Review – Devil May Cry 5
Man, was I looking forward to Devil May Cry 5 ever since Capcom announced it last year during Microsoft’s pre-E3 conference! Everything looked so promising: the return of classic Dante, my favorite character, Nero, making a well-deserved comeback, gorgeous graphics, the usage of the magnificent RE Engine (also used in Resident Evil VII and the Resident Evil 2 remake), and a dangerously infectious heavy metal theme song. Not long after that, I had the chance of playing an early demo during Brasil Game Show 2018, which only served to further convince me of what I was already expecting; Devil May Cry 5 had crazy potential to become one of the most promising games of 2019. Here we are, the game is finally out and it honestly didn’t live up to what I was expecting. It surpassed my already sky-high expectations in every single conceivable way.
Devil May Cry 5 sees the return of non-DMC Dante and everyone’s favorite underdog, Nero, teaming up with newcomer V (we’re calling him “Sassy Kylo Ren” from now on) in order to defeat this week’s newest toughest baddie. At first I thought I wasn’t going to care much about the game’s story, since the other Devil May Cry games had plotlines that were forgettable at best. You were there for the dumb action, not the story. Although the same can be applied here, I was surprised with how Capcom handled the storytelling this time around. It’s not what you would consider to be jaw-dropping, but they did manage to add in a few plot twists as well as a lot of clever humorous moments. Nothing felt forced or overly edgy. Looking at you, DMC…
Naturally, the main star of the show is the gameplay. Although, in this case you could easily say “gameplays”. Each of the three characters has his own unique play style. Nero retains most of his moves from Devil May Cry 4, with the addition of the previously mentioned devil breaker arm prosthetics. There is a wide variety of them, ranging from drills to whips. However, I mainly stuck to the Overture power-up; an electric blast that would not only take a lot of damage from enemies, but also massively increase my overall score and rank.
Sassy Kylo Ren’s fighting style is unusual to say the least, but that doesn’t mean he’s boring to play. He doesn’t actively fight per se, instead he relies on summoning demons to help him out. You can summon a shapeshifting panther to deal melee damage, a bird that can best be described as Aladdin‘s Iago on steroids dealing ranged damage, as well as temporarily summoning a big bulky golem to deal massive overall damage to enemies for a short while. Sassy Kylo Ren’s only active involvement during battles is to deliver the final blow with his cane. At first I thought I would despise this combat scheme, given how different it looked, but I ended up loving it. The fact that your character was dealing indirect damage to enemies reminded me a lot of Nier Automata‘s combat mechanics at some points and that’s never a bad thing.
Finally, there’s Dante. I’m not going to lie, I was mostly excited to play as Nero in Devil May Cry 5, but once I was finally able to play as the franchise’s poster boy midway through the game, he quickly became my favorite character due to how stylish and over-the-top his combat style is. Dante just steals the show whenever he’s onscreen. You can do everything you can imagine: use big swords, use your fists, wield pistols, shotguns, bazookas, become a demon, and even wear a white hat that lets you do some Michael Jackson-esque dance moves. To top things off, you can use a motorcycle as a sword. I still don’t understand the science and logistics besides this decision, but I don’t care at all. Dante is all about brutally murdering everyone around you in style.
Thankfully, Devil May Cry 5 does a great job with its gameplay, its most important technical aspect, but that’s not the only thing it excels at. Both its graphical and sound departments are downright fantastic.
I have to commend whoever programmed the RE Engine. This engine is a thing of wonders. Even on the Xbox One S’s really dated and limited hardware, Devil May Cry 5 still manages to run at a near-constant 60 frames a second at a very high and non-dynamic 1080p resolution, unlike other recent releases such as Ace Combat 7 or Red Dead Redemption 2. The RE Engine allows for extremely detailed environments, great lighting effects, lots of colors (for a grim game, that is) and great character designs, both demon and human. Finally, unlike Resident Evil VII, the human characters don’t have weird teeth and exaggerated grins. They actually look like people this time around!
The sound department is also the best the series has ever seen. Devil May Cry 5 is probably the first game in the franchise to have actually decent voice acting. We all remember the cheesy and embarassing performances from previous Devil May Cry games. There’s nothing nowhere near as bad as those examples this time around. Everyone does a good job, from Nero’s voice actor (good old Johnny Yong Bosch) to Nico’s voice actress. I thought I would hate her extremely forced Southern American accent, but her dark sense of humor quickly made me adore her character.
Do you really think I’d forget about the soundtrack? It’s one of the best of this entire generation and not only because of the masterpiece that is “Devil Trigger“. The entire soundtrack is fantastic, ranging from somber and atmospheric orchestrated pieces when things around you are somewhat calm and mosh-inducing bangers for each of the three main characters. Even though they only have one combat tune each, they’re so adrenaline-pumping that you can never get tired of them.
One point of concern I had before tackling Devil May Cry 5 was the fact the game actually includes microtransactions. You can buy Red Orbs (the game’s currency) with real money, but in no moment I ever felt like resorting to this option. The game constantly showers you with enough currency for you to buy tons of new abilities before each mission. It even gifts you a ton of orbs, as well as some revival stones, if you’ve played the demo prior to the full release. I definitely do not condone the inclusion of these monetization practices in a single-player game like Devil May Cry 5, but I could barely remember they even existed throughout my entire playthrough. They weren’t intrusive at all and thankfully in no moment the game was I convinced to spend some extra bucks on them.
Devil May Cry 5 ended up being a lot more than I was expecting. All I wanted was a cool hack and slash title with a banging soundtrack, but I got what’s probably the best action game I’ve played since Onimusha 3, released fifteen years ago. This is Devil May Cry at its finest. It’s fast-paced, it’s dumb, it’s loud, it’s completely over-the-top, it’s self aware, it’s unapologetic, and above anything else, it’s unbelievable fun. I may have already beaten this game, but I can guarantee you I’ll replay it over and over again throughout the year. I just can’t say no to beating the crap out of a giant mantis demon with a bladed motorcycle while unhealthy doses of death metal are being blasted into my ears.
The RE Engine keeps on doing wonders with the limited hardware of the Xbox One. Incredible visuals and a great framerate. By the way, Capcom has finally designed human characters without weird teeth!
Each character has his own unique play style and all three of them are extremely fun to use. The controls are smooth and responsive and the free camera movement is pretty fluid.
Every single voice actor does an amazing job and the hard rocking soundtrack is one of the best released in a long time.
Three great characters to play as, a somewhat lengthy and infinitely replayable campaign, many unlockables, and above all, over-the-top fun at all times. Devil May Cry 5 gets more enjoyable the more you keep playing it.
Final Verdict: 10
Devil May Cry 5 is available now on PS4, Xbox One and PC.
Reviewed on Xbox One.
A copy of Devil May Cry 5 was provided by the publisher.