So here is a guide that will help you understand not only the basic mechanics of Nero but also some more nuanced mechanics and how to stay as stylish as possible to get that sweet SSS combo rank.
Other DMC5 Guides:
- 100% Achievement / Trophy Guide.
- Final Boss Fight & All Endings.
- All Collectibles.
Devil May Cry is a game that is all about style. It encourages you to make your combos as stylish as possible by varying your attacks constantly. While the game doesn’t punish you for doing badly, it does reward you for playing well by giving you more red orbs to purchase upgrades and getting those SSS ranks can be downright addictive.
Nero is a demon hunting badass and has his own demon hunting agency. While Nero in general was nerfed from DMC 4, he has so many amazing new tools and techniques and his disposal that playing Nero is incredibly fluid and is the most fun it has ever been. In this guide I will go over the basics and also some advanced topics about Nero so that you can max out your combo rating and be as stylish as possible.
Default Controller Layout
While the default controller layout isn’t bad, you will need to charge some attacks to maximize your style rating. This can be quite difficult as the attacks you need to charge are mapped to the face buttons and holding these down while simultaneously attacking can be quite difficult.
This is why many people including myself change the controller layout to better suit individual needs. Most people will usually map the things they need to charge to the triggers so they can attack and charge simultaneously with ease.
My Controller Layout
There is no ideal control scheme for the game or for the character. This is only the control scheme I personally prefer and I am only showing it to give you an idea as to how to customize the controls according to your needs.
In the end, it’s all about what you’re most comfortable with so please stick with what you like the most but I do highly encourage you to try a few different schemes and see what you like the most.
This is Nero’s high powered revolver. It is quite a useful weapon and can be used for many things.
The Blue Rose can be shot normally or can be charged. Tapping the gun button will shoot a regular shot and holding it down will charge it. There’s 2 types of charged shots that you can unlock as upgrades. These allow you to shoot a much more powerful projectile than regular shots. Charged shots are essential for higher style rankings and higher difficulties where the enemies have a considerable amount of health.
The Blue Rose’s main uses are:
- Distance Combat
- Maintaining/Increasing Style Rank
- Extending Combos
This one is rather self explanatory. Use the gun to attack enemies when you are unable to reach them through other means.
Maintaining/Increasing Style Rank
The regular shots don’t increase your style rank much and so mainly just maintain your rank in the same place. Charged shots however not only do a good amount of damage, they also boost your style rank and can help you achieve higher style ratings.
The Blue Rose is amazing at extending combos. You can start the combo early with the gun or preferably use it during your combo. The gun is an incredible juggling tool. It can keep enemies in the air and allow you to combo them further with your melee weapon.
This is Nero’s trusty motorcycle powered sword that he uses most of the time for damage and stylish combos.
The basic moves at the start of the game are not too sparse when you compare with the fully upgraded Red Queen. This however does not stop you from performing stylish combos at the start. your main combo starter should be High Roller which allows you to not only send enemies into the air but also ascend into the air yourself. The Aerial Combo which is his main air combo is pretty good and can be paired with the Blue Rose and Wire Snatch to keep enemies in a long combo and get a good style rank.
However I highly recommend that you purchase the red queen upgrades when you can as they will allow you to make longer and more stylish combos.
Once fully upgraded, timing the button presses differently and using directional input moves will allow you to do different moves. The moves can always be browsed through in the skill list. Incorporating these moves into your combos can greatly increase your style rank.
Lock on & Directional Inputs
Lock-on is one of the most important things to do in DMC and is necessary to do many moves in the game.
Many players get confused with the directional inputs that go with the lock-on system. The “back’ and “forward” are relative to your position and your opponent’s position.
The directional inputs must be inputted before the button press or the move you want won’t come out.
Parrying is actually rather simple in DMC. You just have to time an attack so it strikes at the same time as your opponent. This may sound hard in principle but is actually quite easy as you have plenty of fast hitting moves and the move “Shuffle” is particularly great at punishing baited attacks with parries. the most important enemies to parry are the ones that hit the hardest. You just need to be patient and time your attack.
How to Dodge
Many new players believe that there is no dedicated dodge button in DMC. But, there is one in fact, the jump button. Using this button can allow you to perform 2 different types of dodges.
Jump- Jumping is quite simple to do and does not require any input except the jump button. The jump has invincibility on it’s startup and at the peak of the jump, it loses the invulnerability. While jumping is easy to perform, it doesn’t leave you in an ideal position.
Roll- Rolling is done by locking on to an enemy and inputting either left or right while pressing the jump button. While rolling may seem more complex, it;s rather easy to do. Also as a bonus you can shoot the Blue Rose while rolling and can also position yourself better. This becomes much better with the table hopper ability upgraded.
As Nero you have incredible movement options available to you. Your regular movement isn’t too bad but that’s not the star of the show. The best ways to move around the map in stylish DMC fashion is too use Gerbera along with the air taunt and aerial drift to really fly around the map.
This movement will include much of the Gerbera, air taunt and aerial drift as movement options but it will also use enemy step to allow you to indefinitely stay in the air where most enemies can’t reach you and pull off the most stylish combos you can imagine. If you really wanted to, you can challenge yourself to not touch the ground at all once you get into the air and make things more fun. This would also help you better understand Nero’s aerial movement for yourself.
There are many skills that you can unlock as Nero. I will talk about all of them in brief and rank them according to my own tier list. Please keep in mind that this is only my personal opinion and individual experiences may differ.
- S Tier – Amazing
- A Tier – Good
- B Tier – Mediocre
- C Tier – Bad
- D Tier – Pretty Useless
Speed (B Tier)
It’s not too bad but it isn’t really good. It is just a sprint option and is not ranked lower because it is relatively cheap.
Table Hopper (S Tier)
Not only is a quick animation for a dodge, it also allows you to reposition however you see fit once fully upgraded. I highly recommend this skill.
Wire Snatch (S Tier)
This is a great skill and allows you to string together really long combos that can easily raise your your style rank and upgrading it gives you longer reach which is always helpful and can allow you to start the next combo sooner.
Air Hike (A Tier)
This can be pretty useful especially for the clunky platforming in this game. But a better use for it is to gain more height which will allow you to combo multiple flying enemies at once or you can take an enemy that high so you won’t be attacked during your combo.
Trigger Heart (A Tier)
Devil Trigger is quite a useful tool especially taking into consideration DT distortion. Having it for a longer period of time is simply a quality of life upgrade.
Enemy Step (S Tier)
This skill is the essence of jump cancelling. A technique that allows you to perform the most stylish combos by cancelling your animations and resetting your attacks. It is highly recommended that you get this skill however, keep in mind that it does need some practice to use effectively.
Get More Orbs (D Tier)
Absolutely useless and a waste of orbs. Most red orbs can be picked up without any issues.
Ex Provocation (C Tier)
It is pretty good for what it is but the massive price tag is just not worth it in regular play.
Colour Up (A Tier)
This skill is very effective at increasing your style rank and keeping enemies in the air to extend your combos. It gives you 3 shots of consistent damage which staggers enemies. You should definitely max this out for the most effectiveness.
Charge Shot (B Tier)
While it does do a lot of damage, it is only one shot and cannot be used often. This makes it less consistent at boosting your style rank than Colour Up. This is why i don’t recommend you get this skill early.
Streak (A Tier)
Streak is a great approaching tool especially when paired with exceed. It truly shines however when you combine it with a Bringer Knuckle to prevent the knockback and can extend your combo with ease.
Split (S Tier)
Split functions as a great combo finisher after aerial rave or roulette spin. It is a high damaging move and that makes it quite effective at it’s job. It can even be followed up with Hard Way. It’s versatility makes it a must have move.
Red Queen Combo B (A Tier)
This combo staggers fairly well and can be cancelled during the strong hits. The only downside to this move is that it’s fairly committal.
Red Queen Combo C (S Tier)
The C combo has low risk and fast hitting moves which can be cancelled quickly into another move.
Red Queen Combo D (B Tier)
Not really better than combo A.
Roulette Spin (S Tier)
This is Nero’s best aerial attack and is quite good at getting your style rank up. It also does more damage than Aerial Combo and keeps you in the air unlike Split.
Shuffle (S Tier)
This move is quite useful in some specific situations. It allows for spacing away from your opponent’s attacks and quickly countering with a strike. Shuffle is best against furies and is also great at parrying.
Payline (B Tier)
It is fairly good at dashing towards enemies but it breaks the flow of combat if not jump cancelled and is generally inferior to Calibur.
Hard Way (A Tier)
It is a great follow up to moves like Split or Payline which send the enemy considerably far as it will cause a ground bounce and allow you to continue with your combos.
Calibur (S Tier)
This is the move that everybody loves to jump cancel. Using a gunshot midair will allow you to chain many jump cancelled Caliburs together and will quickly raise your style rank.
Exceed (A Tier)
Upgrading this is key as it allows you to output more damage which is very useful on higher difficulties.
Max-Act (S Tier)
Max-Act is optimal for exceed moves and is one of the best skills available to Nero. It must however be purchased after upgrading exceed.
Devil Breaker (S Tier)
Nero naturally would want to have as much variation as possible to allow for greater extensions of combos. It would also help as you could have backup Devil Breakers in case you lose them.
The exceed system is a mechanic that allows you to greatly increase your damage output and style ranking while using the Red Queen. It basically superpowers your sword adding in amazing properties to moves along with a cool fire effect.
The sword can be manually revved up by tapping and holding the exceed button. However a more useful way to rev up the the sword is through Ex-Act.
This is incredibly useful mechanic to maintain exceed with ease and is possible to do during combos so it will not break the flow of gameplay like manually revving the sword. If you time the exceed button press so that you hit it just as any attack animation ends, then one stock of exceed will instantly be charged. A better version of this however is the Max-Act system.
This is an upgrade that can be purchased in the customization menu. The Max-Act system is quite similar to the Ex-Act system but with one major difference. The timing is stricter than the Ex-Act system’s but you are rewarded with 3 full stocks of exceed instead of just one.
The Devil Breakers are a new addition to the DMC series. They act as one of Nero’s main tools of combat. If you are hit then the Devil Bringer you have equipped will break. However you can luckily not only carry multiple Breakers but can also increase the holding capacity and many are found scattered along the level as well.
There are 4 types of moves that the Devil Breaker can perform and they are:
- Devil Breaker – The regular tap of the assigned button to do a move.
- Breakage – This is where you hold down the button till the Devil Breaker glows and then you can do a powerful move but it will shatter the Devil Breaker once its done.
- Breakaway – While it may seem similar to Break Age moves, these detonate the Devil Breakers instantly and allow you to get away from enemy attacks. It has its own assignable button.
- Wire Snatch – This can be done by locking on to an enemy and hitting the Devil Breaker button. Lighter enemies are pulled towards Nero whereas for heavier enemies Nero will reel himself in to get close to them.
Since Break Away and Wire Snatch act roughly the same way for all Devil Breakers, I will not be listing them along with the Breakers.
Now on to each Devil Breaker. I will rate them according to my own tier list however keep in mind that your experience can vary from person to person. Sadly I was unable to find names for all the moves.
- S Tier – Amazing
- A Tier – Good
- B Tier – Mediocre
- C Tier – Bad
- D Tier – Pretty Useless
Overture (A Tier)
One of two Devil Breakers you have at the start and is pretty starightforward.
Battery (Devil Breaker)- It fires off an electric blast and works as a great combo finisher doing high damage.
Exploder (Breakage)- Nero turns it into a bomb and plants it into the ground. The arm will detonate with a massive explosion after some time but can also manually be detonated by shooting it.
Gerbera/Gerbera GP-01 (S Tier)
The GP-01 is just a reskin (a pretty nice looking one though) with one small difference. It is the other basic Devil Breaker that you have at the start and while it may not seem very good to new players. It gives Nero a great amount of air mobility and allows you to pretty much stay in the air dancing around your enemies. It can be fun to play around with even when you aren’t in commbat. If you alternate it with the air taunt, you can stay in the air for an insane amount of time.
Jocky (Devil Breaker)- It fires a shockwave that can negate or even reflect projectiles. It is most useful however for maneuvering around in the air. The regular fires in front of you if your stick is neutral whereas the GP-01 will make you dart either up or down depending on where you are.
Stamen Ray (Breakage)- It pretty much unleashes a plasma cannon ray for a while
Petal Ray (Breakage midair)- It is also a laser but, it has an additional property where it will ricochet off walls and floors.
Punch Line (S Tier)
This Breaker is a really fun one. Snake Nero can shoot off the arm. After the launch, the Breaker can be remotely detonated or you can ride it (this is a callback to DMC 3). All in all, a super fun weapon.
Jet Gadget (Devil Breaker)- Nero shoots the Breaker at an opponent and it will automatically attack them for a short while.This acts as a great way to simultaneously increase your style ranking. It can be remotely detonated at this point or you can call it back. If you hold the Devil Breaker button while calling it back, Nero will ride the Breaker around and you can perform maneuvers with the face buttons.
Boost Knuckle (Breakage)- Nero uses the propulsion of the arm to perform an insane punch. This punch is very strong and will knock back even heavier enemies.
Helter Skelter (C Tier) (B Tier with Devil Bringer)
This Devil Breaker isn’t too good as you don’t have any invincibility except for the breakage move while using it. The only way to make it viable is to use Nero’s Bringer Knuckle along with it
Devil Breaker move- Nero will drill into the enemies. Repeatedly tapping the button with allow him to do all 3 stages of the move. it isn’t too great as there is no invincibility however it can parry attacks.
Breakage move- Nero will do a spinning tornado into the enemy. This is great with some invinicibility, hyper armour and will break the guard upon use but the fact that it breaks after this makes it less useful.
Buster Arm (A Tier)
This Devil Breaker functions similarly to the Devil Bringer from DMC 4. It works as a close range high damage move. It still has its place even after Nero unlocks the Devil Bringer as it does so much more damage. It’s rated so high as it can shred boss health bars. Expensive but worth it.
Neo Buster (Devil Breaker)- Nero grabs the opponent whether they are on the ground or midair and throws them. Sadly no invulnerability for this
Super Buster (Breakage)- Similar to the Neo Buster but does even more damage and has hyper armour. This allows it to massively outperform the Devil Bringer
Rawhide (A Tier)
Rawhide isn’t bad as an attacking weapon but it is better as a utility weapon. While the moves don’t give you invinicibility, they have very good range so they often hit multiple enmies at the same time. Not only that but Rawhide powers up your Wire Snatch and allows you to now pull in heavier enemies as well.
Devil Breaker move- Repeatedly tapping the button will perform a 3 hit combo but timing the button presses properly will put more hits in and will send the enemy farther away when it ends. This can be done on the ground and in the air.
Breakage move- This move covers a much larger attack range and will usually end with you grabbing an enemy and slamming them into the ground.
Ragtime (S Tier)
This Devil Breaker is a great tool not only to extend your combos but also to make some of the faster enemies such as the fury easier to handle
Devil Breaker move- It encloses the enemy in a slow time bubble which will allow you to either ignore them for a while and focus on other enemies or you can also use it extend your combo and maximize damage on that enemy.
Breakage move- This is one of the best breakage moves as it allows you to pretty much slow down time all around you for some time (basically Quicksilver from DMC 3).
Tomboy (A Tier) (S tier with Devil Bringer)
The Tomboy is a rather unique weapon. Using it allows you to dish out insane damage but it has a few drawbacks. One of it’s major drawbacks can be fixed with the Devil Bringer though.
Devil Breaker move- This powers up the Red Queen and Blue Rose. Lasts indefinitely but will break if you are hit.
Gun Mode- If you tap the gun button, it send you into a third person free aim mode. In this mode you can tap to fire powered up bullets or you can charge the shot to release a railgun blast. You are however quite vulnerable in this mode. This is where the Devil Bringer can help greatly as you can fend off enemies.
Melee- You can repeatedly tap the melee button to have Nero do a flurry of combos ending in a ground bounce. Using the lock on button and attacking will make you perform a powered up streak which you can do indefinitely but, you do have to manually aim it. While midair, tapping the melee button will cause you to perform a downward strike which can be followed up with a ground slam if you hit the button again. Using the lock on button with the midair combo will make Nero do a spinning ground bounce move.
Breakage move- Does the same thing as the Devil Breaker move but it won’t last indefinitely. This may seem like only a drawback but in exchange you are given slightly increased damage and it will break if you are hit.
Pasta Breaker (D Tier)
This weapon is a joke weapon and is naturally pretty useless. While it may seem good at first, it is just an inferior Punch Line (but it is 4 times the price for some reason) and the cycling of Devil Breakers isn’t all that great as you can just arrange them right at the start or at telephones.
Devil Breaker move- Same as Punch Line but does less damage and you can’t ride it.
Breakage move- This seems pretty good at first as it send your opponent upwards and suspends them in the air for quite some time. But you can achieve similar results with Punch Line or Ragtime and still have the same combo potential.
Sweet Surrender (C Tier)
This can also be considered a joke weapon since it is so deeply immersed in sexual innuendo. However, it is definitely more useful than the Pasta Breaker. The healing might appeal to new players but it is simply not worth giving up one of your greatest tools of attack.
Devil Breaker move- Recovers some health passively.
Breakage move- Recovers a good chunk of health but then breaks.
Mega Buster (C Tier)
The Mega Buster is of course a nod to the Mega Man series. Sadly you can’t really aim with this weapon and you just fire in a straight line. But it does give some fun and unique animations for jump, death and respawn.
Devil Breaker move- shoots pellet projectiles like Mega Man. If left unused for some time it will automatically charge and you can shoot a bigger projectile.
Breakage move- In classic Mega Man style, it fires a giant and powerful blast that will pierce through enemies and does good damage.
You get the Devil Bringer back near the end of the game. The Devil Bringer works quite similarly to it’s DMC 4 counterpart. Pressing the Devil Bringer button near an enemy will cause you to perform a grab whether it’s on the ground or midair. However, it is outperformed by the Buster Arm which does significantly more damage. Although having the ability to the grab move without using a Devil Breaker slot is quite nice. It can also be used like Wire Snatch although this doesn’t show any distinct advantage over Wire Snatch and seems to be more towards personal preference.
This is where most of the depth of the Devil Bringer is present. If you time your Devil Bringer button press to just after a melee attack lands then you will perform a follow up attack with your Devil Bringer arm. This is very useful as it not only adds to the damage and style but also allows you to cancel certain things like the knockback on Streak. This allows you to continue the combo at that very moment as the enemy has not flown away from you. Making the use of this mechanic in combos extremely helpful especially for stronger moves and it makes the stringing together attacks a lot more fluid.
Introduction and Basics
You unlock the Devil Trigger ability along with the Devil Bringer near the end of the game. It is reminiscent of the Devil Trigger from DMC 4. However, this time there is no invincibility when you activate Devil Trigger. But, one thing that does happen is enemies near get knocked back and the enemy in front of you will be launched into the air.
Devil Trigger increases your speed, attack power and allows you to regenerate health. However, it is only active for a short period of time. the ability “Trigger Heart” can increase the amount of time Devil Trigger is active. Many of your moves also have changed properties such as allowing you to pierce through enemies. Nero also summons ethereal swords to fight alongside him.
Devil Trigger Distortion
There is a mechanic that allows you to maximise damage and minimise Devil Trigger usage. This mechanic is known as Devil Trigger Distortion. You can use this by activating Devil Trigger as soon as a move connects. You can usually tell that the effect worked by some blur and a small frame slowdown as it accentuates the hit.
Jump cancelling is a technique that utilises Enemy Step to cancel attack animations so that another attack can be inputted to further extended the combo. Jump cancelling can be done by hitting the jump button when you are contact range with an enemy and are performing an attack. Jumping will cancel your animation which allows you to act faster but it also resets all your moves and you full control after executing a jump cancel.
Jump cancelling is usually done when attacking in or from the air to reduce the lag after the move and continue the combo. This is extremely useful and can even be used to string the same move together multiple times without touching the ground.
A favourite for players to jump cancel is the Calibur move. It can be chained by performing Calibur then jump cancelling it then firing a shot from Blue Rose to stall the enemy midair and then performing Calibur again. With proper timing this can be done almost infinitely and is very effective at building your style rank.
Here I will give some examples of combos you can try out and you can experiment by swapping out moves as you see fit. These combos will include the usage of Blue Rose, Red Queen and your Devil Breakers (Overture and Gerbera).
- Note: Perform High Roller before last hit of combo
- Note: Perform Split before last hit of Aerial combo
- note: Charge Blue Rose while performing melee combos
Combo 1 (Overture)
To start off with a rather simple and basic combo
Combo C —> High Roller —> Roulette Spin —> Battery
This combo will is a simple way to get some decent style points in
Combo 2 (Gerbera)
This combo is slightly more complex but you should be able to pull it off
Combo C —> High Roller —> Roulette Spin —> Calibur —> Jocky (towards enemy) —> Payline ———> Streak
This combo might be a bit hard to pull off for new players but you should be able to in a few tries
Combo 3 (High Damage)
This combo is fairly easy to pull and does a nice amount of damage without being too long
Combo B —> High Roller —> Aerial Combo —> Split —> Hard Way —> Streak
Combo 4 (High Style) (Gerbera)
This is a little difficult to pull off but it is definitely worth it
Combo C —> High Roller —> Roulette Spin —> Calibur —> Jocky (towards enemy) —> Air Taunt —> Wire Snatch —> Split —> Hard Way —> High Roller —> Aerial Combo —> Payline —————–> Charge shot
Combo 5 (Boss Killer)(Overture)
Equip 4 Overtures to do this and you can take down bosses with ease
Combo B —> High Roller —> Roulette Spin —> Split/Calibur/Payline —> Exploder (plant as many Overtures inside the boss as you can) —> Charge shot
Using 4 Overtures should decimate the boss’ health bar and the rest is easily taken care of by using a variety of combos
These combos will involve more advanced mechanics such as Exceed, Bringer Knuckling, Devil Trigger Distortion and Jump Cancelling as well as all the Devil Breakers.
Due to everything we are combining into these combos, there are an infinite number of combo chains you can perform.
This makes giving examples hard but I’ll give you a few to demonstrate the general flow.
Note: we are not fully finishing any of the “combo” moves.
This will utilise many jump cancels to extend the combo greatly. All the attacks of the following combo use Exceed.
Combo C —> High Roller —> Payline —> Aerial Combo —> Payline —-> Jump cancel —> Aerial combo —> Payline —> Jump cancel —> Aerial combo —> Payline —> Roulette Spin —> Calibur ——-> Gun shot —> Payline —> Jump cancel —> Aerial combo —> Payline —> Jump cancel —————>Roulette Spin —> Calibur —> Gun shot —> Payline —> Wire Snatch —> Split —> Hard Way
And then you can repeat the whole thing or even change something up.
This one requires you to be more precise as it uses both Exceed and Bringer Knuckling for all attacks.
Streak —> High Roller —> Roulette Spin —> Calibur —> Gun shot —> Payline —> Jump cancel ——-> Air hike —> Wire Snatch —> Roulette spin –> Calibur –> Aerial combo –> Calibur —> Gun shot—> Payline —> Jump cancel —> Wire Snatch —> Split —> Jump cancel —> Wire Snatch —————–> Roulette Spin —> Devil Bringer
You can add or remove whatever you like based on your preference.
The ultimate combo string that uses not only Exceed and Bringer Knuckling but also takes advantage of DTD.
Combo B —> High Roller —> Roulette Spin —> Calibur —> Gun shot —> Calibur —> Payline ——–> Jump cancel —> Aerial combo —> Payline —> Jump cancel —> Aerial combo —> Payline ——-> Jump cancel —> Wire Snatch —> Split —> Hard Way —> High Roller (DTD)(do not follow into the air) —> Jet Gadget/Ragtime —> Showdown
If everything is timed correctly, This combo will fetch massive style points.