A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Devil May Cry 5: Special Edition is an action adventure game for the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X/S. This is the latest installment of a popular franchise, and presents four characters with their own personal motivations fighting against demons both in the world and in a hellish landscape. Characters use swords, guns, magic, and other abilities to destroy creatures, who spray blood when hit. There are also impaled bodies, remains of people, and fountains of blood in cutscenes, as well as characters that are covered in blood as they move through some portals. There’s lots of swearing throughout the game, with “s--t,” “f--k,” and other words frequently stated in dialogue. Female characters are shown wearing revealing clothing, as well as partially nude and covered by slime. While their buttocks can be seen, nothing’s shown. One character frequently smokes a cigarette, although the other characters disapprove, and a disclaimer states that the game doesn’t promote smoking or cigarettes. The game has multiple difficulty levels, and while players can button mash their way through some fights, it requires practice to learn and master the skills and fighting styles of each character in battle. That can frustrate some players, especially if they can’t master the combos and gameplay necessary to earn the top rank in battle, which provides bonus points.
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What's it about?
DEVIL MAY CRY 5: SPECIAL EDITION is a remastered version of 2019's action adventure game, Devil May Cry 5. The story revolves around a group of demon hunters and the evil threats they face from hellish beings. The gameplay takes place in Red Grave City, where demons have popped up in the streets and freely launched attacked against anything that crosses their path. Even worse, a gigantic and mysterious tree has erupted from the center of town with dangerous roots and tendrils that skewer nearby citizens. The cause of all of this destruction? A new powerful demon called Urizen, who’s using human blood to grow fruit from this tree so he can absorb its power and become the lord of hell. Fortunately, Dante and Nero, two powerful demon hunters, have raced to the city to halt the demon’s plans before it destroys the world. Along with a mysterious new figure named V (who seems to control demons of his own), the three figures throw themselves into battle against the hordes. The Special Edition adds a new curve ball to the mix by including a fourth playable character -- Dante's brother Vergil. Players will have the option to trade off between the characters, carving their own paths into the underworld with their own unique skills and abilities. As players fight demons, they’ll be graded on how varied their attacks are, as well as how they avoid attacks and taunt creatures; the grades provide bonus points, which eventually gives orbs that can be used to power up their attacks and skills. The special edition also includes much of the downloadable content from the previous games, like the Deluxe Edition and EX Color Pack items that changed Nero's outfits and gave him unique Devil Breaker arms. Players will be able to fight their way through the Bloody Palace challenge mode as well, which pits a gamer's skill against ever-intensifying rounds of monsters. Finally, the Special Edition adds in a new difficulty mode, Legendary Dark Knight, for players looking to test their skills, and a Turbo mode that boosts the speed of characters and monsters. There's also significant visual and audio enhancements, such as 4K visuals, enhanced 3D audio, and ray tracing to make the characters and monsters look more realistic and lifelike.
Is it any good?
This remaster of 2019's action adventure gets new life on a new set of consoles, but there isn't a ton of additional gameplay here that sets it apart from the original. Devil May Cry 5: Special Edition leaps onto the PlayStation 5 and the Xbox Series X/S by taking advantage of the horsepower from the newer consoles to present this battle between good, evil, and worse evil in striking detail. The enhanced visuals of the Special Edition leap off the screen in 4K detail, and the addition of ray tracing and options to tailor your play between visual fidelity and frame rate allows you to tailor your experience to the equipment you own. Regardless of what tweaks you make to the play, your fight against Urizen's demons in Red Grave City looks phenomenal. On top of that, some of the added features makes this game much more challenging, especially for players that have started to master the gameplay of DMC5. The Legendary Dark Knight difficulty raises the challenge significantly, and when paired with Turbo Mode, which accelerates action for both heroes and monsters alike, requires skillful timing and knowledge of each character's skills and attacks to successfully navigate a level. The same can be said about the Bloody Palace mode, which makes it way from previous downloadable content, and sets you up against waves of monsters. While the combo assist for new players will work for a while, there's no way that you can survive, much less elevate your stage score without mastering the skills and evades for your characters.
The characters are still essentially the same as the current gen systems: Nero’s got a direct attack style that’s enhanced by his 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 to weaken enemies for him before he performs the killing blow. Dante is more technical, switching between four separate combat styles and multiple ranged weapons. These three are joined in this edition by Vergil, Dante's twin brother, who has both powerful strikes and rapid ranged attacks. For newcomers to this series, he's possibly the easiest to dive into and be successful with, but will still become incredibly difficult to master. Unfortunately, there's a downside to including Vergil, and that's while there's a slight glimpse at the other side of his story in the game, there's nothing radically new content-wise from his perspective. There's virtually no new cutscenes or dialogue from him, making his gameplay just seem like a character swap without substance. That means that favoritism for a character from the original game returns based on your preference or playstyle, but for Vergil players, the story simply evaporates. Plus, Dante's role still remains shallow and the ending still feels rushed instead of developed properly. The end result is that if you haven't played DMC5 on a current gen system and want a fast-paced action title that showcases the power of a next-gen machine, Devil May Cry 5: Special Edition will keep you entertained. But if you've played the previous version and were looking for deeper or expanded content, you'll probably be a tad disappointed.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about violence in video games. Is the impact of the violence in Devil May Cry 5: Special Edition affected by the blood and gore shown in the game? Would the impact be lessened if you weren’t fighting demons or other scarier creatures? Would it be intensified if you were fighting people?
Do you think that Devil May Cry 5: Special Edition needs to include as much swearing, or would the dialogue have the same snarky effect if there wasn’t the same amount of mature language?
- Platforms: PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S
- Price: $39.99
- Pricing structure: Paid
- Available online? Available online
- Developer: Capcom
- Release date: December 1, 2020
- Genre: Action/Adventure
- Topics: Magic and Fantasy, Adventures, Monsters, Ghosts, and Vampires
- ESRB rating: M for Blood, Partial Nudity, Strong Language, Violence
- Last updated: October 5, 2021
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.