Largely thanks to blistering load times and improved performance on PS5, Devil May Cry 5 Special Edition is the definitive version of the game.
A little over a year after the release of Devil May Cry 5, Capcom has delivered Devil May Cry 5 Special Edition, an updated version that positions itself as a great next-gen launch title showcasing the power of the PS5. Along with the increased technical performance, the Special Edition sees the return of a few gameplay modes, a host of performance options, and the return of fan-favorite edgelord Vergil.
Like with previous Vergil campaigns, don't expect much in the way of new story content outside of new cutscenes at the beginning and end. You'll be running through the same scenarios as the other characters, minus any story and dialogue. The result is a lean campaign where the star of the show is Vergil's moveset, which is fantastic. Those who played him in Devil May Cry 4's Special Edition will feel right at home, as pretty much all of Vergil's moves have been carried over. His biggest new tricks include a doppelganger he can summon to help with crowd control, as well as the ability to temporarily transform himself into V, which allows you to regain health while dealing some damage.
Vergil may be familiar, but as someone who just enjoys how DMC5 feels to play, I still had a blast blazing through his campaign. Vergil is incredibly fun to control, and that carries over here as you pit him against the demon horde. It also helps that his battle theme, Bury the Light, whips and I will never tire of hearing it.
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Aside from Vergil, there's the inclusion of the staple Turbo mode, which runs the game 20% faster, and Legendary Dark Knight, which ups the chaos by throwing a ridiculous number of enemies on the screen. Both are welcome additions, particularly Legendary Dark Knight, which, like how it was in DMC4 Special Edition, makes for a great way to re-experience the original campaign. Even as the game throws countless demons at you, gameplay remains smooth on PS5.
Perhaps the most exciting thing about DMC 5 Special Edition is the new graphics and performance options made available thanks to the power of next-gen consoles. You can run the game with ray tracing at 4K 30fps or at 1080p at 60fps. You can also turn ray tracing off if you want to play at 4k 60fps. It's a nice set of options, and I appreciate the ability to prioritize gameplay performance over visuals to suit my needs. That said, DMC 5 doesn't feel like it benefits all that much from the inclusion of ray tracing. The wet pavement and window reflections do look nice, but I didn't really notice their visual flourishes until I stopped to admire them--and even then, it quickly faded into the back of my mind as I focused more on slicing up demons. In a game all about combat, the trade-off of a lower frame rate didn't feel worth it, and I preferred using the modes that offered a higher one.
Speaking of which, if you have a TV that can support it, you can turn on high frame rate mode, which pushes the game past 60fps. It doesn't quite hit the ceiling of 120fps, but the increased frame rate delivers the smoothest DMC experience you can get on console, and it became my preferred way to play. It is worth noting that you can't use high frame rate or ray tracing when playing on Turbo or Legendary Dark Knight due to the high performance demand those modes put on the game.
Another benefit of the PS5's improved performance is fast loading thanks to its SSD. Loading times in the original DMC5 were by no means the worst, but having to wait did slow things down at times and feel at odds with the pacing, which encourages you to spend as much time kicking demon ass. Reducing the multiple loading screens it takes to go from launch into a mission to only a few seconds each feels great, and it's no longer a pain waiting to load into the void to try out a move before you buy it. Fast loading might eventually stop feeling incredible as it becomes more common, but seeing the experience of DMC dramatically improve because of it still makes it feel magical.
Overall, these are great additions to Devil May Cry 5. Vergil feels fantastic to play, and it's great getting to go through the original campaign with Legendary Dark Knight difficulty. The real winner, though, is the improvements enabled by next-gen consoles. The result is an experience that brings enough new to the table for returning fans while being the definitive Devil May Cry 5 experience for those looking to pick it up for the first time.