Devil May Cry 5 (Xbox One Review)
Dante is an icon, a quick witted legend with a sword. A few years back he was many other things, including hated by those that once championed him as an all-time great. Well you can forget all of that because Dante is back and better than ever in Devil May Cry 5.
Continuing on from Devil May Cry 4 you start as Nero and interrupt a fight between Dante and a mysterious new enemy. As the two clash, you intervene and try your utmost to help. Ultimately failing. The blows are hard and it’s clear that Nero, V, and Dante aren’t ready to deal with this enemy. So the group retreat, recoup, and reorganise to help tackle the King of Demons another way. The short and sharp campaign spans a total of 20 missions and shows just how we arrived at the fight in the prologue as well as how the group are going to turn the tide. Each of the three playable characters shares their equal share of the missions and there are plenty of revelations that will top the expectations of long-time fans and entice newer players to go back and experience the older games.
But the real selling point of Devil May Cry 5 is its combat. Style points return and every character has their own unique feel. V provides a series first and acts as a puppet master as he commands Griffon, Shadow, and Nightmare to fight for him while he recites poetry from his mystical tome. Nero returns with a new mechanical arm that works similar to his previous outing in Devil May Cry with the added bonus of offering a torrent of extra abilities, like instantly charging your Red Queen and healing Nero, alongside the usual Red Queen shenanigans. Then there’s Dante, good ol’ Dante. Dante’s return to form is accompanied with new weapons, new firearms, and a whole load of old styles to switch through. You’d expect finding your rhythm to be fairly difficult, but thanks to a limited move list early on you grow in to each character as they expand their repertoire. By the time you reach the end of your first attempt of the campaign, you’ll be playing with a totally different set of weapons and abilities and wanting to jump right back in to Devil May Cry 5 all over again to make the most of those abilities again.
Admittedly, I wasn’t particularly quick to pick up Nero. Devil May Cry 4 was a distant memory and timing the revs on Red Queen for extra damage and new abilities felt a little alien compared to other characters. So I took to The Void, Devil May Cry 5’s training ground, to mess about against enemies I wasn’t particularly sure of and to perfect my charges. It’s a nice addition to Devil May Cry 5, but it does lack the ability face off against Devil May Cry 5’s key bosses which is a terrible shame as they are key enemies to practise against and understand – meaning you’ll need to replay entire levels to challenge some longwinded and complicated fights.
Supplementing your need to perfect levels are secret missions. Compared to previous games, secret missions are less complicated to find and indicated with bloody red paintings of symbols on various walls throughout the game. They might be less obtuse, but that doesn’t mean they are easy to find. Out of the 12 secret missions available, I was only able to find 11 after several attempts. Some of the missions hark back to older titles, while those aimed at V and Nero encourage you to make the most of their new kit. And it’s all in the name of blue orbs to increase your health or red orbs to spend on skills.
Statue staring is almost a thing of the past when it comes to levelling up as Nico, Nero’s new partner and weaponsmith for the team, hightails it around the levels in her trusty van to offer assistance when called from any phone you can find. She even has a little toy statue on her desk for those looking for Easter eggs. Through Nico you’ll upgrade weapons, learn new skills, buy purple and blue orbs, as well as building new Devil Breakers for Nero and setting loadouts for Dante. Mixing and matching Devil Breakers becomes incredibly important at later stages as you need to utilise them to access some secret missions, sacrifice them to create an area of effect explosion, or counter specific bosses with the Rag Time Devil Breaker’s time stopping abilities. Finding the right loadout for both Dante and Nero is deeply satisfying as you cycle through their available arsenal and deliver devastating blows – especially when it comes to a fully charged Devil Breaker attack.
Stylish. Scenic. Surprisingly cohesive. Devil May Cry 5 is the best entry to the series so far. Levels look great and feel fantastic to explore. Alternate paths and options to choose who you play through a level with add an extra level of replay value on top of countless difficulties, while the ghost data of other players shows you the capabilities of others while you play. Even the soundtrack is something to shout about. It doesn’t matter how many times Pull My Devil Trigger bleeds in to combat, it just works. The only real downsides are the lack of a Bloody Palace mode and the inability to face off against bosses in The Void.