cry through and through. It’s fast, it’s flashy, and it’s fun. Difficulty levels can make the game as much of a cakewalk or challenge as you’re in the mood for with some of the higher ones being especially punishing. It’s tough to find a reason to not recommend DMC 5 both to newcomers and old fans alike.

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