With it having been a decade since the last main instalment, long-time fans anxiously feared their beloved series to be deceased. However, on one indelible summer night in 2018, all fears were laid to rest. Devil May Cry V was coming.
Character action lovers worldwide have since been blessed with an entertaining demo for the title. While Nero’s revamped personality will please long-time fans, these same fans may react negatively to the demo’s slower pace.
Regardless, can this game succeed in maintaining the happiness of day one devotees while also converting the non-believers? Further, should you feel compelled to place a pre-order? Read on to find out. To clarify, all opinions expressed in this article are based on the demo alone.
Foolishness Capcom, Foolishness
Before graciously swan diving into the large number of positives attributed to the demo, it is only fair to address the negatives. As mentioned previously, the flow of gameplay feels much slower. Dissimilar to prior entries in the series, the demons of DMC V seem quite sedate. This contrasts greatly with Devil May Cry 3 where it appeared almost as though the first demon to land a kill on the player would receive a raise. Indeed, the series staple turbo mode was sorely missed during my many playthroughs and would be a more than welcome inclusion in the full game to demand quick decision-making on the part of the player.
Unfortunately, the brilliant new additions to the ever-evolving DMC formula are not safe from a lack of flow or urgency either. While Nero’s multiple Devil Breaker arms offer more combat options than his single Devil Bringer arm in 4, there is one glaring issue: no quick switching. Instead, the player must completely break off one arm to use the next in line. On the one hand, this encourages thoughtful strategy. On the other, it is quite cumbersome. Although a multitude of spares are common to come across, the quick weapon switching present in DMCs 3 and 4 could easily be applied to Nero’s new Winter Soldier arms.
Next, let us address the demon in the room; the enemy designs in the DMC V demo are bland and uninspired. Bug-like monstrosities and Scythe wielding ghouls are commonplace in titles of this nature with the Vangard enemies being ripped straight out of DMC 3. Therefore, the true issue with the demo’s enemy design is that it lacks originality and, in a series full of creativity, this is much worse than mere banality.
Smokin’ Sick Style
Enough negativity. This is Devil May Cry and it gives me indescribable pleasure to say that. Although the regular enemies disappoint, the demo’s boss, Goliath, more than lives up to his moniker. As comes standard with most DMC bosses, players will need to carefully observe his attacks so as not to be eviscerated, and his back and forth dialogue with Nero is a thing of tear-jerking beauty. Without a doubt, this will please long-time fans of the series due to how reminiscent it is of Dante’s effortlessly charismatic encounters with bosses in games gone by. In fact, Nero’s personality has suspiciously begun to mirror young Dante’s.
In Devil May Cry 4, Nero had sparing lines worthy of a hellish roast battle. However, in this demo, the relatively new kid on the block dials it up to 11. Similar to his red jacket wearing comrade, Nero taunts the boss, jests with him and appears completely unfazed in the face of danger. Consequently, this places him in prime position to replace uncle Dante when he inevitably retires following the conclusion of the full release. Further, Nero’s similarities to Dante will ensure that older fans return for more demon killing action, while his own unique attributes will provide new comers to the series with their definitive DMC protagonist.
As it stands though, Nero is not the freshest face in the DMC V cast. That honour goes to one of the newest additions to the series roster, Nico. She is a welcome inclusion because of her positive impact on representation and how she complements Nero. This tech lover combines her infectious charm with her skills in weapon forgery and robotics to provide geeky girls with their own heroine while equalling Nero in back and forth banter. Fans both new and old will adore her.
Predictions time has come dear reader, and I have a rather bitter sweet read for you as both the positives and negatives must be addressed. To begin positively, I can announce with great certainty that the personality the series is known for shall remain wonderfully intact. Nero’s more charismatic line deliveries and Nico’s pitch perfect charm and wit will easily convert non-believers while simultaneously demonstrating that there is life in this old horse yet.
Furthermore, the seeds for diverse and emergent combat have been thoroughly sewn with Nero’s numerous, unique Devil Breaker arms significantly opening up the playing field. However, since the antagonists in the demo do not appear to be too concerned about the player’s unattainably bad ass presence, do not expect the full release to keep you on your toes as much as DMC 3 with its constantly mobile rogues’ gallery. That being said, if a Turbo mode is implemented, expect me to sing a disparate tune come March 8th.
Taking all of this into account, Capcom’s latest effort is set to provide character action fans, both long and short-time, with a fun experience filled to the absolute brim with charm and personality. However, due to the unfortunate shortcomings I mentioned to be on display in the demo, die-hard fans such as myself should not expect the full game to exceed their expectations as Itsuno-san promised at E3 2018. Instead, expect it to meet them.
So, to answer the question posed at the beginning, is Devil May Cry V worth a pre-order. As a Devil May Cry fan of the highest calibre, it brings me great dismay to say… unfortunately not. This is true for fans both new and old.
The rather lacklustre enemy design and the overall slower pace throw up rather worrying warning signs. Fans of the creativity and fast fighting in prior games may indeed be disappointed here.
However, the exhilarating demo boss fight and the evidence that points towards this game having the most personality out of the 5 main entries has me optimistic and the new characters are sure to welcome in new fans.
Putting all negatives out of your mind for a moment, when the full release drops on March 8th, I still believe that a fun time will be had by all. Although if this unfortunately does not come to be, remember this: devils never cry.