Devil May Cry 5 Review | Demonoid Phenomenon

Devil May Cry 5 offers all of the demon-slaying action you could possibly want... and then some.

As the fifth entry in the core series and the sixth Devil May Cry title, Devil May Cry 5 is a surprise treat that manages to not only live up to its predecessors, but completely surpass them. While some may argue over the superiority of Ninja Theory’s DmC: Devil May Cry, which excels in both storytelling and bravado, we found Devil May Cry 5 to be more welcoming in that it doesn’t take itself too seriously.

It also expands upon Nero as a character who we genuinely enjoyed getting to know in Devil May Cry 4, and introduces a “new” playable character in the form of V whose indirect, almost delicate style stands in stark contrast to both Nero and Dante. Devil May Cry 5 manages to strike the right balance in every aspect of its gameplay. The end result? A game that offers everything from substance and story, to powerful visuals and combat that’s fun as all hell.

The Money’s in the Action

Visually, Devil May Cry 5 is a spectacle to behold and we're all for it.
Visually, Devil May Cry 5 is a spectacle to behold and we're all for it.
© Capcom

The first, and most striking thing about Devil May Cry 5 are its photorealistic visuals. You can tell no expense was spared in the creation and crafting of Devil May Cry 5 from its precise motion capture to its grandiose, over-the-top action sequences. The level design itself is simple, yet effective. Everything looks and feels very real, even in a world as foreign as the one in Devil May Cry 5.

As with previous games, you can smash everything in site, and we relished the opportunity to send things like plastic tables and chairs flying for no reason other than the fact that we could. One small critique that we had in regards to the visual aspect of Devil May Cry 5 centers around the total abandonment of its “goth” style roots.

Gone are the days of long, white hair, castles, and protagonists that whip around red, flowing jackets as they walk. Gone too is some of that “demon” connection in combat, though in the case of Nero this makes sense in relation to his missing arm. The aesthetic of the fifth (and perhaps final) entry leaves no doubt in our minds that the series has grown and evolved, rounding itself out with something a touch more human and relatable in the process.

Smokin’ Sexy Style

Each playable character in Devil May Cry 5 has a combat style all their own, which makes for a diverse combat experience.
Each playable character in Devil May Cry 5 has a combat style all their own, which makes for a diverse combat experience.
© Capcom

Of the three playable characters, the one we had the most fun playing was V. The use of familiars like Griffon, Shadow, and Nightmare in place of direct combat was surprising and refreshing. Meanwhile, Nero’s new Devil Breakers do a lot to shake up his combat style, though he’s still given access to his familiar Blue Rose and Red Queen weapons from Devil May Cry 4.

In fact, we primarily used these two weapons when playing as Nero as the fragility of the Devil Breakers as a whole make them costly to use. For most fights, they almost feel unnecessary, though it’s still nice to have them as an option if needed. "Option" in and of itself is key in Devil May Cry 5 whether you’re using Nero, V, or even Dante who feels delightfully spry in battle despite his older, grizzlier appearance.

Honestly, he can use a motorbike to beat up demons, what more could you possibly want from a Devil May Cry game? Everything feels fluid and responsive, even as you cycle through attacks to improve your Rank. Although, it may take returning fans some time to grow accustomed to the slight action delay we found present. Even though nothing attempts to pull you out or away from attacks, there's no doubt that this delay is noticeable.

Beyond new moves and a slight change of pace, the combat in Devil May Cry 5 is nothing inherently new. You still have the Ranking system that rewards your innovation in battle with Red Orbs, and the unique praise that can only come from snagging an SSS (Smokin’ Sexy Style). You have each area close itself off to encourage you to not only fight, but to finish your fight if you want to keep going.

This sort of structure is markedly different from the current wealth of open-world games that throw choice after choice at you. Should you fight, should you collect items, should you focus on the story? All of these questions are removed from Devil May Cry 5 thanks to its linear campaign approach. Yes, you need to fight these demons to proceed.

Yes, the level design promotes limited exploration, but you also have a few goodies thrown in like Secret Missions and collectible Orbs. Beyond that, it’s faithfully, and lovingly Devil May Cry. Some aspects of the game feel easier than previous installments, which will be welcomed by newcomers but may also feel a bit watered down for hardcore fans.

Fortunately, there are a variety of difficulty levels to choose from including the unlockable Dante Must Die setting. If you found the game too easy, there’s plenty of challenge to be found with Devil May Cry 5’s brutal Dante Must Die difficulty, and we cannot recommend it enough.

Wrapped Up Like a Warm Burrito

The story in Devil May Cry 5 is neither too long, nor too short. It manages to offer a happy medium, while also wrapping up concepts introduced in previous Devil May Cry titles.
The story in Devil May Cry 5 is neither too long, nor too short. It manages to offer a happy medium, while also wrapping up concepts introduced in previous Devil May Cry titles.
© Capcom

The story of Devil May Cry 5 isn’t as overtly complex or contemplative as DmC: Devil May Cry, but it is exactly what the series needed in order to wrap up all existing plot lines. Nero’s character is expanded upon, Dante shows the wear and tear of age, and V himself is a wildly interesting mystery to unravel.

For the sake of avoiding spoilers, we won’t delve too deep into key plot points as we feel it’s far more satisfying to watch everything evolve as you play and experience the game. Instead, we’ll say that switching between characters like Dante, Nero, and V isn’t as jarring as you’d expect it to be. The story opts for a fragmented approach, with information delivered gradually in order to keep you interested and engaged.

This works extremely well and is almost like reading a good book in that the end of each chapter (or Mission in the case of Devil May Cry 5) encourages you to keep going because you can’t wait to find out how things unfold. The campaign is about average in terms of length when compared to other games on the market today, as we completed our first run in around 15 hours.

The final few scenes are a somewhat bittersweet as it truly feels like a finale game, with all threads lovingly tied at the end. Perhaps we’ll see some of these characters again, and we’re certainly keeping our fingers crossed for this possibility as we felt truly connected to everyone, including side characters like Nico who often steals the show away from Nero.

Seriously, we demand a Nico return in future Devil May Cry titles (if there are any planned)! Judging by how neatly everything comes together in Devil May Cry 5 though, it’s hard to see any future titles coming out within the next few years.

Devil May Indeed Cry

We really hope to see characters like Nico return in the future, even though Devil May Cry 5 feels like the grand series finale.
We really hope to see characters like Nico return in the future, even though Devil May Cry 5 feels like the grand series finale.
© Capcom

We’ll admit, playing Devil May Cry 5 choked us up a bit. We’ve followed the series from the beginning, through the second game we don’t dare speak of, into fun forays like Devil May Cry 3 and 4. Devil May Cry 5 takes the story it has built up over the years and does something truly wonderful with it that’s sure to delight not just fans, but newcomers as well.

We can honestly see modern gamers going back and replaying the original Devil May Cry games (well, maybe not the second one) in order to get a feel for a series that’s become absolutely iconic, and for good reason. Devil May Cry 5 is a masterpiece of a game from its addicting combat, to its quirky characters, dark undertones, sarcastic dialogue, dramatic cutscenes, and pieces of action.

From the first battle against Urizen all the way to the cataclysmic finale, Devil May Cry 5 is a powerhouse that bites down and refuses to let go. Whether you’re new to the series, or a returning fan, Devil May Cry 5 will make a believer out of you. Out of everything we’ve seen in 2019, it's safe to say that Devil May Cry 5 is high on our list of GOTY contenders.

Review for Devil May Cry 5

100%

Pros

  • Incredible visual design with sweeping, over-the-top action sequences.
  • Engrossing story that evolves over time and utilizes all characters to the fullest.
  • Addicting combat that feels both familiar and new.
  • Remains faithful to its predecessors, while wrapping up their concepts in a respectful manner.

Cons

  • Microtransaction options feel tacked on as an afterthought.
  • Cameo System is interesting, but ultimately unnecessary.

Morgan is a writer, indie game lover, and socially awkward coffee addict. Need something? Morgan can be reached at morgan.shaver@allgamers.com or if you like, you can say hello using GIFs on Twitter.

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