Devil May Cry 5 – My Brief Thoughts

Well its been nearly a year to the day since I posted anything on my blog. I don’t really have anything to say but I might as well get some use out of it and my brief thoughts upon completing Devil May Cry 5 are a bit long for twitter. So here we are.

A brief history of my time with the franchise. I enjoyed Devil May Cry. I (like any right thinking person) did not enjoy Devil May Cry 2. I didn’t play Devil May Cry 3 (for some reason I tend to miss the third and critically acclaimed entry in franchises, looking at you Metal Gear Solid 3). I enjoyed Devil May Cry 4. So much that I think I ended up buying the fucking thing three times for various reasons. I wasn’t super excited about Devil May Cry 5 but I was looking forward to and planning to buy it at launch. Ultimately I didnt (as The Division 2 was coming out the week after and I had it pre-ordered). So I only picked it up last week after hearing good things about it.

I should not have believed those lies. My initial impression of the game was not great and while it did improve since then it often dipped back down. I suppose I could have dropped it but I was about two thirds done by the time I thought of that so I ended up just pushing on.

Ultimately I don’t think I’d say it’s a bad game. But it is absolutely not the game for me I really didnt enjoy my time with it and I will try to briefly outline why.

Good

  • Graphics: The game is lovely looking. Beautiful looking level design. Great lighting and effects. Really expressive models. Good animation. Absolutely no complaints on the visual front.
  • Hair: This is honestly so good it deserves its own entry separate from the graphics. Whether it was on the head, on the face or a monsters hair nether the hair effects are with no exaggeration the best I’ve seen.
  • Music: Cheesy sounding metal though it may be it fits perfectly with the games aesthetics and really gets you pumped up when its blaring in the middle of a frenetic battle.
  • Length: I played on the harder of the two starter difficulty settings and I’d say it took eleven or twelve hours for me to finish the game. That’s a solid length for an action title in my opinion.
  • Combat: I wasn’t particularly good at it (and honestly didnt get much better by the end) but the combat in the game is great. Its fluid you have a huge amount of options which you string together to both look and feel impressive.
  • Nico: What a great character. A cool addition to the franchise she was really entertaining.

Bad

  • The story: It was atrocious. You start off in media res. As its the fifth entry in the game you feel ignorant of the backstory the narrative leans heavily upon. The narrative itself is terrible. It stops and starts and most of the characters feel like absolute idiots. For example, and this isnt a spoiler because it is blindingly obvious from the beginning, people are surprised that a mysterious stranger who introduces himself as V has something to do with Dante’s missing twin brother Vergil. The focus is also really weird and it doesnt even have the grace to wrap itself up well. The ending is incredibly anti-climatic in both a narrative and gameplay sense.
  • The “attitude”: The came trys far too hard to be cool. But far too often comes off as something that would make a twelve year old cringe. Don’t get me wrong I can get into cheesy over the top nonsense but it never lands right in this game perhaps because….
  • The voiceacting: is bad. Well that’s not entirely true. Dante and V are good to fine. But Nero’s English voice actor has no range. He’s fine for banter but cannot do emotion at all.
  • Gameplay flow: The gameplay is all stops and starts. When you’re running along breaking an item stops you dead. When you enter a combat it seals you off into a small arena. It has a constant feeling of stopping and starting that makes it feel really jarring.
  • Tutorials: The game does a terrible halfway job of teaching you how to play. It has tutorials pop up and tell you what to do for some stuff, so you assume it’s showed you all there is to know. You would be painfully wrong on that front. I was over half way through the game when I realised there was an entire default skill list for every weapon in the game. Even if you aren’t going to tell the player how each moves work at least point them to this fucking information.

Indifferent

  • Loading screens: It feels like you are looking at loading screens too much. They don’t take particularly long but you do see them a lot.
  • Replayability: This is definitely a personal thing. But the game is designed for you to play through it multiple times, on harder and harder difficulties. There are 20 missions in the game and you are still unlocking weapons on Mission 19 and 20. If I’d enjoyed the game this would have been less annoying but it grates a bit that the first playthrough was basically a “practice” one.
  • Character selection: I’m not sure if it changes on subsequent playthroughs but on your first one you have to play as whatever character the mission dictates. I only truly enjoyed playing as Dante. While I liked playing as him in DMC4 I found Nero an absolute chore to play as and V I could take or leave. I would have preferred if you could always play as Dante.
  • Monster variety: I’m actually not sure about this one. Which is why it’s here. There wasn’t a huge amount of diversity but I think there was on reflection just on the border of enough.
  • The colour of Dante’s coat: It was a really faded out red. Perhaps I’m misremembering but I always thought it was more vibrant.
  • Combat options: Every character has a fucking ton of them. To the point where its a bit intimidating. I ended up using the ones that were most accessible or easy to use not necessarily the ones that were best suited to the gameplay at hand. I feel the poor tutorial system was part of this but so was my own laziness and disinterest in investing in the game.

Vent your spleen

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