Games: Devil May Cry 5 is the finest hack-n-slasher in the business

Devil May Cry 5 – well worth the wait
Neil McGreevy

Devil May Cry 5 (Multi)

By: Capcom

CAPCOM has been mining nostalgia with sweaty gusto of late, and hot on the heels of their hit reimagining of late 90s creepshow Resident Evil 2 comes a reboot of the survival horror's bastard offspring, Devil May Cry.

After 2013's Western-developed, Alex Garland-scripted DmC, it's back to Japan for the fifth in their revered series of gothic action orgies. Set in the London-styled Red Grave City, the mysterious V bumps into Nero and his four-wheeled version of the Devil May Cry agency.

On the hunt for the demon who pilfered his arm, Nero, V and series star Dante team up to rid the world of an evil tree (!) that's draining the locals of their red stuff. Our demonic deciduous has bark and bite, but by wielding firearms and swords in a dance of death against the worst hell can belch at them, our terror-trouncing threesome take out the trash with bullets, blades and beasts.

The resulting combo-rich savagery manages to evoke the classic DMC style as players chain attacks together, switching between our ghoul-whupping gadabouts every few missions. Dante has four switchable styles culled from the series' best while Nero's empty sleeve can be stuffed with various forms of the Devil Breaker prosthesis.

The best new addition, however, is brooding beastmaster V, who fights from afar with the help of his panther and bird, looking for all the world like Adam Driver in some S&M Kes.

A change of pace from the sword n' trigger-happy Dante and Nero, V conducts his savagery from a distance, sending in bestial buddies to handle the dirty work. It's ridiculous, of course, but in that vintage Devil May Cry way. And that's what makes DMC5 such a treat.

When the last effort, DmC, turned its stars into ebony-locked goth pretty boys, the developers received death threats from rabid fans incensed at seeing their heroes reduced to zeitgeist-surfing, Nathan Barley-esque gits.

Fifth time around returns to the DMC we know and love, with leather-jacketed biker hunks and unapologetically old-school smackdowns as campy as they are over the top.

It's a vintage romp that embraces the camp with fan service galore, boasting an anime swagger that ensures you're the ultimate badass. In 2019, it's gloriously anachronistic, with no open world, no crafting, no loot, no always-online and no game-changing microtransactions (you can buy power ups but it's totally ignorable).

Entirely linear and gloriously daft, it's gaming the way grandma used to make and cornier than her feet. Suited and booted for 2019, DMC5's overwrought, neon-soaked chic is a real head-turner, the switch to a photo-realistic art style stretching Capcom's RE Engine to insane levels.

Best of all, the Deluxe Edition boasts pre-vis cut-scenes that replace its polished CGI epics with live action Michel Gondry-esque production clips where random Japanese stuntmen in bin-bags tackle paper-cup bosses in a bats**t crazy celebration of development's labours of love.

Capcom's Osaka division has hit a rich vein of form of late. With Monster Hunter World, Resident Evil 2 and, now, the finest hack n' slasher in the business, the wait for an official fifth Devil May Cry has been well worth it.

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