Devil May Cry 5 Review: Dante, Nero and V conquer the Jackpot

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A display of stubborn and exaggerated style, a celebration of the most daring technicalities and an explosive sequence of hyperkinetic and accelerated clashes. These have always been the values ​​of Devil May Cry, or at least the most successful chapters of the series Capcom and the fifth episode rediscovers and re-embraces them in full. The return to the scenes of Hideaki Itsuno after six years from the controversial DmC is a tribute to the classic soul of the saga, the full recovery of its fixed points, which are however used as a foundation for building something new. Devil May Cry 5 is not content to be a "big return", and fortunately decides to go further, to experiment with completely new combat systems alongside mechanics already tested, in a continuous rotation of characters , weapons and devil breaker. Inside Devil May Cry 5 there is a pinch of the most successful episodes, as if it were an "encyclopedic" chapter, but there are also some totally new ingredients, for a rich experience, and overflowing with flavors and situations.

Devil May Cry 5 is a pure and hard action game, one of those with a swirling gait, in which the player's feats break on endless groups of demons, who are massacred, broken, thrown, brutalized, pierced, beaten, tortured, wounded, used no longer as adversaries but as a means to exhibit an amused superiority. The steps forward are also from a technical point of view, supported by that malleable and wonderful engine that responds to the name of Resident Evil Engine but on the other hand not everything is in its right place. A second part of the adventure a bit 'restrained and a quantity of non-exemplary content leave some furrow on the sharp blade of Devil May Cry 5 reducing the effectiveness of an otherwise relentless weapon.

The roots of Evil

Devil May Cry 5 begins with a mysterious infestation that hits Red Grave City, a demonic tree whose roots sink into the depths of the underworld, which grows like a parasite feeding on human blood, taking with it a large catalog of deformed and mephitic creatures

Nero with the support of the outburst Nico (new, very welcome arrival in the mythology of Devil May Cry), seems committed to containing the diffusion of Qliphoth this colossal plant whose name comes from the Jewish Kabbalah (with a term that indicates the representations of the impure spiritual forces).
Around this premise, little by little, it is so It treats a slightly more elaborate story, which however does not shine out of complexity and certainly does not represent the main fulcrum of production. The plot is in fact an excuse to bring into play many of the historical characters of the saga, reasoning on their ancestral rivalries and elaborate relationships of kinship. To be honest, Capcom has however prepared a good plot, carefully revealing the background of the mission (through flashbacks placed at the right time), and especially reserving a couple of decisive and powerful twists (although slightly predictable for the more careful). It is understood that the story of Devil May Cry 5 including the undressed appearances of Trish and Lady is pure fan service, an amusing number of juggling with the elements and characters that make up the continuity of the saga. The story, which in some cases seems to re-present heroes and historical antagonists to some last-minute player, remains intentionally inconclusive and in short does not claim too much attention, leaving to speak are swords, summons and loud punches in the face.

Welcome Back, Nero

The Red Queen's lunges are heavy and rhythmic. Black shakes it mainly with one hand, performing extremely readable and blatant gestures. From time to time, keeping faith to his soul a little 'tamarra, gives gas to the knob that hinges on the hilt to turn a blow into an explosive blow. The first contact with Devil May Cry happens precisely through the combat system of Nero, certainly exuberant but certainly not as stratified as that of the best Dante.

At least at first the young son of Vergil does not have the exaggerated rapidity of his uncle nor its extreme versatility, and works very well as an "opening" character, with which to metabolize the dynamics of the game.When they take on the role of Nero the combat system is based on the historical tradition of the saga: there is only one attack button, thanks to which it is possible to create combinations of different types, alternating the right timing with repeated pressures and momentary pauses.

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Directional modifiers allow you to project yourself against an enemy or to lift it into the air with a powerful uppercut, performing what we can consider the "basic routine" of Devil May Cry which at the time of PlayStation 2 he left enchanted ranks of gamers.

Even today performing rotations in midair or hitting an opponent on the fly with the gun titilla the natural receptor style indicator that is hidden in us all. Obviously even in the game the most daring sequences correspond to a massive increase in the score and the "vote" that identifies our performance, from the miserable D to the "nuanced" (cit.) SSS . To achieve this, there is obviously a need to vary the combos, use all the attack options at our disposal, and make extensive use of the Devil Breaker the mechanical arms that Nero mounts instead of its stump .
The robotic grafting prepared by Nico allows the protagonist to hook the opponents and drag them to himself, a bit like the DmC "emo", but also to exploit special moves related to the arm we have chosen to equip . This mechanic has been quite challenged by the public, and in fact it is not really immediate. The Devil Breaker, in essence, has three uses: you can launch a normal blow, which has a specific effect and does not sacrifice the mechanical arm, or an attack loaded by the greater effectiveness and range, which however breaks the equipped prosthesis. The break, in any case, occurs even if you suffer damage during a "regular" stroke, so it is advisable to use this possibility with caution. Finally, we can literally explode the arm, interrupting the action of the surrounding enemies and then using the prosthesis as a real breaker.

Nero can carry with him a certain quantity of mechanical limbs (the number is it can increase by investing red gems), but it can not alternate those available to it. In practice the only way to move to the next arm is to lose or sacrifice the one in use. In fact for the sake of variety would have been nice to make a switch on the fly, but we believe that the development team has ruled out this possibility to clearly distinguish the combat system of Black from that of Dante, which as we will see is based on the alternation continuous of stance and weapons.

On balance, and after several hours of play, it is possible to metabolize this mechanism, which actually suggests many experiments, given that the functions of the arms are among the most disparate. There are Devil Breakers that enhance the basic attacks, others that create a bubble of stasis slowing the movements of the enemies, others that perform area attacks and others that project Black into the air or from the side, with a speed greater than that of the classic schivate.
Again the key word is "spectacularization", and with a little practice it is possible to transform every encounter into a magnetic ballet of death. Then you count that from mission to mission the combat system evolves, thanks to the possibility of buying new evasive moves, provocations, charged shots and aerial combos.

V as Variety

This path of growth, and of discovery, it is part of the central experience of Devil May Cry 5 a title that on the face of the moveset is really inexhaustible
Especially considering that Nero is only one of the three characters available. After a few missions comes the mysterious V which represents the element of breaking from tradition. Also in the ways and in the character design it almost seems to want to devote to a generation a bit 'more immature, and perhaps it is for this reason that reduces the degree of complexity, focusing the clashes on the evocations and not on direct attacks.

In practice V can conjure up two shadow creatures (the bird Griffin and the Shadow Panther) who will "take care" of the adversaries. Also in this case it is possible, by varying the pressure of the keys, to perform special moves and combos, but the operation is certainly less technical. In the role of V Devil May Cry 5 turns into a strange hybrid between management and action game, but without forgetting the need to avoid enemy attacks and to end up stunned enemies from their own minions. ".

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V also features a Devil Trigger bar, which can load chanting the poems written in the book he carries, and then use to enhance the attacks of the two dark beasts, or to summon the titanic Nightmare, a imposing golem that usually projects itself furiously on the battlefield

The V combat system is curious and peculiar, intelligent though not exceptionally profound, pleasant interlude to the phases with the other two protagonists . Ultimately, however, it remains difficult to sacrifice the healthy and old blows in favor of its more reflective action: in those missions where you can choose the character to use, V ends up being the last viable option, seen the adrenaline thrill that both Nero and Dante can guarantee.

Dante must fight

And speaking of the elder hero, the original protagonist and spiritual progenitor of all the turbofluous characters we control, we have only to applaud a Capcom. Playing Dante is an incredible pleasure, and above all a completely satisfying and incredibly stratified experience. Our ammazzademoni recovers the mechanism of the four stance that can be alternated with the keys of the directional cross, focused respectively on the attack, on the defense, on the dodging and on the blows at a distance.

This model then engages the possibility of changing handguns and firearms on the fly, to rediscover an unparalleled variety. There is no Bayonetta that takes, and even the dynamic combat system invented by Ninja Theory for DmC gives way to the stratification promoted by Dante . It is enough to consider among other things that also in this case there is a system of development that allows to improve all the positions and all the weapons, and that the list of the latter is larger than expected.

In addition to the classic equipment there are a couple of surprises that we do not want to unveil, but which impressively widen the moveset. The most elaborate performances in the role of Dante are endless combinations of juggles, projections, rotating shots, parades and counterattacks, with a depth that has nothing to envy to that of a fighting game.

Hats off to Capcom for having set up, through the presence of three characters, a real compendium of the action 3D: it is very difficult, today, to think of something better.
So, you ask yourself, in the face of such enthusiastic praises, what is the reason for a vote that is close to excellence but does not reach it by a whisker? The reasons are above all structural and quantitative. On the one hand, in fact, we have a main campaign that has a somewhat over-restrained approach, and that in the second part of the game seems to completely renounce the pleasure of level design.

Already the first missions show a fairly classical configuration, a regular alternation of arenas and corridors, with very little deviations to discover some object and a dozen secret missions (the classic tests of skill, variety or timing). Here: if the witch of Platinum Games fails to achieve the meticulous perfection of the combat system of Devil May Cry 5 we must admit that it exceeds the title Capcom, and without any effort, on the front of the dynamism, of the stage construction, of the variety of situations and of the directorial solutions.

Seeing but not touching Some game levels support a strange asynchronous multiplayer, so at certain stages of the stages it is possible to observe the exploits of another player who, in a separate and inaccessible part of the stage, is playing with another character. At the end of the level it is possible to evaluate the performance of our occasional partner, assigning him the "stylish" evaluation as recognition. A curious but far from significant feature

After so many years, more could and should have been done, instead of adhering to a canon that even some traditional chapters had tried to freshen up. In any case, while traveling through Red Grave City the game offers pleasing glimpses and a good alternation between interiors and exteriors: between port areas, metropolitan tunnels and streets of residential districts there is sufficient variety to not feel the weight of linear progression too much. Unfortunately in the second part of the adventure Devil May Cry 5 sends us inside the Qliphoth, the demonic tree mentioned above, amplifying excessively the feeling of an overly framed advancement and above all canceling out almost all the pleasantness of the scenographies. An engine like RE Engine is really wasted, if it only serves to render generic rocky sediments and extremely uniform environments.

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That the second half was built a little hastily can also be understood by the amount of missions: the main campaign is composed of about twenty quests, some of which are however constituted by a single boss fight. And speaking of the boss rebates, one must admit that there is no complain: between huge flying demons, crawling parasites and even a furious deformed gallinaceous species, there is no lack of variety, with some battles coming right into the series' hall of fame. .

On the other hand, if at the end of the adventure the stopwatch does not even reach thirteen hours, perhaps it would be legitimate to ask for something more. On the other hand, Devil May Cry has always been a saga that establishes a particular relationship with its fans, suggesting a replay value based on the improvement of its performances, on the progressive increase of difficulty and on obtaining the S degree in all missions . Also in this case Devil May Cry 5 makes some rather unusual choices: at the beginning of the game it is possible to try the adventure only on normal difficulty, while the option Son of Sparda becomes available after the first completion. Son of Sparda is clearly the main mode of production, the most stimulating and balanced: not exaggerated as " Dante Must Die ", proposes much longer and more intense battles because from the beginning throws into the arena more enemies and more powerful opponents. The fact, however, that the game forces to deal with it only later has two negative effects: on the one hand the second part of the adventure, unlocked some features of Dante and boosted sufficiently Black and V, it literally becomes a walk, even incentive (horror!) an indelicate button mashing.

On the other hand, the best level of difficulty available is played without the fascination of discovery, going on in clash to use it almost like a version with interludes of Bloody Palace. In this regard it is completely incomprehensible the choice not to include this last mode from day one, giving it in a few months thanks to a post-launch support so free, but not in line with the characteristics and philosophy of the game. [19659003] Style, Sound and Show

Every time we look at one of the characters modeled with the RE Engine we can perceive in a crystalline way the happiness of Capcom for the results of its proprietary engine . Moreover, having a development and rendering technology to use as a basis for all of their projects is now a pressing need for a publisher who decides to operate on the current market.

Think about what was the Fox Engine for Konami, to Kojima's need to find a new engine; think of Frostbite and what is integrated into the development logic of EA, or the fatigue that Square-Enix has done (with not always optimal results) to carry on the Luminous Engine . The Resident Evil engine, developed in parallel with the seventh chapter of the horror saga, took just two years to reveal its full potential.

Despite even in Devil May Cry 5 there are some hesitations about quality of the textures, the characterization of the characters is impeccable with a surrender of the faces just caricatural that amplifies to excess the expressiveness. Beyond the cut-scenes (registically exaggerated), the size of some bosses, the effective dosage of special effects, DMC 5 galvanizes thanks to an animation department without a single deburring, perfectly capable of enhancing the overwhelming choreography of the clashes. Although they never interfere with demonic fights, there are also several interactive elements that occasionally fall under the blows of the Rebellion or Red Queen.

But it is obviously fluidity without uncertainties the result to be admired, essential to support such a technical and rhythmic action. Also the soundtrack a marvelous selection of screaming and howling tracks, chords and notes that scratch, vibrating with the intensity of heavy metal and hard rock instrumentals. The original songs explode on several occasions trying to act as a countermelody to the predispositions of Dante Nero and V while the rest of the tracks make up an unusual musical mix force.