20 Minutes of Devil May Cry 5’s Excellent Combat

By Heather Alexandra on at

Devil May Cry 5 doesn’t release until Friday, but I’ve played it and had a veritable shedload of fun. Each of its three protagonists plays differently, with neat quirks and flashy moves. Tim Rogers and I played as all of them, in order to break down their smokin’ sexy styles.

Oh, yeah. If you want to know nothing about the abilities you unlock in Devil May Cry 5, maybe avoid this video for now.

I’m pretty good at character action games, even if there’s always room to get better. (I know this because I watch YouTubers who have the time to devote their lives Bayonetta. I’m decent but those folks are wild.) Devil May Cry 5's combat is incredibly intuitive, to the point that most players will grab coveted S ranks or even SSS ranks on each encounter. There’s a lot of variety here, with three characters providing different experiences.

Nero, the protagonist from Devil May Cry 4, returns as an aggressive demon hunter with tons of flashy tricks. He can rev his sword like a motorcycle for extra damages and special attacks, but he also has access to “Devil Breakers.” These are special prosthetic limbs that have a variety of effects. For instance, the Overture can blast monsters with lightning, while the Punch Line detaches to automatically attack foes. Time thing right and you can even fly around on your mechanical arm to do tricks. Nero is about getting in enemies faces and feels the most straightforward out of all the characters. He’s great for learning the basics.

Then there’s V, a newcomer who fights using summoned familiars. He moves slowly and is very fragile but commands a cool panther pal and a foul-mouthed bird bud. He can even summon a massive golem. The idea is to use your animal friends to damage enemies and then finish them off using V. The play style is deliberate and focuses on being in the right place at the right time. It’s great.

Of course, you’ve got Dante too. Dante can do everything. He has tons of weapons including swords, shotguns, nunchucks, punching gauntlets, and his dual pistols. He also can assume one of four stances: Gunslinger, Swordmaster, Trickster, and Royal Guard. These should be familiar to series fans, and each grants different effects. For instance, Swordmaster unlocks extra melee moves for each weapon, while Royal Guard allows for punishing counter attacks.... if you block at the right time. Dante’s a complex character who is a Master of Everything. He’s hard to master but really fun to experiment with. No matter what, you’re bound to find a style you enjoy.

I’ve played through Devil May Cry 5 once on default difficulty and hope to start on the harder modes soon. Having unique characters whose intricacies I can learn is fantastic, and it’s encouraged me to try to go from Pretty Good, Actually to Hopefully Excellent. I hope this preview gives an idea of what to expect in Devil May Cry 5, and gets you eager for beating up bug-dudes and shadowbeasts in the most stylish ways imaginable.