Devil May Cry is back…again. It’s been almost two years since the latest adventure with Dante and co. Now, thanks to the launch of new generation consoles and the trend of releasing a special edition for each title, we have Devil May Cry 5 Special Edition, which allows us to play as Vergil in one of the best games in the series to date.
The story picks up 5 years after the events of Devil May Cry 4. Nero has his own Devil May Cry business going but is operating out of a van with his driver, artisan and mechanic, Nico. A strange shambling demon comes calling one evening and rips off Nero’s Devil Bringer Arm. This sets in motion a series of events that involves the Legendary Devil Hunter, Dante, and a new mysterious character who goes only by the name V. Their respective paths lead them to Red Grave City, where the demon king Urizen has planted a demonic tree known as Qliphoth. It’s up to the devil hunters and V to put an end to Urizen and his evil intentions.
The game’s narrative is great and quite over the top, which is pretty much the order of the day. It starts off with a fairly dire situation and then hops back and forth in time over the course of a few months. It’s made up of 20 missions, with each character getting a big chunk of play time. The main characters were utilised quite well and the addition of the crap-talking Nico is actually quite entertaining. It’s also paced nicely, for the most part. It tends to slow down somewhere around the middle and ramps right back up again for the game’s climax, which, by the way, is fantastic. It’s well written too, making you as the player as unsure of V as Nero is. Urizen’s story is equally interesting as has a few twists that will make fans of the series gasp with excitement. If I had one gripe, it’s that Lady and Trish take a big backseat this time. They’re there to drive the story along, but that’s it, they don’t do much else. They’re two awesome characters in this series and they just feel under-utilised here.
Gameplay is fast-paced and as always, style counts. Killing demons is all well and good, but racking up varying combos is important to get a good style rank at the end of a mission. This isn’t all for show, however. Well, it is, but it also nets you bonus Red Orbs, which is the game’s currency and can be used to purchase new skills and upgrade your weapons and abilities.
When it comes to combat, Nero makes use of the Red Queen and Blue Rose, which are his sword and gun, respectively. Also, since losing his Devil Bringer Arm, he makes use of Devil Breakers. These are mechanical arms, each with different attacks to be used in combat and have advantages in certain situations. You’re able to choose a loadout of Breakers before a mission, but unfortunately, you aren’t able to switch between them on the fly.
Dante will feel the most familiar to returning fans with him making use of his sword, Rebellion, and his guns, Ebony and Ivory. He’s also able to switch between different weapons and styles on the fly, allowing him to be quite possibly the most combat flexible character to play with. Plus, he’s able to turn into a demon using Devil Trigger once his gauge has been filled enough.
V is the odd one out. He’s unable to engage in direct combat, so instead, he summons his familiars, Griffon and Shadow, to handle the fighting before he closes in to deliver the finishing blow with his cane. V also has a Devil Trigger of sorts, but instead of transforming into a demon, his hair changes to white and summons an invincible autonomous demon called Nightmare. V’s combat will feel strange at first as you figure out how to control your familiars, but it isn’t long before you get the knack of utilising them and staying out of harm’s way yourself.
Vergil being featured as a playable character is a welcomed addition. Being able to start up the game for the first time and just hit the campaign without having to complete it as the initial cast is nice. Although, it’s recommended to complete the game as Nero, Dante and V before moving on to Vergil, since it’ll give you an idea of what to expect.
It was actually pretty interesting to see how Vergil compared to everyone else. Honestly, it took a bit of time to get used to his playstyle, but it wasn’t long before I was tearing up demons left, right and centre. He also makes use of three Devil Arms and these can be used from the very beginning. Vergil is armed with his trademark katana, Yamato, his gauntlets and greaves, Beowulf and then the Mirage Blade, a spectre-esque version of his father’s sword, the Force Edge. Switching between these on the fly is a breeze and can actually make for some seriously stylish combos! A lot of the more advanced manoeuvres need to be unlocked and can be purchased using Red Orbs.
The Devil May Cry series has always offered quite a fair challenge and 5 is no different. It’s quite possible to get overwhelmed by enemies if you don’t stay on the move. Most of the challenge comes in the form of boss battles, however. Devil May Cry 5 sports a decent library of bosses over its 20 missions with each one offering a different challenge. If you fancy even more of a challenge, additional, harder difficulties become available as you complete the game on the difficulty setting below it. Classic modes such as Son of Sparda, Dante Must Die and Heaven and Hell make a return in this instalment.
A new difficulty accompanies Devil May Cry 5 Special Edition and that is the Legendary Dark Knight option. This option ups the ante by not only making you easier to take down but also pits you against a horde of enemies in an attempt to overwhelm you. It honestly feels impossible at first but it can be done and will be quite the challenge for anyone who decides to take it on.
Running on the PS5, Devil May Cry 5 Special Edition looks fantastic. Back on the PS4, it already looked great, but it’s amazing to me that it still manages to go even further. It also runs incredibly well at a solid 60FPS when in Performance Mode. You can make use of the Ray Tracing, which will make everything much prettier, but the frame rate will take a bit of a dip. Either way though, you’re in for a treat because even without Ray Tracing turned on, it looks absolutely gorgeous. Also, the load times are crazy. Missions will be ready to play almost immediately, leaving very little room for waiting once you start playing.
With the addition of Vergil in the game, we’ve also been treated to a new song called Bury The Light, which just so happens to be his signature track in-game. It’s really great and really fits the theme of the game thanks to Casey Edwards’ other songs on the soundtrack. I actually never got tired of hearing it despite it playing during each combat encounter. In fact, I actually couldn’t wait for it to kick in each time.
As a longtime fan, Devil May Cry 5 was one of my favourite games of 2019 and I can safely say that the Special Edition is definitely one of my favourites for 2020. I’m so glad that we got to play with Vergil, however, the lack of an actual fleshed-out campaign complete with narrative is a little disappointing. It’s still an absolute blast to play as him though, utilising his powerful attacks to destroy every demon that stood in my way. The combat is undoubtedly the best the series has ever seen and it’s something that’ll have you coming back to play the higher difficulties, including the new Legendary Dark Knight difficulty. Devil May Cry 5 Special Edition is a serious treat for fans and I actually can’t get enough of it. Let’s hope that we don’t have to wait too long before the next game!
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