Nero was a confused teenager in Devil May Cry 4. He wasn’t sure what was going on with his right hand. The people he trusted betrayed him. Even though we clearly saw him as a force to be reckoned with throughout the game, he was still a kid compared to the likes of Dante. Devil May Cry 5 gives that an opportunity to change. There’s a sense of acceptance here and growth, which we see reminders of in many moments in the game.
Devil May Cry 5 begins with a gung-ho Nero going all in. He knows Dante has gone ahead to face the person at the center of the Qliphoth. He is ready to fight the demons for the sake of the innocents around him. He’s even willing to work alongside V and trust him, even though none of us know much about him at the outset of the game. The same edgy personality, with snarky quips, and dropkick taunt are even there. A lot of what made him who he is is there right from the outset, so there’s this sense of comfort and familiarity even though we know a lot of changes are present.
For example, Nero’s flashback shows how he lost the Devil Bringer, his demonic right arm. In-game information notes that Kyrie runs an orphanage now, and Nero and Nico are there working on their van and weapons when an unknown figure comes in. Showing a sense of growth and charity, Nero assumes the best about him. It shows a sense of nobility and selflessness that we know he has always had in him, what with his working as a demon slayer for years and having been a part of the order working toward what he thought was the greater good. But the fact that his first reaction upon seeing this person is to offer them food and a place to sit, rather than assuming the worst, is a new level of maturity.
One could also say Nero’s more prudent behavior at some points highlights that same sense of growth. He is absolutely going to taunt enemies and put on some cocky airs, but there’s a sense of prioritizing here. Nero realizes when he’s outmatched, albeit grudgingly, when facing Urizen multiple times. While outside forces may need to intervene, we see an acknowledgement of limitations. As he goes deeper into Red Grave City and learns more about the situation, becoming better equipped with his moveset, Devil May Cry 5 has him grow as a person and take up the Devil Hunter legacy.
That moveset can feel rather different this time, due to the Devil Breakers. Nero still has Red Queen, the sword he can rev up out of combat or in a fight with Ex-Act revs, to deal close range physical damage. (Maxing out Streak with Red Orbs is essential for great combos with it.) He also has Blue Rose, the ranged revolver that can have multiple bullets loaded into it at once. This is fantastic for annoying aerial enemies or just for in-air combos. (Improving the Color Up skill is great for when you have more than one enemy in front of Nero and want to attack it with a ranged attack, then focus on another foe.)
The Devil Breaker is all new and lets you use different sorts of attacks depending on the model equipped. Unfortunately, you can’t easily swap between them in the same way Dante can swap equipment in Devil May Cry 5, but the game is set up in such a way that there are Devil Breakers in prominent places and you are encouraged to experiment and have Nero do things like use the absolutely devastating Mega Buster, Mega Man’s gun, for ranged attacks or use the Punch Line for damaging blows and a rocket Nero can ride. But it is especially useful for its Wire Snatch. With this ability, that should be upgraded as soon as possible, Nero can either pull normal enemies to him or rappel towards larger bosses. It is a great means of controlling the space on the battlefield. In use, it almost feels like Nero as a character is becoming better at strategy and spatial awareness, even though it is the player making the most of the ability.
Editor’s note: There will be a major Devil May Cry 5 spoiler in the next paragraph.
But what really shows Nero coming into his own is the fact that he now has a Devil Trigger that behaves in the same way Dante and Vergil’s do. He has a true demon form, complete with blue accents and horns, and gets the ability to use the Buster grappling techniques first seen in Devil May Cry 4. It’s quite different compared to the shadow of a Devil Trigger Nero had in Devil May Cry 4, and the fact that he has this ability here shows that now he is on Dante and Vergil’s level. He gets a katana and these massive talons. While he looks more humanoid than the other two, he is just as menacing.
Nero has really grown up. He was a great hero in Devil May Cry 4, and here in Devil May Cry 5 we get to see him come even more into his own. Throughout his journey, we’ll see him tested and his moveset and abilities change in response. While his smart aleck side is still there, we also have someone more mature. Getting to see how his abilities change in response makes him even more interesting to use and watch.
Devil May Cry 5 is available for the PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC.