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Devil May Cry 5 Demo Hands On impressions

An Xbox One demo version has been released for Devil May Cry 5! Here are some impressions after plowing through demons as Nero, and slaying the mighty Goliath! Only an Xbox One demo is available currently.

Devil May Cry 5 Demo Hands On impressions

Introduction

Devil May Cry 5 is the long awaited fifth entry to the acclaimed stylish action series, developed by Capcom. The game features three playable characters: Returning Nero, Dante, and newcomer V. The game is set to take place the latest chronologically in the timeline. There have been many public events with different playable demos of the game, but Capcom has recently allowed all Xbox One users to rev up their swords and try the game out. Here are my thoughts on the experience with the demo.

Devil May Cry 5 Demo Hands On impressions-Hitting an enemy into the air

Gameplay

The demo only has Nero playable, from a pretty early section in the game. Nero still has the same devil arm and gun from Devil May Cry 4, the Red Queen and the Blue Rose. The Red Queen sword handles practically the same, with so far most of the same combos and ability to rev up the power of the sword like an engine. One difference I noticed, was that the EX-Act (basically the ability to rev up the sword during combos) was much easier than previously. The Blue Rose definitely feels a bit different, as the rate of fire feels more like a burst and and the charge shot (provided that's what I was doing when a more powerful shot was fired), was more like a multi hit attack rather than one large shot.

In Devil May Cry 4, Nero also had a unique arm called the Devil Bringer. In this game however, certain events happened where Nero lost his Devil Bringer. Nico, a new character, builds mechanical arms for Nero to use in battle which are now called devil breakers. One of the two devil breakers in the demo called Overture, releases a giant hand shaped electric blast, and when charged up can place a bomb on an enemy that can be detonated via gun shot. The other arm, Gerbera, shoots a close range shockwave that Nero can also use to propel himself forward or backward in the air. When charged up it can release a controllable laser on the ground, or shoot a bunch of smaller richocheting lasers if Nero is airborne. To me the Overture was better for it's regular attack, but the Gerbera has a more useful and satisfying charged up action.

Using the charge attacks for the devil breakers breaks them and shifts to the next one. They can also shift by pressing the left bumper to break them, and/or being attacked by an enemy while doing a devil breaker attack. While having a finite use is understandable considering their power, I feel being unable to manually switch to the devil breaker you want without breaking it is a bit limiting. While Devil May Cry is typically about challenge and strategy, it's also about experimentation and freedom. Switching the devil breakers like that, feels like punishing the player for wanting to mix it up and change tactics. Supposedly there will be a devil breaker that will allow free switching of devil breakers in the deluxe edition of the game, but that will take up a devil breaker slot and a feature like that shouldn't be restricted to an item.

Devil May Cry 5 Demo Hands On impressions-Battle with Goliath
The enemy variety wasn't incredibly vast, but it was only one short level, and other footage of the game shows there's a many flavors of demons to vanquish. It was great to see new enemies be introduced like the insect demons, but also bring back some previous enemeis like the Hell Prides from Devil May Cry 3. The battles with the lesser demons themselves, weren't that challening. Occasionally I would take a hit or two from them, but they generally were pushovers.

Goliath, the boss that awaited Nero at the end of the demo, was certainly more challening. While I played the demo about 3 or 4 times, and only lost to Goliath once, he definitely made me work for my victory each time. He was fairly aggressive and some of his attacks covered a lot of area, not to mention it was pretty risky using charged devil breaker attacks against him. It would have been even harder, if there weren't green orbs (essentially health pickups in Devil May Cry) in the center of the boss area. On the subject of health, this will also be the first game in the series where there's no health items to manually use mid game. While that sounds like it could hurt the game in the longrun, for the sake of the demo I honestly forgot that was even the case.

Evading seemed much less clunky and even seemed to have new animations, after a few previous entries using practically the same dodge. Another new feature is the camera staying much closer to the character when not engaged in battle. This sounded questionable at first, but seeing it first hand actually worked rather well. It gives a different feel to the game at the points when you're not battling demons.  

Devil May Cry 5 Demo Hands On impressions-Nero taunting Goliath

Graphics and Sound

The game runs on the RE Engine which is what Resident Evil 7's use. Resident Evil 7 looked gorgeous to me, and so does this game. The overall look of the game has a dark yet colorful look that just mixes together so well and actually fits the tone of Devil May Cry very well. The photo realistic appearance of the characters took some time adjusting to, but the more previews of the game I saw, the more I warmed up to their new looks. While there was very little cutscenes in the demo, the one before the boss fight retained the spirit of past games. With self aware, over the top action, and quips that Nero said to Goliath before the fight.  

The music is fantastic, especially Nero's battle theme "Devil Trigger". In battle the game uses a dynamic shift, where the music is significantly toned down at first, but when your style meter increases the music slowly starts to become louder and play more of it's components. As for the sound effects, nothing totally stood out though the demon noises and explosive sound effects are definitely impactful.  

Devil May Cry 5 Demo Hands On impressions-Final Shot from the demo

Overall

While this is just a taste of what to expect from Devil May Cry 5, it's a great start from what I've played. It looks and feels like Devil May Cry done in a more modern gaming era, while still staying true to it's roots. The combat and feel of the game was pretty smooth and tight as one would expect from the series. Only issues I found with it are again the lack of option to switch between devil breakers without breaking one, and it would be great if more was added to at least Nero's arsenal of weapons and new combos, outside of the devil breakers. Even though I personally still enjoyed Ninja Theory's 2013 "reboot" DmC, I think Devil May Cry will be going in an even better direction come March 8th, 2019.

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Did you see any evidence of the old style of level design? Like the idea of one massive level as an unfolding puzzle with combat interspersed? Or has it ended up more linear?

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