'Devil May Cry 5' Review: Capcom Hits the Jackpot

9/10 (PS4)

After more than 10 years, Devil May Cry 5 sees a return to form. Devil May Cry 5 is Capcom's first big release of 2019, and brings back the fast-paced action, over-the-top comedic elements, and beloved characters the series is known for with an action-packed game fans of the series (and newcomers) will enjoy.

devil may cry 5 review score
'Devil May Cry 5' releases March 8. Capcom

DMC 5 REVIEW: STORY

Players are thrust into the Devil May Cry 5 story as Nero, the young demon hunter from the DMC 4, as he and his new friend Nico combat demons that have sprouted up in the city.

A new, powerful demon named Urizen is much tougher than anyone imagined, even for the legendary Dante. It's up to Nero, Dante and the mysterious character V to try and figure out a way to gather enough strength to defeat Urizen before the underworld completely takes over our world.

Capcom takes a relatively non-linear approach to the timeline in the Devil May Cry 5 story and it works very well. The story begins in the present and cutscenes periodically give perspectives from the eyes of the other characters of events that led up to the story, like how Nero lost his arm.

There's a lot of story beats that would tread on spoiler territory, but there are some twists (some more obvious than others) that fans of the series will likely pick up on fairly quickly. Even the obvious bits were still very satisfying to see play out.

The voice actors also have to be commended. Their deliveries of even the most insane lines are well done. A special shout out to Johnny Young Bosch who voices Nero for the way he makes dramatic moments feel epic. And it's fitting that Nero would get a big spotlight, as Devil May Cry 5 is very much his story. His growth as a character throughout the story is one of the more enjoyable aspects of the game.

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The story of 'Devil May Cry 5' gives Nero a lot of time to shine. Capcom

By the time the credits rolled, I wanted to see more of these characters. While knowledge of the series and its lore is recommended, Capcom does give a refresher in the main menu so even newcomers won't be totally lost.

DMC 5 REVIEW: GENERAL GAMEPLAY

While the story of Devil May Cry 5 is very good, it's the gameplay that made it hard to put down.

Devil May Cry 5 utilizes every button on your controller, and you'll be forced to become accustomed to using every single one of them. Combos are easily made by constantly tapping the attack button or you can stay back and just use your long-range attacks from afar - but be ready for a longer fight as the damage is much lower than using your close-range attacks.

The camera is mostly a non-issue as it stays behind your character. However, while performing these combos my character won't stay centered and I had to mess with the camera using the left analog. It's a bit disorienting as you learn how to fight your way through hordes of enemies but it gets better as you move along.

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Dante using his Balrog in 'Devil May Cry 5' Capcom

One aspect that wasn't as intuitive was the lock-on function. Tapping and holding on the right trigger would lock on to an enemy, however, trying to switch between enemies was not so easy.

At first, the difficulty in Devil May Cry 5 - I played on the Demon Hunter difficulty - seemed tame. After getting into a groove, I was easily taking out hordes of enemies and bosses. I built up a surplus of Gold Orbs I thought I would never have to use, but the game's difficulty spikes suddenly in the last couple of chapters. In no time, I was using up my Gold Orbs just to get through hordes of enemies let along bosses. It was pretty jarring to see, but the game took advantage of my complacency and really put what I learned through its paces.

Each expansive level features multiple layers and secret tunnels/rooms. You're encouraged to explore, which is something I wasn't anticipating. Looking for Red, Blue, Purple and Gold Orbs to make you stronger, or even Secret Missions to test your skills, will add hours of gameplay to every stage.

And thank Capcom for putting an input that steers you to the direction you need to go, because with the amount of different paths you can take it's easy to get lost or backtrack by mistake. By holding down the left analog, the game will let you know where to go next.

DMC 5 REVIEW: CHARACTERS/SKILLS

There's a lot to like in the gameplay especially with the new additions like the character V and Nero's Devil Breaker. No matter who you choose, you'll be slashing and gunning your way through demons and monsters.

Each character feels and plays unique. Nero's use of his - many - Devil Breakers adds a new wrinkle to his gameplay and makes him more than just a poor man's Dante. The various Devil Breakers, which you obtain as the story moves along, range from shock blasts to temporary healing to even Mega Man's Mega Buster.

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Neo using one of his Devil Breakers in 'Devil May Cry 5' Capcom

Nero is the most beginner-friendly of the trio, but offers enough variety in his fighting that doesn't make him repetitive or boring. One quirk of his Devil Breakers is that they will shatter if you take damage while using them, this gives Nero a bit more strategy to how you use his attacks. You are only given a few rounds of a particular Devil Breaker, and only a few slots to take different weapons (something that can be increased) so you have to decide when is best to use it. To be honest, my Devil Breakers were constantly shattered in the early-game so I stopped using them until later on in the story.

But if you're worried that you'll run out, each level has various Devil Breakers scattered around for you to pick up and replenish your ammo. You'll definitely need them if you're anything like me and accidently press the button that dislodges your arm to cause an explosion, immediately shattering the weapon. I also wish you could change your Devil Breaker as easy as you could your gun and weapon when playing as Dante.

V was my favorite of the three to play as. Utilizing two demons, Griffon and Shadow, V lets them do the fighting for him. I could easily stay back, and shoot demons using Griffon's long-range attacks. You are forced to deal the final blow with V, so you don't want to be too far away from the action. You can use some of your Devil Trigger Gauge to let one or both demons fight autonomously but there are so many different controls in Devil May Cry 5 that I would simply just tap the attack buttons without thinking.

And then we have Dante, who has the most insane repertoire you can imagine. If you like to stay back and play a long-range game he offers dual pistols, a shotgun and much more. Of course, his trusty Rebellion sword can perform easy combos and aerial tricks on top of his various fighting styles.

Players can choose a style that favors swordplay, gun slinging, parrys, or mobility. Each has their own feel, pros and cons, but the control scheme lets players switch between styles, guns and weapons seamlessly. Each style also opens up new combos and special attacks.

If all of this talk of weapons, combos and fighting styles is a lot, it is. There's a lot you can do, fighting wise, in Devil May Cry 5. With three different characters you control it makes sense, but taking a look at the Customization options and you'll see a ton more.

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V finishing off a demon in 'Devil May Cry 5' Capcom

Red Orbs are essential currency in this game, and it's how you learn new skills, upgrades and ammo for your Devil Breakers. You can also purchase more health, Devil Trigger or Gold Orbs - which revive you if you fall in battle. It's rather easy to obtain Red Orbs, as they sprout from defeated enemies, various red-colored plant pods or floating globs of blood.

This method of earning currency and learning new skills isn't new to these types of action games, but it gives players an incentive to scrounge around each level to find as many Red Orbs as possible. However, I do feel the price of the skills are a bit on the expensive side.

While at the start of the story a lot of the skills are a few thousand orbs, the dramatic leap to get upgraded skills is a bit jarring. It's almost impossible to gain enough Red Orbs to learn every move for all three characters in one playthrough, but that's ok because you won't be using everything you learned anyway. I stuck to familiar combos and attacks I felt comfortable using.

Another thing I was surprised by is how some abilities like double jumping or running faster is not shared between Nero, Dante and V. You have to spend more orbs to teach those abilities to all three characters which is a bit of a bummer and takes away from your ability to learn specialized attacks.

Thankfully, once you complete the story you can do another round with all the skills and orbs you've obtained in the first run. This will definitely help players looking to learn every ability and skill.

Although your enjoyment of the story really tailors how much post-game hours you'll put in. Because outside of the story, you can only play through it on a higher difficulty or go through the secret missions that you've found along the way.

VERDICT

Devil May Cry 5 has the crazy, balls-to-the-wall action the series made its name on. While some controls aren't the most intuitive, the seamless changing of weapons and easy-to-perform combos makes it a lot of fun to cut down hordes. Each character feels different and helps vary up the gameplay to keep it from getting repetitive.

The character models and stages are gorgeous, with cutscenes that feel more like a movie than a video game. The story is simple, but has a lot of heart that will satisfy fans of the series.

It may have been a wait to get Devil May Cry 5 but it was well worth it.

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