Devil May Cry 5 (2019) Game Review

Devil May Cry 5 is an action-adventure hack and slash video game developed and published by Capcom. It is the sixth installment in the franchise and the fifth installment of the mainline Devil May Cry series. Capcom released it for Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One on March 8, 2019. The game takes place five years after Devil May Cry 4 and follows a trio of warriors with demonic powers: Dante, Nero and a new protagonist named V as they attempt to stop the Demon King Urizen, from destroying the human world. Across the game, the player can use these characters in different missions. Each of them has their own way of fighting and becoming stronger. As this happens, the mystery behind V is revealed along with his connection with Urizen.

Devil May Cry 5 was directed by Hideaki Itsuno whose goal was for this installment to be his best work. He aimed to make the game balanced for both newcomers and returning gamers by providing adequate, difficult and new demons. Capcom also wanted to bring a more realistic design inspired by the “RE Engine” used in their previous work, Resident Evil 7: Biohazard. As a result, models were used to make the character’s faces. The plot was written by returning writer Bingo Morihashi while the setting was based on various locations in London. Multiple composers worked together to produce the game’s audio, creating three main themes centered around the playable characters.

Devil May Cry 5 received positive reviews from critics. Many lauded it as a return to form for the franchise, praising the variety of techniques the three characters bring, with V standing out thanks to his distinctive style of commanding underlings. The game had sold over two million copies less than two weeks after its release. A light novel and manga related to the game have also been released.

Gameplay

Nero battling demons using his Red Queen sword

The gameplay features the return of Dante and Nero as playable characters, along with a new character, named “V”. The gameplay is similar to that of the other titles in the Devil May Cry series, focusing on fast-paced “stylish action”; The player fights off hordes of demons with a variety of attacks and weapons. They receive a style-rating for combat based on a number of factors, such as move variety, the length of a combo and dodging attacks. The game’s music changes based on the player’s performance in combat. Every time the player interacts with the mechanic Nico or finds a statue, he can buy new abilities for each character. While there are three playable characters, the game forces the player to use only one per mission. Like previous games, this title has a Bloody Palace mode where the player can face multiple types of demons in a single area.

The first character is Nero who was introduced in Devil May Cry 4. He retains his Red Queen sword for melee combat, and the Blue Rose double-barreled revolver. However, he does not have his demonic arm from the previous game but has an assortment of new robotic arms called Devil Breakers instead. These have a variety of functions like grabbing enemies from a distance or stopping time to freeze an enemy in place. Nero can also find Devil Breakers during stages. Devil Breakers are powerful but fragile, and can be destroyed if used incorrectly. Late in the story, Nero has access to the Devil Trigger move which expands his combat skills.

Dante plays like his Devil May Cry 4 persona as he can change between four styles to create new techniques or parry enemy attacks. Along with his signature blade Rebellion and the demonic sword Sparda, Dante uses two new Devil Arms, a pair of buzzsaw-like weapons that combine into a motorcycle called Cavaliere, and a set of fiery gauntlets and boots called Balrog. Dante also wields a stronger version of the Cerberus nunchaku introduced in Devil May Cry 3. He also wears the Dr. Faust, a hat that requires red orbs to attack; it is a risk-award weapon depending on the player’s actions. Dante can use Both Kalina Ann from Devil May Cry 3 and the new enhanced Kalina Ann 2 as substitutes for the guns.

The third playable character, V, who wields a book and a silver cane, uses three demons based on enemies from the first game to fight. These include Griffon, an eagle that uses ranged lightning-based attacks, Shadow, a panther that forms blades, spikes and portals out of its body and Nightmare, a large golem. V enters a Devil Trigger-like state, which turns his hair white, to summon the golem, which uses a combination of melee attacks and laser beams. Once the enemy’s health turns light purple, V uses his cane to finish the battle.

Plot

On May 16, devil hunter Nero hunts a demon named Urizen after a dying man in a cloak steals his right arm and the Yamato sword. Traveling to Red Grave City, he joins Dante and finds a demonic tree called Qliphoth planted in the city, which is killing people for their blood. Dante is ultimately defeated by Urizen and ejected from the Qliphoth with his sword Rebellion shattered. His allies Lady and Trish are captured to use as demon-cores while a client of Dante, V, convinces the weakened Nero to escape. On June 15, Nero returns to Red Grave outfitted with the “Devil Breaker” prosthetic arm, made by his friend Nico. Nero meets up with V, who is seeking Qliphoth for its fruit—born of condensed human blood—which makes whomever consumes it the king of the Underworld. As the pair destroy the Qliphoth’s roots while searching for Dante, Nero rescues Lady. while V splits off to discover the Devil Sword Sparda – along with a hibernating Dante, whose presence was hidden by the sword.

After awakening from his coma, Dante frees Trish and begins fighting his way to Urizen. Trish learns from V that Urizen is actually the demon-side of Dante’s brother Vergil, who used Yamato’s power to separate his demon and human halves – the latter manifesting as V, whose body is reaching its limit. Dante uses Rebellion’s power to absorb the Sparda into himself, unlocking his full demonic power. Nero attempts to confront Urizen again and is overpowered once more, but Dante rescues him and gains the upper hand with his new powers. Urizen takes his leave when the Qliphoth bears fruit and consumes it to empower himself further. While Dante arrives first to face Urizen, Nero rescues V from the demon Malphas and learns of Dante’s history with Vergil. Nero and V reach Dante just as he defeats Urizen, but a dying V intervenes and merges with Urizen before Dante can finish him, reviving Vergil.

Vergil returns to the Qliphoth tree, telling Dante to recover his full strength before they battle again. Nero insists on going after Vergil himself, but Dante reveals Nero is Vergil’s son and refuses to let him kill his own father. Dante then faces V’s familiars – revealed as discarded memories from Vergil’s time as Nelo Angelo – and they elect to die by Dante’s hand to lessen Vergil’s trauma. Dante and Vergil fight again, where Vergil learns Nero is his son. Nero settles his emotions in a call to Kyrie and resolves not to let his father and uncle die, fully awakening his demonic powers and regrowing his arm. Intervening in their fight and forcing Dante out, Nero vows to end the pair’s sibling rivalry and defeats Vergil, who gives Nero V’s book to remember him by. Vergil joins Dante in a one-way trip to the Underworld to cut the Qliphoth down and seal the portal before it rips Red Grave City apart, with Nero departing as the Qliphoth falls. Weeks later, Trish and Lady are hired for a new job by Morrison, who Dante left in charge of his office. In the Underworld, Dante and Vergil continue sparring while demons attack them, now friendly rivals instead of enemies.

In 2013, Capcom partnered with Ninja Theory to reboot its hack and slash action franchise Devil May Cry with the polarizing DmC. While many praised DmC for its exciting combat and interesting visuals, others panned the new look for Dante and its abandonment of the franchise’s established lore. Now, over six years later, Capcom has returned to the original Devil May Cry series with Devil May Cry 5, a game that should have no problem winning over any fans still upset about DmC.

Devil May Cry 5 is firmly rooted in the universe established by the first four games in the franchise. It once again features wise-cracking demon hunter Dante in the lead role, as he works to stop the ultra-powerful demon Urizen along with the help of familiar faces like Lady, Trish, Devil May Cry 4‘s Nero, and newcomer V.

In typical Devil May Cry fashion, Devil May Cry 5‘s plot is delightfully absurd, with ridiculous dialogue, bizarre imagery, and head-spinning plot twists. Newcomers may be confused, but luckily there is a history of Devil May Cry they can check out from the main menu. Longtime fans, meanwhile, will find themselves enthralled with the story, on the edge of their seat from start to finish. The game not only fills some gaps left by previous installments, but it also moves the franchise’s plot forward in significant, meaningful ways.

devil may cry 5 nero gun

Devil May Cry 5‘s story hits it out of the park, but some may be more concerned about whether or not the gameplay lives up to the hype. We’re happy to report that Devil May Cry 5 features one of the deepest and most satisfying combat systems we’ve encountered in any action game. The three playable characters – Dante, Nero, and V – all have their own unique playstyles and weaponry. Mindlessly hacking and slashing is certainly an option, but those that take the time to master all of the characters and their attacks will find the game infinitely more rewarding.

Having three playable characters goes a long way in keeping the action from getting stale. One level players may be fighting with Dante’s iconic dual pistols and hulking Rebellion sword, and in the next stage, they will be zipping around from enemy to enemy with Nero’s grappling hook. All three characters are loads of fun to play as, though the stages with V and Dante stand out as especially exciting, as their fighting styles have more moving parts than Nero’s.

V, for example, has three different demon pets at his disposal. One is a smart-mouthed bird (whose verbal jousting with Dante is hilarious) that can attack enemies from afar, and another is a shape-shifting panther that can dole out significant melee damage. V can also bring forth a hulking monstrosity called Nightmare that will burst through walls or come hurtling out of the sky like a meteor when summoned.

Dante, meanwhile, has four different fighting styles that he can cycle between on the fly, in addition to a slew of different weapons to choose from. For these reasons, Dante is the most complicated character out of the three. It may take some practicing in The Void, but once players master Dante’s four fighting styles and successfully employ them in the right situations, his battles become the most rewarding. Plus, he can literally dual-wield two halves of a motorcycle and beat demons to death with it, which is just the kind of insane action that Devil May Cry fans have come to love from the series.

Playing as Nero is also great, even if he isn’t quite as fun to play as V and Dante. Nero’s Devil Breakers are easy to use, and since he really only has one fighting style and limited weaponry, he’s a good way to ease players into the game. Playing as Nero in later stages feels a bit lackluster after getting a taste of the more complex fighting styles of V and Dante, though.

By and large, Devil May Cry 5 nails the combat, and it also successfully grapples with the franchise’s history of camera issues. In past Devil May Cry games, the camera often struggled to keep up with the frantic action on screen, but that’s never a problem in Devil May Cry 5. Combine the improved camera with tight, responsive controls and Devil May Cry 5 quickly becomes the least frustrating game in the series by a wide margin.

devil-may-cry-5-resident-evil-2-remake-gameplay

Devil May Cry 5‘s core gameplay, from the combat system to the controls, is truly something remarkable. This is a good thing, too, because the game is just a sequence of one battle after the next, with little in the way of the exploration and puzzles found in previous games. In fact, we counted exactly one puzzle in the entire story, and even then calling it a puzzle would be a stretch. The game is more or less a hallway of enemy encounters, with the battles broken up by short walks to the next fight, but since the combat is so engaging the puzzles and exploration elements aren’t really missed.

It’s true that Devil May Cry 5 is a very linear game. But in a sea of dense open world games, that’s not really a bad thing, and it honestly feels like a breath of fresh air. Its linearity also doesn’t mean that there isn’t some extra content for players to discover. There are 12 secret missions hidden throughout the levels for players to find, in addition to hidden items and power-ups, so those that take the time to thoroughly explore the environment will be properly rewarded for their efforts.

When they’re done looking for secrets and battling enemies, Devil May Cry 5 players can advance to the end of the level and face off against an epic-scale boss. On higher difficulties, many of the bosses in Devil May Cry 5 will give players a serious run for their money, capable of dealing devastating attacks and withstanding a ton of punishment. There’s a fine line between rewarding challenge and frustration in video games, but in Devil May Cry 5, the boss battles never feel cheap and their epic scale will leave players breathless.

devil may cry 5 v and griffon

Some potential frustration with the game’s boss battles is alleviated thanks to Devil May Cry 5‘s revival system. Players can choose to revive themselves with gold orbs that can be found hidden in levels or gained as a daily log-in bonus, or they can spend some of their red orbs (Devil May Cry 5‘s in-game currency) to revive themselves as well. While some fans may feel this robs the boss fights of their challenge, gold orbs are relatively rare, and they can always just ignore the feature. Plus, the real challenge in Devil May Cry 5 doesn’t really come from surviving, but rather mastering all of the characters’ fighting styles to get the most style points possible.

One potential issue with this revival system is Devil May Cry 5‘s microtransactions. Players can purchase red orbs with microtransactions, meaning that they can essentially pay real money to come back to life. Unfortunately, we were unable to test Devil May Cry 5‘s microtransactions before launch, so we can’t say with certainty how they may impact the game. That being said, it’s hard to see how the microtransactions will have an adverse effect, unless Capcom nerfs the rate at which players collect red orbs during normal gameplay. In our time playing the game, we were able to amass enough red orbs that we were never put in a situation where we would even have to consider busting out our wallet. Really the only reason for the microtransactions would be to purchase all the upgrades right away, but that just robs the game of its replayability and progression, making the whole experience far less enjoyable.

In regards to replayability, Devil May Cry 5 is a game that’s meant to be played through multiple times. Each time players beat the story, they unlock a higher difficulty setting with stronger enemies and less resources. Any upgrades or items purchased carry over, so players are never starting from scratch, and this is what makes the game hard to put down. There’s always a new upgrade or attack to save for that has the potential to drastically change up the combat, so even on the third or fourth playthrough, the game still feels fresh and new. And better yet, nothing is so expensive that it feels like a grind to unlock everything through gameplay.

devil may cry 5 nero mission 01

Another way Capcom attempts to add replayability to Devil May Cry 5 is with its multiplayer and social features. While post-launch could be a different story, we found the “multiplayer” in Devil May Cry 5 to be basically pointless. Its implementation is puzzling, with players going through an entire stage without ever seeing another person, and then asked to rate their so-called partner’s performance at the end of the level. One player we were paired with had unlocked a new costume for Nero and appeared in a cut-scene with their fancy getup, which was just confusing, especially since the game didn’t make it clear that we had been matched with someone else.

Pointless multiplayer functionality aside, something must be said about Devil May Cry 5‘s polish. It’s rare that one can play through a game multiple times and not experience a single technical glitch or graphical hiccup, but that’s the case with Devil May Cry 5. The game runs smoothly at 60 frames per second on Xbox One X, with no slowdown or anything that would compromise the fast-paced combat. It’s also a visual stunner, leveraging the Resident Evil 2 remake engine to deliver detailed character models and impressive animations that are some of the best we’ve seen in any game to date.

Developer(s)Capcom
Publisher(s)Capcom
Director(s)Hideaki Itsuno
Producer(s)Matt Walker
Designer(s)Yoichiro Ikeda
Programmer(s)Yoshiharu Nakao
Artist(s)Koki Kinoshita
Writer(s)Bingo Morihashi
Composer(s)Kota Suzuki
SeriesDevil May Cry
Platform(s)Microsoft WindowsPlayStation 4Xbox One
ReleaseMarch 8, 2019
Genre(s)Action-adventure, hack and slash
Mode(s)Single-player, multiplayer

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