Devil May Cry 5 Special Edition is not special enough for $40

Devil May Cry 5 Special Edition is not all that special when put into context of the series’ history. Devil May Cry 3, 4, and DmC all had their own re-releases — a trend Capcom is particularly known for — and all featured one thing: a playable version of Vergil, Dante’s edge lord twin. DMC5 Special Edition is hinging on that same selling point and while Vergil is at his best here, he deserves more, as does the entire package.

The Yamato is as sharp as ever

Devil May Cry 5 Special Edition deserves to be more special

Vergil plays like a combination of all three of his other iterations in DMC3, DmC, and DMC4. He’s got his signature Yamato katana, Beowulf gauntlets, summoned sword projectiles, and Mirage Edge (which is essentially the Force Edge he usually carries) sword that will all immediately feel familiar to anyone who has dabbled in any of Vergil’s prior campaigns. After a brief warm up, it’s quite simple to fall right back into Vergil’s specific groove.

A handful of new moves and tweaks add a few more options to Vergil’s repertoire, making this the definitive version of the character and slightly more than a cut-and-paste job. Much like Dante, Vergil can transform into his anime-esque Sin Devil Trigger form as well as cash in his Concentration Gauge to call forth V level the arena with his trio of familiars. Both are powerful and can only be used sparingly, but they stick out among the other new moves because of their flashy presentation and potentially devastating effects.

Devil May Cry 5 is a fundamentally sound game with fast action and fluid controls so any character, like Vergil (and unlike V), that works within those boundaries is naturally going to excel. The game might be overly familiar in some cases, but it’s not as damning of a prospect when it is still a genre-topping hit.

Super Safe Style!

Devil May Cry 5 Special Edition deserves to be more special

But DMC5 was an overly safe game and so is this special edition. Vergil’s inclusion is once again limited to the old campaign that drops him into the same set of levels that Nero, Dante, and V go through. And aside from the short new scenes at the beginning and end, he goes through each borrowed stage and boss without any sort of setup or cutscene. The screen just cuts after each level or before each fight without anything gluing it all together.

Playing as Vergil through the vanilla story would be a great extra, but having it be the main attraction once again is just tired. He deserves to have his own chapter with a canon narrative that fits into the universe. It even opens with the scene where he takes back his sword from Nero, which is a prime starting point for a new tale. Playing through his ascension would work from a gameplay and story perspective, as it would naturally tie the upgrade tree to the narrative while also filling in some of DMC5’s backstory.

DmC Devil May Cry is the only entry to treat its Vergil expansion — called Vergil’s Downfall — with the amount of respect it deserves. It was a three-hour epilogue with new levels that was meant to act as a bridge between DmC and its ill-fated sequel. While it wasn’t possible to play as Vergil in the main DmC levels, giving him his own campaign benefitted the whole experience because of how it added to both the narrative and gameplay.

Weak Addition Edition

Devil May Cry 5 Special Edition deserves to be more special

The other new features are similarly underwhelming. Turbo Mode increases the game’s speed by 20% and Legendary Dark Knight Mode floods the screen with more enemies; both of which are decent tweaks, but aren’t exciting for those outside of the most hardcore SSS-rank players.

But the most disappointing part about the new edition is about what isn’t there as Devil May Cry 5 Special Edition doesn’t even add any quality-of-life updates or new skins, much less address any criticism the original received. It’s still not possible to play the campaign as any character, despite the confusingly worded trophies and achievements that imply otherwise. V is still a disconnected, boring character. Nero’s breakable arms still place a frustrating limitation on the combat. The photo mode is still embarrassingly bare.

Devil May Cry 5 is still a great action game no matter how you slice it, but Devil May Cry 5 Special Edition should have been more in order to properly continue on that greatness. Vergil is at his best here yet just splicing him into the main campaign for the third time isn’t as exciting as it once was. Having no upgrade path for existing owners makes this package an even harder sell as the scant few additions and faster load times don’t add up to $40 worth of content. DMC5 was a return to form specifically made for the fans so it’s peculiar that those very fans are the ones this bundle is taking advantage of the most.