Devil May Cry 5 brings back the familiar devil that we know in a way we've never seen him before: older and vulnerable. Because of this new outlook, the latest game in the franchise offers players a chance to take on a demon-invested world once more through different eyes.
What makes Devil May Cry 5 such a delight for longtime fans is that it genuinely feels like a Devil May Cry game. The previous DMC was hit or miss with fans, but the classic combat style mixed in with new moves and a killer soundtrack reminded me why I fell in love with Dante and this incredible world to begin with. For those that have followed this series from the start, Devil May Cry 5 will not disappoint.
For those that may not know, Devil May Cry 5 has the player primarily rooted in Nero's shoes fighting alongside his partner Nico and the mysterious V, who is my personal favorite. When a deadly "demon tree" takes over Red Grave City, the rag-tag group of fighters must take on Hell's scariest warriors in order to save the world once more. (The narrative, for what it's worth, takes place after the events of Devil May Cry 2.)
One thing that immediately stands out about this latest game is its action. This game, from start to finish, is pure blissful combat mixed in with fluid cutscenes and stellar cinematography. The ability to play as three different characters -- all with massively different styles of play -- adds to that feeling exponentially, giving the overall progression of the story a very organic feel that blends what the franchise is known for with a new brand of play.
This series is one that has its beauty firmly rested in overstylization and pure flair, and it works and is still just as badass as ever. The classic ranking combat system is back and as fun as ever, challenging players to put their best foot forward to achieve that beloved SS ranking. With the three playable characters each having wildly different styles, that combo goal is even more desirable, because there's so much more that goes into it.
The three characters players alternate between are V, which we met in Devil May Cry 2, Nero, and Dante himself. Dante, though he has a few new moves, still feels mostly familiar to his usual style, but Nero's Devil Breaker prosthetic arm adds a level of customization that is both rewarding and humorous with some of the options available. For example, you can have a pasta turner Devil Breaker; you can't make this stuff up.
The real curveball for the game is V. Though players will be able to play as him, they won't actually fight as him. At least not really. Instead players will fight through him with the aid of a ferocious panther and a snarky raven. Both are deadly, but do take a little practice as opposed to the usual hack-and-slash that the franchise is known for.
As V, players basically function like mage in a standard role-playing game. He's not meant to be up close and personal; that's what his animals are for. Being able to send in a raven to hit a foe with a critical attack is beyond satisfying and offers up a cherished change of pace for a game that already impresses right out of the gate.
Nero's Devil Breaker is what replaced his Devil Bringer, the organic arm that players first saw in previous games. With the new narrative starting off with that arm being stolen by a powerful demon, Nero's journey of powering up his newest weapon alongside his familiar sword is a fun one with the help of Nico.
Though not playable, Nico is incredibly important to the story. She runs a "junk shop" that allows the player to swap out their equipment and level up their skills. She's also hilarious! Don't let that southern drawl fool you; she's got the mouth of a sailor and a thick skin that makes her the perfect support for this trio of misfits.
Players will also be able to level up V, Nero, and Dante through individual trees, which allows for more player freedom when it comes to combat style allocation. This is also perfect since Capcom essentially brought Dante back in his prime with the combat styles we loved in Devil May Cry 3 with a few powerful additions.
From his improved Gunslinger ability showing off his impressive firearm moves to Rebellion's debut once more in pure fanciful glory, the familiar weaponry of Dante's arsenal is back and bigger than ever with embellishments that don't make it a simple copy-and-paste addition to the game while still keeping true to what his character has always had to offer.
With no spoilers, the story is also one of the better ones seen in the franchise to date. The pacing is intense so that even those that aren't necessarily fans of the traditional style of combat won't be left behind. The familiar nods to previous games is also apparent throughout the title's progression and the heavy metal soundtrack only adds to the pure glory that Devil May Cry 5 brings to the table.
Overall, the latest entry is one of the best games yet from the series. It has the music, the cinematic drama, the addictive combat, the personal flair, and characters that you will just genuinely love. It's safe to say that Devil May Cry 5 definitely delivers on its promise to be loyal to fans while still providing an entirely new experience at the same time.
Rating: 4 out of 5
Devil May Cry 5 officially releases on Xbox One and PlayStation 4 on March 8th. An Xbox One code was provided by the publisher for the purpose of this review.
You can also follow the reviewer on Twitter @DirtyEffinHippy!