I have been a huge fan of the Devil May Cry series since its initial entry back on the PlayStation 2. Along with the Onimusha series, Devil May Cry was the franchise that pulled me pretty deep into the action/adventure hack and slash pool, and led me to games like the God of War and Darksiders franchises. In addition to giving me games I loved playing, the series opened me up to more games I would love playing.
So imagine my delight when my first stop during the PAX West press hour was at Capcom to play Devil May Cry 5. Since this was the first show since Gamescom where the game was playable, I was one of the first couple of people to play the game in North America, which was pretty cool.
You know what? I’m going to round. I was the first person to play Devil May Cry 5 in North America.
With some exceptions, Devil May Cry was a difficult series of games, and requires players to pull out all the stops in their arsenals to clear a screen of enemies on their backs. The payoff though, was not only seeing excellent action by varying attacks and techniques, but being rewarded for doing so. More so than any other game in the genre, the main character Dante, and ultimately Nero, were all about style. And it was cool as hell. A little over the top? Sure. But still full of smartass one liners between combat sessions and a lot of pure fun factor – one of the huge character enhancements to the later games as opposed to Dante the near-mute in the first couple of entries.
It’s been 10 years since the the last release – yes, ten – since I’m not really considering Ninja Theory’s DmC in 2013 as part of the series. We’re a full decade removed from the story of Dante and Nero, and we have been waiting for answers to questions left by our adventures with the devil bringer and the Order. Devil May Cry 5 picks up where that left off, and at least according to Capcom at PAX West, some of those questions are going to be answered in their March 2019 release. We’ll not only see Nero, but the return of Dante, and maaaaaybe a presence on some scale from Vergil too.
But there’s new characters too. The new NPC for the game is Nico, the engineer that made Nero’s Devil Breaker for his mobile devil hunter agency run out of his van, aptly named Devil May Cry, same as Dante’s in the first few games. I’m not sure if he passed it on or if it’s a mobile branch office, but either way it’s quite appropriate. There’s also a character named V – rumored as “Vitale,” but I didn’t learn anything more on that at the show.
Now on to the fun part – the gameplay. Taking Nero for a test drive was very smooth and I was thrilled with how it played. Fans of Devil May Cry 4 will be able to pick up pretty much where they left off, with the Red Queen and Blue Rose being familiar elements to bust out those SSS combos. The new element is the Devil Breaker – a replacement arm crafted for Nero after his Devil Bringer was mysteriously removed. It allows the player to snatch enemies and continue combos like players are used to, but it can also contain different cartridges that allow an additional array of skills. The default that I played around with is called Overture, which lets Nero add blasts of electricity in addition to the traditional sword and gun based carnage.
The combat is not only extremely fluid but accessible too. While it’s intuitive enough for someone who’s never played any Devil May Cry before, in the hands of someone versed in the art of demon slaying those S-level combos and red orbs rain from the skies in bulk. That doesn’t mean it’s easy – the game still poses the right amount of challenge that scales from beginner to series veteran. Firing up exceed and unleashing it on a group of baddies while flinging them around feels natural, and the addition of Devil Breaker skills lets players switch it up on the fly for their own signature style of play.
Devil May Cry 5 will be released on Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and PC on March 8, 2019. Until then check out the official website from Capcom, and enjoy the trailer below.