- Developer: Capcom
- Publisher: Capcom
- Genre: Single player Hack and Slash
- Release Date: 8/3/19
- Platforms: Xb1/PS4/Pc
- Reviewed on: PS4
- Game Supplied by: Publisher
I have to be honest, I played the DMC5 demo on both my Xbox1 X, and my PS4 Pro, and was hugely unimpressed. The combat felt light, over complicated, and just wrong. It didn’t feel right. So much so I decided not to buy the game, and that hurt because my go to games, are linear hack and slash. However after receiving the deluxe version of the game to review, I put those negative thoughts aside to see if the final product was better. It is. MUCH better.
The first thing to grab your attention is the 60 frames per second, incredibly detailed and smooth graphics. They are superb, dare I say, even in more clarity than God of War. It truly is a special game to look at with stunning accurate character definition, detail, textures and fantastic lighting. The lip movement is the only thing to give away that your looking at computer generated characters. The technical achievement of having everything at 60 fps can not be underestimated. I personally want to see better frame rates in games not better fidelity, but here you have it both! Finally the power of the consoles are being realized. My only gripe with the graphics is the colour pallet of the artwork is mainly, well, ahem, fifty shades of grey, which only becomes an issue during some aspects of the combat.
The next thing to hit you is the excellent stylish, brilliant audio, filled with proper good tubthumping, catchy tunes, as well as a great musical score. Many different artists have laid down tracks for this game, and the triple A quality of the music shows. Also great is the in game audio. The weapons sound authentic, meaty, and weighty, the environmental acoustics authentic. Crumbling buildings, the scatter of small rocks, the powerful blasts from your devil breakers. The audio is all encompassing, engrossing, and simply fantastic.
The story of the game, frankly is probably the weakest aspect. The series does follow a timeline, and DMC5 carries on from DMC4, but it’s not exactly an award winning interesting tale. Bad guy destroying the world, three people have to stop him sums it up. It’s a shame because the voice acting, and characters are very engaging, with a great delivery of their dialogue, it’s just a shame the overall story arc is well, dull.
The combat I felt was new, innovative, but doesn’t quite hit the mark. It’s sorta simple, but sorta hard. Let me explain. One of the best aspects of the last game DMC, was the intuitive, responsive sword / gun play. You didn’t need much thought to string together superb combo’s of different actions. Here though, there are three styles per character you play. Each has the same button inputs for their own different moves. For example Triangle, pause, Triangle Triangle, will do three different things depending on who you are playing as.
Nero – his style is he has a mechanical arm called devil breakers. These are mechanical arms you can add that have different abilities. So now combat has one button for the sword, one for the guns, and one for the devil breaker. Devil breakers also have limited use so can’t be mashed in combat with free abandon, like the swing of the sword or gun can. There are over 100 different Devil Breakers to find each slightly different, so remembering what each of them does, especially in the frantic moment of combat is hopeless. You just mash and forget.
The Mysterious one called V – His character is weak so he has two animals for you to control. His style is more fight from a distance. He has a Hawk, that attacks using the Square button, and a Panther that attacks using the Triangle. Both can be used at the same time if you can get your fingers around it. What i found difficult with this system is the left stick controls V’s movement but also is part of a combo for each of the animals attacks. For example, R1, Left stick back and Triangle effects a move for your panther, but also moves V back. Then the final aspect of V’s combat is the animals he controls can’t kill anything, V has to finish them off by being close and then press circle for a stylish finisher when the enemy is weak.
Although V’s combat is the most complicated of the bunch i actually found it easiest to get higher style ratings using him.
Finally there is Dante – Frankly his combat I found the most comfortable to play with. It felt familiar, expressive, fun and rewarding. Dante, has his trusted weapons Ebony/Ivory hand guns, shotgun, sword, melee gloves and half a motorbike. Yes half a motorbike to weild and slaughter demons with. His power move is to turn into a demon himself for extra power.
The problem I have with the combat was, whoever you are playing as is it’s not the most intuitive combat system as you will find in a hack and slash game, and therefore felt at odds with the player. It took too much thought to do what most games have has basic actions. Obviously the more you play the more you get used to it, but when the action gets frantic, sometimes the last thing you can remember is the three button input for a certain action and you just fall back to the simple, and I hate to admit it, button mashing.
This also isn’t helped by the fact as mentioned before the colour pallet of the game is grey. During hectic fights, especially with V, V himself is mainly black with a leather coat, his panther black, his eagle black, his power move demon, is yes you guess it black, on grey backgrounds fighting mainly grey enemies, crowding the screen. With all this “ 50 shades of Grey “ on screen, flying around, it is at times it’s impossible to see what each character is actually doing let alone remember that a certain move you want to do is Triangle, Triangle, pause, Triangle Triangle Triangle.
However after a few hours you get to a point you understand when you use what tools you posses. The devil breakers, for example, are used sparingly but when used in the right situation are life savers. There are other super moves for each character too like summoning a demon when gauges are filled or holding buttons increases the power of attacks, but these take time to build up the power.
So although there are new ways to play, simple inputs for slightly over complicated fighting styles, it was still utterly satisfying combat, experimenting in not just how to dispatch enemies but how to do it in the most glorious of styles and means possible to get better ratings for it. Chaining combos was a game in the game itself and you get rewarded for doing so. But then the games central theme is style.
The amount of slo mo stylish cuts scenes is ridiculous, but so much fun to watch. The more stylish your combat the more rewards you get to upgrade weapons and abilities. These upgrades add to the fun of combat and encourage you to go for more.
The combat also has a wide selection of enemies to learn and fun boss fights to defeat. Mix that with a few environmental simple puzzles and there is a lot to keep the player interested as you slaughter your way through the interesting levels.
Lastly there are a few hidden extras, like the online aspect. I believe this works in a similar way to the dark souls system where players can team up, leave hints of what’s to come etc. However, I didn’t find anyone to interact with so not really sure how this worked.
There is NOTHING wrong with a linear non open world game, especially if it’s done well and DMC5 is a perfect example of this. It’s old school, beat this to progress, find a few secret areas on your way and collectables as you go, but it’s focused, fun, and highly entertaining. Gaming needs more linear experiences like this. I’m tired of spending ages just to get from one area to the next. Give me a great linear experience everyday !
DMC5 is a stylish, well made, entertaining, superb looking and sounding, satisfying experience. I was disappointed, mainly with the story, but also to a point the awkward, not smooth combat and the colour pallet of mainly grey. You can get used to the combat and express yourself eventually, but I prefer other games combat systems.
Because there are so few linear hack and slash games on current gen, ( there were loads on last gen ) and it’s been a while since we’ve had a good new one ( God of War ) I feel DMC5 will get scores higher than it should. As a purveyor of hack and slash games, I don’t feel this is the best hack and slash experience you can get, ( God of War 3 HD remaster is the best, then the DMC HD remaster ) but it’s most certainly up there and I hope makes way for many more.