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Devil May Cry 5 is the best B-movie-turned-video-game out there
After disposing of a handful of low-level demons, Nero makes his way up the rubble-filled remains of a church towards a boss fight before something off screen hurdles an ambulance at him. Nero (by luck or design) is perfectly positioned to get swallowed up by the side door of the emergency vehicle as it rolls over him. He gets out, unharmed, and walks toward the hulking beast that threw it at him and asks: "Somebody call a doctor?"
Goliath, a giant demon that rose from hell to attack the surface, blurts out dramatic line after line about Nero's sacrificial blood and being king of the underworld while Nero spout's quippy one-liners in response. It's a disconnect that's both fun and frustrating, with just the right amount of gory melodrama that makes Campcom's Devil May Cry series what it is.
Hell, Goliath even yells "motherf*****" a bunch when you're slicing him up. It's so shameless it hurts.
Devil May Cry 5, Capcom's latest entry in its hack-and-slash series after 10 dormant years, is the ultimate B-movie-turned-video game. It takes cheeky, comically bad performances and an over-the-top story and pairs them with stunning visuals, music, and production values — something previous installments weren't able to accomplish due to technological restraints.
Devil May Cry 5 follows Nero, V, and Dante as they try to solve a string of mysterious demon attacks across the world. Nero, who has his demonic arm ripped off by a mysterious stranger, is also hunting for the person who took it. That's just the tip of the iceberg of Devil May Cry's sinuous lore.
We're not talking about the B-movies of today (since that term is commonly used to describe films that are low budget with poor performances, effects, and production design). Devil May Cry 5 has visuals that look so good, the developer claims it'll induce feelings of the "uncanny valley," as in so real it's uncomfortable to look at, with a soundtrack that's nothing short of amazing.
Movies such as Airplane! (1980) and The Towering Inferno (1974) kicked off a trend of productions with B-movie plots and dialogue that still had enormous budgets put aside for celebrity actors and special effects. Devil May Cry 5, with its schlocky dialogue, huge budget, and overly convoluted Big Trouble in Little China-like story, fits right in.
The difference between Devil May Cry and your typical B-movie, however, is all about intent. B-movies don't try to have convoluted or messy stories (there are probably a few that do), awkward acting, and odd production design. It's just that, more often than not, small production companies don't have the budget or talent necessary to do everything bigger studios do.
Devil May Cry purposefully went in some of those directions — especially when it comes to the English dialogue. Characters like Nico, Nero's van-driving weapons builder, and the mysterious V are walking stereotypes, and much of the game's over-the-top style is right in your face for the majority of the game.
For example, after Goliath's been defeated, V asks Nero to help him destroy the Qliphoth demon tree, an agricultural nightmare that's sprouted roots all over the city and killed hundreds by draining them of their blood. Goliath even mentions something about eating the fruit (which was grown through bloodshed) to become the next king of the underworld. It's a typical action plot that makes little sense in the long run.
All of this works for Devil May Cry 5 because the game's combat is unabashedly over-the-top as well. Nero, V, and Dante, the three playable characters, rip apart demons with a lengthy arsenal of blades and guns. Nero can use his devil breaker (punch line to be specific) to launch demons like Goliath into the sky while V can use a demon-bird to reign down lightning on weird bug-demon-freaks. It sounds weird at first but feels so good alongside the wild visuals.
That ridiculously good combat makes the B-movie elements of the game, although intentional, easy to enjoy. It's not that weird to see Nero making the world's lamest jokes after driving his sword through the abdomen of some lanky grim reaper. If the story was some melodramatic, Supernatural redemption story, then it wouldn't feel as great to slice up thousands of demons — and no one wants to feel bad when demon hunting, right?