Reviewed on a PlayStation 5 with 4K 60Hz TV
I would like to firstly begin by saying, happy Gaming on your new Playstation 5 Console! The wait is finally over and although not everyone has been able to bag the next Playstation console yet, please persevere as it is worth every moment of the wait. I am very excited to delve into our first PS5 Game Review of Devil May Cry 5 Special Edition.
We are finally at the crossroad where next-gen gaming is now current gen and with this phenomenon comes a creeping issue of not having launch titles that fully utilize the new tech. In the world of remakes and remasters launching alongside new consoles such as the PS5, Devil May Cry 5 Special Edition makes a pristine 4K splash with smoother textures and blistering fast 60 frames per second of demon slicing in true Smokin’ Sexy Style!!
DMC 5 Special Edition is the definitive way to play the game, especially if you have not played it previously on a PS4/Pro. Released in March 2019 to critical acclaim, being ready for next-gen so quickly was a bit of a surprise, one that I open-heartedly welcome after testing it out.
Although it might seem like a quick cash grab to release it so near next-gen console launch, I am pleased to report it builds immensely on an already brilliant game and slots perfectly to satisfy the qualms of gamers demanding more titles at launch.
While a lot of action games have deviated from the hack and slash genre, DMC as a series continues to imbue versatility, creativeness, and innovation to elevate itself above most to hold the throne.
Before we delve into the plot, remember that amazing Deadpool movie opening credit scene with the slow-motion sequence? Capcom with DMC5 shows us how that can be done in a video game and Nero (protagonist) does not disappoint with an amazing set piece of CGI movie that looks so realistic and badass, it just propels the outlandish sequence right into your face to prepare you for this extravagant adventure!
In true DMC heritage, the story starts off with an amazing near world-ending situation with our Heroes including Dante, Nero, Trish, Lady and a new character V, struggling to withstand the sheer might of a demon named ‘Urizen’.
The amazing fight scene which sees our heroes literally wiped out is quite a visceral sight, one that sets the mood and urgency of the plot, ending with the team split up while licking their wounds and we start our journey with Nero to discover what led to this abomination.
The story then goes back a few days to provide more context on how we came to be. Nero is the main player we get to control from the beginning as we make our way back to see if we can take on Urizen and yes, you guessed it, its not as simple as that and we go on quite a back and forth sequence with characters changing.
I will add to anyone fretting over a repeat of DMC 4 which had a lot of backtracking, worry not demon slayers, as we do not have that in this game, but the plot is shown from different character’s perspective as we play through them often seeing another character fighting in a level above or below us.
The plot also introduces us to a new quirky and often quite expletive-laden quick-witted character called Nicoletta “Nico” Goldstein, acting as a modern-day weapon and devil breaker ( used as an arm replacement for one of Nero’s arms) procurer.
Nico can be considered a blacksmith/Weapons expert conjuring the latest in everything Nero can Equip for his missions and later on Dante or V.
The story takes an interesting turn when it introduces a new mysterious character called V whose fighting style is one of the most unique not only in DMC 5 but in the whole series that I will discuss more in the gameplay section.
The story follows V as he seems to be the one who has hired Dante and co to fight Urizen before he causes massive destruction and takes over the world with a once in millennia event, something that I was a bit chuffed as it seemed quite predictable but the pacing changes towards the middle and gets much more interesting.
Our plot also then brings in Vergil but at a later time and an important observation to note is that you can decide to play as Vergil from the beginning but there will be no cutscenes as opposed to playing as Nero/Dante or V.
The story has a unique twist when finding out the origins of Urizen’s emergence and also how developer Hideaki Itsuno manages to connect the Dante & Vergil feud that has been going on since the beginning of the series and which reached an unfulfilled climax at the end of the cherished Devil May Cry 3 game.
Make no mistake that although every DMC game in the series has had good visuals at its time of release, and at times, corny but uber cool and stylish looking protagonist like Dante, it is an action game. The gameplay experience on the PS5 was flawless in terms of how smooth it felt and after playing on 4K resolution (slight super-sampled ) with Ray Tracing off and 60 frames per second, I can vouch this was the best way to experience the game.
I was unable to test the 120fps mode as my TV does not support it but that is the norm at the moment, the majority of consumers are not in possession of HDMI 2.1 variant TVs, currently.
A quick mention of the SSD prowess seems fair because it made a huge difference when the game loads within 2-4 seconds maximum, this really adds to the immersion and helps when dying multiple times at harder difficulties to come back right into the action as soon as possible.
Secondly, Ray Tracing with all its fancy connotations of beautiful reflections and better detail actually only marginally improved my experience. It was only when I stopped to really look at certain details that I noticed it and things did look sharper with puddles on the ground accurately bouncing light BUT ultimately for such a fast-paced hyped action game, 60fps is the gold standard and one you will get insanely addicted to.
Visuals on the PS5 version of DMC 5 do look better and coming from the PS4 Pro version I was happy with the result. For instance, at certain points of the game, dark and murky areas which normally look dull, were more illuminated and detailed especially as Nero when we are in seemingly grotesque passages of slime and blood pulsing through demonic vessels, there were a certain beauty and finesse to it.
At one point, I did like Nero with blood splashed on his face as it did not seem so monotone and lifeless like in previous gen and older tech but at the same time, not groundbreaking to make me poke my eyeballs at what insane visual mastery I was experiencing. There’s a lot to expect and DMC 5 SE is just a trailer at what visuals can look like later into the life cycle of the console or if AAA developers like Naughty Dog showcase their ability at extracting the maximum power of the new GPU and CPU power available.
To further do justice to this review, a special mention has to go to another insane mode added called the ‘Legendary Dark Knight’ which adds literally an endless stream of bad guys onto the screen for you to furiously go mental trying to achieve and maintain those SSS Ranks. Playing especially as Vergil is a blast as his move set seems very adept at handling hordes of enemies of all varieties. I did not at even once, have a slowdown and that is a marvel looking at how populated my screen got!
Next up and yes there is more, is the highly popular Turbo mode which revs up the game speed by 20% and quite frankly this mode is a lot of fun and really puts to show the power of the PS5 in generating the environments, enemies, and effortlessly Nero’s Devil Breakers to air combos while jumping on enemy heads to have endless aerial displays of magic while playing footie with sliced limbs!
Apart from the extra modes and Vergil as a playable character, the core gameplay in this game is robust and meticulously designed to match the character you play with. From V’s use of two elemental creatures and his ‘stay back and only go in for the kill’ style, to Nero’s overall jack of all trades approach shows Capcom‘s mastery and prowess at gameplay.
Add to this the insane never-ending amount of moves and playstyles, plus weapons from nunchucks to two halves of a motorcycle to a bantam boxing and counter-attack style of moves Dante can pull, made me really take a step back and go ‘WOAH, how can the developer bring so much variety without it not meshing so well into the game?’
As ludicrous as the moveset for all these characters might sound, we must understand that the gameplay is designed and demands to be experienced differently and the replay value has been a central part-baked into the series.
DMC 5 re-inforces that belief with not only a ridiculous amount of playthroughs (6+) needed to get the Platinum Trophy but this is the beauty of the game, there is so much there in terms of the combat to be explored that you do not feel bored at all and on the contrary, my very second playthrough was much more enjoyable than the first and that’s a feat very very few games can achieve today.
Less than a handful of titles can boast the number of options they provide currently on how you would like to experience the game in terms of visuals and performance on a PS5. The game provides a multitude of options which depending on your TV firstly, whether it’s 60Hz or 120Hz, would either push you to try the 120 FPS mode or at least remove it from the equation.
Ray Tracing on gives you 30fps with 4K resolution which is the mode I played at for the first half of the game and appreciated it but as mentioned earlier, switching Ray Tracing off and 4K 60fps is my personal favorite with enhancements in the visual departments I liked and the buttery smooth frame rate at a stable 60 adding that oomph and finesse while juggling enemies with my Sparda sword with Dante or Devil Breaker Arms or Nero, it’s a treat.
The facial animation in-game at times did look weird. The photo mode is quite standard in the game and I was a bit disappointed with it but it did help me take some screenshots which seemed a bit underwhelming especially when zooming in on faces.
Ray Tracing does seem to make these facial animations a bit smoother but my point here is that there is more than can be done in the visual department and with the excellent RE engine that Capcom uses to run DMC 5, I’m hoping for more incremental gains for future games.
That said, the animation when a CGI movie took place was flawless with my personal argument being that at times, I felt the lip-syncing could have been better matched to the audio. Another small gripe was the hair animation which looked a bit weird. For the first time, we are presented with hair strands flowing individually at times, but it’s still a bit off and looks weird.
“Things are about to get heavy, if you have any headphones just throw them away” was very aptly said before the live performance of Pull by Devil Trigger at the 2018 Video Game Awards. One of DMC 5’s greatest strength lies with its ground shaking and heart-thumping music.
The collection of heavy metal music which quite amusingly also seems to have inspired the look of certain character costumes in the game works in unison to the combat of the game. A perfect mesh that makes you want to really applaud the composers and Capcom.
Music is utilized in a very clever way with it ramping up at battles, certain set pieces, and boss battles too. The one stand out track that I have added to my Spotify list and cannot stop humming is ” Bang Bang, Pull My Devil Trigger by DMC5 composers Cody Matthew Johnson and husband-wife team Casey and Ali Edwards.
Although this track comes towards the mid of the campaign, it beautifully captures the thrill and exhilarating feeling you as a player get when trying to max out your stylish rating which is a never-ending pursuit often leaving me with a slightly sore wrist.
The audio design is perfect from the whoosh of dashing as Vergil or Nero to the slicing and dicing of enemies, it is all done as expected and there is nothing to dwell on that as Capcom delivers it to perfection as would be expected.
There is nothing that could have been added more to the Audio department of the game, every track that is played at its set-piece derived timing, is quality precision.
The game also allows you to change what tracks to play and at which times to which characters, an amazing addition and one which will definitely aid trophy hunters or players looking to play the game multiple times. We can also revisit older tracks from the previous games and it’s a delight to play DMC 3’s classic battle sequence between Vergil & Dante.
Finally, as Vergil is a playable character in this Special edition, ” Bury The Light ” which is Vergil’s Battle Theme by Casey Edwards and performed by Victo Borba is another standout track that warrants appreciation as it portrays the somber and darker mood which is the broody yet powerhouse Vergil.
Gone are my days of listening to Death metal or even close sub-genre music but DMC5 SE’s ability to pull me back into this genre just shows the care that’s been taken to perfect the music that will appeal to the masses, i kid you not!
DMC 5 SE is a master class in presenting one of the best Action Games of 2020 launching at a time when there is a drought of triple AAA titles! The multitude of customizations in-game and performance modes, to the supreme music and jitter less action pace keeping players on their toes, fully immerse you in the game and truly set it apart from the competition.
DMC as a series is definitely here to stay and if anyone doubted the future of the series after the sublime effort that was the previous 2013 reboot, worry not, as with new characters like Nero finding their weight while also balancing out a mature Dante and bringing back Trish and Lady, just show Demon hunting is far from over.
Vergil adapting and becoming more robust as a playable character is also a gift we can not thank Capcom enough for. The fans are happy! Devil May Cry 5 Special Edition should not be overlooked by anyone who is a fan of the DMC series or action games in general, and while certain characters like V do remind us of ‘at times’ corny & heavily goth-inspired characters, let us not forget this series has always stood out at being outrageous when it comes to chasing style, and over the top action sequences. I cannot wait to see what the future holds for Devil May Cry!