Devil May Cry 5: hands-on preview

Capcom had another strong showing at this year’s Tokyo Game Show. Last year it was all about the Monster Hunter World demos; this time the focus was on Resident Evil 2 Remake and Devil May Cry 5. The double-scenario RE2 demo was excellent, but it was the stylish Devil May Cry 5 that took centre stage at Capcom’s booth.

DMC 5, the first mainline DMC in a decade, will feature three playable characters, two of whom will be instantly recognisable. Nero and Dante are our returning demon slayers, and the TGS-announced V is our mysterious new addition.

The TGS demo focused on Nero, a brash, mildly annoying demon hunter with nice hair. He’s dropped into the middle of a London look-alike, which is currently having a spot of demon trouble. Fortunately, Nero is quite good at dealing with all manner of beasts. To be fair, it would be a far less interesting game if he weren’t.

So, demons have broken out from wherever they usually congregate and are causing mischief, as they often do. Nero and his engineer, Nico, are on the case. Nero is arrogant, full of swagger, and never short of something to say. He is the kind of character you’ll either enjoy or want to push off a cliff, depending on your tolerance for cocky pricks. Personally, I quite like him.

Combat is reassuringly familiar, but there are also some welcome additions. As ever, the brawling is fast paced yet retains a satisfying heft; it’s easy to get into, but difficult to master. The combos initially rack up with little effort, as you juggle enemies mid-air and switch between different weapons. However, to achieve the higher ranks you need to be paying attention and be as inventive as the weapons at your disposal will allow.

Nero wields his trusty blade, Red Queen, supplemented by a double-barreled pistol and a prosthetic arm, Devil Breaker. By swapping between arm attachments, different types of attacks can be accessed. Some pack a heavy, close-range punch; others fire projectiles, and another acts as a grappling hook of sorts, allowing you to close distances fast – a great way to keep your combo counter ticking when the hordes start to spread thin. These attachments were littered across the stage, which made it easy to switch on the fly and try out different techniques.

There’s an optional lock-on which became necessary when fighting larger groups. When not using it, I found that the camera occasionally struggled to frame the action. I’d momentarily lose track of Nero as the camera failed to maintain an unobscured line of sight. Hopefully, this will be a minor issue in the final build.

The demons are an ugly bunch. The most common were mantis-like, with deformed, hairy heads. The end-of-level demon towered above these lesser nightmares and had a slightly more attractive head, comparatively anyway. His stomach opened up into a fiery maw that consumed and spat out debris, which you must dodge with perfect timing. This final fight was quite the spectacle. It started on a church roof, which Nero and the big nasty soon crashed through, before ending in a ruined courtyard. It looked and sounded great, and I hope it’s representative of the kind of encounters we can expect in the full game.

We shall find out next Spring when Devil May Cry 5 launches on PS4, Xbox One and PC.

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Written by Matt M

Matt has been a gamer ever since Father Christmas left him a Master System II in the early 90's. Santa was clearly a Sega fan, as a Mega Drive and Saturn would follow in later years. Matt has long since broken free from the shackles of console monotheism and enjoys playing a wide range of games, almost as much as he enjoys meticulously ordering them on his living room shelves.

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