I usually try to make a distinction between the hardcore gaming crowd and people who play video games. The former tends to have some pretty set views on certain titles. For instance, you’re not allowed to like games like Call of Duty, Anthem, Mass Effect Andromeda or, heaven forbid, the 2013 reboot of Capcom’s devil-smashing series with DmC: Devil May Cry. Cross the party line and you’re going to be in trouble.
Still, sometimes the peanut gallery has a point. After what seemed like a generally tepid reaction to that last one, it was something of a surprise that a more typical DMC game was released in the form of Devil May Cry 5. What’s more surprising is just how good it is. I didn’t exactly hate the attempt to reboot the series with DmC, but it pales in comparison to the classic stylish slashing that we’ve got here.
Years after the events of Devil May Cry 4, Nero’s living a comfortable life with Kyrie and his new mechanic pal Nico. That all changes when a mysterious demon shows up and rips off his Devil Bringer arm. Around the same time, a similarly mysterious demon hunter named V contracts Dante to stop the rise of the new demon king Urizen. All of these stories come together in Red Grave City as the blood-eating tree called the Qlipoth begins to consume the world. It’s up to the Devil May Cry crew to take the city back and bring the fight to Urizen.
You’ve got three characters here, so that means three varying playstyles! Nero’s missing his Devil Bringer, but now he’s got a variety of new artificial Devil Breaker arms to use instead. These provide various special abilities ranging from a long-range whip to a powerful energy claw. Along with that, he also still has the ability to rev up his Red Queen sword and use Exceed attacks. Dante, meanwhile, still has a varied arsenal of weapons and combat styles to use, making him both the most versatile and easy to use of the devil hunters.
Finally, V brings a new playstyle to bear. He’s frail and unfit for battle, but he’s able to summon demons of his own to do the fighting for him. Demons can’t kill demons, so V stands back and commands his pals, then dashes in to deliver a killing strike with his cane. It’s an interesting concept, but V’s tendency to fight from the back lines means he doesn’t take very much damage. Between this and the sheer power of his summoned demons, V’s segments often felt a little too easy.
The combination of three wildly varying playstyles makes for a great time. DMC5’s also pretty good about mixing things up, allowing you to switch between characters often or even choose who you want to play. Generally speaking, all three characters feel a bit easier to use than previous titles, but you unlock harder difficulties later on that bring that classic challenge back. As for the plot itself, it’s good ol’ DMC cheese – especially if you go back later and watch the hilarious live-action production cutscenes that are available as DLC.
DMC5 looks and plays great. As always, I’m partial to the PC version, but every platform seems to run pretty well. Again, you’d be really well-served by splurging on those live-action cutscenes as they may be some of the funniest content in video games, but even the regular cutscenes are fantastic. The highlight of DMC5’s presentation, though, is the music. Each character and boss has their own battle theme that kicks up as you fight more stylishly, making for a wonderful hybrid of music and gameplay that ensures fighting feels especially rewarding.
Devil May Cry 5 takes all of the series’ best qualities and slaps them together into a stylish, badass pastiche. It’s an excellent return to what made the franchise so special after the decent but maligned DmC: Devil May Cry reboot attempt a few years back. I’m as shocked as anyone that this game even exists, but I’m so glad it does. I’m also pretty sure we’re going to see another sooner or later given the quality on display here.