This mature action/adventure game hacks and slashes its way into becoming the best game of the franchise thanks to its deep and varied gameplay. Devil May Cry 5 builds on the series standard of fast-paced action, grading the kinds of attacks you launch at monsters while avoiding incoming strikes. While you could button-mash your way through some battles (and the game even features a combo assist for newcomers), the only way to elevate your score from a D for Dismal to a SSS (for Smokin' Sexy Style) is to learn, practice, and master your attacks and abilities. But instead of focusing on one character, Devil May Cry 5 breaks the series mold by including three hunters, each with unique combat and play. Nero is clearly the star of the game, with a more direct attack style that's bolstered by his new interchangeable prosthetic arms known as the Devil Breaker. Not only do the arms have their own abilities, but they can be fired as weapons themselves to cause larger amounts of damage. V, by contrast, is more of a distance fighter, conjuring his personal bird, panther, and rock demons into battle to weaken enemies for him before he steps in to perform a final killing blow. Finally, Dante is a much more technical warrior, switching between four separate combat styles at will to perform vicious combos.
Inevitably, players will start to pick their favorite character based on their own play style or preference, but it's incredible just how fresh these characters make combat feel. Even when you're fighting against monsters you've fought before, the mix of abilities and ranks drives you to get better, which helps prepare you for the challenging boss fights scattered through the game. For the most part, the gameplay is extremely well balanced and designed to keep you playing (and replaying) missions. One slight issue is that Dante doesn't have nearly as big a part to play in the game as Nero or V, so as you're getting used to his moves, the game's practically over. Another weak spot is that while there's a lot of story development, the ending, particularly the big story twists, feels a bit rushed, even as it sets up an interesting cliffhanger for a future game. These minor hiccups aside, if you're an action fan, this is a great title that will test your skills. Devil May Cry 5 has style, snark, and plenty of action to keep you coming back for more.