This week, Yahtzee reviews Devil May Cry 5.
As the Christ must once have said as nails were driven through his palms, "Sometimes, I wonder why I fucking bother." I devoted a whole nine brain cells to coming up with a name for the specific genre of fighting games that Devil May Cry and Bayonetta fall into - the kind where defeating all the baddies is secondary to looking damn sexy while you're doing it - and came up with "spectacle fighters", which is a good name. It conveys the important information; the tumbling syllables of "spectacle" transition nicely into the smooth finish of "fighter"; it would have fit nicely into a song lyric: ♫ Spectacle fighters make testicles lighter! ♫
But then the games industry collectively turns around and says, "We've decided we're going to call this sort of game 'character action games'." Put a straw in your mouth, stick a gas bottle up your arse, and turn yourself into a SodaStream! What the fuck is "character action"?! That doesn't tell you shit! Mavis Beacon Teaches Typing features a character and actions; is that a character action game? I hope you realize, games industry, that you need me more than I need you. There are millions of bathroom walls I could be writing this shit on; I had a really good idea for what to call PUBG clones, but I'm not going to tell you it now!
Sorry, this was supposed to transition into a Devil May Cry 5 review at some point, but I lost the thread; let's start again. Devil May Cry is a... *pfft* "character action game" and direct sequel to Devil May Cry 1 through 4; in which case, may I be the first to welcome Ninja Theory's intended reboot, DmC: Devil May Cry, to the dustbin of history! I hope you have a good time in there, hanging out with the Star Wars Expanded Universe and most of the Halloween films.
DMC 5 is so keen to bring back the previous canon, it's almost being slightly aggressive about it. Old Dante's back, looking like a member of Metallica after a near-fatal bleaching accident, as well as Nero from DMC 4; yes, the whiny teenage replacement protagonist that nobody liked. He's back with a robot arm, and he's going to keep coming back with more robot parts until you do like him. That's right; we're doing the full Raiden on this bitch. And let's have every other established character appear as well, even if they've got fuck-all to do; Trish and Lady will both appear, they will get beaten up, flash their naked botties precisely once each, and then spend the rest of the game sitting in the back of the van like two old mattresses you haven't gotten around to taking to the dump.
The plot of Devil May Cry 5 is something of a light touch, but then, that's usually the case; an evil demon king has taken over a human city, and in order to protect the humans that are all already dead, Dante and the Scooby Gang (who now literally have their own Mystery Machine) have to go in, cockily fight a few bosses, get beaten up by the unstoppable big boy a few times before having some kind of convenient revelation along the lines of "I will do whatever it takes to protect my luscious hairdo!" and turning into a demon or something. The only real curve-ball of the plot is the third playable character, V, who looks like Adam Driver auditioning for his high school production of A Christmas Carol.
More importantly, when you start your first game and are asked to pick "Human" or "Devil Hunter" difficulty, I'd advise taking "Devil Hunter". Only two difficulty settings is a tricky moment for me, a dedicated "Medium" man; you don't want to get stuck with something too hard when you've got deadlines, so I went for "Human". I mean, it seemed like the sort of thing you'd call a medium-y, average-y setting; if there were an "Insultingly Easy" mode for ickle babies, they'd have called it "Toddler", or "Frenchman". So I played "Human" and proceeded to "S Rank" every level against enemies who couldn't knock down my health bar so much as shave it, which was a tad disappointing; I mean, not playing DMC for the challenge is like going to an Indian restaurant and ordering nothing but naan breads and raita.
The challenge and stylish combat are the selling points, and of course, those two go together; the combat wouldn't feel as stylish if there wasn't the possibility of buggering it right up an un-lubricated chimney. You'll be disappointed if you play DMC 5 for the plot; the story really falls apart by the end, after all the reveals are revealed and the last few chapters descend into something halfway between Dragon Ball Z and Days of Our Lives. You'll also be disappointed if you're some kind of interior designer bereft of inspiration and are playing it for the scenery, because large chunks of it are just navigating one washed-out ruined corridor after another, that only serve to connect the fights rather than enhance them.
But the combat, at least, will give you what you want, especially if what you want is variety; it's still unlocking new weapons and fighting styles right up to the final mission. Frankly, I find that a bit obnoxious, when the game throws the Mystical Nunchakus at me when I still haven't gotten to grips with the Cerberus-Testicle Bolas and the Double-Ended Salad Tongs of Toshwahei, to say nothing of when we switch playable characters and have to change to a completely different set of combat controls, which is like suddenly having to learn to wank with your other hand. But I guess you're supposed to keep practicing; that's why it follows the usual DMC tradition of having about nine million super-hard difficulty settings that just keep unlocking and unlocking into the stratosphere. And there's something very "traditional" about Devil May Cry 5 all over, like it's more about reestablishing itself after its time in the Ninja Theory wilderness than in breaking any interesting new ground.
With the exception of what I hesitate to call the "multiplayer", which just confused the fuck out of me. The first I heard about it was after I finished a chapter and the game went, "Would you like to rate the other players' performance?", and I was like, "There was another player? Fuck, don't do this to me, DMC! I get quite enough paranoia from infused gummy bears." What it does is, there are several missions that run parallel to other missions that you do later as a different character, and in these cases, the game drops in players who are doing that character's mission to, I don't know, lend authenticity? Harmless enough as gimmicks go, but the problem was, when other players were in my game, I don't think I ever saw the fuckers; each character is kept in separated paths, so you can usually only glimpse them through windows and stuff, and they'd have almost always moved on by the time I got there, because I'm a more methodical player who eats too many infused gummy bears.
So when they asked me to rate people, I just gave them all a "thumbs up" whatever; they could have spent the whole mission sitting in the corner telling all the monsters about my erectile dysfunction, for all I fucking knew. But who cares? I guess Capcom haven't quite given up on that dubiously consensual "drop-in" multiplayer shit that ran through Resident Evil 6 like skid marks on a communal towel, but the actual effect is so minimal, it hardly seems to have been worth the bother. Capcom seem to be going through a nostalgia trip right now, and they're doing competent enough work, but while RE2 successfully brought its subject matter up-to-date, DMC 5 feels more like going through the old motions. It delivers if that's what you're into, but be careful, Capcom; you can't forever smell your own farts without getting a bit of poo on your nose.
- Still thinks long coats are trendy: Ben "Yahtzee" Croshaw
- And the unlockable costumes are complete shite. It's Dante but with black hair and coat. I could've made that myself just by half-closing my eyes
- And all the voices sound like they were recorded in a broom cupboard