Ok, Hear Me Out: Nero Sucks and Devil May Cry 5 Makes Things Even Worse
More than 10 years ago, Devil May Cry 4 introduced Nero as an alternative protagonist to Dante. Many fans of the series were excited to play as this new character because he brought about new combat mechanics and offered players a new perspective.
Additionally, his design and characterization weren't too far off from Dante's, which meant that playing as Nero instead didn't feel like a sacrifice.
However, Devil May Cry 5 changes all of this; Nero's look, character traits, and combat skills have all been downgraded.
This was evident leading up to the game's release, through numerous trailers, gameplay videos, and the demo itself, and it is firmly established in the final version of the title.
Nero now pales in comparison to Dante. His writing is poor, his presentation is obnoxious, and his combat skills are questionable.
In a nutshell: Nero sucks. Moving forward, Capcom should refocus its efforts on Dante.
Nero Acts Like A Child and Has A Bad Haircut
Overconfidence has always been an integral part of the characters in the Devil May Cry series, including Dante. It's true that some level of cockiness is certainly required if you're going to be dealing with otherworldly demons, but the writers have always made sure to show restraint and keep Dante as a likable character.
That is not the case with Nero in Devil May Cry 5. He is now the epitome of pushiness and incivility, and he behaves like a spoiled child.
While he is slightly older and more experienced than he was in Devil May Cry 4, he has shown no improvement, instead spitting curses left and right and being just downright obnoxious.
Not to mince words, this is simply dumb. The lack of character development doesn't make me want to get behind Nero. This is markedly different, and worse, than what occurred with Nero in Devil May Cry 4.
In that game, Nero was basically forced to take on the role of demon hunter, but he had little experience and was very young. This led to some tragic mood swings, but, ultimately, he grew stronger and became more willing to fight.
While he did occasionally use profanity to express his distrust in the elders, a common thing for some teenagers no doubt, I really rooted for Nero to grow out of his insecurities and become an adult like Dante.
Unfortunately, he has not done that in Devil May Cry 5, and he has actually reverted to something worse.
His new look also isn't doing him any favors, that's for sure.
Perhaps the goal here is to visually distinguish him from the old Dante, but instead, Nero now just looks like Dante from Ninja Theory's DmC, a style that wasn't even that well accepted upon the release of that game. Let's just agree (or agree to disagree) that short-haired protagonists do not belong in the series.
Nero's Arsenal is Lackluster and His Combat is Shallow
In Devil May Cry 4, Nero had a Devil Bringer arm, which was a manifestation of his powers, and, to be honest, a weapon with some amazing features. In Devil May Cry 5, this Devil Bringer has been replaced by a mechanical Devil Breaker, and it is a strict downgrade.
Sure, there are some neat tricks that you can do with different Devil Breakers, like the Ragtime, which slows down time, or the Helter Skelter, which serves as a demon meat grinder, but they aren't even permanent, and they can break throughout the course of the game.
There are also some that I find completely useless.
The Pasta Breaker, for example, is a simple fork for eating pasta, while the Sweet Surrender is just made to massage Kyrie. Who needs all of this? Why not focus on the weapons that really matter?
Besides Devil Breakers, Nero is left with his typical Red Queen sword and Blue Rose revolver. That is the extent of his arsenal, a weak offering when compared to what Dante has at his disposal.
From nearly the beginning of the player's time with Dante in Devil May Cry 5, he has two swords, two ranged weapons, hand-to-hand combat options, and an array of stances that offer different playstyles.
He even gets his own personal Cavaliere motorbike.
Not only is that a better range of weapons than what Nero has, it also allows Dante to have deeper combat options. As such, it is easy to see why Nero's gameplay fails when compared to Dante's.
Let Dante Stay
One of the reasons why Nero is taking the lead role in the series is that Dante is getting older. Simply look at his design in Devil May Cry 5, the old guy with the grey hair. It's a stark contrast to the energetic young man from previous titles.
I believe that this is a clear indication that Nero is set to replace Dante as the series' main protagonist. Let's face the truth, though: these games have always been about Dante's quest again demons, and Nero should just play a supporting role.
Instead of letting Dante fade away, why not make him an immortal? He is half-demon anyway. Then Nero could continue to be a sidekick, which he is great at.
To be fair, Capcom does not give Nero an overwhelming number of missions in Devil May Cry 5, and the game even allows players to choose their favorite protagonist in some instances. That said, players are still forced to play as the obnoxious Nero often in the new title.
That's a pity. The fact that Dante may irreversibly die, leaving the series for good, means this new, amateurish Nero is probably here to stay. If that's true, it's a big blow to what I had hoped the series would become.
Perhaps Capcom can right the course for the character, and improve him in future entries.