Devil May Cry 5 marks not only the return of an major series and two of its heroes, but brings in a third protagonist. V, a wizard-like ally who relies on demons to fight his battles for him, is new to this installment. While he has the same sort of edgy appearance as characters like Dante and Nero and has a Devil Trigger state that allows him to empower his familiars and summon Nightmare, he also brings in new story and gameplay elements that lend a sense of balance to the game by offering a different approach to a fight and sometimes more subdued personality.
V is one of Devil May Cry 5‘s big mysteries, and he fills the role quite well. His origins are obscured. Nero and other allies wonder how trustworthy he is. He is never quite forthcoming with answers. The only other one that could provide some insight Griffon, has the same sort of smart mouth as Nero and a carefree demeanor that suggests he’s mainly concerned with V and his survival. His personality is inviting, since there’s a certain charm about him, he seems as concerned about the demon invasion as Dante and Nero, and he is putting himself at risk to participate in the game’s events. He’s also more measured and mellow than the other protagonists for the most part, A good word for him is thoughtful.
This carries over to the gameplay, which involves some indirect actions. It can almost feel like V is a tribute to another Capcom game: Chaos Legion. It is a different situation, given that Sieg is more durable and stronger than V and V has more direct control over his familiars. Still, bringing in Griffon, Nightmare, and Shadow and relying on them to damage enemies and only using the cane to really finish foes off, might make others feel nostalgic too. Especially since each one fills different roles. Shadow is a close-range, fast attacker with upgrades that can offer some defensive opportunities, like the hedgehog that offers pikes, evasive maneuvers that can keep it and V out of danger, and different sorts of combos to keep the pressure on opponents. Griffon is a ranged creature with varying sorts of lightning strikes, magical attacks, and the ability to allow V to double-jump out of harm’s way. Nightmare is something of a last resort, appearing only when the Devil Trigger is used for incredibly powerful assaults.
Using V makes Devil May Cry 5 a more strategic affair. You still are attempting to chase after that elusive Smokin’ Sexy Style combo. However, your role changes. With Dante and Nero, players need to get right into the thick of battle. You need to be incredibly aware of your surroundings, to maintain the combo chain and avoid attacks. However, you are aware of your strengths and can personally react. With V, spatial awareness is more important. You have to see which enemies are on the field and if they would be better tackled with Griffon or Shadow. V himself has to be kept in a safe place where you can have a good view of the enemies on the field, but not be in range of attacks. The health of Griffon and Shadow need to be monitored, so you can see if they are in danger. You might need to read from V’s book to build up his Devil Trigger gauge to either unleash it on his own or apply its buffs to Griffon or Shadow. Most importantly, you have to watch for enemies that have a purple glow to them and are near death, as that is when you can press a button to have V leap over and attack to dispatch them. His segments can be as active as the other protagonists, just in a more strategic way.
But what can be especially notable are the camaraderie and interactions between Nero and V. The two can be fun to watch together. The two characters are such different people, but they play well off of one another. Nero is more snarky and has a sense of questioning authority about him. He’s ready to try and charge in to a fight, where V can sometimes come off across as more of an authority and is more tempered. Yet, both have some awareness of their limits and go charging into Red Grave City regardless. In the case of Nero, he has something to prove as he heads back in, while V’s situation could come across as more of an obligation he is willingly undertaking. In any case, it can seem like the two balance one another out both in personality and gameplay. Especially since V’s occasional brooding nature can be cast aside by Nero’s enthusiasm.
Devil May Cry V‘s V adds many things to this installment. He provides a sense of mystery, since we initially are unsure of his identity, motivations, and nature. He offers an opportunity, as his fights involve a bit more strategy and unit management, rather than just diving into the thick of a brawl. He also gives us a chance to appreciate how two different people in a similar situation react, given how often he and Nero work together and cross paths. V helps change things up in a positive way, especially since people eventually have the option to choose for some missions whether they use him or another character.
Devil May Cry 5 will come to the PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC on March 8, 2019.