March 06, 2019
Devil May Cry 5 is a game with swagger. Effortlessly, achingly cool, it oozes pure style from every pore. That much is obvious from the cinematic opening credits, a sequence in which Nero leaps out of the window of an RV, shooting demonic insect Empusas with his Blue Rose pistol in stylish slow-motion. It's utterly glorious and a clear statement of intent from the off that Devil May Cry is back with a resounding bang.
While DmC was great (shut up, it was), Devil May Cry 5 is some next level shit; a proper full-blooded Devil May Cry sequel that's like a fresh shot of adrenaline. Starting out as Nero, you'll learn how he lost his demonic Devil Bringer arm and came to don the Devil Breaker as his replacement appendage. Playing as the brash youngster first introduced in Devil May Cry 4, Nero actually takes centre stage for the majority of DMC 5's story, and for all intents and purposes, this is primarily his rodeo.
Then V enters the picture, a mysterious newcomer able to control demonic inhabitants of the first Devil May Cry's Mallet Island, Shadow, Griffon and Nightmare. Referred to as V's 'familiars', they inject a new and interesting wrinkle to DMC's combat, enabling you to let your demon animal buddies do the hard work for you, before you wade in to land the finishing blow with V's silver cane. It's completely brilliant. So much so that we can even look past the fact that V wears sandals.
When it comes to sheer versatility and pure combo satisfaction, however, Dante has a clear advantage over Nero and V. By the time he arrives about halfway through the game, the crimson trenchcoated Son of Sparda is a breath of fresh air: insanely fast and formidable with an arsenal of badass weapons and fighting styles. Trickster, Royalguard, Swordmaster, and Gunslinger are all accounted for and but a mere button-tap away. Nero and V are great and all, but we'll always have a soft spot for ol' Dante.
Besides, it's Dante who has the best weapons; pistols Ebony and Ivory, and trusty sword Rebellion joined by Dr. Faust, a stylish hat that throws a bit of risk vs. reward into the mix, as it consumes Red Orbs with use but can potentially pay out massive Red Orb dividends. Jackpot! I could devote this entire review to blathering on and on about Dante's weapons (that break-apart Cavaliere motorcycle and those Cerberus nunchaku are bloody awesome), but I'm not going to, as tempting as it is.
Nero's Devil Breakers are a major highlight too, each offering a tactical edge when you're in the thick of it. Even the basic Overture or Gerbera are brilliant, but the Tomboy instantly revving up Nero's Red Queen sword and enabling you to blast enemies with fiery projectiles, the whip-cracking Rawhide, or Punch Line, which homes in with mini-rockets, are personal favourites. Eventually, you'll equip your ideal loadout as you learn the attributes of each Devil Breaker, or you can have weapon artist and gunsmith Nico automatically sort you the optimum loadout for the mission ahead.
That Capcom has made each of Devil May Cry 5's cast completely unique is a masterstroke, ensuring that you're always adapting to each play-style from mission to mission, as you bounce from Nero to V to Dante and back again. A couple of missions even chuck in the ability to choose a character, giving you a divergent path to follow and the possibility of seeing another online player busting moves in the background via the Cameo System. At the end of these 'linked missions', you can choose to deem one another 'Stylish' or not, and potentially acquire a nice reward.
Said reward is normally a Gold Orb, also gained for simply logging in each day. I had Gold Orbs coming out of my ears in Devil May Cry 5, granting me 16 extra lives to play with by the end. Madness. I only ended up using one, though. DMC 5 can be tricky, like any DMC game worth its salt, and all of the abilities and weapons you acquire through progress or using Red Orbs carry across all difficulty levels. Not that having all of the tools at your disposal will be all that helpful for the Son of Sparda difficulty, unlocked upon finishing the game (like always). Flippin' heck, that's hard, but there are harder difficulties to be unlocked.
Devil May Cry 5 is challenging but insanely rewarding, giving the series a bit of a kick up the backside with stunning visuals and blistering combat that makes attaining an elusive SSS rank a moment of sheer transcendent video gaming joy. Narrative twists, turns and surprises, a constant, recurring battle with big demon bad Urizen, and a cracking ending on top of sublime gameplay combine to make Devil May Cry 5 a truly astonishing action game. The story isn't the best, but you'll be keen to dive right back in and do it all over again the moment the credits roll. Good job there's ample replay value in those extra difficulties then.
Picking faults, we'd say that there are a few too many missions set within the game's demonic Qliphoth realm, all gnarled twisted monster roots and pulsating, spiny bits. There's nothing necessarily wrong with that, but there are several visits to the same location and it becomes a mite repetitive. London-inspired Red Grave City has far more diverse and architecturally interesting environments to traverse, but you won't really have much time to admire the scenery while you're mashing up insectoid beasties, bringing towering bosses down a peg, all while (hopefully) flexing that Smokin' Sexy Style.
There are occasional platform jumping bits too that can be a bit annoying, and the camera has a tendency to very occasionally go slightly adrift or obscure the action behind a bit of scenery. It's easy enough to wrangle the camera back around in the rare instances that this happens, so this isn't a major problem. It's a tiny, miniscule scuff in one of the best action games we've played in years. In fact, you know what? I don't want to write this review anymore. I should be playing Devil May Cry 5 again. It's that good.
The script drops the odd clanger, but the voice acting is excellent and the dynamic soundtrack complements the adrenaline-pumping action perfectly.
Damn, this game looks good. The motion captured cut-scenes look incredible, the environments are gorgeous, and the gameplay is silky smooth. Oof.
Fast, immediate and instantly gratifying, Devil May Cry 5 only gets better as you purchase new moves and abilities. Dare we say it, this could be the best DMC yet.
A good 12-15 hours on a first run-through, and it's all bloody brilliant, well-presented and stylish as hell. Loads of secrets too. As razor-sharp as Nero's sword.
A superb list that encourages repeated playthroughs, a bit of exploration and some combat prowess. This is the good stuff.
A triumphant return for Capcom's coolest series, Devil May Cry 5 is a stupidly slick game that does almost everything right. It'll totally pull your Devil Trigger.