The Devil May Cry franchise initially began as an early concept for a more action-orientated Resident Evil 4 until it was realized that the game’s cool themes strayed too far from the horror roots in a Resident Evil game.
Instead, the developers rewrote the game entirely taking inspiration from the Italian poem Divine Comedy by Dante Alighieri and the Japanese manga series Cobra and Devil May Cry was created spawning a hack-and-slash action sub-genre of its own.
The game was reminiscent of action films from the late 90s and early 2000s like Blade and The Matrix and gave players a sense of power just like characters from those films. It is not surprising that the series still holds up very well on Metacritic but let’s see if the fan favorites rank well according to their scoring system.
6 Devil May Cry 2 – Metacritic Score 68
Released in 2003 Devil May Cry 2 is universally regarded as the worst in the series by fans and critics alike. Despite being the second game in the series, chronologically it takes place before the events of Devil May Cry 4.
Gone was the cocky and brash character in the first game and he was replaced by a moody brooding Dante with the overall humor toned down. The game was more open than its predecessor but the trade-off was much softer textures and blurry backgrounds. Furthermore, the combat system felt stiff and sluggish compared to the first game and Dante's movements felt robotic. For all these reasons and more it has the lowest score of the series.
While at first glance this seems surprising, as the game's score is higher than average, it's a huge drop when compared to the scores of the rest of the franchise.
5 Devil May Cry 4 – Metacritic Score 84
Devil May Cry 4 was released in 2008 on the PC, PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360. This time players could control both Dante and the new protagonist Nero – a new character with demonic powers that are similar to Dante's.
Despite their similar looks and powers, Nero controlled very differently to Dante bringing a new dynamic to the series. Unfortunately, there was some repetition and backtracking by forcing the player to retrace many of Nero’s steps with Dante in later stages.
While a huge improvement over the second instalment in the franchise, it didn't match the success of its other predecessors.
4 DmC: Devil May Cry - Metacritic Score 85
Released on the PlayStation 3, PC and Xbox 360 in 2013 DmC: Devil May Cry was developed by Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice developers Ninja Theory. Capcom brought in the western developers to work on a rebooted series with a new look for Dante to appeal to younger audiences.
Mechanically DmC: Devil May Cry was a solid action-adventure game with fluid combat mechanics. However, the over-reliance on tedious platforming sections hurt the game’s pace and thus its score. Furthermore, this new version of Dante was less the lovable rogue and more an obnoxious and unlikable teenager.
3 Devil May Cry 3: Dante’s Awakening – Metacritic Score 87
Devil May Cry 3: Dante’s Awakening was released on the PlayStation 2 in 2005 and is widely regarded by fans as the best in the series and one of the best hack and slash action-adventure titles ever created, even if the critics didn't quite agree.
Chronologically the game’s story takes place before the events of the first game and introduces gamers to Dante’s twin brother and antagonist Vergil. The developers brought back the cocky and brash Dante from the original and refined many of the elements that made the first game so popular. In addition, gamers could also play as Vergil in the Special Edition and the PS4 and Xbox One HD remaster, adding different gameplay dynamics and replayability.
2 Devil May Cry 5 – Metacritic Score 88
After the disappointing sales of the attempted reboot in DmC: Devil May Cry, developers Capcom decided to go back to the series roots. Released in 2019 on the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One Devil May Cry 5 continues the original story arc after the events of Devil May Cry 4.
DMC 5 brought back the Dante fans have loved since the first entry and a more battle-hardened Nero. Additionally, the game introduced a mysterious new magic-wielding character called V allowing the player to select three very different characters in battle. The game was not just a return to form for the series it features some of the fastest and most complex combat in the genre, earning it second place on this list.
1 Devil May Cry – Metacritic Score 94
The first Devil May Cry was released in 2001 and is still the highest-rated game in the series on Metacritic. It has been refined and improved upon in its more recent sequels but there’s no getting away from the fact that Devil May Cry is still one of the most influential games ever released.
It not only spawned a sub-genre that featured games like God of War and Bayonetta but it remains the standard for all other action-adventure hack and slash games going forward. Eighteen years on Devil May Cry is still as incredibly deep, difficult, and as playable as its successors and its high Metacritic rating proves as much.