Devil May Cry 5 preview

It’s been a long 10 years since fans last got a proper Devil May Cry game, interrupted only by the controversial reboot /spin-off DmC - developed by Ninja Theory - but Capcom gave fans what they were looking for at E3 this year when it announced the impending release of Devil May Cry 5.

A proper continuation of the original series, the new game is once again being developed in-house at Capcom, with plenty of series veterans back at work developing it, and even the original voice actors of player characters Nero and Dante back for the big reunion.

At Gamescom 2018 Capcom finally revealed a playable demo of the game to press, and I was lucky enough to sit down and put it through its paces. Though in the interests of disclosure, I have never played a single Devil May Cry game before, so take this as the perspective of a total series newbie.

Devil May Cry 5: Release date and platforms

Devil May Cry 5 is set to make its debut roughly 11 years after its predecessor, with a release currently set for 8 March 2019. When it arrives it’ll be playable on PS4, Xbox One, and PC. If you want to get your pre-order organised early, you can head to GAME (£54.99) and Argos (£54.99) in the UK and Amazon ($59.99) in the US. We assume there will be more outlets offering the game once we get closer to release!

Devil May Cry 5 preview

Capcom is billing Devil May Cry 5 as a return to the classic series form after the slight reinvention of DmC, meaning it’s a fast-paced hack-and-slash that rewards you for how stylish your combos are as much as how much damage they do.

The game will let you play as Dante, Nero (sporting a new haircut) or an as-yet-unknown third character, but our 20-minute demo was with Nero, tearing through hordes of demons with his sword, guns, and interchangeable demon robot arms. It’s not a subtle game.

Combat starts off simple, but naturally, there’s plenty of room for complexity. Different buttons each handle attacks with Nero’s three weapon types, and to succeed (and earn a stylish rating) you’ll have to string them together into slick combos - though there’s an optional Auto-Assist mode that gives you easy access to a few simple combos to help you along if you’re new.

Most of that is pretty standard stuff of course, but Nero’s Devil Bringer arm is where it gets more interesting. This deals serious damage in a single hit, but if you get hurt mid-attack you’ll lose the arm entirely - as you will if you use a suped up area-of-effect attack that intentionally destroys your current Devil Bringer.

Luckily you can carry a few of them, with different types of arms offering different attacks. It’s an interesting wrinkle of strategy to worry about mid-fight - do you resist using your Devil Bringer in hectic fights to avoid running out of them, or even burn through the one you’ve got equipped to get to a more powerful one in your inventory?

It’s a Devil May Cry game, which means you’re fighting demons. We ran through a few different types, from winged bugs to giant tentacles erupting from a London street, culminating in a battle against a towering boss called Goliath, a furry thing that could spew fire from an extra mouth in its stomach. If there’s one thing this game isn’t, it’s boring.

That boss battle was preceded by a cutscene that shows off Nero’s slightly dubious wit, and hints at a plot that might make more sense to you than me: something about collecting a fruit and becoming king of the underworld.

The boss fight it led to was brilliant though, with Goliath smashing through the building as the fight progressed, alternating between great swinging blows and the aforementioned flamethrower in his belly. Getting the hang of his attack rhythms was simple enough - if anything the fight seemed slightly easy considering I’m brand-new to the series - but this looked like a very early section of the game, so no doubt the threat level will ramp up considerably.

For such an ugly creature, he also looked fantastic. Or rather, the whole game does, running as it is on Capcom’s fancy new REngine, the same tech that powers Resident Evil 7 and the upcoming Resident Evil 2 remake.

The engine handles the shift to a very different style of game surprisingly well, with fast, fluid animations (a must for a precision fighter like this), shiny particle effects, and impressively lifelike facial animations during the cutscenes.

If you want to see it in action yourself, you can watch me play through the full Gamescom demo over 18 minutes right here. Please don’t judge my skills too harshly:

SHOULD I BUY DEVIL MAY CRY 5?

A 20-minute slice of a game isn’t always a lot to go on, not least when there are still two whole playable characters we’re yet to see in action at all. Still, coming from a first-timer, this looks like exactly what I’d want from a modern Devil May Cry: frantic, over-the-top, and packed with the sort of tactics and tricky combos that I know I’ll never be able to master.

For anyone that abandoned all hope after DmC, maybe it’s time to give Dante another chance.