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Devil May Cry 5 is Fun, Stylish, and it Shows Incredible Promise (Hands-On Preview)

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Devil May Cry 5 is Fun, Stylish, and it Shows Incredible Promise (Hands-On Preview)

It’s time I’ve come clean: I have only played Devil May Cry 4 and DMC: Devil May Cry. I have never played Devil May Cry 1-3, but since I am well-acquainted with Devil May Cry 4’s leading man Nero (Dante may claim otherwise), I went into the Devil May Cry 5 demo expecting the game to play like DMC 4. After all, Nero’s stepping up to the plate again in Devil May Cry 5, and he isn’t letting a little thing like having his arm chopped off stop him from kicking demon ass. And, I am pleased to tell you that the game doesn’t play like DMC4; it’s a bigger and badder version of DMC4.

Before I start gushing over the gameplay, I have to say Capcom has made great use of the RE Engine. Devil May Cry 5’s world is absolutely gorgeous, and Nero looks like his old DMC 4 self, if a little less anime. And, I am beyond relieved to hear Johnny Young Bosch’s voice once again coming out of Nero’s mouth. I am a sucker for voice actors reprising their roles, and I was afraid Bosch wouldn’t return after Capcom decided to recast the voice of Frank West in Dead Rising 4. It does my heart and ears good to know the talented man who brought Nero to life in DMC 4 will reprise his role.

The Devil May Cry 5 demo started off with Nero’s… let’s call it a party wagon… stopping dead in front of a giant pot hole. And when I say pot hole, I mean a giant hole gouged out by an attacking demon. Nero’s new partner in crime Nico claimed the hole was impassible, but we all know it was an excuse to let me control Nero since the party wagon would have shown up later in the level had this not been a demo. So either Nico is a filthy liar, or maybe she just wanted him to break in her Devil Breaker arms. Or just break them.

Anyone who has played Devil May Cry 4 knows how to play Devil May Cry 5. The A button (I’m going to rattle off all the buttons as provided on the Xbox One controller) had Nero jump into the air or launch off a floating, ethereal platform for a double jump. The X button shot Nero’s gun and the Y button slashed his sword. Mashing the left trigger revved up the engine on Nero’s sword for extra damage; holding down the right bumper locked onto a target, and pressing the B button activated Nero’s new Devil Breaker prostheses.

Ah yes, the Devil Breaker, the latest in ass-kicking technology designed to do everything Nero’s original Devil Bringer arm could do but so much more. Each arm has a special ability that was activated with the B button, and holding down/releasing the button unleashed a souped up version that overclocked the appendage until it broke. These super attacks ranged from riding the arm like a kickass missile surfboard to releasing a giant ray of electric doom. Variety is the name of the game with the Devil Breakers.

Now, back to the demo at hand. It really just consisted of the same old DMC fare, but that’s hardly a bad thing. I wandered a destroyed town, picked up Devil Breakers —I have to wonder how they even got there— and sliced up demons as stylishly as possible. These enemies weren’t too difficult and about the standard DMC fare we’ve come to expect, which isn’t a complaint.

As for the town, it was littered with abandoned furniture just ripe for destruction, and a few held red orbs that will be used to purchase and upgrade abilities in the main game. Oh, and then there was this “door.” It was more like an evil, bloated root of a demon tree, but Nero’s sword couldn’t cut it (pun intended) because of video game logic. No, I had to find a little parasitic demon bug to eat the root before I could move forward. Lucky for me, the little critter was waiting a few feet away. Maybe this key hunt will be harder in the main game, maybe not. Still, at least Devil May Cry 5 won’t be a pure corridor slasher.

Finally, the demo concluded with a fight against a giant demon with a mouth for a belly: the Incandescent Colossus Goliath. It’s a gloriously stupid tautology of a name that makes me want to hug whoever came up with it. Goliath was just about what we’ve come to expect from DMC’s bosses. As his name suggests, Goliath soaked up a ton of damage, laid the smack down whenever he got his oversized mitts on me, and constantly destroyed the environment.

While Goliath never puked explosive, incandescent loogies at me as he did in the game trailer, he once caught me in a vacuum that almost sucked me into his oversized maw. How did I escape? Apparently Demon Breakers can detach with a press of the left bumper and serve as an exploding decoy for quick escapes. It’s a neat technique that should make players think twice about burning a Devil Breaker for some extra damage.

While I wasn’t able to defeat G-Birkin in the Resident Evil 2 demo, I managed to force Goliath to his knees. I was tempted to smack him around with my sword, but a thought crossed my mind. What if I sacrificed one of my Devil Breakers for a final attack that would deal massive damage? That’s exactly what I did, except instead of a regular super-charged attack, Nero swung Goliath around by the tail, Mario 64-style. That final attack put an end to the fight and the demo, and I walked away grinning like a maniac.

I cannot understate my love for the Devil May Cry 5 demo. It was stylish and showed nothing but promise. My only complaint is I couldn’t play as Devil May Cry 5 newcomer V or as Dante. I wanted so badly to try out Dante’s new weaponized, transforming bike, but that simply wasn’t meant to be. Still, in the face of some devilishly good combat, that little complaint is small potatoes. I cannot wait until March 8, 2019 for the game to release on PC, Xbox One, and PlayStation 4.

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