After spending three hours in abundance with Devil May Cry 5 playing half a dozen missions as Nero Dante and the mysterious and elusive V the sensation is twofold. On the one hand there is great satisfaction, with the ill-concealed satisfaction of having touched so closely – and especially for so long! – a title inevitably destined to ignite the first half of 2019. Needless to go around: as you may have understood from the demo of DMC5 available on PlayStation Store and the Marketplace Xbox, Devil May Cry 5 not only works, but it works even the greatest, having fun and convincing on several occasions. The proof is in fact right in the other sensible feeling with extreme clarity, or the desire to have again and again (in this regard, I do not exaggerate when I write to have asked the PR Digital Bros to give me another thirty seconds extra with the game, just to be able to fully enjoy the latest battle over time put at my disposal). Because when things turn out so well, with their fingertips dancing on the controller with furious precision and the eyes captured by the sparkling triumph of combo shown on the screen, it becomes easy to get used and even more difficult to stop.
We are a trio  Already since the announcement, one of the main surprises of Devil May Cry 5 has undoubtedly concerned the unexpected trio of protagonists. Considering in fact the desire to return to the roots of the saga after the controversial parenthesis of DmC it was not at all obvious that Capcom aimed at a solution other than the iconic Dante, always considered the undisputed icon of the series.
It did not go quite like that, but we can bet that the idea of building a hack 'n' slash with three different souls will end up becoming one of the main points in favor of the great return to the helm of Hideaki Itsuno . The freshness in the approach and the profound differences that exist between one character and another seem to ensure a variety and an enviable character to Devil May Cry 5 going to affect both the bare and raw combat system on the overall experience. For the benefit of an action that seems to contain three distinct philosophies of gameplay in one fascinating package.
Game of hand …
Nero can be considered in some ways the main protagonist of this fifth chapter: it is the killing -demoni focused on the very first presentation trailer of the game, is exactly in the middle of the cover (along with its mighty Red Queen saber) and, last but not least, is the character around which the aforementioned Demo was sewn . Not surprisingly, it is in the role of the son of Vergil that opens Devil May Cry 5 with exaggerated headlines in slow motion that closely resemble the unforgettable scene of the first Deadpool road accident. The prologue and the initial missions are then used to become familiar with the devil's star of Devil May Cry 4, going gradually to deepen a deep and multifaceted combat system. Talking about Nero means first of all talking about Devil Breaker that is to say the formidable robotic forearms built for the occasion by Nicoletta "Nico" Goldstein, a gunsmith who makes her debut in the Capcom series.
At the beginning of Devil May Cry 5 a mysterious figure deprives the young man of his peculiar demonic limb with the bad, and it is only thanks to the help of the nephew of Nell Goldstein (the legendary creator of the Ebony & Ivory pistols ) that Dante's nephew can return to massacre boundless legions of infernal beings.
The concept of the Devil Breaker is to be understood as something halfway between special weapons able to help a lot in particular situations and authentic disposable bullets: spare arms, of typologies that will go hand in hand to unlock during the adventure, which can be found here and there for the levels or purchased and equipped in the Nico van.
I Devil Breaker are activated by pressing the B / Circle button, can be sacrificed with LB / L1 – to save the skin in really dramatic moments – and have radically different uses depending on their nature. Ouverture is the useful arm in close quarrels, which electrifies enemies and causes significant damage if you decide to turn it into an explosive charge (however, the loss of the same); Punch Line serves on the other hand to attack at a distance, releasing a search missile that can even be ridden like a skateboard before detonating it in the face of some monster; Gerbera's supersonic propulsion is the preferred choice if you want to increase your agility or if you are dealing with flying adversaries. And it does not end here obviously, in a succession of increasingly deadly prostheses.
The management of the Devil Breakers thus becomes the heart of Nero's combat system: understanding how and when to use the robot arms makes all the difference in the world in terms of survival and score , even more so considering that it is not possible to switch freely between one limb and another. A frankly controversial and perhaps even questionable choice, because passing in real time from Gerbera to Ouverture would certainly have ensured very interesting possibilities in terms of playability (said that in this way we would have approached a little to Dante's multidisciplinary philosophy of struggle). So the question is damn strategic in any way, because the choice of the order with which they are equipped the Devil Breaker can not but affect the fighting, if it is true as it is true that the right arm at the right time becomes essential for those who live for killing with style.
Still on the subject of ranking and maniacal run-up to the fateful SSS, it is worthwhile to spend a few lines on the Exceed system, ie a method to get the style counter up faster by pressing the button L2 in the precise instant in which the hits are scored (to load the inner energy of the sword Red Queen ). The idea is intriguing, but the execution is not exactly immediate nor so simple to master could limit the matter to a niche of experts only, probably cutting out the less hardcore public – especially considering that the game itself does not seem to insist particularly on this feature .
From Hell with Fury
Without unnecessarily turning around, for my personal experience V is the aspect that I preferred of all I have seen of Devil May Cry 5 . If I had to point out a single element that particularly struck me about Itsuno's next effort, I would choose with conviction the enigmatic new entry, all tattoos and talented quotes (suffice it to say that V runs perpetually with a book that can be read while the fighting rages, so as to restore the Exceed style magic energy).
The motivations are many: first, V represents in effect a burst of fresh air inside the saga, and it is quite natural that what is not known triggers a certain curiosity . Secondly, I admit to having taken a thread lightly this sort of bizarre sorcerer with a strangely reflective nature: you want for design at least particular – sandals are the detail that has always disturbed me, even more so in the context of a whole series amphibians and studs – because I thought it was the weakest element of the trio, I had never given too much confidence to the character in terms of fighter.
It will also be for what V really caught me on the break, overwhelming me with a system of combat that is not exaggerated to define unprecedented. The premise at the base of its peculiar style of struggle is soon said: to quote the official website " V does not possess the strength necessary to fight, but in battle can rely on three demons who obey unconditionally to his orders ". In a seething blackish slime, the summoner can make a trio of familiars appear from other astral planes: Shadow a panther employed for hand-to-hand attacks, Griffon a feathered chatter that in addition to strike at a distance never ceases to put the beak in the affairs of others (with a writing that I found very apt, good to include an occasional and pleasant touch of humor) and finally Nightmare a giant of humanoid features that hides a boundless power. The result is a total surprise, for a gameplay that leaves open-mouthed: the rhythms appear decidedly less furious than usual, more controlled, and the watchword in the role of V becomes reasoning, carefully analyzing the playing area and the evolution of the clashes
Not being able to duel head to head against the enemies – by the way, as seen Devil May Cry 5 seems to be populated by beings with a generic appearance, which have lost the infernal charm of certain monstrosities seen in the past – V must inevitably remain a few steps from the heart of the action. In short, the positioning becomes crucial, and it is essential to anticipate the opponents' moves to avoid being in the eye of the storm (in case both Shadow and Griffon can intervene to support their lord during dodges and other evasive maneuvers).
It is important to underline that in any case we can not always rely on the evoked summons, because their life is anything but infinite: if Nightmare is to be considered a sort of special move to be unleashed in due course, neither the mighty feline or the invading little bird appear in fact invulnerable. During the missions with V you will then need to keep an eye not one, but even three different bars of vital energy: that of the sorcerer, which once exhausted causes the game over, as well as those of Shadow and Griffon. Suffering too much damage the familiars turn into globes of pure energy, remaining motionless on the battlefield and needing to be resurrected by the arcane presence of their enchanter, who must physically be in their vicinity for a few seconds.
The participation of V is not limited to being 100% passive : on the contrary, it is only he who can kill the monsters reduced to life by the allies with a last, choreographic stroke of silvered stick – said that even the finisher go executed without throwing the melee head down, because while the rivals are being driven back into the afterlife, they are not at all safe from the assaults of others.
This apparent fragility, this shaky balance, this weird dueling in a non-direct way gives a spectacular uniqueness to V's modus operandi: the contrast with the deadly fury of Nero and Dante is exemplary, and the impression pad in hand is that Capcom has made its center. A center that I would not be frankly sorry to enjoy a title entirely built around a gimmick like that, as in fact it would have been partly Scalebound and maybe it will be Astral Chain. In short, not bad for what was to take the place of the third inconvenient, the outsider, the comrade … one who arrives, barely presents itself and after a few moments already steals the scene at all, snatching consents thanks to fresh play dynamics and original. It is still too early to know whether this kind of gameplay will stand without long-term disagreements or uncertainties, but the first impact has been honestly dazzling.
Issue of feeling
Regardless of returns enhanced by technology and exquisite new presences, the saga of Devil May Cry could not exist as we know it today without Dante. Since Mundus is Mundus (I apologize, this has escaped me …) the series is willy-nilly the mirror of his famous absolute protagonist: over the top, strong, braggart … and full of substance but also, if not above all, in style.
After a fleeting appearance during the prologue, Sparda's son leaves the scene for a while 'the other two comrades, returning to show up only in the mission number 10 : first a flashback shows us a subjective of the last moments of life of Eve, the human mother of the hunter of demons, then the action moves concretely on the present. Dante is not like the other two in the city of Red Grave – a location with a European aesthetic invaded by colossal roots that do not promise anything good – but on the contrary is engaged in a fight to the death against Urizen, the new ruler of the Underworld and apparently the invincible antagonist of this fifth chapter. If Nero is synonymous with Devil Breaker and V focuses on evocations, Dante represents the triumph of changeability and plurality of options: LT / L2 and RT / R2 are used to alternate firearms and those melee, while the d-pad is used to vary the styles (going to affect the move associated with the B / Circle button).
Boss Fight, What Passion Like any self-respecting action, the fights with the bosses promise to be moments of great intensity within Devil May Cry 5: excited and spectacular passages, perfect to be immortalized with the Photo Mode included in the game. During the previewed hands on I had the chance to face four different rivals, in fierce head to head pulled to the end. Goliath, the beast already present in the epilogue of the Demo, seems to have remained exactly the same: big, stupid and impetuous, you fight with Black in three stages above, inside and outside a cathedral (possibly avoiding being in the vicinity of the grotesque open jaws on his belly). Artemis, on the other hand, is an evanescent female figure capable of levitating: her attacks consist of a pattern of violet laser beams, also emanating from bizarre violent flowers that come off her main body. The key to getting the better of her is Punch Line, the red Devil Breaker that hits from afar: thanks to that forearm, Nero can weaken it, getting closer only when it is actually the case. With V instead I faced first a gigantic cross between a hydra and a carnivorous plant (vaguely similar in Echidna's appearance of Devil May Cry 4): not too demanding and very static opponent, great to practice both with the bullets of Griffon that with the blades of Shadow. Afterwards I had to deal with Elder Geryon Knight, a knight with a lot of zombie steeds: an enemy more mobile than expected, enhanced with lightning and lightning, which precisely because of its tendency to never stand still has a bit 'thwarted the' impact of Nightmare's evocations – usually a security in putting KO on anyone, including superhuman punches and discharges of elemental energy.
Powerful and fierce, Dante is a war machine that requires daring acrobatics with the controller, to adapt in real time to the enemies and the different phases of contention. The inevitable pistols Ebony & Ivory are great not to bring down the combo counter when you are at a distance, as well as to deal with the bland crowd control, where instead the mighty shotgun Coyote-A is reveals devastating point-blank – in particular when the shot is loaded for a few seconds. As for the melee attacks, with the trusted sword Rebellion you always feel at home, in a whirlwind of maneuverability and deadly slings, while Balrog, a fiery set of gloves and leggings, transforms everything into an improvised ring, with choreographic assaults fronts that recall both boxing and capoeira.
Taking on the role of Dante imposes a readiness of superior reflexes, with the need to think quickly, to change, to adapt continuously. And this is where the Styles come into play, a great classic introduced starting from Devil May Cry 3. As in the fourth episode, the switch between a combat technique and the other is immediate, right at the crossroads directional. Precisely on the foundations of this (further) versatility is the depth of clashes that start with an attitude and inevitably end up with another, under the banner of constant transformation. Trickster is the style of mobility, evasion, escape from danger; Swordmaster should be used in combination with close combat attacks, maximizing damage; Gunslinger on the other hand represents the other half of the medal, to be preferred in combination with firearms; Royal Guard, clearly the most complex to master but also the most unstoppable in power, focuses on defense and counterattack.
As for certain aspects of Nero's combat system it takes dedication, patience and study to aim at scores of a certain caliber, but between stunning animations and beatings at fast pace, satisfaction is guaranteed for everyone. Even more so considering that the weapons do not end there even (just think of Cavaliere, the unlikely motorcycle / double sword that unfortunately I could not try for reasons of time). And what about the transformation – the theme when we talk about Dante is always that, you will have now guessed – of the hero in his demonic form, once enough energy has accumulated? Revealing the abyss that is in him and putting aside his human side Dante frees an unparalleled fury, taking care of himself while he inflicts massive damage on his opponents. Yet another trick in the sleeve of the experienced devil hunter, to be measured and managed with awareness to triumph in a triumph of SSSkill
Not just blows …
Devil May Cry 5 is all This and much more. To dwell for a long time on the radical differences between the three protagonists is good and right, but we could also speak of the roaring entrances of Nico, who with his ramshackle laboratory / van gives timely curtains between the hilarious and genuinely trash. Or you could dwell on the fundamental growth component of the characters, with moves and objects to unlock step by step, spending the accumulated red Orb fighting and exploring the levels thoroughly.
Or again, we could underline the strong replayability of the missions, to try and try again in search of the perfect run and the best combinations of moves, regardless of the duration of the actual plot (with a longevity expected around fifteen hours). Or, why not, it might make sense to go into the plot detail, or to spend a few words on the more urban artistic direction or gothic soundtrack (aspects that nevertheless seemed to me a step back from the color and the desire to dare going out from the DMC conventions). For all this, however, as well as for the final considerations on the highly anticipated Capcom-branded action, the appointment is postponed to the review of the title, arriving within a couple of weeks with the game itself. Just long enough to be patient, Hell will open its doors from March 8 on Xbox One, PlayStation 4 and PC.