Friday, September 14, 2018
Despite the rampant rumours and hearsay regarding Devil May Cry 5, its eventual announcement still came as something of a shock. After all, Ninja Theory did a fine job in rebooting the series with DmC back in 2013, and at one time, the smart money would have been on that game getting a follow-up. Instead, Hideaki Itsuno and the in-house DMC dev team at Capcom are back, and so is grizzled white-haired Dante and a brash, cocky Nero, sporting a new, cybernetic arm.
Devil May Cry 5 still seems to have taken a cue from DmC, in as much as it adopts a more realistic art-style, but almost everything else from Ninja Theory's game has been ditched. Even Nero's Devil Bringer from Devil May Cry 4 has been nixed in favour of the funky new Devil Breaker, a versatile mechanical appendage that's entirely expendable, and comes in a variety of different types with their own attributes. In the full game, there will be eight different types of Devil Breaker at Nero's disposal, but our hands-on demo showcased only two.
The Overture Devil Breaker will be the first arm that Nero has in his arsenal, imbued with electrical bursts that keep enemies at bay and an explosive 'Break Away' technique that overloads the arm and destroys it. This can interrupt enemy attacks and deal a nice chunk of damage in the process, while the Gerbera Devil Breaker blasts enemies with shockwaves that are also capable of nullifying projectiles. Push the Gerbera in to Break Away state and it'll fire a concentrated laser beam. These are but two examples of the Devil Breakers that Nero will have access to, hinting at the diversity of skills you'll have at your metallic fingertips.
With partner Nico (who'll sort you out with upgrades from her van in exchange for Red Orbs) crafting new Devil Breakers for Nero to equip, there'll be ample room for experimentation in Devil May Cry 5, although there are imposed limitations to take into account. First of all, a Devil Breaker's Break Away usage is initially limited to four cartridges (and can later be expanded to more), so busting it out at the right moment is paramount, like when you're being sucked into the fiery maw of a boss creature's belly. Charge up the Devil Breaker, meanwhile, and you can perform a Break Age, unleashing a burst that also destroys the arm and expends a cartridge.
While all of this adds another layer of strategy to proceedings, crucially, Devil May Cry 5 is every bit as slick and fast-paced as you'd hope, the thrill of swiping a foe into the air with Nero's blade and juggling them using his pistol remaining every bit as gratifying as it should be. We can only imagine what wielding Dante's motorcycle will feel like.
Using the Devil Breaker also allows Nero to close long distances quickly, pulling lighter enemies towards him or pulling himself towards heftier foes using the arm's Wire Snatch ability. Combine all of these various abilities and the Devil Breaker does so much more than Nero's Devil Bringer ever did, expanding the number of moves at your fingertips. It's almost slightly overwhelming when you see the full list of combos and tricks Nero has up his sleeve.
Holding the R1 to lock on to enemies and ensure you're not swiping at thin air is obviously a vital part of DMC 5's combat, but remembering to hold the button and press X to evade can be a little on the fiddly side. It's an adjustment we'll have to get used to that at present simply isn't as immediate as we'd like. This is a minor gripe, of course, and given the scale and ambition on show during the rest of our time with Devil May Cry 5, it's hard to see how Nero and Dante's eagerly anticipated return could possibly fail.
Devil May Cry 5 is out for PlayStation 4 and Xbox One on 8th March 2019.
Friday, September 14, 2018 @ 06:13 PM