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Read this before buying Devil May Cry 5

Years have passed since the world was graced by the wonderful ridiculousness of a Devil May Cry game. Some fans would argue that Ninja Theory's DmC: Devil May Cry doesn't count since it's a Western-developed reboot, in which case it's been more than a decade. To the joy of action game fans everywhere, Capcom plans to release Devil May Cry 5 this year on the PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Windows. These hack-and-slash adventures put style above everything, but don't mistake that for lack of substance. Although the franchise has had some missteps, DMC1 and 3 still stand as acclaimed PlayStation 2 classics, featuring a deep combat system and a high skill ceiling.

The series started as a prototype of Resident Evil 4, but it spun off into its own set of games. Dante, a demon hunter who is half-demon himself, stars prominently in the franchise, but he's no stranger to sharing the spotlight. For example, nearly half of DMC4 put players in the shoes of Nero, another hunter. Regardless of your player character, however, you can expect to fall into a rich yet complex game that constantly challenges you to be better and cooler. Once you get a good grasp of the game, you'll understand why millions of fans around the world fell in love with a game that oozes style.

Read on to find out what you should expect before Devil May Cry 5 drops on March 8.

Hideaki Itsuno is back

Since the success of DMC3, the gaming community has praised game director Hideaki Itsuno. He previously worked on Capcom's fighting games, like Power Stone 2 and Star Gladiator. That experience with the fighting genre, known for relying on precise frame data, transferred well to the hectic hack-and-slash action of DMC3.

He returned for the fourth game, which remains the best selling title in the franchise at three million copies. However, when Capcom handed the franchise over to British developer Ninja Theory, Itsuno took a backseat, acting as a supervising director. Meanwhile, he focused on the action RPG Dragon's Dogma.

While DmC: Devil May Cry was received well by critics, fans found themselves at odds with Dante's redesign. But Itsuno returned for the development of DMC5, acting as a proper director this time around. More importantly, Itsuno came back wanting to make the sequel.

"So, when the discussion came up for Devil May Cry 5, I went to Kenzo [Tsujimoto, Capcom founder] and I said ... 'Look, I want to make either Devil May Cry 5 or Dragon's Dogma 2 next,'" Itsuno said in an interview with VG247. "He said, 'Okay, do whatever you want. Do whichever one you want.' So I thought, alright, y'know what ... let's do DMC5. So we did that."

Last time on Devil May Cry

If you're new to the series, let's catch you up to speed. Dante the demon hunter is the main protagonist of the series, and he stylishly dispatches monsters left and right. He's cocky, but he has the skill to back it up. Across the various games, he's banished multiple world-ending demon lords and crossed swords with his corrupted twin brother, Vergil, on various occasions.

DMC4 tells the most recent story in the chronology, and it introduces a new character named Nero. He's cursed with a demonic right arm called the Devil Bringer. He was a follower of a cult called the Order of the Sword, but after he found out that the cult was evil, he vowed to destroy it.

The Order finds a way to create the Savior, a giant statue possessed by an evil and powerful demon. But with the help of Dante, Nero puts an end to the Savior, saving the world in the process. While Nero may seem like a random new character at first, the producers of the game and the DMC4 novelization confirm that he's actually Vergil's son and therefore Dante's nephew.

The new threat

In DMC5, a new threat looms on the horizon. Set some years after DMC4, Dante still operates his shop/demon-hunting business, called Devil May Cry. Nero opens his own branch of the same shop, providing the same services as his uncle, but he opts for a less static option. His business operates out of a mobile home recklessly driven by his friend, Nico.

In the middle of Red Grave City, a gigantic demon tree spawns without any warning. Along with it comes a new wave of demons that terrorize the city. A new and mysterious demon hunter named V approaches Dante in his shop, warning him that a powerful demon plans on using the tree to resurrect. Now it's up to Dante, Nero, and V to destroy the tree, called Qliphoth, and stop this demon threat from destroying the world.

Nero lost his Devil Bringer arm, although who or what caused him to lose it has yet to be revealed. As a replacement, Nico, who's good with gadgets, built multiple new mechanical arms. Meanwhile, recent trailers have previewed V's disdain for Dante, hinting at a strained working relationship.

Say hello to a new face

The moody, dark-haired V joins the cast for the first time in DMC5. Along with the two aforementioned demon hunters, V's addition to the playable cast brings the count up to three characters on launch.

Dante and Nero are mostly close-quarters combatants, both being accomplished swordsmen. V, on the other hand, boasts a completely different combat style. From afar, he controls two creatures at all times. Shadow takes the form of a panther, using its agility to pounce on foes. Meanwhile, Griffin the bird launches ranged attacks and helps V maneuver around the battlefield. When V reaches Devil Trigger Level 3, he summons Nightmare, a hulking golem-like beast that works alongside the other two summons. When an enemy's health reaches a certain threshold, V can swoop in and execute them, but otherwise, he can't directly attack on his own.

When creating V, Itsuno mentioned that he wanted a character that would play totally differently from the two established ones. He "had the idea of taking what you need to protect and what you need to attack with and separating those two elements." Thus, the unique concept of V was born, where he acts separately from his offensive familiars, who attack enemies while he weaves through the battlefield.

Dante's got some new toys

DMC5 wouldn't be a DMC game without Dante. The cocky demon hunter has led the majority of the franchise, and he's coming back with a couple new toys. He typically carries his sword, Rebellion, and his dual pistols, Ebony and Ivory, but he's been seen with other weapons before. Called Devil Arms, these weapons often drastically change the way he plays. His inventory has ranged from a demonic electric guitar to a box that transforms into 666 different weapons.

For DMC5, various marketing materials have shown off five new Devil Arms. The Cerberus from DMC3 returns but comes with three new forms: icy nunchucks, a fiery quarterstaff, and an electrified whip. The Balrog might be familiar to fans of the franchise, considering its similarities to the Beowulf in DMC3. It gives Dante the power to unleash powerful kicks or quick jabs, depending on which mode it's in. The demon hunter also has access to Devil Sword Sparda, a huge blade that can transform as you swing it.

If you're looking for weirder weapons, check out the Cavaliere, a demonic bike that splits into two unwieldy chainsaws. And if you aren't over your cowboy fantasies from Red Dead Redemption 2, Dante has you covered with the Faust Hat. This weapon uses red orbs — the in-game currency — to deal damage as Dante throws the hat at foes and spawns meteors from above.

The Devil Breakers

In DMC4, Nero used his Devil Bringer arm in various ways during combat. Most notably, it could be used to pull smaller enemies toward him or himself toward larger enemies. It also housed his Devil Trigger, a powerful blue specter that improves Nero's combat capabilities.

His gameplay has changed drastically in DMC5, considering he now has mechanical arms called Devil Breakers. He can swap among eight different arms that he can purchase at his shop or find in the wild. Every single one accomplishes the same pulling mechanic as his Devil Bringer in the previous game, but they each also play differently from one another. For example, the Gerbera improves Nero's mobility and gives him a shockwave that he can use to dodge attacks. Meanwhile, the Overture creates a hand-shaped arc of electricity right in front of him.

While the arms provide various advantages, they pose a risk in battle. If an enemy hits you while you're using it, the arm breaks. Additionally, each arm can be detonated, stunning every nearby enemy to give you a moment to breath. Finally, each arm has a powerful finishing move. For example, the Gerbera launches a powerful laser when charged up. However, detonating the arm or using the finisher also breaks the arm.

The Cameo System

Historically, the DMC games have always been single-player action-adventure games. Multiplayer was only featured in DMC3, which let player two control Dante's doppelganger whenever player one activated it. And in one of the boss fights in the game's Special Edition, player two could control Vergil. Otherwise, multiplayer felt mostly like an afterthought.

DMC5 plans to change that, albeit in a small yet important way. The story splits the main characters up at certain points. In some cases, they scatter, dealing with problems on their own. However, there will be times where their paths cross as the story dictates it.

Whenever that happens, the other demon hunter you aren't playing as could actually be controlled by another player, as long as you're connected to the internet. If a player can't be found, the game will use "ghost data" of people who have played those sections. Nonetheless, across your time with DMC5, you could theoretically play with someone else through what the game calls the Cameo System. While it's nothing as exciting as a fully cooperative campaign or player-versus-player action, the feature adds a minor social aspect to the game that previous titles have lacked.

Go play the demo

If you want to see for yourself whether DMC5 is a good fit for you, go ahead and download the demo right now on the PS4 and Xbox One. It went live on Feb. 7 and lets you play one mission as Nero. The demo can be completed within half an hour, depending on your skills, and it ends with an action-packed boss fight against an enemy named Goliath. Along the way, you'll have some encounters with some small-fry demons that are just challenging enough test out the various combos Nero has at his disposal.

You'll also get to play with three of his eight Devil Breakers: Gerbera, Punchline, and Overture. Each of them will drastically change the way you slay demons. For example, Gerbera keeps you on the move, nimbly dodging and weaving between enemies. Alternatively, Punchline provides some utility by locking up an enemy in a flurry of punches while you introduce other foes to your sword and gun.

Xbox One owners got to play an early version of this demo at the end of last year, but it only had two Devil Breakers and didn't include access to the shop. The currently available demo gives players a glimpse at the list of upgrades Nero can buy. However, if DMC5 is anything like its predecessors, you can expect that list to grow by the end of the full game.

Jackets with smokin', sexy style

If you're looking to buy, DMC5 retails for $60. Pre-orders net you access to alternative costumes for five characters and 100,000 red orbs, which are used to upgrade your demon hunters.

For those looking to spend a little bit extra, the Deluxe Edition sets you back $70, but it comes with some in-game goodies. Nero gets four extra Devil Breakers to use, including a Mega Buster inspired by Capcom's iconic Mega Man. Dante gets a stronger version of the Cavaliere, and players can customize the battle soundtrack with songs from previous games. Additionally, the game comes with alternate announcers for style rankings and titles, as well as live-action versions of some cutscenes.

Major fans can shell out $150 for the Collector's Edition, which comes with everything above and a few more tangible bonuses. For one, you'll get an 8" replica of Nero and Nico's mobile shop. An art book and an 11" x 17" cloth print comes with this edition, and you can represent your dedication to the franchise with a DMC5 pin and an "I

In Japan, however, Capcom sells three absurdly expensive bundles. Each one comes with a replica of one of the three playable characters' jackets (though in V's case, it's more of a robe or gown). You're looking at spending at least $5,700, though.

What the critics are saying

So now you know all about what Devil May Cry 5 has to offer. But the question remains: what do the critics think of the latest entry in the DMC series?

As it turns out, Devil May Cry 5 has a LOT of fans. Here are some of them.

IGN's Mitchell Saltzman: "Devil May Cry 5's trio of outstanding combat styles set a new high bar for the series, and its mysterious story keeps things interesting along the way." Score: 9.5/10

GameSpot's Matt Espineli: "DMC5 proves the series can still be brilliant and imaginative without compromising its longest-held traditions." Score: 9/10

Kotaku's Heather Alexandra: "Devil May Cry 5 is a firework. If you're the one with the lighter, then setting the explosion off is a simple as flicking your finger. If you're watching someone else, it's more than enough to enjoy the bright colors and noise. Players looking to get dazzled will find themselves spellbound, while those who dig deeper will find a rewarding and expressive combat system."

USgamer's Mike Williams: "Capcom fills fans' dark souls with light! Devil May Cry 5 is an excellent return to form for the franchise, setting it up for a bright future. Nero's here, Dante's back in pitch-perfect form, and V provides a brand-new style of play. All Capcom really needed to do with Devil May Cry 5 was repackage the classic DMC gameplay with a modern coat of paint, but DMC5 is an excellent, thoughtful update." Score: 4.5/5

DualShockers' Ryan Meitzler: "While DMC5 has upped the series' style and flashiness to heights never seen before, it also packs in a surprising level of warmth and humanity that doesn't completely let its focus on style overwhelm substance. After having waited over a decade, I realize that Dante might be a little older and grayer now, but I'm sure as hell glad to have him and the rest of the gang back again." Score: 9/10

Eurogamer's Martin Robinson: "Devil May Cry 5 is an inescapably backwards-looking title, though in referencing its past it discovers and invents whole new depths. It's the kind of thing where the first playthrough feels like simply the warm-up before you explore those reaches further with the help of higher difficulty levels, and that rewards you with spectacle the more you master it."

Twinfinite's Hayes Madsen: "The wait between Devil May Cry 4 and Devil May Cry 5 might have been long, but the payoff is more than worth it. It doesn't deviate from the series' formula, but instead refines it to a polished sheen; one that's packed with an absurd amount of style and spirit. This is a must-play action game for fans of the series and the genre alike." Score: 5/5

You can loosen that grip on your wallet. Devil May Cry 5 is a triumph, and in the year of our lord 2019, Capcom has notched two big hits in three months' time. Devil May Cry 5, which fans have waited an awfully long time for, is well worth the money. And for diehard followers of the franchise, that is great news.