Today we’re taking a look at Capcom’s Devil May Cry 5 which released on consoles and PC. After a long hiatus since the last Devil May Cry game, Capcom brings the franchise into the fray once more, but is it any good?
without offering too much in the way of story specifics, what feels fresh in this iteration is the focus on not one character but three. Whilst offering multiple protagonists is nothing new, the differences between Dante, his nephew Nero and newcomer V are quite stark in terms of gameplay. It’s here (the gameplay) where there is much merit.
Starting the story with Nero, players familar with Devil May Cry 4’s mechanics will feel right at home. The pull and grab grapple attacks return but on top of that Nero’s arm acts as an assortment of various attacks to suit whatever situation presents itself. Thanks to whacky southern sounding new character Nico – who builds Nero new arm attachments – he can equip load-outs prior to each mission and use the arms in combat. Slow time, shoot electric bolts, increase mobility and much more at the touch of a button. Makes for a welcome evolution of gameplay from the previous game. Interestingly, the game doesn’t force this on players, allowing them to use their own stylish moves to combat the varied opposition of grotesque bug like demons. Want to button mash, then that’s an option too with an Auto option available for those not keen on learning combos with ranged guns and close quarters sword swipes.
New character V on the other hand is a very different kettle of fish relying on evading enemies aside from handing out the finishing blow. To attack, he relies on three partners, Shadow the panther for melee attacks, Griffin the…griffin for ranged combat and Nightmare the raging menace for powerful area attacks. Each partner corresponds with a button press and works very well. In fact, of the three characters V offers the easiest route to gaining high style points.
Lastly, series vet Dante who offers his signature move set comprising of four main styles mapped to the d-pad then guns and melee weapons. All of which are instantly swappable on the fly to create custom combos. Dante, offers the most interesting and advanced of the three characters and certainly presents the most offensive options.
Capcom nailed the combat here making for some really slick gameplay for newcomers and vets to really enjoy. As with the past games, options to purchase additional moves via collecting orbs is ever-present as is finding collectibles to increase health and devil trigger gauges. Whilst on paper, it might sound like a lot to take in for a basic third person action game, yet in reality it all gels so well together.
In terms of level design, if there is any complaint with the package then it’s perhaps here. Players follow the same gameplay loop from start to finish. Traverse area, lock into battle with the route forwards blocked until no enemies remain. Rinse repeat. Toss in a boss or sub-boss battle at every turn and there you have the game. Some minor platforming rears its head from time to time and the odd find the key to unlock the path. But, that’s about it in terms of variation. The game solely relies on its combat systems to see it through. Although to be fair, there is nothing wrong with that given how diverse and free-form it is. The enemy variety also plays its hand well offering distinctive opposition with specific combat requirements. If this was just a basic shooting game, then it might be cause for concern. Luckily, players can replay mission and at specific portions choose a different character. It all just works as intended.
Looking at the visuals and Capcom’s in house game engine provides some wonderful elements especially during the cut-scenes. However, during play when focusing on some finer details, low detail textures present themselves. The game moves fast though and is such a visual tour de force that the visual imperfections whisk by without impacting too much the overall quality. In 4K with HDR enabled offers impressive visuals and stunning lighting effects making for a nice demo for those with HDR equipment. Some level designs stand out more than others, but once again a return to the warped and twisted demonic scenes we’ve seen before feels somewhat unoriginal at times. Players visit tried and trusted locations where perhaps the team avoided new ideas – Yes, an obligatory video game sewer section features here.
Performance wise the game runs buttery smooth for the most part. Capcom aimed for 60fps and on PC at least comfortably achieves that. Some options allow user to tailor the visuals to suit their systems which is handy for getting the most out of the game. The game feels pretty well optimized though.
Audio is of a high standard as expected with a blistering sound track and beats to compliment the gameplay during combat. The voice acting and the characters stand out well here, although newcomer Nico’s Southern Belle accent and macho demeanor might grate some players. Capcom injected quite a lot of humor into the story which sits well with the overall theme here.
The story boasts some 20 missions with a number of hidden missions to uncover during select stages. The Void returns allowing players the chance to practice moves and becomes available prior to purchasing new attacks which is very handy. The Bloody Palace mode returns as do the tougher difficulties for series purists to dive into. The game offers enough bang for your buck for those willing to explore all offered avenues here.
Devil May Cry 5 is a welcome addition to the series. It offers stylish free form pick up and play gaming. A diverse set of playable characters and enough attitude to keep things interesting from start to finish. Whilst the story might offer very little in terms of complexity, it’s well worth the non taxing ride. Some level design feels tired, and perhaps needs some fresh legs but in essence, it doesn’t deviate from the expected. If you enjoyed the last game but hated young Dante, then Devil May Cry 5 readdresses the balance somewhat. A very cool action packed combat game wrapped up in distinct visuals and some “oh so sweet” gameplay – the star of the show as it should be.
SCORE – 8.5/10