FIRST IMPRESSIONS – Devil May Cry 5
It’s been 11 years since we’ve gotten a continuation of the long-running Devil May Cry story (we don’t count 2013’s DmC: Devil May Cry re-imagining of Dante’s story). Now, the franchise is back with its signature action-packed & fast-paced fun with Devil May Cry 5.
This highly-anticipated title from Capcom is finally here, and it certainly does not disappoint. Following my recent experiences with sweeping open-world games like Marvel’s Spider-Man & Assassin’s Creed Odyssey, I have to say that it was nice to get back into a more intimate and pseudo-linear experience. I sat down to play it over the weekend, and was immediately impressed with several aspects of this newest chapter in the dark and demonic series that gamers have come to love over the years.
True to its lineage, Devil May Cry 5 brings back a slew of crisp, gritty, and detailed visuals. The facial and character animations with the three playable characters are done in such a way as to capture a sense of age (and agelessness, in some cases), set a dark and foreboding tone, and make the environments in the game feel terrifying and oppressive to really draw the player in. The nightmarish hellscape that Capcom has brought to life through this game is both beautiful and grotesque at the same time, and the character models feel polished and lifelike, with an almost post-apocalyptic grunge to them.
It’s easy to see that this was a labor of love for Capcom, as this title feels like it takes full advantage of the power of current-gen video capabilities. The cutscene editing feels tailored to each of the three playable characters. Nero’s scenes are shot in such a way to focus on his shoulders and head, in order to remind the player of his missing right arm (presumably his reason for fighting). Dante’s scenes are more zoomed out to give the player a sense of his ability to move around quickly. V’s shots are done in a more close-up and intimate way, as his voice has a more ethereal and soft quality to it than the voices of the other two.
The Devil May Cry series of games has always focused on a lot of snark from both Dante and Nero. Dante likes to run his mouth because he knows that he’s a badass and can take on all manner of demonic enemies, while Nero is the hot-headed upstart who always seems like he has something to prove. Those are the devils we know, but Devil May Cry 5 gives us a devil we don’t know. We’re introduced to the enigmatic and poetically-inclined V, who is a total departure from the other two in just about every way. His poetic and mysterious way of talking to the other hunters (as well as his 2 demonic companions) just adds to his mystery. The fact that he seems to want to go off on his own a lot also makes the player wonder whether or not this new guy can really be trusted.
On top of the new addition to the team, this chapter in the series does a fantastic job of keeping the player in suspense regarding what the team of demon hunters is up against. While we’re given a good amount of exposition from both the in-game cutscenes, the inclusion of a feature at the game’s main menu called The History of Devil May Cry catches up the player on the over-arching story in the franchise. So, even someone who is brand-new to the franchise could jump into this title and get full enjoyment out of the story without feeling lost in the story.
While this chapter is a direct continuation of the events of the stark and in-your-face Devil May Cry 2, Devil May Cry 5 has more of a mystery feel to it than previous entries in the series. This change, however, really works for this entry in the franchise. Each mission in the game gives the player a bit more information as to what the goal is, but stops just short of telling you outright what you’re after or why. The fact that the story also brings back some of the NPCs from previous chapters (especially considering the way it’s done) only serves to add to this mystery, and makes one want to press on to discover the truth about what’s really going on.
The basic control scheme for Devil May Cry 5 is not much different from previous iterations. You have your basic weapon attacks, running, jumping, dodging, and the super-powerful Devil Trigger. In an improvement from the previous games, the movement and combat in this chapter feel far more fluid, and the game doesn’t suffer from the infuriating camera issues that a couple of the previous chapters did (I’m looking at you, Devil May Cry 2). The ability to switch targets on the fly and take advantage of the semi-regularly-shaped environments also really gives the combat a more impactful feel than in previous chapters.
However, this chapter of the series changes things up a bit. While the style ranking is back for another round, Capcom has seemingly listened to players and made the higher levels of style a bit easier to attain. Through the ability to switch between ‘Standard’ and ‘Auto-Assist’ control systems, getting to that elusive “SSS” level in combat is no longer as frustratingly complicated as it has been in the past. While this change can be great for some folks who really want a bit of a smoother and less complex way of achieving these rankings, I did find that the Auto-Assist system would randomly change things when I played as Dante; jumping between my different guns, different melee weapons, and different styles. Sure, that only took a few minutes to get used to, but when you’re trying to pull off specific maneuvers in combat and all of a sudden you’re forced to use a different weapon or style? Yeah…that got a bit annoying.
Overall, Devil May Cry 5 is a great continuation of the series, and a lot of fun to experience. With writing that effectively builds sustained mystery, immediately making the player wonder, “What the HELL is going on?” Over my first few hours playing this title, and after getting about ten missions in, I am thoroughly enjoying this newest chapter in the franchise. While I was not the biggest fan of Nero in Devil May Cry 4, I’m kind of glad to see him back in this chapter after the character has matured a bit. Additionally, I found a nice sense of nostalgia in taking back the mantle of Dante the Demon Hunter. Getting to experience his familiar combat moves and wonderful sense of snark again feels almost like coming home to an old friend. Finally, getting to know V just adds to the draw of Devil May Cry 5, as a fresh perspective in an otherwise familiar game.
I can’t wait to see where this story takes us.
4 Devil Triggers out of 5
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