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Devil May Cry is a game series built on a particular tradition: Taking the base game and re-releasing it in a new special edition that allows players to finally wield the icy-cool power of Dante’s more sinister half, Vergil. Ever since Devil May Cry 3, Vergil has been an added bonus alongside numerous other tweaks and additions to each smokin’ and stylish sequel.

That much hasn’t changed in Devil May Cry 5: Special Edition, but what has changed is the presentation. Now that next-gen is here, Devil May Cry 5 is somehow even more gorgeous to behold than ever before. No small feat for a game that already looked like a contender for next-gen graphics when it was released in 2019 on PC, PS4, and Xbox One.

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The core campaign has been preserved in all its wonderfully over-the-top glory, and if you missed out on it the first time around then you’re in for an absolute treat here. After a lengthy gap, Devil May Cry 5 proved that it’s still the best at what it does: Providing a heck of a good time with unrelenting action, style, and a flippant attitude that hits the jackpot of fun with absolute ease.

This next-gen package doubles down on the spectacle, although not all console versions are created equally. The graphical headline acts can be boiled down to the usual suspects being offered on the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X: Performance mode still looks more attractive than the sun setting over a collection of near-mint Lamborghinis. Fast, furious, and as smooth as the base game was at 60fps, you can also dial the visuals a step up to include ray-tracing although the smooth frame-rate does take a bit of a hit from time to time as impressive new reflections and lighting enter the scene.

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At the time of writing this review, Capcom has also introduced a new patch on PS5 that fixes the problematic 120hz frame-rate on that console. Previously it had been a distracting mess to double up on the frames provided that your TV could support it, but now the issue has been solved. 120Hz mode will only be activated now if you choose the high frame-rate mode when selected, but truth be told, I genuinely did not feel the need to go beyond Performance mode and its rock-solid 4K 60fps offering.

Because that’s what Devil May Cry is all about, and when it comes to Vergil stepping into the game? Boy oh boy, does he deliver!

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Like Dante, Vergil’s got a bag of tricks that he can dip into that makes him a unique warrior in any stage. He has been significantly reworked since his DMC 3 and DMC 4 days, and he now has a new gameplay mechanic that’s wholly unique to him: Concentration. If you choose to play as the half-demon who has ice water for blood running through his veins, you’ll get a character who delivers punishing combos with maximum style.

Vergil is all about remaining calm under pressure, side-stepping enemies, and looking down on them as you unleash dimension-slashing sword attacks. His personal arsenal also includes the Beowulf gauntlets and the Mirage Edge sword, each of which has their own quirks and setups to maximise in pursuit of an S-Rank in combat. Switching between each one during a combo is still a treat, and I’ll never ever get tired of finishing off an opponent with a perfectly charged Beowulf attack. More concentration equals more power, style, and skill in each combo.

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Vergil can also maximise his concentration with his trademark taunts and a level of confidence usually reserved for people who think that online petitions will make a difference.

In terms of demonic power, Vergil’s devil trigger is also a reflection of his personality and style. Activating it will allow you to summon your demonic heritage as a spectral doppelganger that can double your combos, you can unleash all your power to summon Vergil’s human form V for one massive attack or you can dig deep and transform into his Sin Devil form.

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The fact that you can also play as Vergil from start to finish in comparison to the base game’s campaign that was split across Nero, V, and Dante, also makes for a more interesting experience when you fight bosses that were designed with a different approach in mind. The Goliath fight initially kicked my ass into seven different hells when I originally tackled it as Nero, but with Vergil? I was flying high, unleashing combos that could rip reality asunder, and staying out of danger in stylish fashion.

All of these new touches, don’t just make Vergil a more interesting upgrade when compared to previous incarnations, it results in this version of him being the definitive Vergil. Cooler than Arctic waters, deadlier than a thousand extinction events, and armed with a sly grin that’s as lethal as a thousand Yamato blades.

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It’s a good thing that Vergil has all that power because you’ll need it for the new modes that’ll push your devil-slaying thumbs to the max. I’ve been enjoying the game on Legendary Dark Knight difficulty mode, which throws an absurd number of enemies at you in any given scenario. Seeing a screen crowded with even the most basic of cannon fodder opponents makes for a thrilling and tense encounter, while Turbo Mode’s increase in speed had me sweating buckets as I began to memorise new timings for attacks and windows of opportunity.

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It also pushed me to experiment in ways that I’d never thought were possible until now. More combat means more opportunities to power up my Devil Trigger, regularly resulting in a tactical explosion of demonic energy that I’d unleash in spectacular bursts of all-out offense and agility. It got to a point where even if my eyes couldn’t keep up with the dozens of demons I was carving my way through, my thumbs somehow knew exactly what to do to avoid dying a horrible death.

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All of this coalesces into a game where the special edition adds real value to the original package, resulting in an S-rank for effort and style.

Last Updated: November 23, 2020

Devil May Cry 5: Special Edition
Devil May Cry 5 Special Edition doesn’t offer any massive surprises for veteran fans, but as a fresh chapter for newcomers? It makes one of the best action games of the last generation one of the most thrilling of the new generation.
9.0
Devil May Cry 5: Special Edition was reviewed on PlayStation 5
89 / 100

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