Review: Devil May Cry 5: Special Edition

It was only last year that Devil May Cry 5 was released to critical praise thanks to the exciting and highly-addictive combat system. This was the first new game after Capcom tried their hand at outsourcing the franchise to award-winning developer Ninja Theory, which was met with a mixed reception amongst fans. Some loved the new grungy approach while others preferred the original’s over-the-top, anime style. Regardless of what group you fall into, there’s no denying that Devil May Cry was, and still is, one of the best character action games on the market. With its success, Capcom has followed up with how they have approached past games and re-released a “Special Edition” that introduces new modes and enhanced visuals. It seems like a perfect time to do so, especially considering there’s few games that are truly taking advantage of the new hardware, so just how does Dante’s latest adventure hold up in the next generation?

Gameplay is separated between three different characters: Nero, Dante and newcomer V. Without doubt the best and most entertaining to play is Dante as he comes with a slew of unique weapons and move sets that can be swapped between mid-combat. The problem is that it takes a while before you’re actually are allowed to play as him. Nero is technically the main protagonist of Devil May Cry 5, and while his combat is nothing to scoff at, especially as it resembles that of the basic, more traditional Devil May Cry formula, he can be cut and dry. His Red Queen Exceed mechanic has been given the Adaptive Trigger treatment, where there’s a little more tension when revving it up. Unfortunately, it feels like it gets in the way more than anything; it’s a nice feature to have, but in practice, mid combat, it’s not ideal. V on the other hand has some of the most unique and fascinating mechanics because he essentially acts as a summoner, with a panther to do his melee and a hawk for ranged attacks. The problem remains from the original release where they can be difficult and inconsistent to control. Griffon’s positioning can completely waste specific attacks such as dive-bombs, whereas Shadow can go missing for a bit, stuck somewhere. Thankfully, Nightmare is just as enjoyable as ever, as summoning the oversized creature can wreak havoc on everyone and everything in its path. While I still prefer to play Devil May Cry 5 as Dante, and he makes up less than half the game, the others are still a nice change of pace and offer up a decent amount of variety.

Similar to past games in the franchise, Capcom has done essentially a Director’s Cut-esque rerelease of Devil May Cry 5, giving us a couple new modes that make the game more enjoyable. The biggest addition has to be Vergil is now a playable character, although his inclusion feels a bit slapped on. He has his own unique weapons and move sets, and feels powerful and fun to play, but Capcom doesn’t exactly tell his side of the story. Instead they just allow you to play as him through the existing missions and skip almost all of the cutscenes. It’s detached from the overall experience and feels out of place. Again, playing as Vergil is engaging and entertaining, but I wish there were more to his mode. The other two additions are the Legendary Dark Knight mode, which adds an even greater challenge for those who want to push themselves, with stronger and more plentiful enemies, and Turbo mode. Devil May Cry in general has always been a quick paced game, but with Turbo mode, things are even faster as the speed is cranked up by an additional 20%. Considering the Special Edition is being offered at a reduced price point, these features offer a great value to anyone just coming into the game for the first time.

While there are a couple new features, one of the biggest draws are the new visual features and Devil May Cry 5: Special Edition delivers with its Ray Tracing and High Framerate Modes. Both of these offer vastly different experiences, with the former coming in two different varieties (graphics or performance) and the latter having the capabilities of hitting 120fps, which is nuts for such a high-profile console game. You can go with the default of a 4K resolution and 60fps if neither of these strike your fancy. The Ray Tracing performance mode will drop the resolution to 1080p but it will still run at a smooth 60fps with a bit of ray tracing around the world. The Graphics Ray Tracing mode on the other hand is a little more taxing; it will establish stronger reflections and ray tracing techniques, but it’s in exchange of the framerate dropping by a sizable margin. It will be a variable frame rate, ranging between 30-60fps, and for a fast-paced game such as this known for its fluidity, it’s noticeable. Regardless, choice is never a bad thing, and each mode has their own positives and negatives, although we recommend trying the Performance Ray Tracing mode to get a bit of both worlds, unless you’re dedicated to the 4K resolution.

Closing Comments:

It has been almost two years since its initial release and yet Devil May Cry 5 remains on the pedestal as one of the best character action games available. The Special Edition only continues to bring out the game’s potential, with new modes and graphical options. That’s not to say it’s not without its problems, as pacing can be all over the place and Dante is significantly better to play than the other two characters. With that said, the addition of Vergil as a playable character is a treat as he’s fun to take control of, and the new Legendary Dark Knight and Turbo modes offer even more of a challenge and style. I still would have loved to have seen Vergil get his own story showing his perspective of the events with unique scenarios, but alas all we get is the swordsman placed in the current main scenario with no context to what’s going on. Longtime fans will no doubt get a kick out of the new modes, although I’m unsure if they’re worth the repurchase for that alone. It’s a matter of whether or not you want to experience Devil May Cry 5 in a next generation, with the options of 4K resolution, ray tracing or a fluid 120fps readily available. It’s a diverse offering from Capcom, allowing gamers to play how they want. Devil May Cry 5 remains a magnificent game and the next generation offering allows you to experience it like never before.