Devil May Cry is a one of a kind franchise with personalities you won’t find in any other game. Since the original game, Devil May Cry became a cult game for the Hack & Slash genre. Hideki Kamiya created and directed the first game. From that point on, he hasn’t come back to the saga on such a key role. What Kamiya did with the original was bold and revolutionary, both from a storytelling perspective and from a gameplay point of view.
Even though the rest of the entries are great on their own, none have yet amazed me as the first one did. Kamiya’s legacy wasn’t an easy one to beat. Since Kamiya introduced us to this fantastic series, Hideki Itsuno took the mantle and directed every single Devil May Cry game. Except for the DMC reboot, which wasn’t a bad game on its own but lacked the unique touch that makes a Devil May Cry game stand out. Itsuno’s work has always been impressive, yet, none of the other games in the saga had such a lasting impression as the first one did for me. I am glad to say that it is no longer the case.
Devilish and Stylish Characters!
This game saga is famous for its superb, ultra-responsive and stylish gameplay and its beloved characters: Dante, Lady, Trish, Nero and now Nico to mention a few. All these characters have bold and robust personalities that break the mold of the usual videogame characters. True, we now have strong characters such as Uncharted’s Nathan Drake, the crazy character’s in Bayonetta or GTA V, but none of those match the irreverence and wittiness that Dante and his crew bring along.
This title is indeed a work of love from Itsuno. I was blown away by the quality of production for each of the characters. Dante, Nero, the new mysterious character “V” and even the sharped-personality weapon crafter Nico are simply stunning in every conceivable way. The dialogue is cheesy, yet cleverly written to match and elevate the personalities of the demon hunters we have grown to love through the years. Every bit of interaction between our heroes, the demons and many bosses through the game are all spectacularly executed and have that “A la Devil May Cry” tone that we expect.
SSS Rank Story!
I won’t dwell too much into the story. It unfolds at a good pace, and I wouldn’t want to spoil any of the details. If you have not played any of the previous entries (or haven’t played them in a while), I suggest you watch the included short cinematic that explains all the background history of Devil May Cry. It might skip details, but it does the job and brings you up to speed with our favorite demon hunters. Long story short, there’s a mysterious demon that takes Nero’s Devil Bringer (arm) and starts devastating the human world.
These events will start a crusade from Nero, Dante and a new mysterious character called V to stop the demon infestation. The story pacing here is terrific. There’s a timeline to allocate each mission, letting you know what the time is for each of the events taking place. You will change the perspective between these three characters regularly, and this timeline mechanic results in each perspective intertwining and revealing the motivations behind each character and the mystery behind the demonic infestation itself.
The Yamato of Graphics
Saying that Devil May Cry 5 looks good is an understatement. The character models are gorgeously detailed, and the animations are so masterfully executed that photo mode is a must have and something you will continuously use during this game. The RE Engine was amazing on Resident Evil 2, but it is at another level on Devil May Cry 5.
Missions crowded with details deliver brilliantly designed environments. The art direction alone makes you want to continue playing from beginning to end in a single session. The HDR utilization for this title is one of the best I’ve seen in recent games; it truly makes every particle effect pop and each enemy stand out even more.
Enemies are varied and overflow in detail. Each boss fight and even the minor encounters are a visual feast. The attention to detail in creating these grotesque and impressive villains is outstanding. The game, as in usual DMC fashion, is plagued with cutscenes of visceral yet ridiculous over the top action. Each of these cinematics elevate the visual bar for the game as the adventure progresses, reaching absurd levels of adrenaline and visual extravagance at the last levels. There are some minor frame dips during some cinematics (we used the Xbox One X version for review), but the gameplay experience is flawless.
Sound design matches the visual’s quality. Each of the tunes is reminiscent of the true essence of the franchise. Environmental sound design is an achievement here, bringing every frame to life with an atmospheric and compelling rendition of what a world infested with demons should sound.
Over the Top Action Gameplay
Since Nero lost his arm, Nico provides you with many different arm options for you to use as weapons. This mechanic results in a wide variety of gameplay styles since you not only control Nero but will get the chance to play as V and Dante. Nero alone allows a plethora of great fighting styles, add to that the fact that V has a different playstyle and abilities and you have a recipe for non-stop action that promises not be dull in any moment.
The customization system is similar to what DMC regularly goes with; you use red orbs to buy combos, upgrades and new abilities. The gameplay is fast-paced and sometimes even frenetic. This fast action pacing is one of the few elements that might be cumbersome for someone not used to the franchise. Camera movement is a bit complicated to handle when the action is moving at a high pace. But, after a couple of missions, this shouldn’t be a problem even for newcomers.
In regards to mechanics, controls are responsive and as tight as they can be. Every button smash seamlessly translates to a perfectly animated and executed move. Connecting combos and raising the stylish point meter is the most rewarding experience I’ve had in a DMC entry so far.
Secret Missions, Crazy Weapons, and Replay Value
Devil May Cry 5 does have its fair share of secrets lying around. Some branching paths make you feel a bit lost sometimes. Although, there’s always a reward after feeling you’re running in circles. Secret missions range from easy to incredibly challenging (even in the Human difficulty level).
The number of crazy weapons in a Devil May Cry game is proportional to the fun you’ll have. This entry is no disappointment in this aspect. Above all, the wacko weapons you will use during your adventure are otherworldly. Guns and spectacular swords aren’t in a shortage here.
Satisfying Demon Hunting?
Devil May Cry 5 is an exhilarating experience from beginning to end. The storyline is just terrific to follow from beginning to end. Characters are extremely well acted and cheesy as only Devil May Cry could deliver. The game progresses as new, and more inventive gameplay mechanics present to the player. Making the time you spend with the game worth every second.
There are some bumps in the story pacing. Initial moments are great and filled with demonic action. However, some midsections feel a bit uninspired in comparison to the spectacular beginning. What Devil May Cry 5 manages to deliver is superb cliffhangers from chapter to chapter, keeping you intrigued and invested in the game the whole 10 to 15-hour ride.
The ending chapters of the game (no spoilers ahead, promise), seem somewhat anticlimactic. The closure isn’t a bad one, but the sheer amount of action and closing cinematics at the very end leaves you craving for something more. Some moments will leave you in awe at the very beginning of the game, and the trend continues through most of the boss fights. Therefore, that’s mainly the reason why the ending chapter feels at the same level, but not exceeding the action bar that previous missions had set.
Back to the Roots!
Devil May Cry 5 is an homage to what makes Devil May Cry such a beloved franchise. It takes what every game has done great so far, and evolves and updates those mechanics. All this while applying a 4K and HDR treatment to it. Characters are amazing, and there’s no dull moment throughout the whole campaign. The over the top and ridiculous action that’s a staple for the series is everywhere. From the first minute, until the very end. No expenses where cut to make each cinematic a jaw-dropping collection of supremely directed scenes.
Devil May Cry is back, and it is bigger and better than ever. The wait to a true successor to Devil May Cry 4 was a long one. But, it was worth the time. Hidetaki Itsuno finally made it happen; Devil May Cry 5 is a masterpiece imbued in frenetic action and eye-popping visuals. It deserves its rightful spot next to the original.