Capcom’s Devil May Cry 5 is the series’ newest jewel, but Ninja Theory’s black sheep did a couple things better.
Capcom’s Devil May Cry 5 is largely regarded by its fanbase as a masterpiece that makes up for Ninja Theory’s “bastardisation” of Dante with the stupidly named, DmC: Devil May Cry. However, while the Devil May Cry family’s newest jewel is undoubtedly a gifted individual that excels in many areas, the series’ black sheep is an underappreciated diamond in the rough who – albeit flawed – did a couple things better. Now, I’d simply be pulling your arm to get a reaction if I said DmC is better than Devil May Cry 5, but I don’t think I’m being a “troll” or a blathering idiot by saying Ninja Theory’s forgotten contribution to the franchise is an underappreciated addition that had a lot of good beyond its insulting characterisations.
Devil May Cry 5 is a MUCH better game
Before I briefly discuss the couple aspects Ninja Theory did better than Capcom, it’s important to first praise Devil May Cry 5 so people don’t wrongfully assume I dislike the game. As one of my most anticipated titles for 2019, Devil May Cry 5 has exceeded even my wildest expectations thanks to being a superb showing that proves Capcom is truly back. The soundtrack is wicked with Casey and Ali Edwards’ Devil Trigger being an adrenaline pumping masterpiece, the combat is stylish, smokin’, and sexy, and the three protagonists are captivating hunks you wouldn’t mind braving Hot Topic with while slashing your wrists and drinking red wine.
It’s easy to point to the combat once again being complex and satisfying as you actually have to earn S ranks rather than simply dodge enemy attacks, but Devil May Cry 5’s best feature is undoubtedly its characters and direction. Nero and Dante are likeable wit-snappers with the latter being the fifth instalments’ heart and soul with his Michael Jackson homage and goofy jibes and arsenal of weapons, meanwhile V is surprisingly a pleasant addition in-spite-of looking like a pretentious emo and poet with his sandals and horrendous tattoos. And, although Lady and Trish are superfluous, Nico is an unforgettable addition to the roster with her hypnotising appearance that brilliantly contrasts with her rough Southern accent.
As for the direction, you only need to watch the live-action cut-scenes to see the sheer amount of passion and hard work that went into making Devil May Cry 5 a cinematic masterpiece that is way more stylish and creative than most Hollywood movies.
But DmC had striking visuals and superior level design
Now that I’ve joined in on the obligatory act of stroking Devil May Cry 5’s ego, it’s time to praise the black sheep of the Devil May Cry family by saying what it did better than its SS ranked sibling. Now, although Capcom’s fifth instalment is obviously prettier thanks to the industry’s advancement in graphics, Ninja Theory’s DmC was visually more striking.
My only real gripe with Devil May Cry 5 is that it visually becomes a tad boring as from chapter 10 onwards you’re largely stuck wandering around the same labyrinth of halls designed after the Nemesis ride at Alton Towers. Things quickly begin to look the same, and everything just looks copy and pasted as you become tasked with reaching the bee hive’s bottom after spending hours reaching its top. Meanwhile, with DmC, there was a lot more variety in the environmental department with there being a dozen gorgeous and creative dreamscapes for you to wander about in while hopping onto floating platforms.
There was a circus at the beginning, an upside down city, a computerised world that reminded me so much of Tron, as well as a head banging night club. And, while the colours in Devil May Cry 5 are muted and remain the same, the palette for DmC was mundane, but immediately popped with bright aesthetics once Dante entered the mad world of Limbo. In addition, the worlds in Limbo were surreal thanks to being alive and continually morphing and falling apart, resulting in players always moving forward at a frantic pace.
Regardless whether you think Ninja Theory’s “reboot” was a Devil May Cry game or not, there’s no denying its landscapes were inventive paintings you’d love to hang onto your wall.
As well as a better narrative and pace
This is a contentious point because Devil May Cry 5’s story is good solely because of its cast of characters and Batman-Joker dynamic.
To avoid major spoilers, the basic issue with Devil May Cry 5’s narrative is that it’s essentially a long-winded mission to ascend a bee hive to defeat the supposed demon king, before being tasked with descending the same labyrinth to topple the exact same foe for a third time. And a lot of it feels padded with there being boss gauntlets in addition to the eye-rolling trope where a hero loses his powers and is tasked with regaining them. I’m also not a fan of the Christopher Nolan jigsaw approach where large chunks of the story are needlessly pieced together out of order with cut-scenes requiring dates and times in capital letters so the audience has a clue as to what’s going on. Furthermore, even though the Batman-Joker dynamic is charming and hits you in the feels, by the end of Devil May Cry 5 the villain’s motivations are all muddled, and nothing feels resolved or achieved.
As for DmC, although the political commentary was about as credible as a Twitter thread or Marvel movie, demons enslaving humanity through #fakenews was a fun and humorous parody of Fox news. The story was also always moving forward rather than stagnating as emo Dante didn’t need two brethrens to catch up with him all the time, and it felt like a globetrotting adventure with there always being something visually new. The slight against DmC’s story was its cringey dialogue, as well as its protagonist being a terrible imitation of one of the industry’s most beloved and celebrated heroes. However, although it certainly wasn’t Shakespearean and was marred by an unlikable protagonist who was always carried forward by others and the plot, DmC‘s narrative had a lot more to it than simply climbing and descending a tower from Hell, and all the motivations were obvious with there being a clear resolution and fresh beginning.