Image is public domain courtesy of Flickr
Image is public domain courtesy of Flickr

“Devil May Cry 5” review — sssuperb

POSTED April 4, 2019

“Devil May Cry 5” is my favorite game of 2019 so far, without a shadow of a doubt. The frenetic action, ridiculous yet sincere story and beautiful visuals contribute to a package that’s worth its asking price. But, by far, the biggest thing that makes “Devil May Cry 5” a worthy sequel for the mainline series is the return of characters like Dante, Nero, Lady and Trish — as well as the all-new characters: V and Nico.

“Devil May Cry 5” throws away everything that people hated about the reboot “DmC — Devil May Cry”: the extremely simplistic style system, the redesign of the classic characters and the forced weapon switching (which was later fixed in the re-release of the game).

(Mild story spoilers ahead.)

The story is completely bonkers. Realism is tossed to the wayside in almost every scenario with a tongue-in-cheek tone throughout, and I loved it. Even with a ridiculous streak overlaying the whole narrative, the characters and the writing are so heartfelt that I was emotionally invested in a vast majority of the scenes. To avoid major spoilers and to condense the plot to its simplest form, there’s a big demon that defeats our heroes at the beginning of the game. All of the events that follow result in the characters trying to come back and get stronger so that they can prepare themselves for round two. Our heroes, however, are such a joy to watch that it makes viewing every cutscene a blast, even, in my opinion, on multiple playthroughs, which the game is designed for.

Dante, Nero and V constantly backtalk the demons that stand in their way, creating the lighthearted tone that the series has stapled for itself. V definitely has the most standout personality amongst the main cast. He constantly reads from his book of poetry while in combat, and he has a pretty emo aesthetic, but I still found him to be endearing. This is in no small part due to the love and care that the writers put into their story — a story that fans have been waiting ten years for (since the last mainline release of “Devil May Cry 4” back in 2008).

My main criticisms regarding the story are that the twists are pretty predictable, and there are a couple of scenes that I found to be a little too ridiculous. Fans of the series can see the twists coming within the first hour or two. Even I, having limited experience with the rest of the series, was able to predict the twists easily.

And, while the main heroes are well fleshed out, I felt that the return of characters like Lady and Trish needed more development as their role in the story is pretty limited, but, in the other games, they could stand on their own just as well as characters like Dante. But, honestly, the rest of the story made up for the lackluster reveals and the uneven focus on certain characters. I had a ball the whole time, and I’m waiting in anticipation for the next game’s story.

It’s great; it’s great; it’s great. Wow, I haven’t played with a combat system this good in such a long time. “Devil May Cry 5” has made each character feel distinct in their playstyle, but none of them felt jarring to switch between from chapter to chapter. Nero has the brilliant new addition of Devil Breakers: robotic arms that have unique functions, making them capable of raising your style further while in use; however, they are breakable when either being hit while in use or when maximizing their charge to deal the full effect that the arm is capable of. In addition to Devil Breakers, Nero has his grappling hook to pull enemies in close, helping to maintain the style streak.

And the style system makes an amazing return, even adding dynamic music that gets more amped up and adrenaline pumping the better one does in combat. With V, however, I found that he could very easily rake up a high style, even when it felt like I wasn’t doing anything overly impressive. V keeps himself at a distance, summoning two animals to fight for him: Griffon and Shadow. Shadow’s visual design is a panther, and is designed for direct attacks that are up close to the enemy; whereas, Griffon, whose visual design is, well, a griffon, is more prone to aerial-ranged attacks. However, V’s strongest summon is Nightmare: a wipe-out-everyone-in-the-room summon — who has no definite shape — that arrives once V’s Devil Trigger gauge is filled (Devil Trigger being the gauge that fills for V and Dante once they’ve dealt enough damage to enemies, giving the heroes more of an advantage in a fight).

And onto the highlight of every game: Dante. His personality is just as charming as it was in the previous games, and his combat has been refined to perfection. Without wishing to spoil what kind of weapons he receives, I will say he gets a combination of four ranged weapons and four melee weapons, all having a distinct purpose. The return of the four styles: Trickster, Swordmaster, Royal Guard and Gunslinger are back. I didn’t find that I had to change them constantly in battle, but each style does have its own purpose depending on the enemy Dante is facing. This is without a doubt the most complete and fun version of Dante that I have played in a “Devil May Cry” game ever.

P.S. did I mention that the combat is great?

“Devil May Cry 5” is definitely a game that’s meant to be played through several times. The game has many difficulty modes and unlockables after you beat the game, encouraging multiple playthroughs. Another highlight is the music, particularly the battle theme for Nero: “Devil Trigger”. Each track fits the fights and got me revved up to take down more and more demons, improving myself each time.

I loved “Devil May Cry 5”. Capcom did an outstanding job in bringing the series back, and I applaud the great effort and achievements they made with this game. I would love it if more and more games wanted to follow the example of  “Devil May Cry 5”. The story, characters and combat wrap this whole experience up in a perfect package that I never tired of. There’s no question that this is one of my favorite games ever made, and, with three full playthroughs completed (working my way through a fourth), this is definitely one of the best games to have been released so far this year.  

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