The Devil Hunters are back, more stylish than ever.
“I have no name, I am but two days old … just kidding, you can call me V.”
That line from Devil May Cry 5’s new protagonist and playable character, V (a.k.a. “The Mysterious One,”) borrows verses from renowned English poet William Blake. It’s a fitting source of inspiration as DMC5, in many ways, is an artsy game that’s very poetic in its delivery. A prime example is combat—the more varied and stylish your combos are, the higher your rewards. Then there’s the elaborate story, which bends and weaves through plenty of unforeseen plot twists and dramatic character returns. It’s been eleven long years since we’ve received a proper sequel to Devil May Cry 4, but at last DMC5 has arrived and it’s even better than I hoped for.
Trouble grows in Red Grave City
With Devil May Cry 5 being such a story-driven title, I won’t get into too much detail for fear of spoiling the game’s biggest surprises. At a high level though, the game revolves around a powerful, demonic king named Urizen that begins its invasion of Earth, starting with Red Grave City. The underworld ruler’s main weapon is its demon tree “Qliphoth” that bursts from the ground, spears humans and then sucks out their blood, eerily reminiscent of the harvesters from 2005’s War of the Worlds starring Tom Cruise.
As you’d expect, this new fiend catches the attention of young devil hunter Nero, who rashly sets out to save humanity and quickly finds himself in way over his head. Dante, the half-human and half-demon star of the series, also joins the battle, as does the mysterious V whose motives and origins remain hidden. The sheer contrast of these characters—Dante’s steadfast disposition, Nero’s brash attitude, and V’s pensive mystique—are a recipe for many fascinating and comedic moments. It’s a very enjoyable story overall, especially for long-time fans sure to appreciate the subtle, and the not-so-subtle nods to past events and characters that have shaped this devilish franchise.
You might also like: Best PS4 Games of 2018
Battling in Devil May Cry 5 is a total blast. You’re not just out to hack and slash your way through hordes of fearsome demons—your goal is to do it all in style. Racking up combos using a variety of moves gradually increases your Stylish Rank, all the way from D (Dismal), to S (Savage). If you’re extremely stylish, you can even jump to an SSS rank, amusingly referred to in-game as “Smokin’ Sexy Style.”
Achieving S-Rank status requires you to smoothly execute multiple attacks in succession, all without getting hit. An example could be blasting foes with Nero’s Blue Rose hand canon, revving up his Red Queen sword (like a motorcycle) to unleash devastating flame strikes, then following up with a knockback Devil Breaker blow. Adding air juggles, taunts, multi-shots, and other moves into the mix will get that Stylish Rank higher, faster. It’s extreme fun meshing together dozens of rapid-fire hits, especially given how effortlessly attacks chain together.
Building your Stylish Rank has its benefits, too. First and foremost, the flashier your combos the more Red Orbs you’ll receive after a mission. These orbs are the currency in Devil May Cry 5 used to purchase skills and items from the self-described “artisan of arms”, Nico. Another perk (and my personal favourite) is how the music dynamically beefs up as you raise your style. Going from a C-Rank to a B-Rank might add a fierce new drum beat, then stepping up to an A-Rank adds in some wicked heavy metal lyrics. The more stylish you perform, the more thumping the tunes get, further motivating you to kick some serious demon butt.
Three (Awesome) Playable Characters
As mentioned, DMC5 brings back the previous game’s protagonist, Nero, along with the legendary devil hunter who started it all, Dante. You’ve also got the new protagonist V, who introduces a playstyle never before seen in Devil May Cry. In fact, all three playable characters vary significantly in their attacks, skills, and overall style, which helps keep the gameplay fresh and gives you plenty of choices.
Beginning with Nero, he’s lost his Devil Bringer Arm from DMC4 and instead now uses mechanical Devil Breaker Arms. These offensive arms are created by Nico, a new character who aids Nero and takes up residence in the Devil May Cry motorhome. Devil Breakers range in their offensive capabilities; for example, Overture damages enemies with electric bursts, while Rawhide unleashes a demonic metal whip. Of course, Nero can complement his Devil Breakers with his signature Blue Rose hand canon and Red Queen sword.
Dante is more interesting, particularly as you progress and unlock more of his weapons and powers. He begins as you’d expect: wielding his Ebony & Ivory dual pistols, Coyote shotgun, and Rebellion sword. Soon enough (provided you search for hidden weapons) Dante will acquire cool new weapons like the devil sword Sparda, and the Faust hat seemingly inspired by Michael Jackson. As nice as they are, my go-to Dante weapon is the Cavaliere—essentially a heavily armoured motorcycle with large spikes sticking out of the side. Not only can Dante recklessly ride around while slashing enemies, but he can also split the bike into two twin buzz saws and tear foes in half. Trust me, it’s as awesome as it sounds.
Lastly, there’s V, who is easily the most powerful of the three and dare I say my new series favourite. The best way I can describe him is to take the looks of Harry Potter’s Severus Snape, and mix it with the grunge vibe of WCW’s Raven. Oddly enough, V is hardly able to attack, instead, he leaves the demon slaying to his pets: Griffon his eagle (ranged combat) and Shadow his panther (close combat). V can also charge up his Devil Trigger meter and call upon a third creature, called Nightmare, which is a sluggish but super powerful brute. Nightmare’s looks alone are cool enough, but wait until you see how he crashes into the battlefield like a falling meteorite!
The roughly 15-hour campaign packs a ton of thrills, however, there’s still lots to do after the credits roll. For starters, there’s a jukebox containing the game’s grunge and metal soundtrack, as well as a Gallery Mode to replay the game’s cutscenes. You’ve also got Void Mode, a practice area where you can choose any enemies, characters or weapons unlocked in the main game. For lore buffs, you can watch a rather thorough Devil May Cry retrospective video spanning all main entries up to DMC5. There are also in-game notes to find that delve into character backstories and provide perspective on who Urizen is.
Following recent trends, DMC5 includes a Photo Mode, a personal favourite of mine. Once in Photo Mode, you can freely move the camera around to capture devilish backdrops, take selfies, or freeze-frame your best brawl moments. Another great inclusion is Secret Missions, discoverable by lining up patterns on a wall. The campaign itself barely features any puzzles, so searching for hidden wall patterns satisfies that itch. The last mode is a biggie: Cameo Mode. This asynchronous online co-op system lets you encounter players during select missions in the game. Sometimes this means seeing them fighting from a distance, other times this could be battling bosses alongside them.
Devil May Cry 5 delivers stylish mayhem
Being the first, and likely only Devil May Cry game of this console generation, Capcom has really stepped up and delivered for their fans. What’s not to love? Devil May Cry 5 offers an excellent story with three very interesting protagonists, matched by superb gameplay delivering extreme style. Top it off with an awesome metal soundtrack, detailed graphics, and lots of modes to extend replay and you have the total package. Oh sure there are minor gripes, like the slower first half, or the overused scenery, but these minimally impacted my enjoyment of the game. Devil May Cry 5 is the latest polished title by Capcom, matching the high quality set by recent games like Resident Evil 2, Mega Man 11, Resident Evil 7, and Monster Hunter World.
Devil May Cry 5 – Pros:
- Three extremely likeable protagonists
- Excellent story with action-packed cutscenes
- Three characters = lots of gameplay variety
- Fast, fluid combat
- Incredibly fun racking up Style points
- Original soundtrack that’s worth buying on its own
- Phenomenal presentation, especially the lighting
- Huge mix of unique demons to battle
- Nice extras like Photo Mode, Void Mode, and Cameo Mode
Devil May Cry 5 – Cons:
- Takes a bit for the story to find its groove (latter half is much better)
- Some Devil Breakers are less useful than others
- Not enough environment variety (mostly dilapidated buildings and demon lairs)
- Handful of “pricey” skills take too much Red Orb grinding to unlock
- Gameplay: 9/10
- Graphics: 8.5/10
- Sound: 9/10
- Replayability: 8/10
See also: Best Xbox One Games of 2018