Devil May Cry 5 - Critique
From the start, the plot of Devil May Cry 5 demonstrates its fairly unconventional character by making you participate in a fight that you are supposed to lose, probably akin to the outcome of the game. After Dante intervened to allow Nero and to V, the newcomer, to escape from Urizen, overpowered demon king, the story returns to the events that have taken place during the last three months, passing from one protagonist to another in order to explain the reasons that pushed Nero and Dante to find themselves there, as well as the circumstances that led Urizen to take power and the mysterious quest for V to stop him.
A veil of mystery envelops the characters of Urizen and V. Like Nero, I was never really sure I could trust him, and I never stopped formulating new theories about his identity and his true motivations whenever I learned new information about it. At the end of the 10 to 12 hours necessary to complete the game, a few questions still remained unanswered, but overall, the adventure turned out to be particularly engaging, with its cohort of revelations concerning the intrigue of this fifth installment and the saga in general, and its incredible deluge of action on the screen, trademark of the Devil May Cry franchise.
In appearance, the combat system seems very simple: with a button for melee attacks, one for ranged attacks and another allowing you to activate the special ability of each of the three characters. And although the possibilities it offers are actually overwhelming, it is quite possible to complete the campaign in normal difficulty mode by simply alternating these different types of attacks. Knowing that an assisted mode automatically executing devastating combos when you press a key is also part of the game, and offers casual players an overview of what can be achieved when you master the gameplay of the title on the end fingers.
The grip of Dante is much more obvious, since the latter has a gameplay "Swiss army knife" extremely close to that of its counterpart of Devil May Cry 4. It can thus alternate on the fly between four fighting styles separate (Trickster, Royal Guard, Gunslinger and Swordmaster), four melee weapons, and four ranged weapons. Its arsenal manages to successfully mix tradition and novelty: the old weapons are still as pleasant to handle thanks to a certain number of adjustments and the arrival of new techniques, while the new ones offer him a whole range of new possibilities. Dante can for example use a motorbike to crush his enemies, which will then turn into spinning blades, all in the space of a single combo.
Finally comes the turn of V, which has a gameplay very different from that of any protagonist glimpsed in the previous parts, since the latter stands apart from the fighting and is content to summon three demons to do the dirty work for him. Griffon, a bird that can launch all kinds of electrical attacks and Shadow, a kind of cat capable of changing shape and melting on enemies, are similar to a ranged weapon and a melee weapon respectively, while Nightmare , is a veritable colossus that can be summoned by V minus three bars of its Devil Trigger gauge. This one fights in a completely autonomous way, and it remains particularly enjoyable to see it emerge from a wall or split the sky to annihilate your enemies.
It is important to note, however, that your summons cannot kill your enemies. Consequently, once the latter are sufficiently weakened, V will have to teleport nearby to give them the final blow with the help of his cane. This approach gives rise to particularly classy sequences, where your character passes from one enemy to another to administer the last sacraments to them, while your invocations continue the combat in the background.
Learning to master the gameplay is particularly difficult, even according to the high standards of Devil May Cry in this area, since you have no control over the movements of Griffon and Shadow. Getting them to attack a particular target is very complicated, as is knowing where they stand in relation to the enemy. However, you can use part of your Devil Trigger gauge to let them attack independently, allowing you to focus on dodging. Finally, be aware that when you benefit from a brief moment of calm, you can read one of V's favorite works to fill this gauge ... or play the violin to taunt your opponents.
Despite this novel approach, the missions in which you play V are by far the least interesting of the lot, mainly because its possibilities of movement are much more restricted than those of Dante and Nero. But that does not mean that these levels are bad. Once you have some improvements for Shadow and Griffon and you have made the particular rhythm of the clashes, the unique gameplay of V is even very pleasant, and the developers had the good idea to dispense these phases sparingly adventure thread to avoid overdose.
The visual and audio rendering of Devil May Cry 5 is simply to die for. The style and personality of the different characters shows through in the slightest animation, whether it be Nero's attacks that see him waltz through the levels, Dante's arrogant jokes targeting the different bosses he faces, or manners subtle of V which reinforce its mysterious side.
Much more linear than in the past and less focused on solving puzzles, the level design adopted by this fifth installment proves to be particularly appreciable, because it allows to maintain a certain intensity and emphasizes challenges based on your skills. in combat. For example, you will have to kill a group of enemies before their weight tilts the platform, to prevent their fall from condemning access to a secret room full of bonuses. In general, the environments are much less varied than in previous games, and the adventure comes down to a succession of urban areas filled with demons and other related infernal underground chasms.
If Devil May Cry games have always had a reputation for being difficult, ending the game by selecting the default difficulty mode is not insurmountable. In reality, it even turns out to be rather permissive, if you only want to see the end of the adventure. When you die, you can use a golden orb, which will not only resuscitate you, but also fill your health gauge and your Devil Trigger gauge. These are quite abundant: you find them by exploring the levels, get one a day as a daily connection bonus, or thanks to the strange cameo system, which records your character's ghost in certain levels and offers it to other players, who can rate your performance. In addition, if you run out of golden orbs (which happened to me towards the end of the adventure), you also have the option of spending much more common red orbs to resuscitate and fill your bar with health.
Staying alive isn't the main challenge in Devil May Cry anyway. As stated at the beginning of the article, it is not only a question of overcoming enemies, but of doing it in style. Achieving an SSS rank is an arduous and motivating objective, which more than compensates for the lack of basic difficulty of the title. To this end, I jumped at every opportunity to acquire new techniques, which is particularly rewarding, given that Devil May Cry 5 constantly offers you new abilities - be it a new form, weapon or Devil Breaker - and all can be improved. At the end of the adventure, my three characters were like almighty gods, and I still had a lot of improvements to unlock for the Son of Sparda mode, which is roughly akin to a New Game +, where the real difficulty of Devil May Cry 5 begins to reveal itself.
A good combat system is not worth much if the enemies offered are not fun to fight, and from this point of view, Devil May Cry 5 perfectly meets the particularly high standards established by the previous parts of the franchise. You have a whole bunch of basic enemies, which you can martyr at leisure and which allow you to develop your combos, tougher enemies requiring the use of a specific strategy to bypass their defenses, and adversaries generally not very resistant but capable of inflicting heavy damage on you with ranged attacks if you give them free rein. This observation is also valid for bosses, with some fights occurring late in the adventure appearing among the most intense that the series has known. The latter are also very varied, with gigantic and overpowered monsters, others agile and elusive, and frantic duels requiring excellent reflexes and a careful balance between attack and defense.