Winding through Devil May Cry 5 is a literal root of all evil. Those roots feed a mangled tree that edges Earth’s atmosphere and enters the now corrupted heavens. This, as with its predecessors, is not a subtle videogame. In atmosphere, a family will duel and brawl after dispatching a litany of demons, a scenario pulled from Catholicism’s propensity for violent stories, developed in a country known for peaceful Buddhism and Shinto religions. This collection of Japanese game developers do not view Catholicism with kind eyes.
Devil May Cry 5 does originate in the East, but it’s a jumble of traditions – a melting pot of ideas, entertainment, and lore. Main series protagonist Dante recalls Bruce Lee at one stage, that coming after he earns the capability of summoning a motorcycle to use a weapon. A weapon wielded like a sword, mind you. He rides the motorcycle too, but split in half, said chopper becomes dual blades of sorts, while throaty rock blares in the background. It’s appropriately hilarious, with a corny sense of cool.
This is a another series entry energized by showmanship. Although missing the divisive if enthralling social awareness of off-shoot DmC, Devil May Cry 5 draws on the influences of western exploitation cinema, Japanese arcade games, broad sexism, garish gore, and raw, hell-born evil. All of that connects in the center, too long with too many battles, but the threaded religious implications and seemingly never-ending climax lets this continue raging successfully. Good and evil meet, they fight demons, they fight each other, and then turn against evil. Devil May Cry 5 makes a mockery of Biblical lore, even using a forbidden-like fruit as a central plot device. Unlike Jesus or Moses, Devil May Cry 5 creates characters infatuated with sarcastic jabs, certainly more lively than Jesus’ own word. And, a little less pure.
After all, nothing here is particularly good in the “put on your halo” sense. The world is left rotting by an invasion of sinful critters, taking the form of serpents, bugs, and reapers. Dante is in this for a payday. That’s brash and cold, but totally exuberant in stampeding through western religions while eyeing western culture. Devil May Cry 5 takes the inherent violence of the supposedly holy stories, connects them through a cause/effect relationship with regards to cultural values, the laughs about the whole thing. Gutsy, clever, and splashy. This series hasn’t lost its edge.