Devil May Cry 5 review – an unashamedly old school return for an action legend

Mar
07

Devil May Cry 5 review – an unashamedly old school return for an action legend

Style is everything, and Devil May Cry 5 has it in spades. It’s in the blithe way rakish new character V holds a book of poetry and reads from it in the middle of battle. It’s in the adolescent aggression that flows through the attacks of Nero, the character who was front and centre in the last numbered entry finally coming into his own here. It’s in the swagger of Dante – oh that sweet, sweet swagger – who brings along every trick he’s learned in the series’ long history alongside a few new ones. It’s an outrageously broad vocabulary of punishment that Devil May Cry 5 boasts.

In full flow Devil May Cry 5 is a savage, spectacular action game, stylish to the extreme if not exactly fashionable. After the Shoreditch edge of 2013 prequel DmC: Devil May Cry, this is a return to the more classically teenage boy concerns of old; it’s all long hair, leather jackets, motorbikes and demons and music that raaaaaaaaaaawwwks. I absolutely love it, even if perhaps the one misstep here is a failure to acknowledge Ninja Theory’s frequently wonderful, wrongly maligned spin-off that feels a little like capitulation. This is Devil May Cry as you remember it from its noughties pomp, a rediscovery and thorough retooling rather than a reinvention.

And so it feels and plays like a PlayStation 2 game. Maybe you see that as a slight, but I certainly don’t intend it to be – PlayStation 2 games were awesome, and I admire Devil May Cry 5 for forgoing most mod cons to deliver a game that’s unashamedly old school (save for the spectre of microtransactions, admittedly, though they’re so slight that after my first playthrough I had to ask Capcom if they’d been removed entirely – they’re still there, it turns out, as a shortcut to unlocking moves, but so generous is Devil May Cry 5’s economy you’ve got to wonder why Capcom invited ill-will by keeping them in at all). The focus here is on action, and on pushing it to new extremes, and so intent is Devil May Cry 5 on doing so it doesn’t have much time for other embellishments.

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