Five Years Ago, Capcom Perfected the Action Game

Devils never cry.

Devil May Cry 5
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At the turn of the century, Devil May Cry redefined the very idea of an action game, creating a 3D experience focused on intense, stylish action that had players stringing together complex combos. Countless iconic games, including Bayonetta and NieR, would follow in its footsteps. But 18 years later, the series would come full circle, perfecting the “stylish action” genre it helped create. Devil May Cry 5 is simply one of the best action games ever created.

When Devil May Cry 5 released in 2019, it had been over a decade since the series’ last entry. That’s a massive amount of time, filled with drastic amounts of change for both action games and the industry at large. However, DMC 5 took to redefining the franchise with gusto, making sure the heart of Devil May Cry was intact while pushing its tight action combat into the modern era.

Devil May Cry 5 pushed the series’ trademark style into a ridiculous new era, with slick action and an absurd story to back it up.


Devil May Cry has always had an edgy rebellious spirit, and that’s alive and well in DMC 5. The super stylish opening credits feature a dazzling scene of protagonist Nero gliding through the air, twisting and turning over game credits as he massacres demons. It’s an astounding scene that masterfully sets the tone for the rest of the experience — a roller-coaster ride of action that never lets off the gas.

Story-wise, DMC 5 takes place a few years after the end of Devil May Cry 4, this time following a trio of playable characters. Longtime protagonist Dante returns, while DMC 4 hero Nero comes back, working alongside Dante at the Devil May Cry agency. The wild card is a mysterious man named V, who commands demons to do his fighting.

DMC 5’s story is briskly paced and filled with big moments that support the raucous tone, like Dante dancing like Michael Jackson when he gets a new weapon, or Nero screaming “F*%& you,” before transforming in the final boss fight. It’s off the wall and over the top in the best way possible, but the real heart of DMC 5 lies in its phenomenal combat, giving players a wealth of tools to devastate enemies in the smoothest battles you’ll ever find.

DMC 5’s combat is easy to pick up but holds a ton of depth, giving you dozens of options at your fingertips.


The beauty of DMC 5 lies in its trio of protagonists, who each bring a wildly different playstyle. Nero’s gameplay revolves around his cybernetic arm, letting you outfit him with a variety of prosthetics that have different effects. For example, one arm lets you pull enemies toward you with a grappling wire, while another lets you shoot out a rocket that Nero can surf on. Combining these various arms with Nero’s basic sword and guns blazing attacks opens up a staggering amount of options.

Dante’s playstyle focuses entirely on his different styles and weapons, letting you swap between dynamic combo options on the fly, adjusting to situations. Some of Dante’s weapons here are utterly absurd, like a motorcycle that transforms into blades with wheels, or a white fedora that lets you dance enemies to their demise. Where Nero focuses on linking together basic attacks and arm abilities, Dante revolves around building absurd combos, pushing the game’s “Style” meter to the max.

The third playable character, V, only makes things even more interesting, as his style takes an interesting hands-off approach. Instead of attacking directly, V commands three different demons to attack: Griffon for ranged lightning blasts, a panther named Shadow for quick melee strikes, and a golem named Nightmare for big area of effect (AoE) defensive moves. To properly play V you need to learn all three demon’s combos and moves, figure out how to link all those together, and change between them as battles need.

V’s combat feels drastically different from anything the series has seen.


All three characters feel entirely different, and each one brings a unique flavor to the combat of DMC 5. Amazingly, the development team was able to create three characters that all feel rock solid to play, and who each have meaningful progression across the experience. The sheer variety on display across the game is astounding, and that’s before it starts layering in unique bosses, enemies, and mechanics for each character’s chapters. Combat just feels so responsive and satisfying in DMC 5, everything is smooth and responsive, and seeing that “Style” meter bump up in time with the music is such a dopamine hit.

Devil May Cry 5 is one of those games where it’s hard to think of a single way it could have been made better. It’s a game that’s visually astounding and mechanically satisfying in every way imaginable. The Devil May Cry formula has been polished to a blinding sheen — and no other action game has been able to come close since.

Devil May Cry 5 is available on PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S, and PC.

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