Cards on the table, the old school hack and slash genre is one I’ve personally neglected. Sure on the PS2 I loved God of War, on the PS3 I loved Devil May Cry 4 and then on Switch I had a great time with Bayonetta. That’s about where my experience ends. Then I saw the Devil May Cry 5 trailer at E3. Then I played it at Gamescom. Then I played the demo. Then I downloaded it on Thursday night. Then I played it all weekend.
What have I been missing? First thing is first though, the game will only set your PS4 hard drive back 42GBs, nothing compared to most modern games. I felt at no disadvantage having next to no knowledge of the lore or story of the series and the characters. The developers actually provide a very handy in-game movie that’ll bring you up to speed. It’s well worth a watch for noobs like me. There’s also an auto-assist mode which lets you perform longer combos with simpler inputs. I never used this but it’s brilliant to see Capcom make the game as accessible as possible. As usual, there are multiple difficulty levels ranging from Easy to Hell and Hell (which might as well be Urizen coming out of the screen to murder you in real life). Throw in The Void, which allows you to practice controls and moves, secret missions that you can unlock in each level, a gallery of cutscenes (including some intriguing end game reports) and even a jukebox for listening to all the title’s tunes and you have an absolute plethora of content. There’s also the option to view alternative live action versions of the cutscenes. These are as weird as weird gets but actually good fun to watch.
Let’s delve further into the story. From the beginning it’s clear, nothing in this game is going to give you a moment to catch your breath. Everything moves at an unapologetic page. To call it one hundred miles an hour would be unfair, it’s flying that fast every second. The story is bombastic, each character plays their role brilliantly. The voice acting is top notch and really helps to bring characters to life. Nero retains his grumpy nature while also having a very sweet core, V is constantly brooding and feels larger than the sum of his parts, Nico is just great and a highlight. Then there’s the main man (kinda) Dante. He is brilliant. Compared to other protagonists these days with their dark, ‘I hate this role I just want to go back and live quietly at home’ attitude Dante is a breath of fresh air. He’s fun, arrogant and most importantly, stylish. He has a scene with a character by the name of Dr. Faust in the second half of the game. It’s unique. To the entirety of gaming.
The story manages to have an intimate side while still retaining the world ending scale. A new demonic threat by the name of Urizen faces the world and Dante, Nero and a mysterious man named V have to join forces to take on this new evil. Urizen tears them a new one. The battle isn’t even close. The three ‘heroes’ need to gather their strength and attempt to conquer this dark nemesis. Cliche story? Seems that way. After the first few missions, the story grows roots and just gets bigger and bigger but will repay the most hardcore of Devil May Cry fans. Some of the later moments even resonated with me despite having no connection to the series. Several moments are genuinely epic, some are heartwarming, some are just downright cool as f*ck.
Time to talk combat. The combat is absolutely delightful. It is fast, frantic, precise, smooth, stylish, sexy, wonderful, exciting and just downright exceptional. You have three playable characters; Nero, V and Dante. Each offers their own combat style and they differ greatly. With V you’ll barely even touch an enemy, instead you’ll use controllable companions to conquer the field. This was my favorite section of the game, it’s amazing how much can happen in each battle when there’s ten enemies on the screen and you have four different entities fighting your corner. Nero is more traditional, nice gun, big sword and a missing arm that can be swapped out for various different methods of assault. Some will give you extra mobility, some electrical attacks and some will bring a little big of Mega-Man to DMC. Finally there’s Dante. The most bombastic of all. You can batter enemies into the ground with a motorcycle, shoot them with a rocket launcher or just cut them up with a sword. Oh and you also have a fire staff, icy nunchucks and more. Dante definitely offers the most variety but V was my favorite to play with. As you progress you’ll be able to buy new skills to increase your arsenal of attacking options.
Luckily that combat variety extends to the enemies. The game continues to introduce new creatures to unleash your combos on from beginning to the end. You’ll have to mix up your playstyle as well, later enemies won’t be stunned quite as quickly, you’ll need to be fast and adopt a hit and run mentality while using smaller enemies around the area to keep the chain going. Certain missions can be played with multiple characters as well, this adds an extra level of replay value. You’ll genuinely want to see what the combat situations are like with different fighters. Boss battles are unsurprisingly the highlight. From the first to the last, each is unique (well almost) and each manages to ramp up the intensity while still being both fun and offering the player the opportunity to pull off some tremendously memorable combos. There are no penalties for time in levels either, meaning you can explore to your heart’s content. There are secret missions peppered throughout the levels as well as collectibles that are genuinely meaningful such as health upgrades. Exploration is rewarded and in today’s age of ‘collectibles for the sake of it’ then this is a nice change.
Devil May Cry 5 is a AAA title. It looks beautiful, it runs so smoothly without any issues, the music is wonderful, the character design is top class and the whole game is just full to bursting with love, care and attention from the developers. Considering we only seen this for the first time 9 months ago and it’s already not only here but here without any day one patches, no glitches, no crashes, no screen tearing, no frame drops and nothing that breaks immersion then it’s a true testament to Capcom’s development team. It’s a wonderful package that they’ve put on offer that really bucks current gaming trends. There are microtransactions but they make absolutely no difference to the game. They offer the player to speed up progression and the acquiring of skills as well as allowing you to buy a continue when you’re defeated. There is no reason whatsoever to use them and most people won’t even notice they exist. That’s rights, there are no prompts and nothing is forced into the player’s face.
Devil May Cry 5 is an excellent package. It’s the third game of the year contender Capcom has produced in a row and if you’re an action fan you should be buying this yesterday. It’s a throwback to just how fun video games can be, especially a totally single player experience. You can load the game up, play for hours, have a brilliant time and then just simply stop playing with zero complications. Refreshing. The story will take you about thirteen hours to beat but there is so much content spread across the twenty main missions that you could get over a hundred hours worth of gameplay here without breaking a sweat. I can guarantee you that if you play this game the only devil crying will be yourself. With joy.