Continuing on the rise from hell, Capcom follows suit with the Resident Evil 2 Remake into Devil May Cry 5. Bringing back one of the titans of action gaming, DMC5 looks to wash away all the bad names hurled at the DmC crafted by Ninja Theory. Reviving the combat and style of DMC4, 5 couples together Dante and Nero once more whilst adding in a whole new character along with a new playstyle in the form of V. Let’s dive into the fiery pits to see if we can pull out a shining gem amongst the darkness.
Devil May Cry 5 starts off 5 years after the events of DMC4, with Dante handing off his business sign to Nero to get him started with his own demon hunting business. Both protagonists were doing well for themselves, even though Dante failed to pay his water bill, again, until the game starts off. Rushing into complete chaos, the game starts us off losing to a risen Demon Lord, easily dispatching Nero while only having slight issue with Dante.
Fast forward 1 month after the devastating defeat and we find ourselves with Nero losing his arm, replacing it with a robotic one along with some backstory as to how that happened. V, who hired us to take down the Demon Lord before, also joins us as we make our way back to the Demon Lord’s lair to have another shot at him. Throughout the game we will traverse cities, sewers and demonic areas to find our way back to the end-dungeon once again, swapping between Nero, Dante and V as we progress.
The main story will last you around 13 hours, with higher difficulties possibly extending that time. DMC5 is full of secret missions that challenge you to do several things during a fight, from killing enemies in 1 hit to never touching the floor. There are also some hidden items that increase your health and devil trigger gauges, hidden weapons and other collectables. With all the extra content you can easily extend your play time to around 30 hours, even more with higher difficulties and the eventual Bloody Palace that will launch sometime in April as a free update.
This review is based on the PS4 release, and so opinions are based on that version.
Seeing only a slight change in gameplay from DMC4, DMC5 sticks to its action roots with slashing action, gunning down targets and flawless combo systems to rack up your style rank. If you liked the previous game, you should enjoy what 5 has to offer, as it improves upon the design of 4 while adding in a whole new gameplay set with the new character V.
Control schemes will shift between each character, with Dante keeping his combat styles of Trickster, Swordmaster, Gunslinger and Royalguard with the directional buttons, but these buttons are not used for the other 2 characters. Dante also has weapons to swap with L2 and R2, with L2 being used to rev up Nero’s sword for added damage and splash. Each character has a light attack on Square and heavy on Triangle, though for V these translate to attacks with either Griffon or Shadow, his demonic summons who attack at range for him. Tilting the thumbstick into different directions will also allow you to pull off different attacks like Dante’s stinger or a trap laser from V.
One of the issues I found with the new control schemes, especially with V, is the overuse of the face boutons, lock-on and dodge mechanics, alongside finishers with O. I found my thumb and index finger becoming stiff and hurting due to how many rapid presses, holds or delays needed for the whole breadth of combos, with V being the hardest due to his rapid-fire attacks and using both Carrion and Shadow at once. This can be alleviated by swapping between protagonists, but there are some segments where you need to play the same character for 2 or 3 missions in a row. I don’t foresee this issue with keyboard controls, however.
Fighting enemies is generally straightforward, but it wouldn’t be DMC if you weren’t trying to be as stylish as possible whilst mowing them down. As you deal hits you will build up your style gauge, going from ranks D to SSS, throwing in new combos, weapons, dodges, parries and actions will help to build this faster. As the rank changes the music will flow into a new segment, with D being mostly instrumental and S introducing the vocals and SSS transforming into an energetic side of the track. Rank also dictates how many Red Orbs you obtain as well as final mission ranking.
As you progress through the game, you will collect Red Orbs both from combat and crystals throughout the world. These Red Orbs are your currency, which you hand into Nico, the supporting character of Nero. You can exchange the orbs to gain new attacks, increase the potency of some attacks, unlock new combos, make Dante’s styles better, and even buy Health and DT orbs to increase those gauges. If you lack Red Orbs you can also buy them for around £2, gaining 100,000 at once, which is one of the cheapest microtransactions I’ve ever seen in a game, though you don’t really need to buy any as the game gives you plenty.
The soundtrack within DMC5 is still full of demonic riffs, rock tunes and slight choir influences. Dialling down the orchestra and choirs a bit from DMC4, since this entry isn’t as religiously infused as the last, DMC5 goes for more of an upbeat soundtrack. All main combat themes are great to listen to as well as feeling rewarding when you hear new segments due to a higher style ranking. Some traversal and stage music can sound a bit too quiet, or unenthusiastic, leading to a quiet map, but most of the time these portions aren’t too long, with battles being thrown in here and there.
While DMC isn’t exactly difficult with its standard setting, DMC5 still succeeds at keeping the difficulty consistent throughout. There are some “meant to lose” fights which can be annoying, though almost all of these do have an alternative scene if you actually do beat them, even one fight ending with a different hidden ending. Some bosses towards the end do swap up their tactics or attacks, causing you to fall one or two times as you figure them out.
Sadly some of the story pacing does drop towards the end segments, with plots being resolved a bit too fast or with deus ex machinas. The final ending is also slightly anti-climactic featuring an “I forgive you” moment that some players may be put off, though older fans can see the reoccurring situation with the series. While some story points can be overlooked, there are a bit too many that add into a somewhat shaky conclusion.
Overall, Devil May Cry 5 gets a 9/10, it is a stylish return to the series proper burning away any disillusions that DmC may have thrown into the mix. The gameplay is smooth and varied, with 3 unique combat styles that all feed into the stylish system wonderfully. I feel it is one of the best entries into the series, if not the best, though falls a bit short with some story beats and a slightly smaller world and levels when compared to DmC. Fans of the series should love this newest entry, with newcomers being catered for with some background information and videos that are provided with this release.