This game code was given to us by PR, so thank you for that!

A Return to Form

The too-long, don't read, short-form encapsulated instant-coffee version of this review is right up here, just in case you don't want to read my whole thing and prefer instead to run out to the store or queue up your download for this incredibly cool game.

Devil May Cry 5 is a return to form for the series, packed with action, fun, explosive, character-driven and balanced by a wickedly smooth combat system and three distinct playable characters.

In short, it's spot on and quite possibly the best DMC game since the first ever.

It's taken a while for us to get here, but this game is Super Smokin' Sexy Style in a neat package.

But what of the micro-transactions I hear you say? They are in, and we'll talk about those in a short while.

The good news is that you don't need them whatsoever, and you can get enough red orbs by just playing the game.

Right, end of mini-review, on to the big one!

Devil Not Gonna Cry This Time

I'm a big fan of the Devil May Cry series, I've loved it ever since I played the first one and I've eagerly devoured every single game since then. Yeah, even the reboot with Nero, I enjoyed that immensely and unlike some folks didn't think it was all that bad.

Devil May Cry 5 though, this is the step up in everything I've wanted from the DMC games for a while now. Using a really detailed engine, and some kick-ass design, DMC 5 delivers an adrenaline-soaked battle against demons and monsters which is packed with eye-popping set pieces and over the top action the series is famous for.

You're not going to get story spoilers here either, I'm not going to talk about the story, suffice it to say it twists/turns/and develops the characters in interesting ways. You're in for a treat.

Devil Breaker

Nero is back, and he's brought with him a woman called Nico, who is someone who makes cool toys, including Nero's new Devil Breaker prosthetic arm. Story reasons happen, Nero loses an arm, and now he's got a cool prosthetic which can do all sorts of things depending on the Devil Breaker you have equipped at the time.

Rather than spoil the surprises, I'm going to leave you to figure out these breakers on your own and pick them up in game.

They're fragile things though, so they'll break if you take damage whilst using one. Or you can explode them to do more damage and get out of sticky situations, since you can find them strewn around the various locations in the world.

Gear Up!

At some point you'll be able to use in-world phones to call in Nico's van and access the customisation menu. Here you'll be able to buy skills for the 3 playable characters and equip Nero with Devil Breakers for the battles to come.

These cost red orbs, and you need to balance out what you want to buy, with the costs tuned so that they are fair enough - but still slightly expensive.

Don't worry though: you can always pay real-world cash to buy more red orbs. Yeah, it's here that I waggle my finger at Capcom and shake my head in a very disappointed manner. Microtransactions like these are a bane on the game industry and the sooner they go the way of the Dodo, the better.

The good news is that you don't really need them to get your stuff, just go back a mission or two and play again to get some S-ranked goodies and pile on those orbs.

The Devil Breakers also cost orbs per breaker, so you'll need to stock up on orbs if you want to buy more and more for later on.

Again, I recommend replaying missions rather than wasting money on these microtransactions.

Fighting Fit

The core of DMC 5 is in the combat system, and here's where it really shines. Not only are there 3 playable characters in the game, but they all feel different. Nero is improved from the DMC reboot, and the Devil Breakers add in a ton of options during a fight for changing the battle up and smashing your foes with relentless power. V summons demons, and rather than going any further, I'm going to say once you get used to him - he's pretty damn awesome.

Dante is Dante, and has a few tricks up his sleeve. Again though, I want you to play the game if you have it and not spend ages reading about what these characters can do.

The combat in DMC 5 feels fresh, fun, innovative and just plain action-packed ott DMC genius.

Stylish combos are possible on the default normal mode, where you are responsible for every nuanced input and trick the characters can perform. The rank system is back, and you'll get bonus orbs for the higher you climb in the system.

The system is slick and pushes you to get better and better, just for the sheer spectacle and feeling of being a demon-slaying badass.

There's selectable difficulty, and an Auto Mode for anyone who is new to the series for the first time or wants a more relaxed journey though the game's levels.

Auto mode lets you perform awesome combos on a button, and the game is really good at creating sweet looking moves as you plough through the various demonic enemies.

Enemies provide a good challenge, starting out fairly simple, but then evolving into various types who require more varied tactics and ability use to take down. Some enemies synergise well together too, and will work to take you down as part of a team. Their AI patterns are excellent and on the higher difficulties, you're going to need all your orbs, skills, and wits to win.

The boss fights, oooh, yeah... and that's all I'm going to say.

Slick Design, Slick Execution

DMC 5 is packed with slick design in all aspects of the game, the graphics are excellent and the frame-rate on the Xbox One X is rock solid. The animations are some of the best the series has to offer, and the facial animations are fantastic with the characters showing a great deal of emotion and facial expression.

The game delivers action packed cut-scenes, combat animations that are an adrenaline rush, and an overall package which is just soaked with atmosphere.

The music pumps, the sound hits you as the whole thing comes together with a flair that only the DMC series is known for.

There are secret missions, hidden things, easter eggs, collectible orbs that give you boosted health and Devil Trigger meters just like we know and love from previous games.

The voice work is great and the dialogue is pretty good this time around, with the trademark snark from Dante back in full force.

Issues?

If I were to highlight three issues, it'd be the microtransactions, they feel bolted on and totally unnecessary to the overall experience. The second would be that V, the new character, whilst awesome and really fun to use often feels slightly disconnected from his move set as if there's a little delay from input to action.

Third: A few levels later on feel sort of lack-lustre in terms of what the game presents as obstacles, and could be a source of frustration to anyone who isn't familiar with the platform style elements of the series.

Those are really the only things I can call 'issues' in this otherwise sterling game packed with tons of fun.

Save Me

Checkpoint saves are the way you save with DMC 5 and there are some moments where I feel the game needs a few more, but again, for the most part they're well placed.

Devil Trigger

It's been a long while since we had a really cracking DMC game, and 5 is the crème-de-la-crème of Devil May Cry. It pulls you in, drags you front and centre and presents action packed demon slaying adventures which are just brutal and fun in equal measure.

The new and returning characters are great, and having 3 playable protagonists presents a good way of keeping mechanics interesting. Out of the characters, I have to give props to my dark buddy V, who grew on me over my time with the game and has some of the more interesting moves in Devil May Cry 5.

I'd say the game would take about 15 hours or so to complete, maybe longer if you spend a while trying to find all the secrets in a level. There's also replay value to take into account and with everything piled on you can do including the new difficulty modes - you're looking at a 30 to 40 hour total experience depending on just how skilled at the game you are.

It's about on the same level as other DMC games of the past, so anyone who tells you the game is short, hasn't really played a DMC game before.

If you're a veteran to Dante's adventures, or a new player, DMC 5 is the best DMC yet, and that's the honest to goodness truth.

Buy it, play it, kick some demon ass!