Dante, the coolest demon slayer with the most cringeworthy lines, is back in March, along with a few other familiar faces that have graced the Devil May Cry franchise since its inception in 2001. The upcoming instalment, simply named Devil May Cry 5, was announced at E3 last year with an action-packed gameplay trailer.
It appears to tick all the boxes fans of the series could hope for after six years; new characters, a sparkling graphical update for the current generation, yet the same crazy hack ’n’ slash gore we’ve come to expect. The trailer also left a few questions unanswered, however. The following list comprises of five things we know about the upcoming release, and five things we can only hope for.
Despite the critical and commercial success of 2013’s DMC: Devil May Cry, Capcom have decided to continue with the mainline story. It’s a bittersweet decision because the reboot in 2013 was a brave experiment that paid off; it was a clever origin story, and introduced well-rounded characters that could have been explored further. But we’re back in familiar territory here, with the characters we left over ten years ago with 2008’s Devil May Cry 4. In fact, chronologically this is the furthest ahead in time – Capcom have been reluctant to go past Devil May Cry 2 in the timeline, but finally, we’re here. We wonder whether or not Dante will have shrugged off that grumpy persona.
The new-look Dante had the equivalent of a Devil Bringer in Ninja Theory’s 2013 reboot, but it was through Nero that Capcom introduced this ingenious idea in DMC4. And it pleases us to say that Nero’s back. Continuing the tradition started by Scorpion in the Mortal Kombat franchise, Nero grabs distant enemies and brings them closer (though unfortunately without yelling “get over here!”). It has other uses too, such as pulling Nero closer to larger enemies and hauling him to distant heights in excruciatingly stressful platforming puzzles. This clever little gimmick allows Nero to do things other characters simply can’t. Speaking of which…
If we thought DMC2 Dante was edgy and angsty, he has some stiff competition with new character V. Appropriately sharing the same name as the Roman numeral for this installment, V appears to be a tortured soul indeed. He has three demons helping him out: Griffon (an eagle), Shadow (a Panther) and Nightmare – a large golem that can only be summoned through the devil trigger. Judging by the trailer, Griffon provides comic relief. Think of him as a darker and more violent Daxter. His darker hair contrasts with the established white of Dante and Nero, who, thankfully, will be kicking demon-ass alongside him.
Initially used for Resident Evil 7, this almost photo-realistic graphics engine is bound to bring the DMC series into the eighth generation looking polished. The Reach for the Moon engine, to use its full name, uses rendering techniques such as Subsurface Scatters to produce highly realistic human skin and hair. In fact, the latest facial technology developed by the Serbian company 3Lateral has been used for the characters’ facial expressions. So, expect a cinematic experience!
This shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone familiar with the series, but it’s the information that ESRB released alongside the rating that’s quite amusing. “From a third-person perspective, players use swords, guns, and special attacks (e.g., a prosthetic hand with electric bursts) to kill hordes of demons in frenetic combat. Battles are highlighted by gunfire, screams of pain, and slow-motion finishing moves/highlights. One cutscene depicts civilians screaming in pain while being impaled by demon tentacles.” Well then. I guess it’s reassuring to know that Capcom aren’t going soft on us.
One aspect of 2013’s reboot that could have been better was its length. Even with Vergil’s Downfall, the DLC that was included in the HD rerelease, the game only took about ten hours to get through. A bit more meat to chew on would be nice, especially with three playable characters, and hopefully plenty of weapon and power upgrades available. After all, there’s no point having expansive RPG elements if the game’s over just as you’re getting into the (pun intended) swing of things. But although we want a long game, there’s an aspect of DMC4 that won’t receive a warm welcome…
Although we loved it, the fourth installment of the series was a little cheap in its attempt to drag out the story. Every stage and location we did with Nero, we then had to do all over again with Dante. The developers could at least have designed him some new locations to explore, because all the player got was a sense of déjà vu that occasionally verged on boredom. So if you don’t mind, Capcom, please give Nero, Dante and V their own stages. Or let us pick a character for a level. Just don’t make us do the same stages again and again and again.
If there’s one thing for which we can rely on Devil May Cry, it’s the epic – so epic it borders on the absurd – boss fights. Quite often they give the bosses in rival series God of War a run for their money. Remember in DMC2, when Dante was walking down a city street, minding his own, and the demon Nefasturris possessed a skyscraper? The grotesque face took the form of the glass face of the building, and the hands came through, shattering the glass, before firing demonic beams at our bemused protagonist. And just like that, the cutscene ended and we had to fight a building. More of that, please.
The devil trigger is the DMC series’ temporary power-up feature. In the first installment, when the devil trigger is used, Dante channels the demons Alastor and Ifrit – and even his father’s form during the last boss. In DMC2, when Dante’s health reaches critical and he activates his devil trigger, he turns into his Majin Form – a giant of a demon, invincible, with incredible strength. Judging from the trailer DMCV trailer, Dante can fly around using his second form’s wings. So it looks cool, but will it play well?
It’s a bit much to ask, I know – bringing a character back to life – but Ninja Theory’s DMC reminded us how interesting the brotherly rival between Dante and Vergil was. He died in the first game, but the relationship was explored in the third installment, and reimagined in the reboot. It’s unlikely, but stranger things have happened, right?