PAX 2018: We Went Hands-On With Devil May Cry 5

November 1, 2018

Since Adam had the chance to go hands-on with Devil May Cry 5 back in August at Gamescom, I’ve been hanging out for a chance to get my hands on the game. I’ve been eagerly awaiting the next entry in the series since DmC captured my attention, and so I jumped at getting the chance to play the game at PAX this year. Unlike Adam, I decided to avoid the Auto-Assist mode and instead went in for the authentic Devil May Cry 5 experience.

The demo consisted of a single enclosed stage, with an emphasis on tutorials that made it clear that this stage was likely from a relatively early part of the game. What this meant was that throughout my demo the game would periodically stop to tell me about different aspects of the game. This would no doubt be a great stage in the actual game, but in a time limited demo, it was an unusual choice and was also a little frustrating.

The majority of my combat encounters in the demo were fairly basic, with only a few different types of slow-moving enemies appearing in combat, allowing me to attack with ease. This meant that I was able to get a pretty good grasp on Nero as a character, trying out all of his different attacks without much risk. Nero’s swords attack flowed together wonderfully, with a weight behind hits that was well registered by enemy animations as they staggered back. This feeling was echoed with his gun, which had a slow and weighty shot to it that was satisfying but felt just a tad too slow.

The real draw to combat was Nero’s Devil breaker arms – robotic arms that each have their own unique attacks that can be activated during combat, as well as affording him the ability to grapple towards enemies. These unique attacks can range from shooting electrical bolts at enemies, Nero jumping onto a rocket propelled arm and riding it into enemies to attack and more, adding an extra spectacle and some additional variety to the combat. Devil Breakers can also be sacrificed in an explosion that deals massive damage to enemies around you and generally clearing out the space around you – just like bombs in games like Geometry Wars – stopping you from getting overwhelmed. Altogether, based on this demo, the combat can fast become amazingly hectic and I’m relishing the idea of jumping in for more.

We haven’t had a new Devil May Cry game since last generation, so it’s been a while since we’ve seen what Capcom can do with the franchise graphically. From the perspective of style, Devil May Cry V comes between DmC and previous Devil May Cry games. There wasn’t quite the amount of attitude seen in DmC present here, but Nero didn’t shy away from the one liners and his look is closer to that of DmC’s Dante than his own look in Devil May Cry 4. Graphically, Devil May Cry 5 looks fantastic, with detailed environments, character and enemy models, plenty of particles and effects, and smooth animations. Throughout all of this hectic on-screen action, the demo’s framerate held firm and never noticeably dipped. Although this could also have something to do with the demo running on an Xbox One X.

Overall, my time with Devil May Cry 5 was short and constrained, but it left me actively wanting more. The game seems to be a great mash up of DmC and prior Devil May Cry games, blending the styles together fantastically. Even without using the Auto-Assist mode the demo still felt relatively easy outside of the boss battle, so I didn’t get quite as good a read on the combat as I would have liked. In the end, it got me pumped for more Devil May Cry, and I’m now eagerly awaiting the game’s release date.

Devil May Cry 5 releases on March 8th for PC, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One.