Title: Devil May Cry 5
Release Date: March 8, 2019
Reviewed On: Xbox One
Growing up, the Devil May Cry series showed me the power of what the PlayStation 2 could do. The fast action adventure series also taught me that even smart-mouthed anti-heroes could leave a stronger lasting impression besides smirk here and there. For me, Dante was what I defined as cool and the series definitely understood what they had going for it because it stayed fairly consistently cool throughout its run. Sadly, the series had its moments, but like all characters after a long run of titles, Dante needed a rest.
Devil May Cry 5 offered a new beginning for the series on current generation hardware. Like fans, I was excited to hang out with the demon slaying team once again. Thankfully, Capcom does not disappoint on anything here and the studio has not only raised the bar for the series in terms of what it offers fans, but it has seemingly raised the bar for the fast-action genre and will stand as the perfect example for what gamers expect from future titles from other developers.
Devil May Cry 5‘s story begins in a charming way where all the characters are rushing to defeat a demon. Nero has lost his arm, there’s this strange guy named V hanging out, and Dante is struggling to take down what seems to be the toughest enemy he’s had to face. Each character has a different personality and approach to situations, but Dante and Nero are very similar when it comes to their stubbornness and passion to never give up. While V seems to stand in the back and allow his special powers to the heavy lifting along with his comrades. The stakes that all three of these characters have in this mission are different, but in order to defeat this enemy, they’ll need to work together.
Even though this is a fast action game, Devil May Cry 5 isn’t afraid to inject some story here and there. What’s good about the approach to telling this story is that Capcom seems to know their audience and shy away from overcomplicating the lore or making the cutscenes filled with exposition. This is largely thanks to the supporting character and weapons expert Nico who spends more time with the guys then they spend with each other it seems. Her personality makes her seem simple-minded, but she takes a less serious approach to all this world ending apocalyptic stuff. Instead, I felt that she rounded out the trio of guys and kept their heads straight for what’s to come. She doesn’t allow them to doubt themselves or lose focus on the mission ahead of them. Nico is truly one of the best supporting characters of any game that I have ever played and she without a doubt brought this game to a higher standard.
What’s interesting about the story, it how it tells so much without taking away from the action. Sure, the game has moments where you’ll just be running through a few rooms without encountering action, but from beginning to end Devil May Cry 5 seems to be on a mix of speed and cocaine because there is no stopping the train once “Start Game” is pressed. However, it’s how Capcom weived so much story and character development into this action game without hurting its pacing that left me feeling impressed.
During Devil May Cry 5, players are able to play from the perspective of the three characters, Dante, Nero, and V. Each character is vastly different control wise and has the player utilizing multiple approaches to combat depending on which character they are controlling. Nero has an upgradable mechanical arm that has many distinct uses in combat. Each arm is an extension of him and offers additional ways to extend combos and link attacks together. Throughout the game, Nero acquires new equipable arms that keeps his character fresh each time you have to play as him again as there’s also something new waiting for you. This is also good because most of the beginning portions of the game star Nero, but having him evolve over each mission keeps things feeling constantly new.
On the other hand, V is a more interesting protagonist as he avoids most of the combat altogether. Having the power to control demons, V will summon a bird and a panther to attack demos to low health and he’ll follow up with a finishing blow. I can honestly say that I loved playing as V because he forced me to do things in an action game that I never thought of doing, avoid all combat. Lastly, Dante is just a tough individual with multiple weapons and fighting styles at his disposal. Playing as Dante is a little more advanced in terms of how to approach combat, but I have to admit he’s perhaps the most fun to control.
Fighting in Devil May Cry 5 is as smooth as ever. While combos are relatively simply, chaining them together and getting the SSS rank will be something that players will slowly understand how to do throughout the game. With a fast action game like this, controls are everything. The responsiveness and ease of entry that Capcom provides in Devil May Cry 5 should be appreciated by anyone who is first picking up the series as well as loyal fans.
In terms of extra content, Devil May Cry 5 revolves around the standard Red Orb system. Throughout the game, killing enemies and finding hidden orbs sprinkled around the map will gain the player some currency to spend at Nico’s shop. Each character has different ability upgrades and customizable features that players can unlock. Extending combos and increasing the power of attacks only touches on the systems that players can expand upon. Each weapon has a series of skills that can be purchased and the game allows the player to even practice their new skills in a training mode and fine-tune their combos.
Furthermore, there are some additional modes to lend assistance to players who are just getting into the series. For starters, there is an auto setting that players can turn on and off by holding down R3 on the right analog stick. With this on, the characters will basically string together attacks automatically as the player mashes a button. What this offers in terms of accessibility is how it can show new fans of the genre a level of skill that they can strive for. It also allows players to just enjoy the story a little more. Even once the story is over, the game also has multiple difficulties and costumes to shake things up, just adding to the replayability that the game offers.
Devil May Cry 5 is by far my favorite action game of recent years that I can think of. I was starting to feel down on the genre after most series have taken a more slow-paced narrative approach to their storytelling. What Devil May Cry 5 shows is how developers can tell a compelling story while juggling three main characters and load of action all in one package. I was amazed by this game and couldn’t seem to put it down. What’s most important here is how even after I finished, I just wanted to jump back in and play again.
Devil May Cry 5 does so much for the action genre which I believe it has set a standard for moving forward. The game is fun from beginning to end offering amazing controls and characters that I couldn’t seem to get enough of. Most importantly, the game offers multiple accessibility options to grow the fan base instead of creating a “fans only” entry point into the genre. Devil May Cry 5 is the definition of cool and I will be playing it again and again for quite some time.
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