In defense Nero, the beleaguered soul who might just be the real future of Devil May Cry

Replacing a beloved protagonist with a younger, less experienced version can be dicey. Raiden’s prominence in Metal Gear Solid 2, with Solid Snake consigned to the background, was reviled by many players, and Devil May Cry 4, with the similarly floppy-haired and comparatively younger Nero spending the first half of the game trying to find and defeat Dante, got a similar reaction. 

In the same way that Raiden’s relationship with Rose is core to MGS2, Nero has Kyrie, who he’s trying to protect as he quells the demon uprising supposedly caused by Dante. 

Daddy cool 

Nero from Devil May Cry 5.


While he might not have Dante’s instant, easy cool, Nero’s arsenal makes up for it, each item more appealing than the last: Blue Rose, a double-barrelled revolver; Red Queen, a huge sword he can rev up like a motorcycle; and the Devil Bringer, a sealed demon right arm he can use to spectrally grapple enemies. When you switch to controlling Dante for the back-tracking portion of the game you realise what a boon the grapple was for fighting some of the zippier enemies, enabling you to dash around a fight with ease and completely own an encounter. 

With Nero it’s a classic case of not realising what you had until he was gone. Thankfully, we didn’t lose him forever. Devil May Cry V might have taken 11 years to materialise, but even with three playable characters (V joined the crew) vying for players’ attention, Nero proved himself the heart of the squad. 

His arm was replaced with detachable robotic versions that meant playing as him involved constant and exciting variation, and his shorter, fresh haircut and new outfit made him easily the most stylish. But it’s in the ending, as he shoves himself into harm’s way, angrily demanding the end of the cycle of violence between ‘good’ and ‘evil’ that we really fall in love with this good-hearted bad boy, who’s willing to put it all on the line to protect those he cares about. 

Nero won’t let his family’s mistakes influence his own life any more, and is willing to fight for a better future.

This feature first appeared in PLAY magazine - Subscribe here to save on the cover price, get exclusive covers, and have it delivered to your door or device every month.

Oscar Taylor-Kent

PLAY editor Oscar Taylor-Kent first joined Official PlayStation Magazine in 2018, and was involved with the long-standing mag’s rebrand into PLAY before becoming editor. Despite being a PlayStation expert (and noted PS Vita apologist), he’s got fingers on many buttons, having also written for GamesRadar, SFX, PC Gamer, Kotaku, Waypoint, Official Xbox Magazine, GamesMaster, PCGamesN, and Xbox to name but a few.

When not knee deep in character action games, JRPGs, and visual novels, he’s often found reading books, manga, or binging anime. His current favourite games include Devil May Cry, Persona, Ace Attorney, and Hakuoki.