Developed By: Capcom
Published By: Capcom
Platforms: PS4, Xbox One, PC
Reviewed On: PlayStation 4
The Devil is back
The name Devil May Cry will certainly ring bells especially for those that have been through the different cycles of the PlayStation family. One can be bold enough to say that the series redefines how action games should be handled – simple, fun, flashy and stylish. It has been a really long while since the last new Devil May Cry game and the fifth definitely shows the wait has been long but worthy. Capcom was generous enough to release a demo and my impressions for it remains unchanged in the full version. Devil May Cry 5 is a fine example of when a game is being developed by people who know their expertise and their fans well.
Same old brand new crew
Anyone that has touched the series would know the gist of the story already and needless to say, the story in the DMC series isn’t complex. The first three games puts us in the shoes of Dante, a half human and half demon in his quest to slay needless amount of demons in exchange for money to pay up his rent. However things never goes his way and it ends up being a quest to save mankind from impending doom. Somewhere down the line, his older twin brother Vergil is pulled into the stylish madness as well. Devil May Cry 4 continues that tradition but setting aside Dante for Nero who is younger and as conceited as the older demon hunter. Devil May Cry 5 is a direct sequel which puts Nero again in the main spotlight and this time the story takes deeper root in explaining his origins which was never revealed fully in the previous game.
This time around, DMC5 sports a much more realistic look in visuals which made the whole game looks a lot more believable. Seeing the old crew back like Dante, Trish and Lady certainly sparked joy for many longtime fans. The bump up in visuals do make them look awkward at first but after a while, it will start to grow on you. Nero gets a new look and new hairstyle to make him standout as he almost looks like an identical clone to Dante back in DMC4. The returning cast is back, never looked better and bringing along their characteristic flair back into the current gen hardware. In addition, there are two new cast members, Nico and V. Nico, a chain smoker craft-smith in a van who will be providing all your weapons and upgrades. V, the third playable character, is the most mysterious of the lot and remains so until the later parts of the game.
While the visuals were upgraded drastically, the gameplay remains intact and faithful save for some minor changes. Much like its predecessors, DMC5 has you going section after section clearing out hordes of enemies before proceeding to the next phase. You pretty much do this for the entirety of the story mode. Whilst the structure of the game looks and sounds generic, it truly makes up for it in the combat mechanics. The amount of control you are given is simply phenomenal. The controls are simply by far the best I have felt in an action game. Much like in the previous titles, you have one button each for a melee and range attacks and a jump and special attack depending on whom you are playing as. Holding down the lock on button allows you to dodge side to side when the jump button is pressed. While the controls are simple enough to use, it is where the fun is at. The game encourages you to be creative and each battle is like a canvas as you combine every arsenal of attacks to produce what may seem like the most satisfying thing you can pull off. The Stylish ranks encourage you to be creative in every attack. Attacking with the same move over again would not increase the style score hence, it will take some brainwork at the player’s end to rack up the highest stylish score they can get. While it may sound intimidating and it can be, the game does not punish you for not playing it stylishly. The only lost you will get is just less Red Orbs which you can use to purchase upgrades for skills and many more.
A good change in view
While many of the game’s aspects remained unchanged and true to its identity, there is one thing that played out differently and that is the camera. This time around you have the ability to control the camera with full 360-degree motion with the left analog stick. Back in the older series, the camera was always at a fixed angle which has been one of the major complaints throughout the series. This time, with a full degree of camera motion, the character will always remain in the center thus giving a clear view of the whole action constantly and also a much better sense of control without being forced to manoeuvre the controls based on the camera angle. The change in the camera angle makes playing either of the three characters more enjoyable with much better precision in pulling off certain moves.
The amazing three
The three playable characters – Nero, Dante and V, each have their own distinctive moves and skill sets. One could actually easily classify them corresponding to a different skill level of use. Nero can be considered the most balanced of the three though he does not have a lot of moves to use. What he lacks in moves he makes it up in power. Nero has his distinctive Exceed system where Nero will rev up his sword like a motorcycle. Exceed basically increases the damage of each sword attack as well as changing certain move properties. For example, some moves allow Nero to do twice the slash instead of one. The ranged attack uses his revolver which can be charged to shoot several bullets in one trigger. While it is not damaging but it helps in certain situations or to have a buffer move to continue a string of combo. Nero’s other distinctive feature is his Devil Breaker. He can equip a variety of it with each having different functionality. My personal favourite is the Punch Line as when its charged it can be shot out like a homing missile and it will continue to punch the enemy whilst circling around in the air. This allows me to continue with my sword attacks for further damage. Adding to that, you can also jump and ride on the flying Punch Line like a hoverboard knocking enemies in contact. Nero can be generally described as for players that want some challenge but not too intimidating to use while still looking stylishly cool.
Next is everyone’s favourite legendary demon hunter, Dante. He is certainly for players that want to have more options in their moves while allowing them to crazy creative in their attacks. He plays pretty the same as his DMC4 counterpart. Back are his four different styles namely Swordmaster, Gunslinger, Trickster and Royal Guard. He also has access to 4 different kinds of melee and ranged weapons and each with their own different set of moves to upgrade and use. That is like a total of 8 weapons and 4 styles to combine with and play around. He is what you would say a high-risk high reward character. He is certainly the flashiest and definitely the most fun to use. Experimentation of his entire moves on certain enemies and even bosses makes the experience a blast knowing that there is more to just simply hacking and slashing your way to victory. It is all about the style and how everything you do just connects so seamlessly well.
Finally, newcomer V is likely the most surprising of the bunch. Starting out as V would feel awkward at first. Coming from the two sword slashing and gun shooting duo, playing V would really take a bit of time of getting used to as he actually does not fight at all. What he has at his disposal are two of his familiars. The panther-like named Shadow which acts as V’s melee attacks. It also allows V to traverse faster equivalent to sprinting for the other two characters. The loud-mouthed and wisecracking Griffon provides V with the range attacks as well his means of transportation to higher ground as well to escape oncoming attacks. The last of V’s familiars is the golem called Nightmare. The interesting concept of Nightmare is that it only comes out when V activates his Devil Trigger and by default, you have no control over its movements. V can ride on it and control its attacks but that option requires unlocking through his skill tree. V also can summon Griffon and Shadow to attack together automatically allowing him to position himself to strike the finishing blow as his summons can’t.
The beautiful thing about the combat in DMC5 is seeing how every motion connects and flows seamlessly. Every move can lead up to a combo and it all depends on how skillfully the player pulls it off. The thought of starting up a move and end it with another is addictive as the possibilities are almost endless. The only restrictions you would face are your own level of creativity – and of course your dexterity in your hands. Or you could just spam everything and hope something connects. With that said, the game does have high skill ceiling and hardcore purist will be glad to know that the game has all the hallmarks of a DMC game that will test their combo juggling prowess to the fullest. Much like the previous games, completing the game either on Human or Demon Hunter Mode unlocks the subsequent higher difficulties that offer an even greater challenge. For the more casual players, fret not, the lower two difficulties are good enough for you to go through without needing to be an expert in pulling difficult moves thus able to enjoy the story without the incessant stress.
Sweet but short
On the subject of the story, it can be described simply as pleasantly enjoyable but short. The DMC series actually has never been the about telling an award-winning story and never it will try to do one. The series has always been known for its B-rated script with add on cheesiness and cringe-worthy one-liners and it isn’t shy about it as well. The story picks up from DMC4 which we get to witness the loss of Nero’s Devil Bringer to a known assailant. From there the crew embarks on a brief journey in search of the assailant. While the premise of the story is a very simple one, it is good enough to keep you engrossed from start till the end. Newcomers may find themselves disconnected from the story especially if they have not played the previous games. While there is a short video that showcases the important events of every past DMC game, there are some memorable events in those games that weren’t shown in the video. Hence, newcomers may miss them out as there are certain parts in DMC5 that played out as a reflection of those events. If you had not experienced it, you would not understand the nostalgia value it tries to show.
The only I think I felt unsatisfied was how short the whole story was and the ending itself was rather unsatisfying, to say the least. The soundtrack in this game has been one of the better highlights for me. Each time the song Devil Trigger comes on whenever a battle starts, I can’t help but feel all pumped up. The rest of the battle theme fits perfectly well into the theme of the game. Few times I caught myself doing a headbanging motion while fighting a boss and in hopes to even pull out cool moves but alas it was never to be but it was still fun nonetheless.
What I liked
- Amazing graphics
- Simple and yet tight controls
- New Devil Breaker System breaths new life into Nero’s repertoire of moves
- Dante, Nuff said
- The change in the camera angle has been a long time coming, like finally
- The difficulty is balanced well on Easy and Normal
- Higher difficulties catered well for the hardcore purist
- The soundtrack is good and fits perfectly
What I wished was better
- The story is too short, not many things were explained
- History of DMC video is too brief and short
- Newcomers may feel disconnected from the story if they have not played the previous entries
- The game actually can be difficult for players who are not used to fast-paced action games
In the end, Devil May Cry 5 does well what it sets out to do. An action game that does not skimp out on the quality it wants to bring. The tight controls coupled with the amazingly well done flashy moves makes every player, newcomers and old fans, felt awestruck. The game also balances well in providing a strong challenge to veteran DMC players and giving newcomers a fun time – provided they stick to easy or normal difficulties. While the story is short and it doesn’t cover a lot of ground of the lore, it still provides a solid 8 hours of amazing action gameplay that would keep encouraging you to replay in order get a good score in every mission.
Capcom has really outdone themselves by giving one of their most beloved series an amazing comeback. Devil May Cry 5 is a good example how to actually breathe in new life to an old series with current technology while retaining an identity that long-time fans can come to appreciate while newcomers can also finally experience the best of it.