Devil May Cry 5

Dis­pos­able ex­plod­ing ro­bot arms and frus­trat­ing cam­era con­trols

PC GAMER (US) - - CONTENTS - Tom Se­nior

I found the con­stant switch­ing of the roboarm move dis­rup­tive

Nero has had his de­mon arm from Devil May Cry 4 ripped from his body and he’s re­placed it with a suc­ces­sion of dis­pos­able ro­bot arms in Devil May Cry 5. In the playable Gamescom demo, dis­pos­able ro­bot arms lit­ter the streets. I find one on a ledge near some fridge-sized in­sect mon­sters. I find three in a plaza just be­fore a boss fight. Devil May Cry is hardly the most re­al­is­tic hack-and-slash se­ries around, but this is bizarre. There are two types of roboarm in the demo: Blue and green, though the fi­nal game will have eight ver­sions. The blue arm has a thrust­ing elec­tric at­tack. The green arm gives you a spi­ralling up­wards leap at­tack that takes en­e­mies with you. Nero au­to­mat­i­cally equips the most re­cent arm you‘ve picked up, and the only way to switch to an­other arm is to blow your cur­rent one to ash us­ing the left bumper on your con­troller. The ex­plo­sion serves as a big area-of-ef­fect combo fin­isher, or an over-the-top way of dis­card­ing an arm you don’t want. If you run out of roboarms you have to keep fight­ing one-handed with Nero’s tra­di­tional throt­tle-pow­ered sword and dou­ble-bar­relled re­volver.

The new arm at­tacks look and feel pow­er­ful, and they pro­vide more va­ri­ety than the old DevilMayCry4 devil arm, but it feels strange to have a part of Nero’s moveset change based on what he hap­pens to pick up on the floor. I can see the in­tent. There’s a risk/re­ward dilemma to choos­ing where and when you det­o­nate an arm. You can also charge up your arm at­tack—re­ferred to as a ‘devil breaker’— but if you take a hit while pow­er­ing up the arm breaks use­lessly. The sys­tem also raises the skill ceil­ing for play­ers who want to mas­ter the game. To earn the most slick, high-scor­ing com­bos I ex­pect you need to know how each arm fits into a chain ef­fec­tively.

In this demo the green arm was a great ini­tia­tor be­cause you can carry a cou­ple of en­e­mies into the air and start jug­gling. The blue arm blasts en­e­mies back, so if you want to con­tinue a combo you need to lasso the fly­ing demons with the arm, or go chas­ing with a lock-on thrust at­tack. Hope­fully, all eight arms have dis­tinct char­ac­ter­is­tics that give them a com­bat role you want to work into com­bos.

I love the im­proviza­tional com­bat and sense of speed and flow in DevilMayCry, but I found the con­stant switch­ing of this im­por­tant roboarm move dis­rup­tive dur­ing my 30 min­utes with the demo. You are seem­ingly never forced to throw away an arm, so you can the­o­ret­i­cally stick with the one you like as long as you don’t ac­cess its most de­struc­tive abil­i­ties (blow­ing it up). That’s clearly not how you’re sup­posed to fight, but in this demo the dis­tri­bu­tion of arms in the en­vi­ron­ment felt ar­bi­trary and dif­fi­cult to plan around.

point of view

Apart from the new arm me­chanic, ev­ery­thing else is very fa­mil­iar and tech­ni­cally im­pres­sive at points. But while this is eas­ily the best-look­ing DevilMay Cry game, there are prob­lems even more wor­ry­ing than the arm sys­tem. The cam­era was a com­plete mess for sev­eral sec­tions. Dur­ing a boss fight, the cam­era reg­u­larly tried to wrench me away from the des­ti­na­tion I was try­ing to reach. When I tried to dash for a health globe in the ru­ins of a nearby health foun­tain, I had to go to war with it, my right stick fight­ing the game’s strong urge to swivel the view­point back to the boss.

I love the se­ries, and I dearly want it to come back strong, but DevilMayCry5 needs to be bet­ter than this demo if it wants to take its crown as the best third-per­son ac­tion game on PC.

A new en­gine means fancier at­tacks.

All the old sword com­bos are back.

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