I wouldn’t have known about this without my friend Bob F. and I can’t stop laughing at it
I just finished Devil May Cry 5 and it made me think about how I don’t think about Devil May Cry as much as I should.
On the surface, it feels like something I might not like. Sure, third-person action games are great, but the Devil May Cry series has a lot of stuff I normally wouldn’t like such as “difficulty” and “button combos” as opposed to just leaning on the X button until your problems go away. (Strangely, I basically just described God of War and I’ve never really gotten into those other than the first one.)
And yet boiling it down to that takes so much away from the series. Devil May Cry has a sense of weirdness and personality that most other game series strive for, and as opposed to a lot of other titles that want to inject some humor into the proceedings, it never feels forced. Not a lot of game characters could pull off an entire fight scene with a slice of pizza in their mouth, or use an electric guitar as a weapon without looking like a total doofus, and yet when Dante does it everything feels right with the world.
If nothing about this image inspires you, I don’t think we need to know each other.
I think this is why I liked Devil May Cry 5 so much, especially compared to the previous reboot DmC. The ideal Devil May Cry game is supposed to hit a balance between Gothic weirdness, anime melodrama, and dorky exuberance, and 5 does this better than any game in the series other than 3 so far.
At various points in the game, you encounter a magical cowboy hat for a projectile weapon that’s accompanied by a cutscene of Dante learning how to disco, a set of elemental nunchucks that forces Dante to make embarrassing Bruce Lee noises with his mouth, a special robot arm that shoots fists out and controls time (among other things), an indestructible conversion van with a built-in jukebox that everyone lives in, and a demonically powered motorcycle that can be used as a melee weapon.
Your enjoyment of this game depends strongly on your reaction to that last sentence.
Devil May Cry 5 almost wants to challenge you more by being deeply unashamed and unafraid of itself than it does through actual gameplay.
I think the thing that jumped out most to me about 5 is its focus on mechanics. Character action games usually take one of two approaches – either go the Bayonetta route and create increasingly outlandish setpieces that require you to use your existing skillset in new ways to stay on top of the challenges you face, or the Devil May Cry method of introducing new weapons and mechanics along the way to broaden your toolset and give you more options, frequently hilarious ones.
Devil May Cry 5 is absolutely that second thing, but I was impressed at the sheer amount of fighting styles and weapons that you’re given along the way even fairly late into the game. There’s three playable characters, all of which play completely differently from each other and each of them equally fun – Dante encourages you to rapidly juggle weapons and change tactics to improve your score, Nero had to replace his one magic demon arm with a series of different robot arms with different abilities and benefits (not to mention making him look a little like Venom Snake from Metal Gear Solid V, which considering these are both the fifth sequel in a beloved series had to be slightly intentional), and newcomer V uses demonic familiars to do his fighting for him from a distance like he’s a mage or some shit. Everyone rules, and surprisingly enough I had the most fun playing as Nero and his arsenal of exploding robot arms, although I remember liking Nero a lot better in Devil May Cry 4 as well so maybe the problem is me? (The problem is always me.)
Without giving anything away, the ending does seem like a fine place to end the series in case we don’t get another Devil May Cry, or at least not one for a long time, in the sense that it doesn’t leave a lot hanging while still not closing the doors entirely. Given how fast the series sold a few million copies, even on PC where I played it, I don’t think Capcom is gonna say no to another one even if it takes forever like the last one. Between the ending, the revelations along the way, and how the game itself even handled, 5 might be the ideal Devil May Cry game and is probably the most fun I’ve had with an action game in a stupid long time.
I find the idea that Dante is out there fighting for humanity while continuing to be a giant fucking doofus to be weirdly comforting, and most people that enjoy this game will too.