Posted August 22, 2018 by Adam Ghiggino in Feature

Gamescom 2018: Devil May Cry 5 Hands-On on Xbox One X

Big combos, cheesy one-liners, great hair. All important elements in making a Devil May Cry game, and I’m happy to report that Devil May Cry 5  has all of these in spades. However, what surprised me most after playing through the demo at the Xbox show floor at Gamescom, was how much the latest Devil May Cry draws upon its aborted reboot, DmC (which, I’m happy to admit, I thought was actually pretty good, despite the waves of negative fan reaction).

On a conceptual design level, Devil May Cry 5 feels like a meld between the Devil May Cry series of old and bits and pieces of DmC that the developers wanted to keep. Of course, fans have already noted that Nero’s makeover is pretty much identical to Reboot Dante’s look at the end of DmC, but his new personality is now a dead-on match as well, with such winning sarcastic lines as calling the demo’s boss a “fart in the wind.” Areas are sectioned off with magic barriers that can only be broken by clearing waves of enemies, much like the Devil May Cry games of old, however there are some larger street areas where the architecture breaks apart and bends that is very reminiscent of DmC‘s city twisting.

The first thing that the DMC5 demo hits you with is a new ‘Auto-Assist’ feature, a new option for the game which makes it much easier to pull off super stylish combos without having to remember complex moves or chains. Simply mash melee strikes and you can pull off some pretty spectacular moves that dispose of enemies quickly, in fact in this demo almost too quickly. Of course, since it’s a new option I had to give it a go, and with it turned on combat became a doddle, although the action was terrific to watch. To counter this, you do take a hit on your Stylish ranking at the end of the game, although I still ended up getting an A, which will probably be enough to please most casual players.

Although there will be more characters in the final game, Nero is still the character Capcom is talking about and showing off, and was the only one available to play at Gamescom. He feels weighty, but nonetheless nimble and responsive, thanks to his new ‘Devil Breaker’ robotic arm that affords him the ability to zip-line around enemies, in addition to his pre-existing demonic double jump capabilities. What’s really fun is getting enemies into aerial combos, defeating them, then grabbing other enemies on the ground while you’re still mid-air and bringing them up with you to keep the chain going. The arm can be swapped out for different variations, like an explosive or electrified one that have different default attacks. Arms can also be launched as an offensive move, but they are disposable and Nero can run out, leaving him armless if you’ve shot off too many of his prosthetic projectiles. Extra arms can be found around levels much like red or green orbs, which make a re-appearance, albeit as sap-like shards.

The Gamescom demo level features a boss named ‘Goliath’ that Nero faces off with in a cathedral. This biblical beastie can fire giant energy bursts from his stomach, as well as create a vortex that can suck Nero in if he doesn’t sacrifice a Devil Breaker to escape. However, he’s not all that hard to beat, simply a damage sponge with no real weak point, as Nero just needs to keep whacking him until he finally collapses. The boss fight did show off the game’s impressive visuals, however, and action setpieces – as Nero and Goliath begin on the cathedral roof before crashing to the ground and then being thrown through a wall into the courtyard. It’s a much more interesting and fluid boss fight than you’d usually see from the standard arenas of past Devil May Cry bosses.

Devil May Cry 5 was far too easy in my playthrough – my own fault for activating Auto-Assist, but worth knowing if you’re curious about what the mode exactly is. Die-hards will want to leave it off to get the maximum enjoyment out of their long-awaited Devil May Cry experience, which looks to draw upon all of the best parts of the series history.

Adam Ghiggino

Owner, Executive Editor of Rocket Chainsaw. I also edit TV, films and make average pancakes.