Review by UltimaterializerX
Pull my devil trigger <3
"The hours of folly are measur’d by the clock, but of wisdom: no clock can measure."
No, that title's not me being some smartass. The review title is the main chorus line in this game's main theme song, which had well over 20 million views on Youtube before Capcom filed a copyright claim like the idiots they are. "What, people like us now? We released two games in a row that are well received and we're not being openly laughed at? We need to put a stop to this posthaste by preventing any fun and putting out incomplete microtransation games!" Insert Devil May Cry 5 having an online store for red orbs, songs that are already available on-disc, and on-disc DLC yet to be named. Nice going, Capcom. You never fail to disappoint.
Yet in even spite of Capcom's legendary idiocy, Devil May Cry 5 is a phenomenal video game. Capcom outright tried to self sabotage like they always do and failed. That's how good this game is, and it's for one main reason: the game doesn't sit there openly taking a giant crap on its core fanbase like Ninja Theory did with DmC's director self inserting himself as the main character and telling the fanbase to piss off. DmC was six years ago and the core fanbase still talks about how awful it was. We've seen this pattern a lot in media lately: a franchise dumps on the core fanbase, sales and reputation wildly go down, the franchise goes "we've made a grave mistake", walks it back, apologizes, and the fans return. That's more or less what Devil May Cry 5 is -- a return to form for a series in dire need of some over the top action game fun. The fans rewarded the series by buying this game nearly 3 million times in the first month after launch.
Imagine that. Giving fans what they want leads to more sales. Who knew! There is a series history video you can watch from the main menu that goes through the history of the characters and games screen by screen. Most stuff gets a lot of screens -- dozens, if not more. Well Devil May Cry 2 gets two screens. DmC gets zero. Capcom quite literally apologizes to people for those two games and pretends they don't exist, which is beyond hilarious.
To put this a better way, Dante is in the middle of this gigantic conflict around halfway through the game and pauses to do a Michael Jackson dance routine after getting a new weapon. I should stop the review right there and give this game the good score it deserves, but GameFAQs has these things called "word counts" so we move on.
The story in these games is never anything deep, and it doesn't need to be. These are action games. In the original game, a demon resurrects. Dante had to go kill it. In the second game, a demon resurrects. Dante had to go kill it. In the third game, a demon resurrects. You get the idea.
You'll never guess this, but in the beginning of Devil May Cry 5, a demon resurrects and our heroes have to go and kill it. And by "our heroes", the entire gang is here. Dante, Lady, Trish, Nero, and some new characters all show up to fight some giant demon in a giant tree, who is part arbor and part hematochezia trash god (look it up, and when you do know that I am in no way joking around on that one). They all get utterly demolished in the into, and then it's My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic time, only in this case it's like if the ponies kept telling each other to F off while trying to stab each other on the regular, all while actually working together to combat the Great Pacific Garbage Patch.
It makes no sense, and it doesn't have to. It's what us series fans all love about these games -- the complete over the top nonsensicality. Who doesn't enjoy watching Dante get impaled every game before hulking up? Who doesn't love watching Capcom come up with increasingly stupid ways to insult our intelligence and pretend this might be the one game Vergil takes off from? As for why they get demolished at the beginning, maybe it has to do with Capcom being a bunch of morons and only making three characters playable at game launch instead of all of them. They're pretty blatantly going to add Lady, Trish, and Nico -- new female character that can drive a van through time and space, and again, I am in no way joking here -- as playable characters later for a price. The only thing as guaranteed as Capcom adding hilarious new characters with over the top abilities to these games is having them only be available through on-disc DLC or microtransations later.
For series veterans, getting into this game will be a breeze. You'll be able to pick it up and play it without missing a beat. For those whose first game will be this one, Devil May Cry is an action game based on actual events that actually took place in ancient Japan. So here's this giant enemy tree--
Oh wait, wrong joke. DMC5 is an action game from the third person perspective, where you start off as a weak character with few weapons. As you progress through the game and earn more weapons, more items, and more red orbs to unlock more abilities, your character grows stronger. You see, DMC games aren't only about killing things. It's about killing them with style, and you can't do that with only one gun and one sword. You need to be able to chain together long combos while switching between 4 guns, 4 melee weapons, multiple stoyles, and even multiple characters. It's not uncommon to keep a regular enemy suspended in midair for 30 seconds or more in this game while you beat the tar out of them for fun. Between fights, there is some light platforming and exploration to do, but nothing overly complicated. At the end of almost all of the 20 main missions is a boss fight, and almost all of them are really fun. This game clearly learned a lot from the mistake DmC made and keeps things fun both in and outside of combat.
There are three playable characters at the time of this review's writing (more are coming, because Capcom cannot allow people to actually like them as a company): Dante, Nero, and V. Dante plays exactly like he always has, and the whole gimmick with him is seeing what new weapons he gets each game. In this game, he gets a great mix of callbacks to old stuff mixed with the new. He's always fun to play, yet somehow he's never the best playable character in any of his games. He was in the original, but he was also alone in that game. Ever since, he gets overshadowed by contemporaries. You'll play through DMC5 thinking Dante is finally the best, but just wait.
Speaking of, Nero gets a cosmetic change in 5 after getting his arm ripped off in the very beginning of the game. He plays exactly like he did in 4, except he has a prosthetic arm instead of the Devil Bringer. His old gun, motorcycle sword, and arm tricks are all there, but this time he gets a huge variety of arms with all kinds of tricks attached. It sounds weird, but it's a lot more fun than I can give it credit for in text.
Then comes V, which is totally not a dog whistle for anyone else we know (these games aren't exactly subtle and 5 literally just blurts it out right at the beginning). V is a really fun character to play as once you figure out how to use him. V is super weak by himself and his only weapon is a cane that deals no damage. His gimmick is being able to summon three demons to fight for him, and you actually get to control them in combat. It would be like if the necromancer in Diablo games was actually fun to use. Your demons have the added gimmick of not being cannibals, so V himself has to deathblow enemies. It sounds counterintuitive, but I promise it's really, really fun. You sit there taunting enemies with a book of William Blake prose while these old callbacks to the original game beat the crap out of things, then you teleport across the field to stab something in the eye with a razor cane to kill it. It's a hilarious experience, and it's just so fun. Isn't that what games are all about? Fun?
These levels and characters aren't deep in the plot or gameplay side, unless you go nuts with combo stoylez, but that's how it's always worked. For the crazies, multiple difficulties open up once you beat the game. I'm sure there's some nutjobs out there who will go platinum hunting and beat this game on Hell or Hell difficulty, but I have a job and a social life. I'll just watch on Youtube, thanks.
The soundtrack isn't very long, but what few tracks exist get the job done well enough. There's a BPM rock + dance feel to the soundtrack, which is the quickest way to get me to like it. Some people think the Devil Trigger song is lame, but it's pretty much the exact kind of music I enjoy. Sue me.
Graphics are a weakness, and not because they're objectively bad or whatever. The game's setting is fairly boring -- cityscapes have never been my thing -- and the second half of the game is spent inside the tree that invades the city. The enemies get the job done, but the graphical variety just isn't there. There's a real DMC4 feel to the enemies in this game, with a lot of intermingling dark colors that don't stand out from one another. This does get better in the second half of the game somewhat, but not by much.
There's also the issue of censorship, which is just unbelievably dumb. Kids today, on average, are first exposed to pornography at 11 years old. I'm not saying this is a good thing, so don't get the wrong idea here. It's just a comparison point. Devil May Cry 5 is rated M for mature, meaning the ESRB says this game is only suitable for people 17 years of age or older. Okay, fair enough. There's nudity, violence, lots of blood, the works. I'm okay with that rating.
Why then are pixelated bare female asses getting censored by lens bloom? Oh no, a butt. Better stick a purple light bulb up there or a 17 year-old high school student that's been watching porn for six years might break out of the puritanical chains and get the wrong idea. What an embarrassment our culture has turned into. Even dumber is how Trish is only censored on the PS4 version, while Lady is censored in all of them. How about leaving a director's vision alone and just trusting what a ratings board says? It's a bare ass. It's okay Sony, almost everyone 17 and over has already seen one in real life.
Overall, DMC5 is a fantastic game, but some obvious flaws keep it from reaching legend status. We've covered a few of them already (censorship, Capcom releasing yet another game unfinished with on-disc DLC, microtransations), but the last issue I'd like to discuss is mandatory character swapping. These games are far, far better off not doing it. There are only 20 missions in this game, and there are three playable characters. Back in 3, you played the entire game as Dante, or the entire game as Vergil. There was no swapping back and forth to ruin your muscle memory. Ditto for 2's Lucia disc. DMC4 started an incredibly annoying trend of "okay you've played as Nero long enough, time to switch out" instead of letting me choose. So in this game, in 5, I'd get used to character, get my muscle memory going, and then switch. Now I'm wasting arms, popping devil trigger too early, or using button combos that don't actually do anything. Either let me play the entire game as one character or don't. None of this half optional mostly forced nonsense. It's not good. It may work for some people, but not for me.
If DMC3 is a perfect 10 out of 10 game and the standard for the entire series, I'd give 5 a solid 8.4 out of 10. It's a very, very good game with some minor issues. It's not quite legend status, but it didn't need to be given the crapshow DmC was. It just needed to be good, which it is. Welcome back, Devil May Cry. We missed you!
Rating: 4.0 - Great
Product Release: Devil May Cry 5 (US, 03/08/19)
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