Devil May Cry V Special Edition Review: Better Than The Devil You Know

Devil May Cry V is the best game in the series to date; with its eclectic cast, beautiful graphics, well-paced story and high-octane set-pieces, the game was already a bastion of the ‘character action’ genre. But with a new lick of paint, some bonus modes and a whole new playable character summoned from the depths of hell, the Special Edition of the game elevates the whole experience to a new echelon. Devil May Cry V: Special Edition – without a doubt – is the real deal.

DMC veterans may know the familiar cadence of the series re-releases by this point – and why not? Ever since Devil May Cry 3, we’ve been seeing Capcom reissue the games once the originals have had time to breathe on the market, adding new playable characters, more difficulty modes and bonus features.

The arrival of the PS5 and Xbox Series S/X provided Capcom with the perfect excuse to revisit Devil May Cry V, then, and try its hand at some of those much-hyped next-gen tricks. 

If you’re familiar with the indulgent, cinematic nonsense of the game’s story, you will immediately pick up on the ray-tracing; turns out all the broken glass and shattered windows in the city of Redgrave and all the slick, glistening pools of blood in the hellish dens of the Qliphoth are the perfect showcase for the real-time reflections Capcom has turned on in the remake.

Sure, this is no Spider-Man: Miles Morales, but DMCV: Special Edition is a perfectly cromulent demonstration of how the RE Engine is fixing to look on this budding new generation.

The Devil Wears Sparda

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The Special Edition of DMC 5 is the best way to play an already astounding game

More than anything else, you’re going to notice the loading times. One of the more irritating aspects of the Devil May Cry games, in the past, have been screens upon screens of loading in-between boisterous, testosterone-fuelled demon-baiting and insult-slinging.

Trying to complete a trial-and-error Secret Mission over and over again, only to be put off your rhythm with lethargic loading screens and awkward menus, was enough to kill your enthusiasm as a completionist. But here, now, on next-gen tech… that’s a thing of the past. 

No matter which performance mode you pick – native 4K resolution at 30fps, 1080p at 60fps, or no-ray-tracing and 120fps – you’ll find the game loads in like a dream and runs smoothly and without issue. Disabling the ray-tracing options and kicking up the 1.2x speed Turbo Mode is a dream for anyone looking to blast through their first playthrough and really get their teeth into the meat of the game (read: harder difficulties), too.

If you like things hectic, Legendary Dark Knight mode can be played which increases the number of enemies on screen at once to a frankly ludicrous number – another demonstration of what next-gen tech can do for you.

With the game running in 4K and giving you control over Dante, Nero, V and Vergil at up to 120fps, you really start to see how well this game is put together. It was evident in the last-gen version of the game, but now – on PS5 or Xbox Series X – it feels like you’re watching the whole thing again through on IMAX or something.

The character models, the animations, the deliciously-precise hitboxes… every element of what makes this a rambunctious, satisfying action game is pulled into sharp, bright focus. It’s a treat for your eyes, and a delight for your hands as the characters snap from enemy to enemy, almost like you’re willing everything to explode in a shower of particle effects and blood rather than making it happen with your eager digits.

Blood Brothers

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Every character feels wholly unique

Devil May Cry V: Special Edition comes loaded with the original campaign – that sees you weave between playing Nero, V and Dante – and a wholly new take on the original game that puts you in the shoes of perennial big bad, Vergil. Similarly to the rest of the playable cast (which is sadly still missing Lady and Trish, boo), Vergil has a plethora of stylish tricks he can call upon in order to beat back the beasts of hell.

Though a few central gimmicks are the same (motivation and a keen sense of timing are still paramount), this is not the Vergil you remember from DMC3 or DMC4.

Unlike Dante’s aggressive approach to battle or Nero’s penchant for rhythmic zoning, Vergil requires patience, concentration and arrogance. Honestly, if you ‘method’ Vergil as you play as him, you’ll come up top. You’re actually rewarded for being an arrogant lunatic – callously side-stepping enemies at the last minute, raining death after a ‘hmph’ and a dodge, taunting… all of it will increase your Concentration gauge and empower you, allowing you to unleash a flurry of ice-cold, razor-precise attacks that’ll decimate anything in your path.

In true DMC style, Vergil is relatively easy to parse at first, but incredibly hard to master. Taking on all the enemies that the three original protagonists faced throughout the campaign is tough on your first go around, but once you master Yamato (his samurai sword), Beowulf (the same gauntlets Dante has access to) and the Mirage Blades (ranged phantom blades), you’ll start seeing the jigsaw fit together.

Vergil’s Devil Trigger creates an autonomous clone that’ll fight on your behalf, reacting to your inputs to better concentrate damage on your targets. Timing, spacing and arrogant zeal are more important than ever here – but if you can align your skills, your ethereal clone and your Concentration, you can take down even the most irritating bosses in seconds. Vergil – almost as much as Dante – is a power fantasy made manifest.

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Vistas are regularly gorgeous to look at

The Verdict

Devil May Cry V remains near-perfect, and with the Special Edition, it’s loaded with bells and whistles to boot. Capcom has learned all the right lessons from DMC’s chequered past and now knows exactly how to put together a satisfying and worthwhile reissue.

Devil May Cry V: Special Edition highlights all the best bits of the base game – the level design creativity, the pacing and cinematic flair, the remarkable feel of the characters – and compounds it with a refreshing take on Vergil that makes all 21 missions a joy to play through again.

Even for players that picked this up on last-gen, this game is a steal in its mid-range price bracket and an essential purchase for anyone eager to see just what the Xbox Series X or PS5 can achieve.


Reviewed on Xbox Series X

Review copy provided by the publisher

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