Ok let’s start with the elephant in the room. I’m a DMC vet. I think I can say that with some confidence, I’ve worked my way through the entire saga and the reboot. Some were good some where bad (I’m looking at you DMC 2) and some suffered from GGCS (Greedy Game Company Syndrome) and were released before they were finished (DMC4 your potential was squandered.) and there was the reboot which everyone lost their shit over because they changed all the iconic elements. (Let’s be clear if that game had not been called Devil May Cry it would have hit the stratosphere.)
So when Devil May Cry V was announced once I got over my initial nerd-coma and sat down and though about it I was a little more cautious than I would normally be about a new title. Now, I love this series. It was one of the first… actually no. it was THE first fandom I ever got into. but it’s also a franchise that’s suffered from its share of bugbears. It wasn’t that I was expecting the game to be bad it was that I was that I was trying to prepare myself for the possibility that it could be.
As it turns out I needn’t have bothered.
How do I describe Devil May Cry 5? It is a freaking ballet of violence and carnage from start to finish. The enemy types are diverse, the bosses are amazing and the action is completely over the top. I say this AFTER playing all the previous titles if you’re a veteran of the series like me stop and think about where that’s coming from. Then ask yourself if its possible. Then play the damn game and see for yourselves. Like any true fan of the series I started out on Devil Hunter (highest difficulty available on New Game) I merrily hacked my way into Redgrave City and squared off against Goliath who some of you may have faced in the Demo, it was at this point I made the first mistake. I burned through all my Devil Breakers, got sucked into his tummy teeth and spat halfway across the arena. In a giant ball of fire. So make no mistake. This game WILL challenge you.
Nero returns with his trademark loadout of Red Queen and Blue rose both of which have undergone some cosmetic tweaking, Blue Rose now fires slower but hits harder like a proper revolver instead of the ridiculous rate of fire we had in DMC 4 that I’ll be honest I found immeasurably irritating. It has the addition of the ‘Colour Up’ ability which serves in place of Nero’s charge shot and loads it with six explosive slugs (three shots) that knock just about everything on its ass. The exceed system is back allowing you to overclock red queen with three levels of fiery goodness and after… misplacing his demonic right arm, newcomer Nico Goldstein builds him a series of overpowered cybernetic prostheses known as ‘Devil Breakers’ that serve in its stead. As I mentioned earlier these are breakable items . And you want to keep a decent stockpile or you could run out which, as my early attempt at Goliath should tell you is a very bad idea. The last thing you want to do Is try to play the one-armed bandit in this game because you will be at an immediate and often terminal disadvantage.
Dante makes a triumphant return with all four styles his trademark pistols and of course, the Rebellion Longsword the style system from DMC 4 is back allowing you to switch tactics on the fly and as usual Dante has the ability to switch into his demonic form with Devil trigger. Add to this a host of new Devil Arms and guns and I think its safe to say our boy is back.
Reuben Langdon is back to voice him so for those of you who enjoy his portrayal of the laid back wiseass from the last two titles you’ll be pleased to know he hasn’t had a voice transplant like some other capcom fan favourites *cough* Frank West *cough cough* Itsuno has also introduced a new secondary Devil Trigger form for Dante which some will recognise as an evolution of Majin Form from Devil may cry 2. This new ‘Sin Devil Trigger’ is essentially Dante’s Super Saiyen. For those of you who are unfamiliar with the series Devil Trigger is your ace in the hole. Sin Devil trigger will eat bosses alive and leave you wondering where all their health went. Given that Dante is the longest serving protagonist in the series it was nice to see him return but what was even cooler was seeing that he wasn’t being put out to pasture. And that the developers are still thinking of new and fun ways for him to smack demons around eighteen years later.
Right, now for the part I’ve been looking forward to, Let’s talk a little about the mysterious newcomer ‘V’.
This character plays very differently from Nero and Dante in a lot of ways, no guns no swords he isn’t warrior. In fact, the closest example I can think of would be to call him a summoner. V has three demons who fight for him the names of which will probably be familiar to some of you, Shadow, Griffin and Nightmare. Combat with V is based around directing the flow of battle from a distance using his pet demons to wreak havoc and then finishing them off with a well-timed jab from his cane. I’m not going to lie playing as V took a bit of getting used to but I’ve got to say of the three playable characters V is the one I’m having the most fun with at the moment. Dante and Nero are extremely fast pace and there’s a reckless abandon to playing as them, charging in and just unloading combos until there’s nothing left standing. Playing as V is a much more calculated affair, keeping V out of harm’s way, taunting from afar and cackling to yourself as you watch the carnage unfold.
Graphically speaking, with the possible exception of the latest Final Fantasy this is probably one of the best looking games you’re going to buy, this is mainly to do with the fact that rather than bowing to the open world mania that’s been sweeping the gaming world for the last ten years or so Devil May Cry have stuck to their guns and gone for a linear mission-based experience. The game looks and sounds amazing the arts style blends all my favourite elements of the series together from Red Grave City’s London-inspired towers to medieval sections reminiscent of European castles to the eerily organic hellscapes of the Qliphoth Tree. The lack of an open world has given Itsuno and the other developers the opportunity to be as obsessively perfectionistic as humanly possible with the environments, the character models hell even the facial animations. And they appear to have taken full advantage.
Right, because this review has to be balanced and I have waxed lyrical about this game’s positives I would now like to take a moment to look at the negatives (of which there are very few.)
Right, let’s start with the big bug bear. Monetisation. Micro transactions are a thing in this game. You can buy red orbs at the online shop to boost your character and you can also buy bundles of blue orbs to up your health gauge. Every time you die you are given the option to revive with red orbs, if you do so the cost will gradually increase presumably in hopes that when you hit Dante Must Die or Heaven or Hell difficulty you will start running low on gold orbs the nice familiar FREE way to resurrect. I’m going to be honest, I’ve completed the game on Devil Hunter, I’m more than half way through on Son of Sparda (hard mode) I’ve bought eighty percent of the skills across all characters and am yet to feel the need to buy blue orbs online or indeed to boost my red orb count. Buying more skills doesn’t make you a better player Devil May Cry is and always will be extremely skill intensive. If you don’t learn the combos and you don’t figure out how to use them You. Will. Fail. That’s just a fact. Now the argument could be made that a lot of the veterans of the series know the moves and just want to get on with it but guys… come on. It’s been ten years. And while I know a lot of people will have replayed the previous titles going through and earning the skills is important because it helps you get your eye in and get back up to speed.
I suspect this ‘feature’ was put in more to appease Capcoms GGCS than anything else. It’s completely unnecessary and seems like a waste of resources. I’m sure there are people out there who will probably buy a bunch of blue orbs to make themselves stronger or so they can pretend like they solved all the secret missions but honestly? I’m not one of them and that element of challenge is and always has been one of my favourite things about his series.
Secondly: Lady and Trish. These two are Dante’s closest allies and they are complete badasses in their own right yet I felt like this time around they were severely under-utilised in the story now it could be that capcom is planning to release campaigns for them both at a later date. This might be a tad unfair, it’s possible that DMC 4 SE has spoiled me slightly because we actually got to play through the campaign from their perspective and experience their unique playstyles. I’d be lying if I didn’t say I wanted more of that. Especially Lady’s because her Gunslinger-on-Steroids fighting style was ridiculously fun. I’d love to see a DLC focused around these two, maybe set just before the events of Red Grave City.
So, in conclusion:
Devil Hunter Rank: S
Article Written by: Theo Moulton