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DMC5 Nero Combat Breakdown/Analysis (Lots of GIFs warning!)


Community Resettler
Oct 25, 2017
DMC5 Nero Combat Analysis and Breakdown

With Gamescom behind us and after gathering a ton of footage from the demo, we have a very good understanding of how Nero’s combat handles in DMC5. While a lot of it is very familiar to fans of previous DMC games, there are many changes to his combat, some are dramatic while others are subtle. A lot of the information on his combat is scattered in bits and pieces so I wanted to make a comprehensive post on Nero so people can actually see all the depth within this system and the overall changes.

A lot of the information is gathered from the DMC5 Official Demo Manual:


Game play footage can be found from the following links along with the Gamescom trailer:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0gBESLaqXFs ← Trailer




Also check out theTwitter @DMC5info for more game play updates. Quite some information was learned from there.

Big thanks to many of the DMC fans on Resetera, Twitter, Reddit, Discord (send me PM for invite), Youtube and other forums as well as on site at Gamescom for gathering and spreading all the information, making gifs and doing breakdowns.

General Movement

*Nero’s run animation has been improved in that you have more control over his turning while running. This was an issue in DMC4 where trying to turn with Nero while running with fixed camera angles resulting in a stiffness. Here his controls during running are smoother and it makes him easy to control while he is running. Furthermore, doing abrupt turns will not take you out of sprint but will instead make him stylishly turn around to continue his momentum.

*You can now charge up your Red Queen while running which is a very welcome addition. You could always do this before while walking or jumping.

*Stinger/Stream jump work like in previous DMC games just with better animation.

*The regular dodge that is performed by Nero with R1+Right/Left+Jump is still in but there have been various changes made to it. When you are in “neutral” or you are firing shots with Blue Rose, you do the classic DMC roll. The roll has far more of a curve around the enemy rather than a stiff right or left roll to Nero’s side. In addition, this dodge has far less recovery time and it’s easier to chain dodges together into one and another.

*More importantly though, the dodge that you get while you are attacking with Red Queen is completely different. Instead of doing a roll, Nero now does a jockey step around which can be chained very easily into more steps. This creates a smooth transition from attacking with Red Queen into a dodge.

*Jumping around while locked on also has been changed. You now face towards your opponent as you jump, even as you jump sideways. This means there are now new animations for jumping around especially with Air Hike (double jump). The trajectory of jumps have been changed too, making them more horizontal and far better at dodging than before. This is especially true with Air Hike.

*Table Hopper returns in DMC5 with an altered animation. Table Hopper is a mechanic in DMC5 that allows you to dodge with proper timing against enemy attacks to trigger a dodge animation that was faster and had less recovery, perfect for counter attacking enemies.

*All in all, the dodge/jump system has been revamped to provide for a smoother dodging experience. Whatever you are doing at a given situation, pressing the Jump button will act as an acceptable evasive maneuver and it’s dependent on the action rather than having one stock jump or roll animation.

*Jump cancels/enemy steps are in. The hitbox for the enemy step seems to be a lot more generous now though.

Overall Nero is far smoother and easier to control than before. DMC4 was a stiff game for new players but DMC5 alleviates many of the woes that plagued the older games. This is apparent in just about every element of Nero, from his running, jumping, dodging and general combat actions.

Camera Control and Angles

*The camera system has been revamped in DMC5. It is more similar to DmC (and other modern 3D action games) where you have more direct control over the camera and so far there are no real fixed camera angles in DMC5.

*The camera system dynamically focuses on the lock on enemy. It will also zoom in during specific actions like power moves or grapples or move around during particular moments. It will also slow down for the final kill of a combat scenario.

*During crazy moments of action, the camera will pull back to show the scale of the action. This is most apparent during the boss fight scene in the demo when the boss does giant leaps.

*The camera attempts it best to keep perspective of a locked on enemy. Because of this if you switch targets too rapidly or if the two targets are on opposite sides of the player, it causes a fast zoom/perspective change which can be quite jarring.

*There are actually many options in the menu to tweak with the camera including speed, distance and even toggle on/off the dynamic camera system that will be available in the full game.

Environment Interaction/Destruction

*There is definitely an element of environment destruction in the game. So far, none of these impact combat directly (like you can’t do stuff like break walls and it will damage enemies) but they enhance the combat feel. You can break down clocktowers, destroy cars and walls etc. due to sheer force. This is most apparently in the boss fight as the boss would do stuff like pull apart pillars to hit the player with, suck up nearby cars and debris or shoot giant fireballs that would bring down structures.


*The biggest feature with Taunts now is that you can do a taunt in the air. Nero does an air surf spin with Red Queen and this Taunt can be used to rev up the Red Queen with timings. So it has actual practical applications. This is similar to a ground taunt he has had access to since DMC4.

*There are now new taunts for Nero, examples given below. The two noteworthy taunts include one where Nero puts on his hood and keeps it on for the rest of the fight and another one where he reloads his gun as a taunt but this actually stocks up your bullets for your charged shots as well!

*The Rainbow taunt is back from DMC4.

EX System

*Nero’s EX system returns in DMC5. Not much has changed, you still have LVL1 exceed charges with average timing and LVL3 exceed charges with EX-ACT timings. The moves are powered up as you would imagine from previous games but now the camera zooms in and slows down on some of the powered up EX moves.

*The major change now is that a normal attack will not consume all remaining EX charges. This means that if you have a lvl3 charge, you won’t consume all 3 charges from doing a basic attack. It will only consume one charge. For attacks that consume multiple charges with enhance power, you can press the button multiple times to consume charges individually.

*As mentioned previously, you can now charge up the sword while running and while taunting in the air.

Red Queen

*Red Queen is almost identical in terms of function from DMC4 with some changes. Just about every move he had from DMC4 has returned in DMC5 and featured in the playable demo.

*Split (Nero’s Helm Breaker) is now actually a R1+Back+Triangle input as opposed to R1+Forward+Triangle. There is now actually a new move mapped to R1+Forward+Triangle that has Nero doing a dive bomb like attack with Red Queen, seen below.

Blue Rose

Devilsnevercry has a good breakdown video of the Blue Rose changes.

*Blue Rose got many changes. The basic firing rate has been changed so that it’s not as fast and fires more like a revolver. It’s slower but packs a bigger punch, feels meatier.

*The charge system for Blue Rose is entirely reworked. Now when you hold down the gun button, Nero will load up the Blue Rose manually up to its maximum capacity of 6 bullets, 3 shots (as seen in the demo at least). This means that there is no longer a need to hold the gun button for extended periods of time, just charge it once and forget until you need to fire the charged shots.

*Fire charged shots is as you would imagine with this new system. Once you have loaded in the bullets, you can fire any time after that and it will be powered up versions. In this game, the charged shots deal more damage, multi hitting attacks that keep the enemy pinned/in hit stun for better combat opportunity. Not as devastating or as robust in applications as the Blue Rose of DMC4 but it’s far easier to manage on a controller. It’s possible that we may have more bullet types in the future giving us access to different forms up charged shots.

Style Rank System

*Style rank system is most similar to DmC. You are shown a letter grade that has a bar inside the letter. The letter bar fills up to the top and when it fills up, you go to the next letter. The grading scheme is same as previous games: D, C, B, A, S, SS, SSS. Here are the names for each of them:

D = Dismal

C = Crazy

B = Badass

A = Apocalyptic

S = Savage

SS = Sick Skills

SSS = Smokin’ Sexy Style

*In addition, when you achieve a new style rank the announcer yells out the name just like in DmC. This feature can actually be turned off in the options.

*Furthermore, at higher style ranks the music starts to get louder and becomes more dynamic with additional beats, lyrics and instruments layered on with each additional style rank increase.

*The style gauge seems to follow similar rules to previous games. You get style increase from proper dodges and other skillful actions still. Repetitive actions and getting hit lower the style gauge.

*You are ranked in missions on mandatory combat encounters through stylish points that are displayed at the end of the encounter. Currently the demo rates you on 3 areas plus the boss area. It actually doesn’t appear to be that easy to get S ranks for end of mission rankings.

*You get extra bonuses for using high level mechanics like enemy step, deflects/parries and more which are all counted for the final mission ranking. This is essential to scoring well in the game, so far no one has gotten an S rank in the DMC5 demo!

Devil Breaker System

This is the main feature that DMC5 has as a mechanic that differentiates it from previous games. The Devil Breaker system allows Nero to have multiple functions on his arm at the cost of some functionality. More on this later. Let’s go over the basics.

*Devil Breaker button is mapped to the O/B button.

*If you press the button without lock on, in the air or on the ground, it will do an attack or action with the equipped Devil Breaker.

*If you press the O/B button while locked on, then Nero will do the Wire Snatch ability from DMC4 which is also doable in the air. This ability is NOT tied to the Devil Breaker system and is a universal move that Nero has all the time.

*Holding down O/B while NOT locked on will perform a powerful move with the Devil Breaker that consumes the cartridge you have equipped.

The Devil Breakers are not equipped as weapons or styles on Nero, they are equipped as cartridges. These cartridges can break due to various reasons. Here are the 3 ways they can break:

  1. Performing a super move with the Devil Breaker called “Breakerage”.

  2. Performing the L1/LB move “Break Away”.

  3. Getting hit while performing any action with a Devil Breaker (normal and super moves).

In addition, the following rules apply for Devil Breakers (as of the demo, we don’t know how these rules will change in the full game):

*You CANNOT switch to another Devil Breaker cartridge without breaking your current one. Breaking your current one will remove it from your possession permanently.

*You can acquire new Devil Breaker cartridges by either calling the Nico van (not available in the demo), at the mission start loadout (not available in the demo) and by acquiring on site in the environment. There are generally some Devil Breakers in every area of the game.

*The cartridges are in a set rotation. That means that you can’t choose which cartridge you break into, breaking the first cartridge goes into the second one. You can’t access the 4th cartridge (which is the current maximum amount of cartridges you can carry at one time) without breaking the other 3 cartridges.

*The L1/LB button performs the “Break Away”. This is a universal move that can be performed with any equipped Devil Breaker and it has the same animation/properties. It explodes the equipped Devil Breaker and then you equip the next cartridge in your rotation. The explosion does damage and knocks away enemies. It is also completely invincible and can break grab/capture states. More importantly, the Break Away acts as a hard cancel mechanic. It can cancel any action you are currently doing allowing you to get out of sticky/hard to avoid situations in a pinch or perform very advanced maneuvers or combos. Furthermore, the Break Away itself can be jump canceled out of. It can of course be used in the air as well. For those who are familiar with DMC4, this is actually almost identical to the Nero DT cancel in DMC4 however instead of costing Devil Trigger meter, it costs a cartridge in DMC5.

Now let’s look at the individual Devil Breakers showcased thus far:


The default, beginner friendly Devil Breaker of the game. There aren’t many moves to this but it still has various nuances to it.

*Pressing O/B performs a shock wave attack with your hand. This attack can be done in the air as well. What makes it interesting is that the direction/properties of the attack vary depending on the position of the opponent. If the opponent is directly in front of you on the ground or in the air, thenNero will do a straight palm attack.

If the opponent is above Nero, then he will uppercut. It is presumed that if the enemy is above Nero even if they are both in the air then he will do an uppercut in the air as well but no one has been able to replicate this as of yet. The ground version was shown in gif form previously in the camera section.

If the enemy is below Nero while he is in the air, then Nero will do an attack angled downwards like a smash.

Most interestingly, if the opponent is in a downed state then Nero will do a shockwave ground slam creating an area of effect of shock.

Maybe more enemy states can be discovered in the future which would give this Devil Breaker even more utility.

*The attack actually has invincible/parry frames where it can parry incoming attacks, EVEN boss attacks. A successful parry by Nero will make him say some lines and you even hear a special sound effect when you properly pull it off with appropriate style gain.

*Holding down O/B with Overture and releasing it performs its super move. There are 3 variations to this move. Against an enemy while both Nero/enemy are grounded, Nero will grab the enemy, stick an explosive in it and then kick it away. If both are in the air then Nero will latch on to the enemy, stick a bomb in them then kick flip them away mid air.

I have not seen what would happen if Nero is in the air and the enemy is on the ground or vice versa but I would imagine we get an altered animation. The third variation that has been hinted at is that you can actually do this attack without any nearby enemy and it will leave a sticky bomb on the floor. Maybe you can also leave sticky bombs on the wall?

The sticky bomb explodes after some time delay or you can trigger it to explode immediately by shooting the target. It does a lot of damage and knocks up enemies in an area of effect. This action consumes the equipped cartridge.


Gerbera is a mobility, projectile based Devil Breaker. It is more versatile than the Overture devil breaker.

*Pressing O/B with Gerbera while on the ground or air will perform a reflective shield attack that knocks away enemies on contact. It can also reflect back projectiles as can most actions of the Gerbera.

*Press O/B plus any direction with Gerbera will perform a boost maneuver that is a multifaceted mobility option. It actually has a hit box and it launches nearby enemies caught in its path. It has invincibility frames meaning it can be used as a dodge attack and due to its range it can be used to close the gap. More interestingly, this maneuver has no air action limit and you can keep doing it as long as you are airborne making it already a favorite among top DMC players.

*Holding O/B on the ground and releasing it will perform a giant laser beam attack with some wind up time. It’s very devastating and the direction of the beam can be controlled as it is channeled. You are very vulnerable to attacks during the wind up and while the attack is being channeled but it can be well worth it. This consumes the equipped cartridge.

*Holding O/B in the air and releasing it will perform a barrage of homing lasers that bounce of surfaces. After they bounce from surfaces, they do more damage. They knock away enemies and can bounce multiple times, making them ideal for dealing with large pack of enemies in tight areas. Very powerful when used correctly as it leads to high style rating quickly.

There are more confirmed Devil Breakers (8 total) and while we do have footage for them, we don’t have hands on them so it’s hard to say what their full moves are and what their nuances are. Right now we have a Buster arm which works like the Buster ability from DMC4, a Punch Line Devil Breaker that is a rocket arm on which Nero can skate on, a Rag Time Devil Breaker which can bend time like Quicksilver and more. Will talk about them when we have more hands on, this post is already getting long as it is.

There is an Automatic mode in the game called Auto Assist. You can manually turn it on by holding down R3 or in the menus. If you are in Auto mode then it says on the screen and you get negative penalty for it. Please don’t play these games on Automatic/Auto Assist modes…

If there is anything I missed then please let me know. There are still secrets and nuances waiting to be discovered in this demo (Itsuno promised a special end of mission screen if you S rank it).


Community Resettler
Oct 25, 2017
This going be best devil may cry game, some vets saying it's hard to go back to dmc4 Nero due to 5 moving a lot faster and smoother.


Oct 25, 2017
Dahbomb coming through with the essays.
Can't wait to see how Dante, V and maybe even more play.


Community Resettler
Oct 25, 2017
Houston, TX
I’m liking the Blue Rose changes. As for the Devil Breakers, I’m probably gonna stick with the Buster Arm whenever possible, but I’ll give the others a try.

Great analysis as always, Dahbomb.


Oct 26, 2017
Holy shit, what a write-up, very much appreciated. I'm loving all these changes and mechanics so far.


Oct 25, 2017
New table hopper is so sick. The air maneuverability with the new options such as Gerbera or the ''side'' air hike is incredible, not forgetting the real fun with taunt in mid-air.

And to think all of this amazingness is just Nero... We have yet to see how crazy Dante is and how V will play. Truly the best DMC/action game ever made.

Deleted member 1258

User Requested Account Closure
Oct 25, 2017
Seeing all of this depth already on display and we still haven't seen the mechanics of Dante or the third character.

This game is going to be something special, the gifs above and the explanations of the mechanics remind me of why I love video games.

It's time for the era of Smokin' Sexy Style


Oct 31, 2017
I'm salivating. I'll put hours into the triple digits if they have a good Bloody Palace mode in there.

I'm sure they'll have a Bloody Palace. They've got to.


Oct 25, 2017
The Red Queen is such a dope sword. Always liked it more than Rebellion as soon as I played DMC4.
Oct 25, 2017
Las Vegas
Still wish they'd rename Auto-Assist to Auto Combo Assist.

You'e be surprised at how many people think it just means automatic gun fire and turn it on, then get to lazy to ever turn it off - and then complain that they have no control over the combat.

Well fucking duh.


Oct 25, 2017
I usually don't read threads like this all the way through, but I did for this one. Great write up, Dahbomb!


Oct 29, 2017
they took a lot of stylistic cues from DmC.

I'm fine with that. I loved DMC, DMC3, DMC4, and DmC.

I want this series to continue to grow, and learn from its past successes and mistakes.

I'm hyped.


Oct 26, 2017
Like that they're taking influence from DmC for the camera angle and air combat. Nero also straight up not only ripped New Dante's hairstyle but also the move that Yanks enemies towards him haha. Don't remember him having that attack in 4.
Let's us hope they also take influence for the level structure.


Oct 25, 2017
I’m liking the Blue Rose changes. As for the Devil Breakers, I’m probably gonna stick with the Buster Arm whenever possible, but I’ll give the others a try.

Great analysis as always, Dahbomb.
I'm super curious about the whip devil breaker. What is that gonna do. All of them seem really really interesting outside of the drill devil breaker.


Oct 27, 2017
Great analysis as always, Dahbomb. I can't wait to get my hands on this game and see how it all feels. At this point I'm pretty much over the initial disappointment at how the Breaker system works and I just want to get in there :P


Oct 25, 2017
The more and more I see this game, the more and more I realize the animations are on some next level shit.


Oct 26, 2017
Now for Dante's combat breakdown.

Not long now till TGS: I need so see those motorcycle combos, and launchers.


Oct 25, 2017
Also just a quick reminder. If anybody here is going to PAX next week, the demo will be there also. There will also be a panel for DMC5 next friday and it will be streamed.


Oct 27, 2017
Like that they're taking influence from DmC for the camera angle and air combat. Nero also straight up not only ripped New Dante's hairstyle but also the move that Yanks enemies towards him haha. Don't remember him having that attack in 4.
Let's us hope they also take influence for the level structure.
He did. Devil Snatcher would yank smaller enemies (basically anything that had hitstun) and would pull himself towards larger enemies like bosses, Blitzes, etc.


Hot and Cold Peaches
Oct 28, 2017
Whew, awesome write-up!

I really like that the Exceed system's been updated to allow Nero to execute lower level EX attacks even if he's unlocked the high-level versions. Definitely a very welcome change to the system. Similarly, while I'll miss the Blue Rose's OP as fuck (level 3) charged shot, the new one sounds way more useful and versatile. Plus, it'll be great for all our fingers, lol. Probably won't need to remap it to a shoulder button or bumper now.

And that little animation of his when turning around while sprinting is just great. Love little details like that in animation.


Dec 3, 2017
Thank you so much Dahbomb. This looks incredible. Although I'm mostly just looking forward to not having to hold to charge the Blue Rose.


Nov 27, 2017
Los Angeles, CA
Am I the only one kind of bothered by the hud? Personally not a fan of the shattered glass on the diagonal corners of the screen. Comes off as a bit distracting to me. I hope we get an option to change it. My only gripe so far after seeing the game in action. Also hope(not necessarily a complaint) that the ex act is somewhat more lenient. I could never get the timing down consistently enough. That alone Might encourage me to go xbone and utitlize the elite controller's trigger levels to see if that may ease response time a bit. Overall, very excited to play this on release! Appreciate the in depth analysis OP!
Oct 25, 2017
Las Vegas
Like that they're taking influence from DmC for the camera angle and air combat. Nero also straight up not only ripped New Dante's hairstyle but also the move that Yanks enemies towards him haha. Don't remember him having that attack in 4.
Let's us hope they also take influence for the level structure.
You need to time travel back to 2008. The yank (its called snatch btw) even has the same grab sound effect as in 4.

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Aug 24, 2018
I'm waiting for them to reveal the inevitable pizza devil arm for Dante. You throw it like a frisbee but each pepperoni slice that flies off is actually a missile and the crust ain't cheese filled crust it's filled with the souls of your enemy's