I’m a longtime fan of the Devil May Cry series and a continual fan of the “stylish action” games the original release seemed to really kick off for then-debut director Hideki Kamiya. While Kamiya-san hasn’t been working for Capcom for quite some time, Hideaki Itsuno took up the mantle for the franchise and mostly saw lots of success with subsequent follow-ups. Capcom attempted a reboot of the franchise with a western developer that created a massive divide with the fanbase. Most longtime fans didn’t enjoy it on principle – this wasn’t the Dante nor Devil May Cry they knew and loved. Not only is Itsuno back in full force, this is quite possibly the most enjoyable game in the franchise to date. Read on to find out why!
Devil May Cry 5
Platform: Windows PC, Xbox One (Reviewed), PlayStation 4
Release Date: March 8th, 2019
Players: 1 Player
Devil May Cry 5 takes the series to an entirely new level in terms of visuals and style. Whether you like the super high-definition designs of the main cast and crew or not, you have to admit they look great and the game itself looks and feels like a proper Devil May Cry game.
Enemy designs, the assortment of environments and vistas, everything really has a level of polish and attention to detail that brings the entire experience together. Combat animations and overall character animations are also fantastic and give a sense of weight to the action.
It’s kind of silly when I think of fan feedback on the character designs, most seem to love the newcomer – Nico, but really hate both Lady and Trish’s new faces. I think if you give them a chance and play through the game, you’ll learn to enjoy their new HD skin.
I played on an Xbox One S and the game ran beautifully with a locked framerate, and I rarely if ever saw dings to performance when a lot of action was going on. I saw maybe one or two bits of slowdown, but for only a very brief second and usually me running full brink. It’s so damn stylish.
Devil May Cry 5 brings the series’ classic and true gameplay formula to a new hardware generation and a potential new generation of players. The game plays and feels like the authentic Devil May Cry experience, and combat simply feels rewarding yet challenging, with some twists as well.
Nero’s new Devil Breaker system – where he can equip and try out various robotic arms with differing abilities – is another great breath of fresh air for the series. Once I started incorporating the various Breakers into my combos, I was hitting SSS Style even more regularly.
Without spoiling anything, I can say all three playable characters are unique without doing anything that doesn’t make sense or ends up feeling stale. Nero and Dante both play just like you’d want them to, and newcomer V is a fun breath of fresh air that plays completely differently.
V is a ranged-type character that controls three various demons to fight for him in combat. At first I groaned thinking he would be a chore to play – but I was pleasantly surprised. V allows you to set up a cavalcade of destruction and quite frankly can make killing baddies too easy.
Overall the game’s difficulty feels just about right and doesn’t punish you unfairly, nor are there forced microtransactions like some rumor claimed. When you die in game, you’re given the option to restart or revive with red orbs or a gold orb. I played through the entire game rarely using this.
In terms of game length, there are 20 main missions and a host of side missions, the core experience feeling actually longer than I expected considering the amount of time given to playing each character. Overall, you’ll get plenty of time with each of the protagonists.
The game takes places years after the events of Devil May Cry 4, and without really spoiling anything – really focuses on what I think fans want the most: more of the Sparda bloodline and the story behind Dante and crew. The game follows protagonists Nero, Dante, and newcomer V.
As with most Devil May Cry games, the plot tends to be a bit over the top and gets a little ridiculous considering the circumstances of things happening in the game world. However, the series trademark humor and charm returns, with dick jokes and then some.
Everything about the games story feels like you’re being dropped right back into a giant, ridiculous battle in the series, and I think this is intentional. Capcom seems to be well aware of the blowback on the DmC reboot, so I think they wanted to just drop fans right into the franchise again.
Coming from this, if you’re a total newcomer to the entire franchise, it can be a little too much to take in with all the bad blood and apocalypse happening every few years. There is a recap video, but as the story is mostly silly and over the top – it’ll be easy to jump right in.
As this review will continue to be spoiler free, the most I can say regarding the events of the plot is there are some fun twists, reveals, and of course – a big ridiculous finale that really tops anything seen previously in the series. I think fans will be really happy with how things are wrapped up.
A returning mechanic in the series is the evolving and dynamic music – which gets louder and basically cooler as your style rank goes higher. This is achieved by literally playing the game better, so when other game journalists failed and then said the music was bad, I laughed. It’s intentional.
The dynamic combat soundtrack for each playable character is different and really fits their overall style. Nero’s “Pull My Devil Trigger” theme was pounding through my TV, Dante’s “Subhuman” theme was gritty and angsty, and V’s “Crimson Cloud” theme felt appropriately edge-y.
Combat sounds, clashes of weapons and weapons destroying things and flesh, all sound very satisfying and further add to the weight of the game. The voice acting by the returning cast – as well as the newcomers – is top notch as well. Lip syncing was typically great, but had some misses.
I can’t really find any faults with the game aside from the majority of combat and boss battles feeling just right in terms of challenge – but a few can suddenly ramp things up quickly and require more homework. There also isn’t much puzzle-work in the levels, it’s very much point A to point B.
After you complete the main game you might feel like you’re left wanting more, however there is free Bloody Palace downloadable content on the way that will provide a ton of replayability. I think Capcom is going to pull out the stops for this game even moreso than its original release.
Devil May Cry 5 is a tour de force in the action game department, and is the sequel fans have been waiting over a decade for. Everything about this game feels like it was designed for the fans, and it feels wonderful every step of the way.
I really couldn’t be happier with how this game turned out, and I’m a thousand times excited for where Capcom might take the franchise next. It’s been a long time coming, but it feels so good to say the king is finally back. Devil May Cry 5 is simply tops, and I can’t get enough of it.
Devil May Cry 5 was reviewed on Xbox One S using a review copy provided by Capcom. You can find additional information about Niche Gamer’s review/ethics policy here.