Devil May Cry 5 Special Edition Review — The SSS Tier Of Character-Action Genre

The Alpha and the Omega of character-action genre.

Devil May Cry 5 Special Edition Review
Overall
5
  • Story And Setting
  • Gameplay
  • Visuals And Performance

Verdict

Devil May Cry 5 Special Edition stands as a masterclass in the character-action genre, unmatched even half a decade after its release

Pros

  • Phenomenal Combat And Pristine Visuals
  • Fun And Charming Characters
  • Highly Replayable
  • Solid Acting Performances And Catchy Score
  • Challenging And Fun Boss Battles

Cons

  • Art Direction Falters In Second-half

Like the crowd, I physically erupted when I saw the reveal trailer of Devil May Cry 5, even when watching the live stream from home. I loved seeing my childhood favorites fully realized in RE Engine, even if the fandom wasn’t that receptive to it at the start. That said,  Devil May Cry 5 absolutely delivers with its action combat, that even half a decade later still stands at the top of the genre.

Key Takeaways
  • Developer: Capcom Dev Studio 1
  • Publisher: Capcom
  • Release Date: November 12, 2020
  • Platform: PS5, Xbox Series X/S, Windows (Vergil DLC Only)
  • Game Length: 16 hours
  • Time Played: 100+ Hours
  • Author’s Note: I have 100+ in the Devil May Cry 5 PC version, and have poured over a dozen hours in its Special Edition too.

Story And Setting

Story of DMC 5
Story and Setting. [Image By eXputer]
Devil May Cry 5 picks up after the events of DMC4. Nero is happily living with her wife Kyrie, and Dante still remains jobless even after earning the status of Legendary Devil Hunter. However, their days of happiness get turned upside down, after Nero is visited by a mysterious figure to take back the Yamato (not so mysterious, huh). 

That event essentially kickstarts their journey as Nero and Dante, along with Trish and Lady, band together to take down the new demonic figure. The newcomers here are Nico and V, a merchant who can literally drill through Earth just to arrive where Nero is, and an emo-guy who reads poetry while controlling a crow and a panther.

It radiates an exorbitant amount of individuality through every aspect, fully embracing the over-the-top tropes that made the franchise iconic in the first place while still respecting its action lineage.

Devil May Cry 5 maintains the series’ signature whimsical tone, juxtaposing the playful nature of its characters with a backdrop of high-stakes storytelling

Even after a dozen playthroughs, I get chills every time the sky shatters, and Vergil looks back at the camera with the title card “Alpha and The Omega” appearing shortly afterward. Likewise, I can never imagine skipping Dante’s Micheal Jackson dance as he acquires a new hat that lets him shoot Red Orbs. It just goes to show how skillfully it nails both its serious and playful moments.

A Story That Drives The Gameplay

Dante's iconic dance in DMC5
Dante replicates Michael Jackson’s iconic moonwalk. [Image By eXputer]
Now, the story isn’t the most important thing about action games, but Devil May Cry 5 still delivers on that end, given the nature of the genre. It has a story that drives the gameplay, with snappy, over-the-top cutscenes and performances that don’t bore the player with its narrative but rather make them excited about what is to come.

In short, I absolutely adore the cast of Devil May Cry. From the non-serious and charismatic Dante to the fully serious and motivated Vergil, Devil May Cry 5 is full of anime tropes and charming characters that elevate the game to new heights.

It radiates an exorbitant amount of individuality through every aspect, fully embracing the over-the-top tropes that made the franchise iconic in the first place while still respecting its action lineage.

Gameplay

Dante vs Vergil
Gameplay. [Image By eXputer]
One can never have enough words to describe Devil May Cry’s gameplay, but I’ll still try to. DMC5 builds upon the roots of its predecessors with high-octane combo-based gameplay. After every couple of missions, the game swaps out characters with some missions, giving you the choice of choosing a character too. 

The first character that you have to fill the shoes of is Nero. His combat revolves around hard-hitting, weighty combos that can be further elevated with the use of his Exceed Gauge and Bullet Gauge. He can’t use Devil Trigger for the first playthrough of the game, but instead, he gains access to a library of prosthetics called the Devil Breakers.

Devil May Cry 5 maintains the series’ signature whimsical tone, juxtaposing the playful nature of its characters with a backdrop of high-stakes storytelling

These Devil Breakers add additional functionalities to Nero’s repertoire. My personal favorites were Gebera and Tomboy; one helps extend the aerial combos while the other amps up Red Queen’s damage at the cost of less control. 

The newcomer V is a summon-controlling poet who mostly controls the battlefield from afar. His gameplay is possibly the most difficult to get the hang of, as it requires a lot of expertise to execute his combos. He controls a panther (Shadow), a crow (Griffon), and a Gollem (Nightmare), each serving their role as his sword, bow, and shield.

Vergil, Son of Sparda
The Alpha And The Omega – Vergil. [Image By eXputer]
Then there is Dante, who has four ranged weapons, four melee weapons, and four different fighting styles, each of which can be combined to perform whacky combos.  He boasts an impressive array of abilities, from teleporting and parrying to executing hard-hitting combos and gentle-flowing attacks; he truly has it all. This is possibly the most complex rendition of Dante yet, and he is just as fun as he is hard to master.

The new arrival of the Special Edition, Vergil, is just as motivated as he has ever been. Whether he’s your adversary or a character you control, he consistently radiates the same motivating energy. His moveset is comprised of hard-hitting, devastating, lightning-speed attacks capable of ending battles as soon as they begin. A shame his ferocity makes it difficult to make his OST last longer in battles.

Easy To Learn, Hard To Master

Dante ripping off his brother's hairstyle
Dante unlocks the Vergil hairstyle after beating Bloody Palace as an Ex-provocation. [Image By eXputer]
The greatest strength of Devil May Cry 5 is how easy it is to pick up and learn. Even with combat this deep, I never felt overwhelmed once. It is designed to keep the player in a constant loop of learning new mechanics without bombarding them with tons of systems. Each level introduces something new, be it a new mechanic, enemy type, character, or boss fight, with each contributing something new to the learning aspect.

Contrasting the leisurely pace of its initial missions with the frenetic, finger-numbing battles of Bloody Palace reveals the depth of Devil May Cry 5’s gameplay.

I love how the first playthrough essentially serves as a tutorial for its mechanics. Devil May Cry 5 doesn’t even begin until you have beaten it once. This is further reinforced by the introduction of Bloody Palace, a might-testing tower comprised of 101 levels. My journey through 101 levels of Bloody Palace will always be one of my most cherished memories.

Weeks of practice against every enemy type and boss culminate into a soul-crushing boss gauntlet toward the final levels. Contrasting the leisurely pace of its initial missions with the frenetic, finger-numbing battles of Bloody Palace reveals the depth of Devil May Cry 5’s gameplay.

The twist here is that this amount of practice was just for Dante. The rest of the cast requires just as much dedication in order to beat the Bloody Palace, and I raise my hat to Itsuno-san for designing a combat of practically infinite depth.

Enemies That Push The Player Towards Maximum Stylishness

Dante challenging King Cerberus
Dante face to face with King Cerberus. [Image By eXputer]
Devil May Cry 5 isn’t all about flashy combos but also how to use said combos to tackle different enemy types. Insectoid-esque, in the beginning, doesn’t really pose a threat and essentially serves as a gateway to learning combos. But when paired with an elite enemy, it’s a completely different story, as now it’s not just about combos but how to utilize those combos to deal with numbers.

With its cleverly designed encounters, the game didn’t just teach me the how-to’s of its combat but how to manage each encounter. It keeps the battles fresh with the smart pairing of different enemy types. And it’s because of its encounter design Devil May Cry 5 never loses its touch. 

Devil May Cry 5 isn’t all about flashy combos but also how to use said combos to tackle different enemy types

Even the smallest of enemies can pose a larger threat when paired with stronger enemies, further encouraging the player to come up with creative ways to deal with each encounter. The bosses, likewise, are a test of the player’s skill, especially the ones in the latter half of the game. Cavaliere Angelo and Vergil stand out among its bosses, exemplifying the finest qualities of character-action genre boss fights.

Legendary Dark Knight and Turbo Mode also make their return in the Special Edition version, further deepening the replayability factor.

Visuals And Performance

Visuals and Performance
Visuals And Performance. [Image By eXputer]
Devil May Cry 5 is one of the earliest showcases of RE Engine’s prowess, and even five years later, its visuals haven’t aged a day. It seamlessly blends realistic and stylized visuals, showcasing state-of-the-art graphics while remaining faithful to its anime-esque art style.

While the first half of DMC5 remains visually distinct, with a great level-variety and stunning locations, the second half lacks the same energy. Many levels feel like rehashes, losing the visual identity established earlier.

Performance-wise it is also a SSS-tier game. I played Devil May Cry 5 Special Edition on PS5 and its original releases on PC, and it runs absolutely flawlessly on both platforms.

Verdict

Devil May Cry is essentially the pioneer of the character-action genre, and even 2 decades later it still remains on top. Its latest entry stands out as a rare gem, offering state-of-the-art visuals, over-the-top characters and narrative, and sublime gameplay that only a select few games can match.

Devil May Cry 5 Special Edition stands as a masterclass in the character-action genre, unmatched even half a decade after its release

This has been my review of Devil May Cry 5 Special Edition. While you are at it, consider checking out some of our other reviews.

This is box title
Get This Game
If you you are craving for high-caliber action game with great visuals.
Dont Get This Game
There is very little reason to avoid Devil May Cry 5 except for high learning curve.
Buy / Wait for Sale / Don't Buy
I very strongly recommend Devil May Cry 5 Special Edition across all price points.
Alternative Games
  • Metal Gear Rising: Revengence
  • Bayonetta Trilogy
  • Devil May Cry 1-4
  • Ninja Gaiden Trilogy
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Hamid Ali is a Guides Writer & Editor on eXputer who occasionally covers Game Codes. He is a huge Doom fanatic and loves to melt his stress away in titles such as God of War games and Elden Ring. With a Bachelor's degree in Journalism, Hamid’s been writing and updating about the majority of games for several years. Hamid's gaming experience can be verified on his Steam and PSN profiles.

Experience: 3+ Years || Education: Bachelors in Mechanical Engineering.

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