The Devil May Cry series began in 2001 when the Wachowski’s The Matrix was influencing just about every action film that came afterward with its bullet time, martial arts, and a fantastic soundtrack. It should come as no surprise then that Capcom’s own super stylish trench-coat-wearing Dante became something of a cultural icon in his own right.
A huge part of Devil May Cry’s appeal was that at the time it was like no other action title. It was – and still is – complicated, deep, and rewarding. Even with the hardware limitations of the PlayStation 2, Devil May Cry provided the gamer with so many moments where they could sit back and say “that was so cool.”
The series hasn’t come without a certain amount of controversy though. Devil May Cry 2 was met with lukewarm reception from some of the fanbase not being happy with the change of pace, Dante’s more somber tone, and arguably less detailed environments. Then Devil May Cry 3 came along and set a new benchmark for the genre, before upsetting fans once again by making Nero the hero of the fourth entry.
However, the biggest hit for the series came in the form of a reboot with DmC: Devil May Cry. This entry was developed by a western studio that aimed to streamline the gameplay and put Dante on the wrong end of being likable.
Ignoring the reboot, Capcom has hit back with a proper sequel in Devil May Cry 5 and it’s great. However, like every great game it isn’t without its flaws, let’s take some of the best and worst things about Devil May Cry 5.
25 Good: It’s The Devil May Cry We Know and Love
The last entry in the series was DmC: Devil May Cry, it was game that attempts to reboot the series using western developers Ninja Theory retelling the story of Dante and his brother Vergil. It was a divisive title because despite playing well enough, the fans weren’t ready for a reboot and simply wanted a true follow up to Devil May Cry 4.
With Devil May Cry 5, the fans are getting exactly what they asked for and more. Those familiar with the Ninja Theory’s entry will definitely notice a few nods but this a true sequel that the fans were asking for.
24 Bad: It May Feel Too Old School For Some Gamers
There are some critics who feel that Devil May Cry 5 plays very much like Devil May Cry 3 but with this generation’s bells and whistles. In many ways, one could look at the game in the same way as the Resident Evil 2 Remake in that it never deviates too far away from the originals.
Of course, this isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but those hoping that Devil May Cry 5 will reinvent the action genre will be sorely disappointed. However, the game’s spectacular visuals and speed certainly modernize the tried and tested stylistic formula that fans have always wanted. Just don’t expect the same kind of series reinvention that was seen in God of War.
23 Good: Easy To Pick Up But Difficult To Master
Before the Demon/Dark Souls series went mainstream and showed that difficult games could still be fun, gaming spent a long time catering to fans that only enjoyed cinematic spectacles and flashy effects. Thankfully, the Devil May Cry series has never been one of these games. That doesn't mean it isn't easy for new players to jump in and enjoy the spectacle. At the same time, even players looking for an easier ride will find the difficulty levels hard to master and rewarding in all the right ways.
The game has a clever way of throwing new challenges at you on higher difficulties that go way beyond tougher enemies and bosses. Without going into spoiler territory, it is absolutely worth learning the game as it’s meant to be played through multiple replays.
22 Bad: The Nonsensical Story
The Devil May Cry games have always had a sense of silliness in regards to the unplausible plot and outlandish characters. However, the nonsensical story may be off-putting to some gamers that have never experienced any of the series’ previous entries.
The games have always had a borderline silly anime appeal to them and dedicated fans of the series and anime, in general, will love it. So those more used to the straight-forward "space marine and bald army men fighting off hordes of men with guns" may not find Devil May Cry 5 very appealing.
21 Good: The Crazy Story Is Exactly What Sets This Game Apart
Okay, so many conventional gamers that are used to watching and playing through fairly dull and unimaginative military games that do very little to push the genre as an art form. However, games like Devil May Cry 5 and Bayonetta are exactly what the game industry needs.
The PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 era was all about games like Gears of War and Call of Duty. Games like these became so popular that titles developed in Japan – once a pioneer in the gaming industry – became more niche.
In 2019, Devil May Cry 5 is back with that unique Japanese creativity but with enough cinematic flair to impress just about anyone.
20 Bad: New Players May Find The Story Confusing
The Devil May Cry series has been around a long time. The first game launched in 2001 and with the help of the HD remasters available on the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One is still worth playing today in 2019.
However, many of today’s gamers are far more likely to find the newest installment more appealing based on its visuals. This will, unfortunately, mean that they will have a lot to get their heads around especially as there has been three sequels, novels and Dante’s guest appearances in games like Shin Megami Tensei: Nocturne/Lucifer’s Call.
19 Good: The History of DMC Option
As mentioned, there is a lot to take in when it comes to the storytelling in the newest entry of the Devil May Cry series. This is especially true for those who aren’t willing to indulge in playing the older games to get an idea of what’s going on.
Thankfully, before you start a new game there’s an option called “History of DMC” which will give players the gist of the most important aspects of the story. It also serves as an introduction to some of the series' most familiar characters.
18 Good: The Soundtrack Encourages Bigger Combos
The Devil May Cry soundtrack has always been a standout feature in the series and it really helps to keep the action flowing, providing many cool moments. In the late 90s and, 2000s, we had great action films like Blade and The Matrix, and a major part of what made them so good was the music that went along with the action.
Not only do the Devil May Cry games feature cool music to help the action along but the soundtrack dynamically gets louder the higher your combo rate becomes. As a result, you'll really want to keep pushing for those SS-ranked combos.
17 Bad: The Voice Acting is Acceptable But Not Exceptional
For gamers used to the stellar voice acting performances found in games like The Witcher, Mass Effect, and action series rival God of War, Devil May Cry may seem a little off. It’s on par with most Japanese developed titles that have been translated to English so it’s not terrible.
DMC5's nearest comparison would be the Resident Evil 2 Remake which at times could sound typical in its anime stylings. The acting is certainly acceptable and does a decent enough job in telling its bonkers but surprisingly good story but don’t expect anything too exceptional when it comes to the dialogue.
16 Good: The Action Doesn’t Get More Stylish Than This
There is nothing more disappointing than watching an amazing cutscene that rivals some of Hollywood’s best action scenes only to be met with lackluster gameplay. In fairness, most games in the action genre are guilty of this and Devil May Cry 5 isn’t.
When a game’s entire point is to achieve the highest style points possible as you progress then it better be fun to play. Devil May Cry 5 is not only fun to play, it is every Matrix and Blade power-fantasy you ever had as a teen or young adult in the 2000s fully realized in videogame form.
15 Bad: Occasional Camera Lock-On Issues
The biggest drawback to the amazing battle system is the lock-on targeting system. It's never game-breaking but in some of the more confined spaces, the camera zoom has a tendency to become a bit erratic.
Just like most games, you will get used to this but the larger scale boss battles become a bit more problematic. There will be occasions where you will find yourself in conflict with the camera trying to force you to keep an eye on the boss when trying to collect orbs to survive the fight and come out on top.
14 Good: A Cast Of Likeable Heroes
A lot of videogames seem to struggle with making cocky characters like Dante likable. Even Ninja Theory’s attempt went down like a lead balloon because their version of the demon hunter was outright obnoxious especially in the early sections of the game, and first impressions count.
Somehow, Devil May Cry 5 manages to find the balance of brash and likable, without ever needing to pander or go too far with the humor like so many western games. This is partially helped by the choice of three good and contrasting characters and their interactions: the NPCs Nico, Trish, and Lady.
13 Bad: Linearity Can Be Issue for Some
By sticking to the tried and true formula, Devil May Cry 5 does feature the same (if not slightly dated) level design that we’ve been playing since 2001. While the combat offers an abundance of gameplay through its battle mechanics, its environments are very linear and repetitive.
The old action game staple of moving through paths that are divided up by arena barriers and enemies returns. It could be said, however, that this is a welcome return to old school beat-em-ups like Streets of Rage, Final Fight, and Golden Axe.
12 Good: The Choice of Characters Help Keep Things Fresh
Games that fall into the action-adventure sub-genre like the Devil May Cry series often run the risk of becoming repetitive and even being too long. This is especially true if there’s a lack of variety or complexity like the older God of War games which were often accused of being too long.
Not only does Devil May Cry 5 keep things interesting by having a complex and interesting fighting system but the game also offers you three distinct characters to choose from. Devil May Cry 4’s Nero is quite possibly the beginner’s choice, Dante is the more complex choice for veterans and V is a magic caster that feels completely different to anything experienced in the game before.
11 Bad: Bland And Static Level Design
Devil May Cry’s opening stages look fantastic and imaginative and really show off that incredible RE graphics engine. However, as you progress through the game, the nicely designed levels start to enter familiar territory with generic repetitive designs that we’ve seen before such as the subways, sewers, and catacombs.
Very few of the environments are interactive and lack a certain feel of realism or dynamism. This is a shame considering what the RE engine is actually capable of. The plus side of all this, of course, is the developers kept their focus on what mattered, and that’s the fighting.
10 Good: The Boss Battles Have An Amazing Sense Of Scale
Devil May Cry 5 provides the players with so much incentive to keep replaying and experimenting with new abilities. This is further evidenced by how enjoyable the boss fights are. The only other series that rivals the Devil May Cry series for epic and intense battles is probably the Dark Souls series.
Just like the Souls series, perseverance, timing, and practice is the key to reap the rewards. Of course, these battles are incredibly fun to participate in and the sense of scale is a great sight to behold.
9 Good: The Graphics Are Incredible
Devil May Cry 5 runs on the same graphics engine as the Resident Evil 2 remake and just like Capcom’s other most recent effort this year, it’s absolutely stunning. The animation and motion capture is some of the best we’ve ever seen. We mentioned how good BioWare’s Anthem looks here on The Gamer but Devil May Cry 5 is in a league of its own.
What is even better is that it is all in-game and not CG, making it so much easier to fall in love with the new characters like Niko and V.
8 Bad: Pay To Win Microtransactions?
When Capcom first announced that microtransactions would be a thing in Devil May Cry 5 the fans reacted with the kind of furor that you would expect. In fairness to the developers at Capcom, they may have listened because all that is available is the option to buy blue and red orbs.
This won’t have any significant impact on the game as a whole and most players will probably ignore the option. However, if you purchase enough of these items then you will, in effect, be making your characters invincible and it could be accused of allowing players to pay to win.
7 Good: The Gallery Option Is Actually Worthwhile
If we’re honest with ourselves, when most action games include a gallery option it goes largely ignored because they’re usually nothing more than a few screenshots, interesting artwork, or the credits.
However, fans of the series should definitely check out Devil May Cry 5’s Gallery. We get Nico’s Reports which helps if you need character backgrounds or a reminder of how things work in-game. There’s profile descriptions, letters, and documents in the Library which is great for those who need to get up to speed.
Additionally, the Story option will show all of the game’s unlocked videos and cutscenes. While this may sound boring to some, the game’s production values and fight choreography are so good you will definitely want to see them again.
6 Bad: The PS4 Version Has Been Censored
If there’s one thing that gamers dislike in this day and age, it is censorship where it's unwarranted. This is especially true when a game is rated Mature or 18 worldwide. Unfortunately, for owners of the PlayStation 4 version released in the west, a scene involving Trish gets her behind blurred out by some J.J. Abrams-style lens flare.
It is assumed that this because of Sony’s new PlayStation 4 censorship policy so this isn’t a fault with the game itself. However, it does set up a worrying precedent for PS4 owners that are missing out on content – even as minor as this – that Xbox and PC gamers are getting.
5 Good: V Is A Great Addition To Series
V is the third playable character in Devil May Cry 5 and he’s a completely new addition to the series. However, unlike Dante and Nero, he doesn’t have a large sword or a gun, instead he conjures up a panther, bird, and a Golem named Nightmare.
Being a magic caster, V’s biggest drawback is that he’s physically vulnerable, but this forces the player into using a different strategy than what they are used to. As the player, don’t be surprised if you find yourself picking V instead of the others when replaying the missions.
4 Good: The Monster Design Is Fantastic
If there’s is one thing that developers at Capcom are good it is monster and creature design. From the Resident Evil series, Dragon’s Dogma, and Monster Hunter, their skill for imaginative creatures great and small is second to none.
That incredible skill set seen in those has transferred over into Devil May Cry 5. Everything from the smaller enemies to the bosses is intricately designed and far spookier and more unsettling than before.
3 Bad: The Co-Op Feature Is Disappointing
Those looking forward to Devil May Cry 5’s co-op feature, which is also called “Link Missions,” may be disappointed to know that it’s not really a co-op feature at all. It’s a shame because a Dark Souls-like feature where you can tackle tough bosses together to earn more orbs and other rewards seems like it would have been a perfect fit for the series.
Unfortunately, the Link Missions are non-interactive sessions where you can see another player using a different character playing through the same mission as you. Here players can rate each other to earn themselves gold orbs. While it is rewarding in its own way, a real co-op mode would have been amazing.
2 Good: The Jukebox Option is Great
As mentioned, the music in Devil May Cry 5 is excellent but veterans of the series may wish that they could hear some of the classic tunes too. Luckily for those who have access to the deluxe edition content or purchase it from the PlayStation and Xbox stores will get access to all the classic tracks.
Obviously, it would have been nice if the tracks could be unlocked through gameplay, but this is still a worthwhile piece of content that old school gamers will appreciate.
1 Good: 60FPS Gameplay
In addition, the incredible visuals which could pass for being a next-generation title, Devil May Cry flows as smoothly as it does move at a blistering speed. The game runs at an amazing 60fps, which is amazing considering how good the game looks and feels when you’re playing.
When you consider how smoothly games like God of War play when they’re locked in at 30fps it should give you an idea just how well Devil May Cry 5 runs in comparison. At twice the speed, the responsiveness from this game is out of this world.