People looking for truly new games for their next-gen consoles may have ruled out Devil May Cry 5 Special Edition a long time ago, thinking that this is just a remastered experience for former consoles - a game that can't reach what they expect from new hardware. But Capcom did a great job updating the title and saved a few extras to make it more appealing.
Devil May Cry 5 was a great comeback for the series. A game with an engaging storyline and three characters to play as, each with a different gameplay style. Even though I wasn't a fan of the second half of the game's level design (it was bland and monotonous), Capcom knew how to take advantage of the RE Engine to build a solid experience where mastering combos was really what mattered. Take a look at our old review to know more about the basics.
Now, fast forward to November 2020, to the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X era. People wanted Vergil as a playable character and finally, here he is. Delving into him is quite spoiler heavy for newcomers, but his presence was more than assured as a DLC extra. What we get from his addition is a kind of B story arc for the main story, as you can play the whole game with him in a separated tab. There are a few new cinematics to set him on the stage, but most of the video content is simply gone, one would think that Capcom would add some post-game content, but this is not the case. You do however, keep your orbs, health and Devil Trigger progress from the main game.
Playing as Vergil is not an easy task - he is really strong but requires better timing to dodge and some space to unleash his true power. His kit utilises the Yamato and the Mirage Edge swords and the Beowulf gauntlets, a perfect trio for close combat and short range attacks. As before, chaining weapons in real time is crucial to get an SSS score combo, the ultimate goal in playing Devil May Cry. Vergil's Demon form is a sword-wielding V doppelganger with the ability to invoke V's beasts - V's combat style wasn't the most liked for DMC experts, so it is very much useless here, but Demon's fighting at full power is lethal and protective at the same time.
There has been some confusion about whether or not Capcom opened up the game to be played from start to end as any character. This is not the case, the regular story mode still has predefined characters per mission.
Vergil is coming to the original Devil May Cry 5 as a DLC so, why should you choose the next-gen version of the game? Well, the visuals. The Special Edition is a good example of what to expect with the new console hardware. The game offers few graphics settings and most of them run well on a PS5, with just a few frame rate drops in unexpected areas. To me, the best option was 1080p / 60 fps and ray-tracing on, as the visual enhancement is really noticeable while still playing perfectly. DMC 5 is a dark game, but it mostly harkens to an alien universe more than a hell on Earth. City streets and Qliphoth's roots need the special lighting and reflecting effects coming with ray-tracing to feel alive and escape the general boredom.
For 4K TV users, there is an option to go for maximum graphics, but it takes fps back to 30, but I don't think this is the way to play this game as visual gains from ray-tracing make a better impact on the overall aspect on screen. On the opposite side, if you disable it, Devil May Cry 5: Special Edition can reach 120 fps, but I don't have a monitor supporting that to test it.
For someone that loves the DualSense, I was a little bit disappointed on how Capcom didn't utilise it, but it was kind of expected for a remastered game. Haptic feedback also ended up feeling just like HD vibration, and the adaptive triggers react to Nero's sword, but you hardly mind it as it's not tied to meaningful in-game events.
There is more than Vergil in terms of content, for example the Devil May Cry musou, aka the Legendary Dark Knight mode. This time, developers went full throttle and added an outstanding number of enemies on screen from the very first minute, even in the prologue. A monster's behaviour and endurance is not extremely high, but they tend to surround you and make it too difficult to deploy your usual combos to fight them back - on a positive note, get ready for record scores. As expected, the Bloody Palace mode is also included, a good place to practice while earning tasty red orbs.
Capcom's first step into the next generation of consoles is a safe one. Devil May Cry 5 was a game with a big margin for improvement, and the Special Edition delivers. The addition of Vergil, the new and enemy swamped Legendary Dark Knight Mode and the combination of better quality and fluidity in graphics are reasons enough to consider it a real next-gen game.