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Devil May Cry 5 Review

by William Schwartz

When it comes to hack and slash games, there are just a few series that rival Devil May Cry.  The long-running franchise which made its debut on the PlayStation 2 in 2001 has seen six releases over the years taking a weird path to get to Devil May Cry 5.  As fans will recall, the Devil May Cry series was rebooted back in 2013 with the release of DMC.  While that was ultimately a quality title, Capcom announced that they would be making Devil May Cry 5 afterwards.

With Devil May Cry 5, Capcom forgets all about the 2013 release and continues the story of the Sons of Sparda from the fourth installment which released all the way back in 2008.  For those that need a refresher, those games focused the main character Dante’s quest to avenge his mother’s death.  Across the series it introduced us to other characters like Virgil, Trish, Lady, Nero, and others. The whole gang returns for a somewhat familiar story in Devil May Cry 5 and there are some newcomers like a weaponsmith named Nico and a mysterious dark character named V.

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Capcom has been pushing out impressive looking games over the last couple of years with the RE Engine and Devil May Cry 5 is another shining example of great looking content coming from this tech.  Devil May Cry 5 is an impressive visual experience with realistic character models, grotesque enemy models, and gorgeous levels to explore.  In true Devil May Cry fashion it’s all tied together with a pumping metal soundtrack that goes hand in hand with the demon slaying of the game.

The point of all of these games in the Devil May Cry series hasn’t simply been to survive long enough to see the credits roll, but to survive in style and play through the numerous difficulty levels on offer.  This is something that Capcom has not gone away from in Devil May Cry 5.  This is still a game that’s about achieving combat ranks with the ultimate goal being SSS rankings in an encounter.  You’ll do this by racking up successive hits on the enemies you are fighting, mixing and matching moves while trying to avoid getting hit.

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As a hack n slash, Devil May Cry 5 is a deep game that has a steep learning curve and numerous characters to master.  You’ll control Nero, V, and Dante.  Each of these three characters have a unique moveset that is specific to their character.  With Nero you’ll have access to his firearm the “Blue Rose”, his sword the “Red Queen”, and his Devil Breaker prosthetic arms which have a wide variety of functions.  V is entirely different from Nero and Dante.  This character uses a tome and commands three different creatures to attack his enemies.  Dante has a lot of different attacks, but his core abilities are his melee weapons “Rebellion” (and others) , firearms “Ebony and Ivory” , and different style moves.  There’s really a lot to put together when trying to learn these three distinct characters and each one has different strengths and weaknesses.  Playing through the story of Devil May Cry 5.  There will be spots where you can pick your character, and there will be others where you are forced into using a specific character.

The combination of this multi-character approach to the game and the great presentation of the game make it feel like one of the best Devil May Cry games to date.  It’s certainly a game that will appeal to fans of the old games, but it does have some new features that are unwelcome.  Devil May Cry 5 has a progression system that will more than likely be divisive.  When it comes to progress in the game, it’s almost all done by purchasing skills and abilities with Red Orbs.  These orbs are found through playing the game, but they can also be purchased for real world cash.

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The problem with this structure is that you can instantly increase all of your character’s abilities at the beginning of the game if you’re willing to pay.  Worse yet, continuing your game is tied to these Red Orbs as well.   If you want to continue in a particularly hard boss fight you’ll need to use these Red Orbs.  The more orbs you spend the more health and equipment that you’ll be able to continue with.  For me this wasn’t a huge problem but it did feel like I was getting squeezed at different points in the game.  At its worst, this system forced me to replay a level as I got roadblocked in a boss fight that required more than one health bar so I had to go back and earn orbs on another level to progress.  Due to this system, I always had the feeling that I should save the orbs for continues instead of upgrading my character.

This system is the most unfortunate thing about Devil May Cry 5 and after seeing the credits roll and needing to actually back track on the game to progress at the point that I mentioned I was still ready to go and do it all again in the Son of Sparda difficulty.  Devil May Cry 5 is a really fun action game that feels like you’re just scratching the surface on it when it comes to mastery after only a single playthrough.  The best games of this type reward you for coming back and Devil May Cry V does that with some unique upgrades at the end game that carry over into your next playthrough.

The Verdict

The microtransaction blemish on Devil May Cry 5 is a big one and it’s probably going to be a bigger deal for some more than others.  Regardless of your skill level, its inclusion is one that will, at the very least, have you thinking about your money management in the game.  There is also the very real possibility of a complete progression halt if you run out of orb currency.  That said, despite the questionable monetization tactics, Devil May Cry 5 is an impressive game on the presentation front and a deep hack and slash with a ton of moves, combos, and weapons to master across three unique characters.

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Devil May Cry 5

  • Available On: Xbox One, PS4, PC
  • Published By: Capcom
  • Developed By: Capcom
  • Genre: Hack n Slash
  • US Release Date: March 8th, 2019
  • Reviewed On: Xbox One
  • Quote: "Despite the questionable monetization, Devil May Cry V is an impressive game on the presentation front and a deep hack and slash with a ton of moves, combos, and weapons to master across three unique characters.  "
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