When one shoots a glance at the eye-appeasing lighting and particle effects such as the contrasting colour hues and fiery embers of Nero’s fully-revved long sword it becomes difficult to deny this game the title of the best-looking Devil May Cry to date.
Conversely, Nero’s various, unique Devil Breaker arms come fitted with a counter-intuitive switching method that requires players to completely eviscerate one arm simply so that the others can experience some love.
Due to the apparent equality between the positives and negatives expressed in this introduction, character action fans may query the possibility of a victory for the positives. Fear not, for this reviewer intends to answer that very query.
The Not-So-Scenic Route
As briefly discussed in an earlier point, many of the levels featured in Devil May Cry 5 contain nearly identical aesthetics.
Although no, admittedly stunning, locale is recycled Devil May Cry 4-style, the novelty of desolate cityscapes and blood drenched demonic dimensions wears off at an accelerated rate as the game progresses. Consequently, the title’s two principle settings – Red Grave City and the Qliphoth tree — lack the same personality of Mallet Island and the Temen-ni-gru tower featured in the first and third entries respectively.
Thank the Legendary Dark Knight Sparda for Devil May Cry 5’s sumptuously superb lighting and particle effects that provide these rather indistinct settings with a quantity of visual flare sufficient enough to encourage players to traverse them. The blood red hues which emit from the various hell-bound horrors contrast perfectly with the duller greys that surround them to produce an aesthetic that pleases in ways words fail to accurately document.
Further, the flare behind the flames of Nero’s revved Red Queen sword convincingly sells the blows players deal their foes, adding incontestably to game feel.
By now, fans have become accustomed to the intuitive quick switching Dante implements with his multitude of ranged weapons and Devil Arms. Consequently, Nero would have greatly benefited from taking notes on the elder Devil Hunter.
Instead, one of the only approaches to switching between his unique Devil Breakers, synthetic arms imbued with disparate offensive abilities, is to completely demolish the one currently in use, placing a slight limitation on players who wish to unlock their full potential in combat.
However, what is rather unusual about this criticism is that it can be morphed into the inviting shape of a compliment when one more closely analyses the other method of devil breaking.
To elaborate further, should a player sustain damage while attacking in kind with any Devil Breaker, it will shatter. Thus, the player must now quickly adapt to the new situation in much the same way that any warrior must in an authentic battle, emphasising quick decision-making.
Aside from Nero’s more diverse combat style compared to Dante, there were few distinctions in Devil May Cry 4 to truly separate these two men who most likely visited the hairdressers with photographs of each other. Fortunately, Itsuno-san and his team have meticulously crafted unique play styles for all three of Devil May Cry 5’s vogue-slaying pretty boys.
Front runner Nero zips gracefully around the battlefield, makes efficient use of charged attacks and varies up his approach to each combat situation with his Devil Breakers. Fan favourite Dante relies on swift, mid-combo weapon switching. The mysterious V distances himself from those whom he seeks to destroy while his pet demons attack in his stead.
Although these individuals display their distinguishable personalities in the game’s cut scenes, it is how these distinctions are further bolstered by the gameplay that generates the biggest impact as it delivers a varied experience to players which maintains their engagement.
Furthermore, the pulse-pounding battle themes for each protagonist comprise of differing musical styles that match their character with astounding precision.
While Nero’s anthem fuses modern electronic dance with alternative rock to establish him as the one to usher in the new age, Dante’s soundtrack of choice echoes the hard rock tones that were popular during his initial introduction. V inherits the best of both worlds to create a grungy sound that reinforces his dark past, shrouded in mystery.
Combining this with their individual character traits and diverse approaches to combat ensures, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that neither Nero nor V will be imprisoned in Dante’s iconic shadow, spoiling newcomers for choice on which protagonist to class as their favourite.
Overall Score: 9
Character action fans all across this beautiful globe rejoice, for Devil May Cry 5 is a truly magical and wonderful return to form for the, up until now, long dormant franchise.
While there are some drawbacks that hold this title back from achieving the same greatness that the third entry achieved fourteen years prior such as the bland environmental design, the positives far surpass the negatives.
In fact, on frequent occasion, positive facets can be unearthed in the negatives, such as how the multihued lighting effects convert otherwise dull locales in visual feasts.
Due to the brilliant craftsmanship displayed in full force with this title, Resident Evil 2, Doom and, to a certain extent, Marvel’s Spider-Man, this reviewer firmly believes that sixth generation ideals and design philosophies are back and here to stay in the AAA market. Even a Devil may cry tears of rapturous joy at this news.
Format: PlayStation 4 (Reviewed), Xbox One and PC
Price: £44.99 (Game)
Age Rating: PEGI 18
Release Date: 08/03/19 (Worldwide)
Review based on purchased retail build.