Devil May Cry 5 Plays Like a Dream, But It’s a Nightmare on Xbox One S

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With the exception of the divisive 2013 reboot by western developer Ninja Theory, Devil May Cry diehards haven’t received much love from Capcom since 2008. But with this year’s proper numbered sequel, the father of modern character action games is back in full force.

At our sister site IGN, Mitchell Saltzman awarded Devil May Cry 5 an Amazing score of 9.5/10. He immediately identifies himself as a longtime fan, so it’s more than a little exciting when he calls DMC 5’s combat “the strongest the series has seen.” In fact, Saltzman heavily implies that he believes that this is the best installment to date.

There are currently 54 reviews for the Xbox One version on Metacritic, and the weighted average ends up at a whopping 87/100. The PC and PS4 versions earned roughly identical scores, but with far fewer data points. IGN’s 9.5/10 score is obviously on the high end, so what do the lower-scoring reviews have to say?

DMC 5 was rated 70/100 on VentureBeat, and it earned a similar score at the Washington Post. While VB’s Mike Minotti absolutely loved the spectacle, he wasn’t impressed by the default difficulty, the wonky pacing, and some sloppy dialogue. And WaPo’s Christopher Byrd seems unhappy with the sheer amount of series retreading despite being entertained by the package on the whole.

Using the celebrated RE Engine that delivered such lovely results with the most recent Resident Evil games, Devil May Cry 5 looks incredible. Digital Foundry has analyzed the game on all platforms and found the overall visual quality to be exceptional. From minute details on the character models to the convincing lighting to the top-tier animation work, Capcom should be very proud with the look of the finished product.

Both the stock PS4 and the Xbox One S enjoy full HD results, but only Sony’s machine is rendering 1080p natively. It seems that the Xbox One release is using a reconstruction process to deliver reasonably close results. Jump up to the half-step consoles, and you’ll find that the PS4 ProSEEAMAZON_ET_135 See Amazon ET commerce enjoys a reconstructed 1800p resolution while the Xbox One XSEEAMAZON_ET_135 See Amazon ET commerce can hit 2160p using the same process. Since the post-processing is rather heavy across the board, the difference between the Pro and X is actually difficult to detect in motion.

Cutscenes are rendered in real-time, and they’re absolutely the most graphically intensive part of the game. They undoubtedly look superb, but none of the consoles can deliver anything close to 60fps during the non-interactive moments. Sony’s consoles have a slight edge in average frame rate, but it’d be nice to see the option to cap cutscenes at 30fps.

During regular gameplay, the Xbox One X, PS4 Pro, and vanilla PS4 stay around 60fps in the vast majority of cases. There are spots where Digital Foundry has seen heavy use of alpha effects causing isolated drops, but the overall impact is small. Sadly, the Xbox One S spends long stretches below 60fps, so the moment-to-moment gameplay suffers.

The PC version seems to be reasonably well-optimized for mid-range machines – especially for AMD cards like the RX 580. However, many of the high-end graphical features only impact the cutscenes. When it comes time for gameplay, the likes of screen-space reflections and sub-surface scattering are nowhere to be found. You can throw a lot of power at DMC 5 to increase the frame rate or resolution, but the visual impact is limited with the current PC implementation. Hopefully, we’ll see more options patched in down the road.

[Image credit: IGN, Capcom]

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