I Was Wrong About Devil May Cry 5, and Glad I Was. (Review PS4)

Abridged Highlight Video:

Full Written Review:

First off I gotta say, I was wrong about Devil May Cry 5 and microtransactions. When I first learned that the newest games would have microtransaction for red orbs, which is the main currency in the game, I was ready to boycott the game. I am a huge fan of the franchise, so I didn’t like how this feature, while also being present in the DMC4, was being included in this new game upon release. Not only can you purchase red orbs, but you can also purchase blue orbs, that increase your vitality, and different devil breakers, which act as utility weapons for Nero.

Luckily, as a single-player game, the microtransactions do not negatively impact your enjoyment of the game. I was also worried that the current, digital downloads of the game include 100,000 free red orbs, with no option to remove it. It's like a drug dealer giving you a free sample, just to hook you to buy more in the future. I’m not sure if there were other reasons from a dev perspective behind this, such as skills and items costing too much initially, but I still wish there was a way not to redeem these extra red orbs as I feel it messed up the progression a bit.

I guess I could have just not spent them, but I don’t have that self-control. The 100,000 red orbs allow you to buy a lot of skill right off the bat, or orbs that increase your vitality gauge or demon gauge. Part of the fun of the game is saving up red orbs and purchasing more powerful abilities as you progress in the story. So having enough orbs to buy purchase a majority of skills for a specific weapon does contribute to my main flaw of the game, that it's too easy on your first playthrough.

The game only has two difficulty options when you begin, Human and Devil Hunter mode. Devil Hunter is supposed to be for experienced players but isn’t challenging enough if you’ve played other action hack-in-slash games where you’re used to dodging or parrying. I’m currently playing through the Son of Sparda difficulty in my second playthrough, trying to unlock the remaining 3 difficulties levels that become available upon completion of Son of Sparda. Because you will carry your progress into further difficulty levels I’m still not feeling the challenge I remember in comparison to something like DMC3. When you lose all your health in the game, its not automatically a game over, as you get the option to rez where you fell using red orbs or a gold orb. The cost of red orbs goes up each time you die during the same mission, so it's unlikely you will be able to rez more than twice just using red orbs. This option turns out to be helpful when you first encounter a boss that seems really strong, before taking the time to learn its attack pattern. Restarting from the checkpoint before the boss is also an option if you’re looking to challenge yourself or save the orbs.

Other than the difficulty there’s nothing else I can find fault with. You can think of the microtransactions as a benign tumor, it's not cancerous but we should keep an eye on it for the future. There is also an online multiplayer component to the game. You will see PSN names or Gamertags of people on the left of the screen as a starring guest. There was one time where I fought next to another player, during a mission when there were options to select multiple characters. Other times I would see them off in the distance doing their own thing. So it’s not like a traditional multiplayer where you have to join someone else’s game or a MMO where you will see random people clearing your stage. You also have the option to rate them at the end, even if you don’t even see them on your mission. I didn’t have a strong opinion about this feature as I don’t fully understand how it works.

The RE engine looks amazing, the bosses are epic, the combat is diverse, and the story here is great also. I loved seeing how my sword attacks leave red cut marks on the enemies, seeing when time slows down just as you make a last-second dodge, and epic boss battles that had distinct phases. The style and humor of the past DMC games are also built into the core of the game. Dante can split a motorcycle in half to use as a weapon, there are gag Devil Breakers like the Pasta Breaker, that’s basically a fork, or Mega Man’s Mega Buster that even changes the way Nero jumps. Each of the more than dozen Devil Breakers has dual uses. You can press the circle button to use one of its powers, but getting hit by an enemy during this animation can break the devil trigger. You can also hold down circle to use a stronger attack but will automatically break it on its own. You can also hit the L1 button to destroy the devil breaker equipped and unleashing an AOE attack, then switching to the next devil breaker you have lined up. You can spend red orbs to increase the number of Devil Breakers you can equip before starting a mission, and also find random ones scattered around the environments. You can choose not to even use Devil Breakers and just rely on your sword and gun attacks, but I really enjoyed this new mechanic the more I experimented with it.

While the main campaign is on the short side, comprising of 20 missions, which are about 30 minutes each, you can easily invest a good 30 hours, or more, replaying mission with different characters, finding secret missions, and playing on the harder difficulties. I prefer games that focus on quality, and it would have ruined the experience if they added filler or any backtracking just to make the game longer. After completing almost every mission you will unlocked a new weapon, Devil Breaker, or collected enough red orbs to purchased a new ability. This always makes combat fun and refreshing, as some hack-and-slash games can get repetitive easily. Just like in past games of DMC, you are given a rank at the end of each mission for how stylish you are, which increases as you deal consecutive damage using a variety of attacks. So using the same attack over and over won’t increase your rank. Getting hit or evading too long will also decrease your score, and at the end of the mission, you are awarded red orbs based on how high your score is.

Once you complete the game, you’re abilities and items carry over and each difficulty appears to scale pretty well and introduce tougher enemies in earlier missions to keep replaying missions fun and rewarding. You also unlock the bloody palace mode where you can test your strength against rounds of enemies and bosses, and this is no joke in difficulty.

I can’t say too much without spoiling the story, which you’ve probably been exposed to at this point just from headlines or thumbnails. But I can say that similar to past games, Nero and Dante must destroy a demon threat that is unleashing monsters from hell that are siphoning the blood of humans. This time a new and mysterious character named V is introduced. A man dressed in black and reciting poetry, he plays like no character we’ve controlled yet in past DMC games. He can summon demons to do his combat for him, as he manages to evade enemy attacks. The ranged attacker named Griffin has to be my favorite new character in the game. Unlike V’s other demons Griffin talks and has funny moments between all the other characters. The game assumes you’ve been keeping up with the story, and doesn’t waste time focusing on flashbacks or exposition. There is a perfect recap of the DMC 1-4 on the main screen before you start that covers everything you need to know. And as far as I know the unpopular DMC reboot, from 2013, is being treated like it never happened.

Even though there is so much I loved about his game, one of the best has to be the music. Similar to the new Doom franchise, the heavy metal influenced soundtrack ramps up as you go into epic battles. Something about hell, demons and heavy metal just go so well together. I’ve been listening to the soundtrack and the new songs for DMC5 are stellar. I currently can’t get the main theme out of my head.

The game is currently on sale again on the PS store for $20 until the end of the month, and I can recommend it to anyone who is remotely interested. At this point, the game seems to be on sale more often than not, and you could probably find it for cheaper or part of a bundle down the line. This game is awesome so I hope you guys check it out, and not wait so long as I did.

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