Hey Dante. Will we meet again?
These were the infamous words of Nero during the closing few minutes of Devil May Cry 4; having defeated Sanctus, reclaimed Vergil’s sword, Yamato, and successfully closing off the Hell gate on Fortuna Island, the series ended not with a resounding triumph, but a concerned whimper – Where could the series go from here? Would these two legendary demon hunters join forces ever again? What of all the loose questions? The story? The characters? After the release of the critically successful but dramatically fan-crucified DmC Devil May Cry, it seemed all-but-certain that Devil May Cry was doomed to go uncompleted, leaving it on this cliffhanger with a tinge of sadness for over 10 years.
Credit to Nickweber_MB
…So it brings me great joy to finally review this game; the long-awaited sequel to Devil May Cry 4, Devil May Cry 5.
It seemed like a bizarre fever dream during the announcement at E3 2018, seeing our favourite punk-boy Nero return to the series along with Dante, Lady, Trish and a slew of new – and old – characters; some of which we never saw coming such as Morrison from the Devil May Cry anime! This leads me to my first point of praise for Devil May Cry 5; the way that it sets up and ties in all of the extended media such as the DMC novels, manga volumes and even the anime, introducing characters such as Nell Goldstein, Morrison and Patty into the official canon, and tying everything together with a nice clean blood-red bow.
This is helped as well with the evolution of the game’s visuals, combat and soundtrack, all of which have taken notes from the previous titles’ successes and absolutely runs with them in the most brilliant ways possible – Combat takes place across three unique characters with a variety of differing playstyles and priorities between them; Nero plays near-identically to how he did in Devil May Cry 4, with the addition of his new ‘Devil Breaker’ arms that he can utilise in combat thanks to his bloody arm being ripped off during the start of the game; other than this, however, Nero does have a few new moves in terms of closing the gap between opponents by using various grapples, air-to-ground attacks and even using his fist as a flying skateboard. Newcomer V who joins the deadly duo of Nero and Dante arrives packed with a wholly unique playstyle, utilising two main familiars – previous demons from DMC 1 – Griffon and Shadow to reign remote hell down upon his opponents, using moves that mirror theirs in DMC 1 when the tricky foes fought against Dante – V also has access to a pseduo-Devil Trigger in the form of Nightmare, the lumbering colossus from the first game, who autonomously slumps around wailing on foes with his gigantic weight and firing explosive laser beams here, there and everywhere – I find that V’s playstyle is more geared towards spectacle and flashiness as opposed to complexity and difficulty, which may be a slight turn-off for some hardcore fans that want to air-cancel-gunslinger-juggle-DT-boost-swordmaster-throw their opponents to kingdom come.
Dante, on the other hand, has only grown from his impressive moveset in DMC 4 with the inclusion of brand new Devil Arms, new abilities and skills for his Devil Trigger, and slew of brand new dodges, taunts, quicker style switching and even more impressive variety with his mixed moveset; without spoiling anything about his abilities or weaponry, this is easily the most diverse Dante has ever been, and sets up for some amazing potential in the upcoming Bloody Palace mode coming on April 1st.
In terms of the additional systems to gameplay, however, there are some issues to be found – The new revival system is utterly broken as you essentially have no reliance on Gold Orbs any more; you get one every day for logging in (For some reason), and can easily amass a wealth of Gold Orbs throughout the main story… But at any point, you can revive yourself using Red Orbs, with 3 different tiers that have a variety of effects – Heal yourself for roughly 33% of your max HP, heal yourself for roughly 66% of your max HP, or heal yourself fully AND do massive damage against the enemies you’re currently fighting… This was worst felt against the final boss, where I accidentally used (And discovered) this Tier 3 effect, and took off over half off of the boss’ HP bar, shortening an otherwise amazing battle.
With this new revival system also comes with the total removal of healing items, such as Vital Stars – You can now only heal via Green Orbs that you find throughout levels, or by using certain taunts; this definitely simplifies the aquisition of S ranks on missions now, but does limit you in terms of your versatility.
Regarding the game’s visuals, I feel that this is one of Capcom’s best looking titles next to the Resident Evil 2 Remake; textures look absolutely gorgeous in all of it’s gory, bricky, industrial glory, from the roots of the Qliphoth to the grungy backstreets of Red Grave City, this game looks fucking beautiful. The feel and structures of London (Transcribed into the fictional Red Grave City) from which the game’s central location is based off of is fully realised, and looks as if a city-ending event had just rocked the streets.
Accompanying your romp throughout the sooty and broken streets of Red Grave, and the bloody and fleshy tendrils of the Qliphoth is one of Devil May Cry’s strongest OST’s, tied equally with DmC Devil May Cry and Devil May Cry 3 in my opinion – Tunes like Devil Trigger, Crimson Cloud, Subhuman and more fill you with pure hype, and really gets the adrenaline pumping when you’re smacking fools around like the utter God that you are – This game is just a joy to play, a joy to look at, and a joy to listen to. One point of criticism, however, is that I feel that the bosses’ themes are all fairly hit & miss, with some exceptions being the Cavalier Angelo fight and the final boss theme; other than that, don’t expect anywhere near the recognition from these themes that songs like Cerberus’, Beowulf and Agni / Rudra’s themes in DMC 3 got.
Finally what of the characters and their struggles? It’s good to see a more vulnerable Dante for once, struggling to defeat the big bad and getting his arse handed to him at the start of the game, with the main antagonist, Urizen, actually breaking Dante’s legendary sword Rebellion into itty-bitty shards; Dante probably gets the most love in this game, coming to terms with his heritage, his life, successes, failures and acting as much more of a mentor to Nero than he ever did in DMC 4 – His humour doesn’t come across as jaded or annoying, but rather charming and fitting, making for some absolutely legendary moments. Nero on the other hand has recieved the same treatment, having been injected with a bit of DMC 3 Dante with a ramped-up snarkiness and playful attitude whilst also bouncing off well with the rest of the supporting cast with care and appreciation – This is also built further with his dialogue with Lady and Trish, implying a friendly relationship between them has blossomed in the time between DMC 4 and DMC 5 – Newcomers V and Nico (Nero’s right-hand girl, Devil Breaker mechanic and shopkeep) are also absolute delights to behold, with V’s dramatic edginess being it’s own kind of stupid fun, having him read poetry dramatically to charge his DT gauge and spouting pretentious bullshit like he’s the baddest bitch in town (When this is far from the truth), and Nico being hands-down my favourite character in the entire game. Nico was very odd to me going into the game as I wasn’t sold on her initially, but lo’ and behold, here she is. Best girl. Mai Waifu.
As I described to my partner Clarice:
“Nico brings an air of hilarious realism to DMC 5; all the other characters have some sort of tragedy, quirk or superpower behind them that defines them… And then you have Nico on the sidelines bearing witness to all this crazy shit alongside the player, acting not only as Nero’s anchor in all of this chaos, but the player’s anchor too.”
All things considered, Devil May Cry is – in my subjective opinion – the second-best Devil May Cry game, outmatched slightly by Devil May Cry 3; some environments are repetitive and the boss themes may not be that great, but just the fact that this game simply exists is a miracle in-of-itself. The game is an amazing evolution of the already-solid base of Devil May Cry 4 whilst also learning from the mistakes and success of DmC Devil May Cry to create a whole new identity for Devil May Cry. One that I’ll be supporting for many years to come, and one I’m proud to say is a welcome change of pace, and a successful one at that.
You did it Itsuno. You and the RE2 / Monster Hunter World devs have ushered in a new golden age for Capcom.
I give Devil May Cry 5:
9.0 / 10