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Tokyo Game Show 2018: Devil May Cry 5 Hands-On Preview

Dante's back, and this time his motorcycle is also a pair of chainsaws

Tokyo Game Show 2018: Devil May Cry 5 Hands-On Preview (EMBARGO is SEPT 22 at 8 A.M PST) 3

When I watched Dante debut during the first trailer for Devil May Cry 5, I coined him ‘Alcoholic Dante’. His pretty boy looks of old have given way to a grizzled muzzle as if years of killing demons has worn him down. After getting the chance to play the first hands-on demo with him at Tokyo Game Show 2018, I can safely say that lack of shaving aside, Dante is still just as capable of killing demons now as he did over a decade ago.

During my time with Devil May Cry 5, which is set for release on March 8, 2019, I had the opportunity to play as both Nero and Dante, the latter of whom got his very own trailer in the days beforehand. Nero had previously been playable at Gamescom 2018, but as this was my first time with the game, I opted to start off with the younger demon hunter.

The star of Devil May Cry 4, Nero undergoes quite the change from the events of the previous game. Namely, his demonic arm, Devil Bringer, has been ripped off by a villain at the start of Devil May Cry 5 and has been replaced by a series of robotic arms called Devil Breakers. There are eight different kinds of Devil Breakers available, each with their own special attacks. These range from Overture, a basic arm that fires off electrical blasts, to Punch Line, an arm that can hilariously propel itself forward like a jet, which you can subsequently ride around and slam into enemies. I enjoyed that last one far too much in all honesty.

Tokyo Game Show 2018: Devil May Cry 5 Hands-On Preview (EMBARGO is SEPT 22 at 8 A.M PST)
Devil May Cry 5 – TGS 2018 Preview Images Provided by Capcom

Rather than just being another tool to switch in and out of on a whim, Devil Breakers also force you to make tactical decisions on the fly. Each Devil Breaker can be detonated to activate a special ability called ‘Break Age’, which is a powerful attack that also destroys the arm itself. Fortunately, Nero can store several Devil Breakers at a time, but he cannot switch between them unless they are detonated. Arms are liberally scattered throughout each area, encouraging you to detonate them on a whim and pick up others that are scattered about. The variety of arms, combined with their varying degrees of utility, allow you to make use of the ones that best suit your playstyle.

This is on top of Nero’s standard weapons, which include his sword Red Queen and a hand cannon. Mixing them all together, and you can demolish demon after demon with a flurry of attacks that feels right at home if you’ve played the original. The skill rating system also returns, which awards points depending on how long or creative your combos are. As your skill rating increases with each hit you land, the tempo of the music get faster and faster, which hammers in just how fun it is to pull off ridiculous moves.

Even if you are not gifted in the ways of juggling enemies for minutes on end without taking a single hit, Devil May Cry 5 is geared towards accessibility. Throughout both my time with Nero and Dante, it’s abundantly clear just how easy it is to pick up and play the game, as there are only a few buttons to press that actually result in an attack. There’s no need to memorize intricate combos to feel like a badass; all you need to do is figure out the timing behind some attacks

Tokyo Game Show 2018: Devil May Cry 5 Hands-On Preview (EMBARGO is SEPT 22 at 8 A.M PST) 1
Devil May Cry 5 – TGS 2018 Preview Images Provided by Capcom

That’s not to say that Devil May Cry 5 isn’t complex for those looking to push the action to its limit. Whereas Nero gets by using mostly Red Queen, the Devil Breakers, and his hand cannon, Dante has a host of tools at his disposal to carve a path through the demon hordes. His iconic dual pistols Ebony and Ivory are back, as is his sword. Joining them are his motorcycle, which separates into two giant chainsaw-esque blades, a grenade launcher, a shotgun, and some good old-fashioned fisticuffs. The result is classic Devil May Cry gameplay, as switching between the weapons increases your skill rating and allows for bigger and flashier combos.

As for the weapons themselves, the standout weapon was Dante’s motorcycle. Functioning like a cross between a pair of axes and chainsaws, the motorcycle is capable of hard-hitting, heavy attacks, but can also dig into enemies if you hold down the attack button. While it’s difficult to stagger some enemies, such as the demo’s boss, it is immensely satisfying to hear the engines rev as the bike sinks into its target.

Outside of his weapons, Dante is also different from Nero in that he uses stances for combat. With a push of the directional pad, Dante can switch between one of four stances that determine his special ability. He can parry enemies, dash a short distance, improve the power of his guns, and open the door for special weapon-specific attacks depending on which form he has selected at any given time. Considering Dante’s demo was only twenty minutes long, I did not have as much time as I’d like to experiment with these, but I think the usefulness of each stance will be determined by your own preferred playstyle.

From my short time with Devil May Cry 5, Capcom’s attempt to make each character have a unique playstyle mostly works. Though Nero and Dante both wield swords and guns with aplomb, I’d say that Nero felt like the more straightforward character of the two, as I could get by just button mashing with him, whereas I actively prepared for battles as Dante. I’m curious to see how the third playable character, V, will fit in with these two, as I’m hoping for something a bit different than another wise-cracking demon hunter with swords and guns.

Tokyo Game Show 2018: Devil May Cry 5 Hands-On Preview
Devil May Cry 5 – TGS 2018 Preview Images Provided by Capcom

What was common to both characters’ sections was the spectacle. Devil May Cry 5 uses the same engine as the Resident Evil 2 remake, creating a far more realistic and down-to-earth environment than previous games. But that’s to the games benefit, as no Devil May Cry game looks amazing both in and out of the action. Fighting a boss in a darkened tunnel as Dante felt inspired, even if didn’t compare to slamming through brick walls while playing as Nero. Neither felt out of place in the grand scheme of things.

This is all to say that based on the two playable characters shown so far, Devil May Cry 5 feels like Capcom has taken what makes the series work – intricate combos, pulse-pounding action, and over-the-top weapons – and spread it across multiple characters to create a diverse action experience. We’re still months away from release, but if the rest of the game is as strong as these two brief chapters I played, players will have a lot to look forward to.


Liked this article and want to read more like it? Check out more by Preston Dosza like his reviews of BlazBlue: Cross Tag Battle, Dynasty Warriors 9 and why Monster Hunter World will succeed in the west!

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