In the new Devil May Cry 5 (DMC 5) demo, players take on the role of Nero as you play through an area just large enough for you to try out some of the tactics and abilities you will be wielding when DMC5 launches next month.
The first impression you will get as you start out on this demo is that it’s gorgeous. Everything I come to expect from a sleek AAA title is here. The models look great, lighting, and environments are rich and interesting. Additionally, the character animations are slick and fast and there are a lot of animations to be seen.
Complementing the awesome visuals is a rock soundtrack that both captures the tone the Devil May Cry series is known for while doing a great job of ratcheting up the energy with every encounter. As the guitar picks up, even for the routine baddies you can’t help but feel the adrenaline build just a little. It’s an awesome complimentary touch.
DMC is known for its deep combo system and that looks very present here. There is plenty to dig into right off the bat with the sword, revolver, and Nero’s Devil Breaker which give players lots of options for driving combos through several different types of enemies.
The Devil Breaker surprised me with how many different options it provides you during the stage. As you progress through the area you gain different types of breakers you can use. Each one has a regular attack or a charge attack that can be utilized. However, charge attacks destroy that breaker for you forcing you to switch to a different one in your possession. Or, you could have none. And as your breakers also get destroyed, you take damage while using them creating a risk vs. reward balance of how often you wanted to use these impressive abilities.
Overall the combat comes together to create a smooth functioning package as one would expect from DMC. My only hang up was how limited the dodge mechanic felt, but that is just a personal play style more than a fault.
The boss battle was suitably epic with a cut scene full of the expected personality always present in DMC. I’ve never been a fan of the smarmy sort of dialogue the protagonists tend to sport in the series myself, but again, just a preference. Once the battle began it had a great sense of scale as it took the combatants through several different areas, and varied the enemies tactics enough to keep it from becoming repetitive.
I only really had two concerns about the final product coming out of this demo. My first one was that every time I died it sent me all the way back to the beginning. I always hate it when I’m trying to figure out a boss’ rhythm, die, and then have to fight my way back to him. It feels like an antiquated way to increase playtime to me.
My second concern comes from the leveling system. Not the basic function itself, but some of the implementations of it. The classic orb collection, cash in to unlock abilities, and combos are in place as always but Nero felt lacking in some basic moves that shouldn’t have to be unlocked.
The biggest stand out being a simple forward charge attack with his sword. This largely concerns me cause Capcom has announced that upgrades, along with being earned in-game, will also be purchasable through microtransactions. I hope they haven’t stripped down the starting move sets to further lengthen progression and encourage spending. But that is still very much a wait and see.
After my time with the demo, I feel that, if this is an accurate example of a game long time DMC fans will be happy with based on how the game looks and plays. If the classic DMC formula hasn’t been your cup of tea in the past this game might be one to sit out.
Devil May Cry 5 releases on Xbox One, PC, and PlayStation 4 on March 8, 2019.