It's been 10 years since we got to hack and slash our way through hordes of devilish hellspawn as the charismatic (yet brutal) killing machine that is Devil May Cry's Nero, and after some remasters and one Ninja Theory reboot, Capcom has taken back the reigns, and of course one of the franchise's heroes, Nero, is back with them. The upcoming Devil May Cry 5 has been highly-anticipated, but will we be seeing some nostalgic and fantastic insanity in March or will Nero's reign stay frozen in 2008? Well, we can't answer that just yet, but we did get to play the game at the Capcom booth at Gamescom in Cologne, and it looks and feels pretty darn great.
Emotions were intense as we entered the press area. Nero and what we assumed would be first impression badassery (we were correct in this assumption) were waiting behind a closed door in the back, and the demo we sat down to play threw us into the fray with Nero and his quirky, badass lady friend, new character Nicoletta 'Nico' Goldstein. who was driving (being an actual hazard while doing so; take this woman's drivers license away pronto!) Our new friend was driving us, of course, to where all the demons lay, and we were dropped into a city in turmoil as Satan's menacing children are roaming around. Clearly the original inhabitants have all fled the scene as fleshy tentacles have started growing from the walls, but that's okay though; Nero is here to save the day.
Our protagonist wields his signature Red Queen Sword, a robotic arm that has been tweaked and worked on by Nico, and of course his reliable double-barreled gun. The sword handles like it did in the last Nero-headed game with its purpose being to get some sick stylised combos in on the enemies via fast-paced button mashing, the goal beingn to get a tasty overall score at the end of the fight as well as the levels.
The Blue Rose revolver acts in the same way and is a good way to keep a combo going while drifting closer to the ground after a double jump sword combo or after distancing Nero from the enemy. This new robot arm (called the Devil Breaker, because every limb needs a name), however, has some neat new features, the most notable of these being a grappling ability. This is extremely helpful when starting a jump combo as you can drag the enemy back up towards you if you miss slashing them into an airborne stagger, but it can also drag distant enemies into your web of combo annihilation - these poor demons have no escape. Other than grappling your foes, the arm also gives you the ability to stop time for a moment, trapping the hellspawn as you cut the helpless fools to bits.
After killing every demon in our path along the otherwise deserted city streets, we had to find a hatchling of sorts to remove a tentacle-looking object that was blocking our path to the next area. Once found, the hatchling fed upon the tentacle's fleshy insides, disintegrating it from within, and we were once again on our way. On the other side a phone was ringing in an old-school phone booth; seeing nothing suspicious with this situation we answered the phone and on the other line was Nico, who had grown impatient, having waited so long for Nero's foes to drop dead. A short cutscene played showing Nico driving like a madwoman towards Nero, screeching to a halt before we advanced once again to a new area.
After dropping down from a height that would kill a normal man we were greeted by a massive boss-sized foe. As one might expect, the boss was challenging, with a wide range of moves such as fiery vortexes sucking the player into his belly mouth (that was not a misrepresentation of his anatomy, by the way), sitting himself down on the ground to a shockwave ,and charging head first towards us (into the wall in most cases, as we managed to jump and dodge out of the way a lot of the time). Green orbs were sparsely scattered around the fight area too, so we quickly learned to be mindful of our vitality, and although we did make it out alive on the first try, this demon exploded and the demo came to an end. We thought we did great, but the giant B rating on the screen seems to indicate otherwise.
So what we can take away from this demo is that Devil May Cry 5 looks amazing (the visuals have been cited as a selling point in our interview) and feels like a genuine numbered instalment of the franchise. Combat is fast-paced and the controls responsive, the music is fantastic, the protagonist and his new pal are likable, and our overall impressions exceeded our expectations. It's looking to be a worthy addition to the series, and all that's left to do is wait until March to see if the rest of the experience lives up to that assessment.