Smokin’ Sexy Style
HIGH The deepest, most satisfying combat (maybe) in the history of the genre.
LOW It’s not exactly a showpiece for next-gen hardware.
WTF V needs some proper footwear.
Hardware launches suck.
This thought occurs to me as I look at the $500 monstrosity known as the Playstation 5 sitting on my floor… because it wouldn’t fit anywhere else. It’s a console which has exactly one marquee exclusive at launch, and Demon’s Souls happens to be a remake of a title I profoundly dislike. Yet again, the life of an early adopter proves filled with regret.
To be fair, the PS5 does have a larger-than-usual number of launch titles one would actually want to play thanks to a handful of enhanced PS4 releases. While most of these are simply higher-resolution ports, Devil May Cry V Special Edition focuses on additional content and improving the core experience of a game that’s been out for a year and a half.
Darren did a great job of running down what to expect from Devil May Cry V last year in his review, so anyone looking for a more comprehensive breakdown should read that. That said, I think he’s played too much Dark Souls and I don’t particularly agree with his main gripe of the game lacking a dedicated dodge button, but it’s a fine read.
As for me, I had it pegged as sixth on my 2019 Top Ten list for those seeking a better understanding of why I personally think DMCV is a damn fine title. In hindsight, it should’ve been fifth.
This review will focus more on that “Special Edition” part, which has become a bit of a tradition in the Devil May Cry franchise. Devil May Cry 3, 4, and Ninja Theory’s DmC have all received post-launch facelifts featuring combat fine-tuning, new difficulty levels, new weapons, new characters, and new modes. This tradition continues with Devil May Cry V, and on that front it’s a spectacular success.
I’ve always thought of Devil May Cry as a franchise deeply rooted in Capcom’s fighting game heritage, and the addition of a straight-up Turbo Mode that speeds the game up 1.2x makes it feel like this entry should really be called Devil May Cry V: Tournament Edition.
Players looking to fully utilize the absurdly-humongous moveset at this speed will have their dexterity tested, and just in case this isn’t intense enough for ardent players, may I suggest the new Legendary Dark Knight difficulty mode, which answers the longstanding question asked by no one — “what if Devil May Cry was a Musou game?”.
Essentially it’s a new way to play through the campaign where the amount of enemies on screen is quintupled. While this mode did appear in DMC4SE, it didn’t have the mass of foes available here and it’s great to slice through twenty enemies at once with DMCV‘s mechanics… but it’s also rather exhausting, so I don’t see myself attempting a full playthrough of it.
The other new feature is the inclusion of Dante’s brother Vergil as a playable character through the campaign.
Vergil plays similarly to his iteration in DMC4SE with a moveset based on precision — it’s fitting for a more methodical character, but new to his repertoire is a modified Devil Trigger state which summons a ghastly figure that mimics Vergil’s movements, allowing players to double up on attacks.
Vergil also has a concentration gauge that builds his attack power by moving slowly and landing well-timed strikes in combat. Running around swinging wildly greatly diminishes his effectiveness, leading to an experience that differs greatly from the original campaign. The developers have also added thirty minutes of cutscenes to justify why Vergil is playing the same levels while further defining him as an important character in DMC. It’s a fantastic addition that adds significant replay value to a title already loaded with it.
As this title is now running on the PS5 hardware, the most substantial improvement is the dramatically improved loading time thanks to the SSD hard drive. The original release was plagued with long loads, as Darren pointed out in his review, but they’re near-instantaneous now. Unfortunately, the rest of the next-gen touches aren’t as impressive.
DMCV features raytracing and it can implement this technology while running at a solid 60FPS, but only in 1080p — it’s only available at an extremely uneven framerate in higher resolutions. As someone who primarily plays games on consoles, I’ve never been a framerate snob, but Devil May Cry is a franchise where individual frames matter. Raytracing is cool, but not cool enough to make me want to play at 30FPS, and I don’t see why anybody with a 4K screen would give up an increase in resolution in order to have really nice looking puddles.
Players with screens that go above 60Hz can play the game at a rate higher than 60fps (and much higher than 60fps if ran in 1080p), but I am unable to test this due to my three-month-old high-end TV not being high-end enough. This leaves me with an experience at 4K60 that looks fantastic, but also looks nearly identical to when I played it last year on my Xbox One X.
So here’s the deal — judging it purely as a videogame, Devil May Cry V Special Edition is the best launch title for the Playstation 5, but it’s also not a particularly strong way to show off that fancy new box in the living room. The dramatically improved loadtimes are a big deal, but those looking for something that couldn’t have been done on other hardware will be disappointed since the only significant visual change is something most players will turn off due to its limitations.
With that said, Devil May Cry V is still an outstanding title rooted in the tradition of Japanese-style character-action games. The play and content enhancements are both substantial and worthy of a “Special Edition” moniker. There’s enough here for fans of the original to return, and newcomers looking for something to play on their new consoles are in for a whirling-dervish of a good time.
Disclosures: This game was developed and published by Capcom. This Special Edition is currently available on PS5 and XBX. This copy of the game was obtained via publisher and reviewed on a PS5. An estimated 8 hours of play were devoted to playing the game and going over the new components. The campaign was not completed, but the reviewer has completed the game’s previous release.
Parents: According to the ESRB, this game is rated M and features Violence, Strong Language, Partial Nudity, and Blood. Lots of blood. Probably too much blood for concerned parents, and multiple foul mouthed characters along with a fair bit of nudity make this a game not for the young ones.
Colorblind Modes: The game features no colorblind modes.
Deaf & Hard of Hearing Gamers: The game features subtitle options for the cutscenes and they are presented in thin white font. The size of the text is not remappable. All dialogue and instructions are provided in text, and there are no necessary audio cues. I’d say it’s fully accessible.
Remappable Controls: The games controls are completely remappable.