Video game review: "Devil May Cry 5"

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Mon Mar 25, 2019
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“Devil May Cry 5” ("DMC5") is the sequel to the previous game in the canon "Devil May Cry" (DMC) series, "Devil May Cry 4" ("DMC4"), which came out over a decade ago; not to be confused with Ninja Theory’s “DmC: Devil May Cry” reboot game from 2013 that we don't talk about. Most fans of the series just assumed it died after the failed reboot, with "DMC4" having been released in 2008 and nothing heard of the series since Ninja Theory got their hands on it. But in the gaming industry, nothing truly stays dead forever, see “Doom,” “Xcom,” “Syndicate,” “Rage,” and even “Bubsy.” But does "DMC5" fall on the "Doom" and "Xcom" side of series revivals, or on the "Bubsy" side? Luckily, it's on the good side. One may have worried from the somewhat underwhelming trailer that Capcom would push out another “Resident Evil 6” before they made a “Resident Evil 7.”

"DMC5" takes place, as far as I can remember, after the events of "DMC4", a game I last played in middle school so memory doesn't serve too well. Regardless, we see the return of series protagonist Dante, as well as Nero, the kid from "DMC4" alongside much of that game’s supporting cast. Joining the party is a third playable character, a poetry reading goth guy with a cane named V as well as the main villain of the game, a giant tree demon guy called Urizen. The story begins when Urizen brings a big demon tree into the middle of Red Grave City, and Dante and crew are hired to stop it. You begin in the tutorial as Nero, and fight your way to Urizen’s throne room to find Dante defeated. You are then thrust into one of those boss battles that your supposed to lose, after which Dante has Nero and V escape while he holds off Urizen. One month later, Nero, alongside a southern woman named Nico, return to Red Grave City to search for the missing Dante and stop the demonic invasion. The games plot overall is actually pretty restrained for a "Devil May Cry" game, as in it is possible to understand without too many trips to the wiki; and doesn't require more than a base understanding of the overall "Devil May Cry" storyline to get the gist of it. It’s also refreshing too see characters that are actually enjoying themselves for once. As of late, triple-A games have been leaning heavily on the serious and brooding side, so it's nice to see characters with actual personality too them. The most boring character is V, the poetry guy, but he’s followed around by the most entertaining character, a wisecracking talking bird demon so it balances out. The villain isn't anything amazing, but he gets the job done and allows the plot to focus on the more interesting main characters. I also have to give particular mention to the explanation behind who each of the newcomers, Urizen and V, are. It is both clever and makes sense, and is really well done.

The gameplay revolves around the three playable characters: Nero, V, and Dante. Nero, who lost his right arm to the villain Urizen before the events of the game, centers his gameplay around his motorcycle-fire sword hybrid, his revolver that fires two bullets at once, and a myriad of new interchangeable robotic arms that range from a lightning shooting mechanized hand, to a collection of utensils topped with a pasta fork, to the mega buster from mega man. V uses three different summoned animals to fight for him, the aforementioned blue demon bird, a shapeshifting black panther, and a big goliath thing. Dante has his typical lineup of four different weapons and four different guns to switch between during combat. You follow a liner series of events, being swapped between each character for their respective story sections. And for one it's nice to see linearity brought back into a game, for a while the very word “linear” was like saying the game was “by David Cage” and now everything has to be open world. It’s still the traditional hack-and-slash combat that is the staple of the "Devil May Cry" series. And any game where you can uppercut a demon into the air and keep him afloat with a cushion of bullets is a game worth your attention. The goal of the combat is to chain together huge combos of sword slashes, gunshots, lightning shocks, and whatever else you have at your disposal. It all flows well into a delightful spectacle of death, with that undeniable catharsis unique to the "DMC" series. It remains a solid combat system that works nicely alongside its over-the-top characters and their abilities. As you kill demons you gain red orbs, like you're playing "God of War," used to upgrade your abilities and equipment. Overall it remains the classic fluid "DMC" hack-and-slash action that made it such a beloved franchise in the first place.

However the game is not without its flaws. The game breaks into cutscene way too often or it will wrestle the camera away from the player to show the big red glowing wall that has come up because enemies have spawned. Not all the dialogue is great, and there are more than a few cringe moments that stand out. And the game keeps popping up a clock showing use the date and time that things are taking place. In addition, each new enemy you encounter is introduced with a little freezeframe with a colored background, and some text showing their name and a little two word description of them like they’re a Borderlands boss. And remember that “you're supposed to lose” boss fight in the intro? That’s not the only one, and I for one am not a fan of them. With all that said, there certainly isn't enough to detract too much from your enjoyment of the game, and altogether the game features likeable characters in a well told story backed up by strong gameplay, and what more could you want?

Final Score: 7/10, a solid, gameplay driven but narratively competent thankfully linear $60 game that’s worth your time.

 

 

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