Capcom’s Devil May Cry is one of the most prominent franchises this company has made in recent years, despite the somewhat controversial reboot DMC, which fortunately ended up as an experimental outstep into dark and gritty (and f**k you) territory. So far Devil May Cry games have been sold in more than 16 million copies worldwide, which just confirms the cult status of this title. And now, the devil hunters are back for the current generation devices, ready to chew ass and kick bubblegum. Or it was the other way around.
The story starts several years after the Order of the Sword incident which happened in Devil May Cry 4. In Red Grave City, a strange phenomenon started to occur, in the form of a gigantic tree which surfaces in the middle of the town and pierces through the sky, draining the blood from the denizens of Red Grave. This event didn’t go unnoticed by Devil Hunters, and there was already a squad coming to Red Grave in order to clean up the mess. That Devil Hunter squad is made by two people, a young Devil Hunters Nero and Nico, self-styled weapon master, which built Nero’s equipment and even weaponized his lost arm. However, there’s more in Red Grave Nero is seeking than just a mission. He has a lot to recover in that town, including his pride, his power and a man he left behind. Armed with Red Queen, Blue Rose and a brand new anti-demon arm called Devil Breaker, Nero slashes through the demon ranks, approaching the unholy tree in the middle of the city.
You will be glad to know that the stylish action this series is known for made a triumphant return in this sequel. As you are cutting and shooting demons all across the screen, you will have that familiar feeling. Indeed, this is the old school Devil May Cry game, in which you slaughter demons with absurd weaponry all over the simplistic halls and arenas, while exciting battle music fuels your every move with the feeling of a triumph. In terms of action, this game returns to the well-established continuity set by the first four games. However, this game is not a pure reiteration of the old ideas, as it’s improving the old formula in some cool new ways.
There is an array of melee and projectile attacks you can use to build complex combo strings. all that while dodging enemy attacks in split second. The game even features a ranking system which judges your style and performance, forcing you to improve yourself and your playstyle. Nero is the character which unites old and new ideas, with his redesigned prosthetic arms called Devil Breakers. He can use them to pull enemies toward himself, and unleash the whole array of special abilities, depending on which model of Devil Breaker he has equipped. This innovative combat system significantly expands Nero’s attacks, thus evolving his playstyle. However, this comes with the price, as Nero has to discard his current Devil Breaker in order to replace it with another one. The diversity of special weapons is traded for durability, as Nero has to change his arms quite often. Of course, we totally understand that was done to prevent sticking to only one playstyle.
On the other hand, a new character known only as V brings completely new gaming mechanics, which is also atypical and unexpected for this series. Unlike his colleague which penchant do close combat, V is dealing damage to demons from afar, using his familiars. Their names are Shadow and Griffon, which will ring some bells to people who played the first Devil May Cry. Shadow is a shape-shifting panther which specialty is inflicting close attacks, while Griffon is a demonic bird that shoots projectiles. Each of them has a separate health and regeneration bar and can be driven out of combat if you wield them unskillfully. There is a third familiar V has appropriately named Nightmare, which comes in the form of giant golem that deals an absurd amount of damage to the enemies. Despite all this V is the one who has to inflict the final blow. His playstyle requires patience and tactics, which is not something you would expect from a Devil May Cry game, and we are not sure how well it will sit down with players that are used to the headfirst charge approach.
The old man Dante has the most traditional Devil May Cry playstyle, although he’s the most entertaining character to play. The main reason for that is that he is able to switch between four different play styles, each of them being completely different, and to seamlessly interchange up to four different weapons and guns. This opens up for unbelievable combos that will make you truly feel like an unstoppable demon-killing machine. There are so many attack combinations available, that you will spend hours learning specifics off every ability in order to put them into the use in the most elegant and creative way possible. After all, the best aspect of Devil May Cry is freedom of choice in building your specific play style.
Devil May Cry V is a glorious return to the form we all know and love, but it also provides a substantial amount of innovation by providing a few and bushes new ideas. The definitive traits of the series are still there, seasoned with some new mechanics, diverse characters and metric tons of charm and bravado. Devil May Cry 5 is the best proof that you don’t have to change the essence of the game in order to make it fresh and exciting.