I'm on the show floor at Gamescom this week, and one of the first things we rushed over to check out when we got in was the demo for Devil May Cry V. We've seen CGI trailers at E3, and a little bit of hands-off gameplay footage, but this was our first chance to see how Capcom plans to revitalise the series and feel the controller in our hands — which is rather important for a series where smashing enemies in stylish ways is the whole appeal.
The Gamescom DMC V demo was very light on story: there's a giant alien monster tree in the centre of a city, a big demon that wants Nero's blood so he can become king of Hell, it's just an average day for a demon hunter. What was much more striking is how much of the game relied on ripping off your own arm over and over.
On the Xbox One controller, there are three main buttons used for attacks. X is guns, Y is melee, and B is for special moves using your 'demon breaker' robotic arm.
The B button attacks provided by far the most versatility in what it could do, and was generally the focus of all the flashy new parts of Nero's attack setup. By spamming B, you'll get a series of energy whip style moves which pull you closer to the enemy, before battering them with electrical sparking melee attacks.
At any one time in the demo, you could have up to four of these robotic arms in your possession, each having different special attacks when in use. Special attacks are hugely flashy and powerful, one for example fired off a huge laser which physically split the arm into pieces.
Each special attack destroys the arm when used. In the demo new arms were plentiful enough that this wasn't a huge concern — I wasn't running out of arms, and felt able to use the special attacks whenever they felt useful.
While arm destruction post-special moves felt more like an encouragement to cycle between movesets, it is possible to run out of arms if you try hard enough, which will render the B button offensive moves unusable. It's a potential tradeoff, where a powerful move may well take out something big and nasty, but temporarily leave you without a third of your moveset.
On top of this, holding LB on the controller allowed Nero to quickly rip his arm off, as a way to escape if stuck in a hold or grapple. Like a lizard's tail!
Overall, the arm-centric aspects of the moveset were by far the most interesting part of getting to run around as Nero in the demo, and really felt natural when picking the game up blind. For those who want it, there is the option of an assist mode, where combos are executed more easily, which in the demo could be toggled on or off by pressing and holding R3.
The demo also ran at a solid 60 FPS at what I was told was 4K, which certainly looked like 4K even if I couldn't verify that myself. Regardless of the resolution, it looked gorgeous.
As mentioned above, there's little plot in the demo but we did get a bit of scene-setting Nero dialogue. I enjoyed both the writing and the voice acting performance — there was some great comedic pacing used to deliver an amusing script, and Nero's sarcasm really is quite charming sometimes.
So after getting my hands on DMC V, it seems like a polished action game that's fun to play, has a explosive and original new take on the combat system, and — most surprising of all — made me laugh quite a lot. If the full game can maintain this level of quality, this should be a comeback to watch out for.