Title: Devil May Cry 5
Release date: 8 Mar 2019 (WW)
This review was written based on the initial Japanese release of the game, and may not reflect changes made to versions released in other regions, or changes made with updates and/or DLC.
Many fans were left uneasy over the future of the Devil May Cry series when the series was seemingly left dangling after 2008’s Devil May Cry 4, with nothing more than a critically acclaimed yet clearly botched, bumbling western-developed reboot which made baffling changes to characters and reimagined the series in an uninspired “edgy” fashion.
DmC: Devil May Cry (2013)
Devil May Cry 5 is thus the sequel that fans have been waiting over a decade for, and the long wait drove expectations up to what might be described as almost unreasonable levels. Even so, it is clear that DMC5 has managed to exceed even those expectations.
DMC5 wastes no time in getting the action started: The game begins with the city of Red Grave having already been ravaged by a massive demonic tree, and series protagonist Dante, accompanied with sidekicks Lady and Trish, confronting the demon king Urizen as 4’s protagonist Nero and new character V rush to his aid. The story is intricately connected to previous games in the series (barring 2) and concludes a thread that had been woven through them that had been left dangling for eleven years, and with characters returning from even the 2007 anime series, it is clear that DMC5 is made with fans of the series in mind.
DMC5 has three playable characters: Series protagonist Dante, who retains his four styles and gets a plethora of new weapons; 4’s protagonist Nero, whose Devil Bringer ability from 4 is replaced with an array of robotic arms called Devil Breakers, each with its own unique moves, and a grappling hook which lets him pull enemies towards him (or himself towards heavier enemies); And new character V, who cannot fight on his own, but can control up to three demons at the same time to fight for him.
Dante’s gameplay remains fundamentally the same, but his new weapons are all tremendously fun to use, and this combined with a new ability that he gets alongside an upgrade to his Devil Trigger, and the upgrade itself, make him feel both familiar and refreshing at the same time.
The same can be said of Nero, who can now choose from a number of arms that replace his old Devil Bringer, all of which have their own moves, including one that is essentially a better version of the old Devil Bringer. He also gets a late game upgrade- Which of course carries on to subsequent playthroughs- Which expands his moveset considerably, in a manner that is incredibly fun for the player.
The new character V at first sounds completely out of place in a Devil May Cry game: He does not fight on his own, and instead relies on summoning minions to do his fighting for him, and only deals finishing blows to enemies (which his minions cannot do). Astonishingly, however, DMC5 manages to implement this in a way that not only feels natural in the series but is also stunningly enjoyable. V’s dodge moves bringing his summons back to him makes it so that dodging an attack also brings a summon to him for a quick counter, and how V himself can do things like regenerate devil trigger gauge by reading from a book of poetry or taunting while his demons are fighting makes it so that controlling him never goes stale.
DMC5 does however have a small number flaws. The game switches between the three protagonists as the story progresses, and in many cases a particular stage will be locked to a particular character (there are some cases where the player can choose the character they want to use, but these are few and far between). This means that certain stages can only be played with certain characters, and more importantly, certain bosses can only be fought with certain characters. This is particularly disappointing for players who want to use V, who has few unique boss fights. A mode allowing the player to go through the entire story as just one character would have been appreciated.
Loading times on consoles can also get annoying due to how missions have a typically short cutscene play before the pre-mission start screen: Both the cutscene, and the start screen have their own load times, as does opening or closing the customisation menu.
The game does include microtransactions in the form of purchasable red orbs, which are the series staple in-game currency used to purchase new abilities and items. These are however mostly neglectable, as the game is clearly balanced around using the orbs obtainable in-game to purchase upgrades one by one, which also serves as a learning curve for the player to learn new abilities gradually.
Despite eleven years having passed since the last new numbered title in the series, Devil May Cry 5 makes no concessions, and the blank has seemingly only served to make the game even better, with a drive to meet heightened fan expectations. Also delivering a climax to the series’ story, it would not be an exaggeration to call Devil May Cry 5 the pinnacle of the series.
The Good: Gameplay is a sheer delight. Each of the three playable characters is distinct and enjoyable in their own way. Plot threads left dangling for the entire series up till now, reach a conclusive climax.
The Bad: Load times on console can feel somewhat long, and this can be even more annoying in the many cases when a load screen is entirely for a single short cutscene that lasts as long as the load did. New character V would have benefited from having more unique boss fights.
Conclusion: An evolution of the series in every possible way, Devil May Cry 5 is everything a fan could ask for.