Devil May Cry 5 Catch-All

Announced at E3 and is currently slated for a spring 2019 release on Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and PC.

[ English dot Com]

Release date: March 8th, 2019

It's funny, they held this out as the "true sequel to DMC 4." As if Ninja Theory's 2013 game wasn't the best game in the series since the original.

Considering Capcom's attitude toward the situation I'm not holding my breath for this to be any good.

New trailer, demo out on Xbox One today, and Bloody Palace will arrive for the game in April.

So uh, anyone grab the demo for this on Xbox One?

...anyone else aware this thread exists?

Huh. I actually didn't realize there was a demo out for this. I'll try to get to it this week.

Yup, it was exclusive to Xbox One and... remains exclusive. They say "Play the first demo exclusively on Xbox One" so I dunno if there's another one coming for everyone or not.

Whelp, a new Devil May Cry 5 demo will arrive on both PS4 and Xbox One on February 7th. I think today is the last day you can download the current one on Xbox One, but if you already downloaded it you can still play it.

ccesarano wrote:

Whelp, a new Devil May Cry 5 demo will arrive on both PS4 and Xbox One on February 7th. I think today is the last day you can download the current one on Xbox One, but if you already downloaded it you can still play it.

Ah, good. I haven't gotten around to trying it yet, but I did download it in time. Definitely still interested in checking it out soon.

I'm genuinely interested in finding out what the passage of time has done to the OG DMC aesthetic.

So I played DMC1 and 3 for the first time the past few months in order to gear up and get ready for DMC5, and then replayed DMC4, which was the first entry in the series I played back when it came out. I... kind of did not enjoy DMC4. I did, but I also did not. Part of it was my fault, as I booted up the HD remaster a couple years ago and evidently got a whole bunch of currency to just buy not only all of Nero's moves, but all the health boosts as well (at least, all the health upgrades you can purchase). On top of that, I ended up starting the game on Human, and though I was restarting from the beginning I decided to just stick to it since I recall having a tough time when I first played it on Xbox 360.

I... I must have really been awful at action games because I never, ever felt at risk playing it.

I might go back and play on a harder difficulty for a bit just to get a better sense of how it ought to be, but that leads to some of the other issues I had with the game. When I think back to DMC3, each of the bosses required me to really think about the timing of my attacks and adapt to their increasing strength. Even if I played this on its Normal difficulty I feel like the bosses expect you to just hack at 'em with only the occasional dodge. I know Human reduced damage, but it couldn't have reduced it that much that each of those hits would have been more devastating.

That the enemies are designed to be killed faster by Dante but Nero's devil-arm allows for greater reach means I'm not entirely happy playing as either character. This is actually a bit of a concern to me regarding DMC5, since there are now three playable characters to design around.

Finally is the story. I figured now that I've played the games that matter I'd be able to follow along better, and I largely did when the music wasn't louder than the dialogue (I turn off subtitles for English voice cast, as for some reason I tend to absorb less info in such circumstances). Nevertheless, it just feels like... a whole lot of nothing important happening despite the grandiosity. DMC3 had a surprisingly good and enjoyable story, but DMC4 felt rather rushed. I can't help but wonder if sticking to 20 missions total was a bad move on their part, though then you might even have more to backtrack. Which... in some ways wasn't as awful, but it also was considering again how simple the bosses were.

I may dislike the story of DmC: Devil May Cry, but I think I actually like playing it better than DMC4.

Nevertheless, I look forward to the new DMC5 demo on the 7th to get a taste of what the new game will be like.

Jeez that official website is awful.

Game is out on March 8th, for anyone (like me) who was wondering!

As a reminder, the demo is now available to download on PS4 and Xbox One.

Whelp, dunno if anyone else grabbed it, but I certainly did.

It's short! Quite short. Short enough I'm curious what the Xbox One demo was, since this is supposed to be different. It's clearly a truncated build that gives you the beginning and end of a level, but cuts out a bunch of the middle. The camera is surprisingly close to Nero at a lot of parts, but once you get into the action it seems to know to pull back and give you a lot of visibility.

Coming off of DMC4, Nero is feeling a bit... sluggish? They also changed how some of his combos operate. Forward+Triangle while in the air should be what sends him striking downwards, but instead it is Back+Triangle. Confused me for a while. The game seems to be changing how orbs are collected, as you get them from specifically colored objects in the environment rather than just hacking at furniture. Similarly, the Statue of Time is gone, and when you want to go to the shop you call up Nico on a phone. I don't recall her selling Vitality Stars, but the game seemed to distribute health generously via green insects in the area and parts of the environment that got wrecked.

The green bugs also seemed to heal enemies, which was interesting.

The boss had the scale of the bosses in DMC4, but was far more interesting to fight. I ended up having to pay more attention to his moves as the battle progressed if I wanted to avoid damage. I look forward to seeing what else they come up with.

The Story So Far trailer, for those that might have forgotten the details I suppose.

Pre-ordered my copy and expect it to arrive next Friday. Anyone else?

Archipel did a sort of combined feature on both Hideaki Itsuno of Devil May Cry and Dragon's Dogma fame, as well as the two designers of Resident Evil 2.

I forgot to mention that I did check out the PS4 demo a couple weeks ago. It seemed good, but I felt pretty lost. I haven't really played a Devil May Cry game since bouncing off the 2nd one hard so many years ago. I should just find time to check out 3 and 4 before considering 5.

DMC3 is effectively the true father of the franchise by modern standards. I found it still holds up well, but also puts one of the more difficult bosses right up front. Cerberus is a real pain and you don't have a lot of resources to figure out a good approach to him. The Brothers make for a far better initial boss, as contrary as it seems.

DMC4 is perhaps more accessible, but I found it to be a bit disappointing on the heels of DMC3. It might help you gauge whether you'd like to play DMC5, though.

What, in particular, left you feeling "lost" in DMC5?

ccesarano wrote:

What, in particular, left you feeling "lost" in DMC5?

Oh, just being dropped mid-demo without having played any of the other games. I was wasting gauntlets and failing at combos. I meant it in relation to my lack of experience with more recent entries, not anything I felt was wrong with the game.

The first Devil May Cry is an all-time favorite of mine, but 2 was such a disappointment to me that it killed my interest in the series for many years. I've been feeling the itch to check it out again. Since I own 3 and 4, I should probably try at least one of those first

I bounced off the earlier DMC games, but *loved* the Ninja Theory DmC. I must have played it at least 5 times between the original and the Definitive edition. I just love the way combat flows in that game, especially the aerial combos you can pull off and the mid-combo weapon switching. Now I'm thinking I should maybe try DMC3 again? I only ever tried the original version.

Dyni wrote:

Oh, just being dropped mid-demo without having played any of the other games. I was wasting gauntlets and failing at combos. I meant it in relation to my lack of experience with more recent entries, not anything I felt was wrong with the game.

The first Devil May Cry is an all-time favorite of mine, but 2 was such a disappointment to me that it killed my interest in the series for many years. I've been feeling the itch to check it out again. Since I own 3 and 4, I should probably try at least one of those first :)

Well, I think DMC4 allows you to start out with a whole crap ton of Red Orbs that you can use to unlock just about everything, including Health. I don't completely recall and now wish I deleted my save file before I replayed it. I evidently started the game some time a couple years ago and bought all that stuff before starting Human difficulty, and as a result I had a lot less fun with DMC4 than I did with DMC1 or DMC3. I'd say, if you want something to prep you for DMC5, then your best bet probably is DMC4. However, since you're not as experienced with the series, playing on Human difficulty may be your best bet.

ComfortZone wrote:

I bounced off the earlier DMC games, but *loved* the Ninja Theory DmC. I must have played it at least 5 times between the original and the Definitive edition. I just love the way combat flows in that game, especially the aerial combos you can pull off and the mid-combo weapon switching. Now I'm thinking I should maybe try DMC3 again? I only ever tried the original version.

I played DMC4 in 2008, but I didn't quite "get it" at the time. I played DmC around the time that Bayonetta and Wonderful 101 were all coming out, so I was beginning to better understand how this sort of action game worked. While there's a lot wrong with DmC's story, and I can see how a lot of traditional Devil May Cry fans dislike the color-coded enemies, it was one of the first games to help me "get" the genre. In fact, I'd say it's thanks to DmC and Wonderful 101 that I can approach action games better than I had in the past.

I know Hideaki Itsuno liked DmC and would have made a sequel to that if there were more faith behind it, so I'm wondering if that will have some impact. DMC5's Nero level felt closer to DMC4 than DmC, though, and I imagine Dante will control like his old self always did. Word on the street is that new character V controls like a Sorcerer from Dragon's Dogma, which... isn't entirely surprising, but I dunno how that's gonna work since I avoid spellcasters in RPGs.

Just a few more days until I find out!

ccesarano wrote:

I know Hideaki Itsuno liked DmC and would have made a sequel to that if there were more faith behind it, so I'm wondering if that will have some impact. DMC5's Nero level felt closer to DMC4 than DmC, though, and I imagine Dante will control like his old self always did. Word on the street is that new character V controls like a Sorcerer from Dragon's Dogma, which... isn't entirely surprising, but I dunno how that's gonna work since I avoid spellcasters in RPGs.

Just a few more days until I find out!

Interested to hear what you think! I was only really interested in DMC5 because I heard it was taking cues from DmC, but thinking back on it now I probably didn't give the earlier games a fair shake. I've been having a good run lately revisiting old games so I like the idea of trying them out again.

V sounds... interesting. I could never get to grips with the sorcerer in DD - it felt like I was constantly running away to make time for the long wind-ups needed to cast any kind of spell. But I know some people love the class.

Best Buy promised release day delivery.

Best Buy has never failed me before.

Best Buy seems to have failed me today.

Even though I'm not planning to grab this right away, I have been reading/watching impressions and reviews. It looks so good.

I was particularly grabbed by the short bit of V's gameplay I saw in Jim Sterling's video. It looks so radically different from the other two characters in an endearingly awkward sort of way. Seems like a real winner all around.

So far I've only played the first 5 missions, so about 1/4th of the game. This has given me three missions as Nero and two as V.

Nero is... well, he's Nero. He's a DMC character. His arm pulls enemies closer, but then pulls him towards big enemies. He's very proactive in regards to combat roles, has a lot of snappy comments, and is just what you want in a Devil May Cry game. The demo is the beginning and ending of mission two, with the middle portion cut out and a tougher enemy removed. I definitely recommend playing the demo and getting save data so you can get the 30,000 orbs, because you can basically get a whole bunch of vitality and useful abilities that way. I don't recall the names of all of them, but I believe roulette is my favorite of the air attack combos, and the dash forward is quite helpful as well.

Mission 3 is an interesting one because I picked up a whole lot of Golden Orbs, which resurrect you. Thus far I've only died once, and it was during the boss of mission 3, so I've got like 5 Golden Orbs in reserve. I've missed some secrets, though. I have a feeling some of the hiding spots are the best here.

V, however... I got mixed feelings. Somehow, I got not only SS combat rank with him, but SSS as well. With Nero, the highest I could seemingly get was S, and I actually knew what I was doing with him. With V, it feels like whether I mash buttons or try to pull off actual moves, his beast guys be doin' their own thing. I'm still having fun as I have some semblance of control, but there's a major disconnect for me. Still, for as rough a time as I'm having with him, I never died against a boss with him. I wonder if there's some special button-mapping you can figure out in order to capitalize on his abilities (Lock-On being R1 and reading his book to charge Devil Trigger being R2 is... less than ideal, yet I get the feeling that keeping your Devil Trigger up is what makes V a devastating force to be reckoned with).

Can't say much for story yet, other than it's got some good production values. This is definitely an end to the "Sons of Sparda" arc, meaning likely the last game with Dante. Who knows where the franchise will go from here as this game is no doubt designed to act as a potential finale for the series should it not sell well enough. My Twitter feed is filled with people in love with V and Nico, but I'm not entirely sold on either one of 'em yet. V has this weird Straight-Outta-Buffy thing going, only without the snark or comedy. Just... has that sort of goth look and behavior to him? I dunno. I imagine ... is it Nel with the Buffy podcast or Spacepoliceman? I can't recall. This is what happens when you identify people by their avatar and not their name. Regardless, whichever one loves Buffy would probably want to know what I'm smoking for thinking V is a Buffy type character but without the laughy taffy.

Nico is... I dunno. I feel like she's designed specifically to be liked. I dunno how to quantify her though. Fan-bait? Not really fan-service, though I imagine some of her strategic tattoo placement will seem like that. Just... engineered? Like "we've done focus tests and cross-referenced a whole bunch of social media posts, and this is the character we've come up with". Which, don't get me wrong, I've knew enough goth/metal chicks in College that would want to eat V up. He's equally engineered. Just... I dunno. I guess because I saw the social media response being so strong I kind of feel... contrarian.

I'm always contrarian so whatever.

Still dunno what V's deal is, though, and it doesn't feel like the game wants that to be a mystery. It feels more like the game just doesn't care. "Yeah, he's V, he summons demons". It's probably gonna be a bit like DMC4, where you find out halfway through the game that Lady actually notified Dante of the big bad Sparda worshiping cult and that's why he went and murdered the pope.

Regardless, having a lot of fun, and between this and RE2 Capcom has just knocked it out of the park. I'm so glad they're finding their feet again.

Is it weird that the demo made me want to play Bayonetta instead? It's the dodging. Love me some dodging + witch time.

I definitely think the Witch Time makes Bayonetta seem more accessible, but honestly, I feel like I have a better handle on what I'm doing in Devil May Cry. I went back to replay the first Bayonetta on Switch, which would have been the third time I did so, and my rankings are still pretty awful and I tend to have trouble in a bunch of spots. The thing about Witch Time is that it also makes enemies more aggressive in Bayonetta, not to mention attacks are split between two separate buttons for kicks and punches. DMC largely focuses on one attack button and timing or direction of inputs, and that overall makes it easier for me, at least, to keep track of.

Granted I do recall Bayonetta 2 being a lot more welcoming than the first game. I'll probably be replaying both in the lead-up to Bayonetta 3, regardless. I think at this point DMC might just be more my preference, though they're also different enough experiences.

Beat mission nine last night.

"This party's gettin' crazy! Let's rock!"

I'm really liking how the story is unfolding so far, though at the same time it makes DMC4 feel like some weird filler that... I guess I'll need to spoiler-tag to explain.


So while it hasn't been 100% confirmed in story yet, I'm pretty sure Vergil is heavily involved in this narrative. I won't say he's the big bad guy yet, though it wouldn't at all shock me. The thing is, I would largely recommend to anyone that hasn't played the other DMC games to just play 3 and jump right to 5, only then you wouldn't understand Nero, who has a demon arm, the blood of Sparda, and was able to fuse with Vergil's blade Yamato... and is in fact, the first major hint to our antagonist's identity. Some cloaked man says "I need my sword back", rips Nero's demon arm off, and next thing you know is slicing holes into walls with Yamato? Yeah, Vergil is definitely in this game... I'm just not ready to claim he's Urizen, or that he's not possessed, or something.

But in that regard, it's better to have played DMC4 as well. As nothing as that story can be, it at least introduces Nero, who is a pretty central character to 5's story.

Anyway, I continue to really enjoy the game and its boss fights. I've still only died the once, finally managed to get SS (SSS?) rank with Nero, but still seem to have an easier time surpassing SSS with V but only when I'm randomly trying to make things happen (I swear those stupid creatures don't actually listen to me), and have been able to figure out how to find extra pathways and items. In one instance with Nero, it required a sort of "triple-jump" using the Gerbara Devil Breaker. Jump, Double-Jump (thank goodness I had just recently bought it), and then press O to launch forward. With V, I discovered you can summon Nightmare on the other side of certain walls that he'll bust down. In that instance it would have made a good shortcut for speed-runs/repeat playthroughs, but it also made me realize it might have been something useful for prior levels where I was trying to figure out how to access certain secret locations.

Mission 6 was one of my favorite boss fights in this series, and Mission 7 gives you the option of going through one path as Nero or another path as V. It seems like there may be other stages like this, so that adds to some of the replayability of the game as well.

I also figured something out about Nico. She's basically Cindy from FFXV but with more clothes and actual personality.

So yeah, between this, RE7/2, and Mega Man 11, Capcom is doing a phenomenal job of reviving their franchises to their former glory.

Oh, and lastly, I dunno why, but I really dig V's music for... some reason. It's just got a sound that seems to fit the rhythm of his fights.

Game continues to be good stuff.

I have no clue if anyone has a legit interest in seeing my own gameplay, but I uploaded some clips to Twitter. Nero gameplay from Mission 2/demo, and Dante gameplay from Mission 11. I was largely just sharing my bafflement that I can never manage better than an S-Rank with Nero despite feeling most comfortable with him, yet I have now achieved SSS-Rank with Dante, who feels less mobile and, in the video, you can even see me flopping about like a fish in points.

In my continued journey to talk to myself, I've come to share a pretty decent analysis of DMC5.

I think whether this is "the best Devil May Cry" will vary from person to person. Having finished 15 missions, I fully agree with Hamish there that DMC5 has the least interesting environments and setting. It feels like the world itself is kind of there, whereas even in DMC4 it felt like there was a proper sense of place. DmC itself had a pretty juvenile imitation of They Live, but I remember its different locations far better. DMC5 pretty much has the least interesting world of the entire franchise.

However, the gameplay is really solid, and I feel might be the most balanced of the entire franchise (not counting DmC, which... I mean, it's a different conversation. I feel like DmC is great as an introductory title to the character action genre, but it is not nearly as intent at kicking your butt as the rest of the DMC series or any of its competitors). When I say "most balanced" I also largely mean difficulty scaling. I was talking with my friend Steve about how Cerberus in DMC3 is a really unfortunate first boss, because the Brothers after him make for a far better introductory fight. This might be old news to DMC3 fans that have been playing for over a decade, but as someone that only experienced DMC3 for the first time this year (or was it December? I can't even keep track anymore...) I still don't have Cerberus' "trick" down. The Brothers, on the other hand, were easy to figure out. The inability to swap between styles is also a real issue with that game.

Basically, DMC3 could be the best entry if Capcom remade the game with modern mechanics. Instead, while it does some things better than any other entry, DMC5 is still the most enjoyable for me to play.

...but cripes, after Mission 12 I either started to suck or it got hard, because I've finally used some of those Gold Orbs. I think by now they're expecting me to have experimented with Nero's Devil Breakers far more.

Now, if there's a complaint I have to this game, it really is the Devil Breakers. Technically they're great. The problem is you can't manually swap them in and out. You have to break one to unequip it – which I can see some of the reasoning but don't think it's a better choice – and even then you have to equip the next one in queue. So we're right back to DMC3's issue with Dante and styles, because if you don't know what's coming you won't be ready. If I had known what was coming I'd have equipped Nero with, like, three Ragtimes before the boss fight.

We'll see what happens, as I imagine I have a lot of Dante-centric fights coming up. Despite less mobility, I evidently got quite used to how he plays.

Story's still good, though.

And beaten! Not actually the ending I expected, and in fact it's surprisingly light in tone compared to what I was anticipating. It effectively allows them to close off the "Sons of Sparda" in a fitting way that could allow for Nero to become the new mainline protagonist, while simultaneously leaving room for everyone's favorite man in red. I have some other thoughts I'll spill out into a spoiler tag.

There's definitely some end-game abilities you unlock that will make repeat playthroughs a lot of fun. I want to go back and replay some of the levels, be it to complete the ones where you choose your character or to try and find secret missions and items. Don't know about playing on higher difficulties yet, though. Heck, I might have to drop the difficulty down to Human if I want a chance at a few of the trophies.

I know it sounds weird at the moment, but I'm already juggling placement between this and RE2 in terms of Game of the Year talks. It's technically way too early for that, but RE2 really floored me with the quality of its everything. If there's anything that kept me from replaying it immediately, it was a desire to finally give Yakuza a try and... well, despite having beaten the game, horror always takes a bit of willpower for me to get started on. DMC5, on the other hand, is all about feeling awesome and stylish, or at least having fun pretending the irrational mashing of buttons in hopes of killing things faster is stylish. Capcom has really knocked it out of the park so early in the year, and I cannot help but wonder what other surprises they have waiting in the wings. Surely this can't be all for 2019, can it? This, a rerelease of Dragon's Dogma on Switch, and an expansion for Monster Hunter World?

Even so, it's not like these two games alone aren't enough to satiate. And that's what makes it tough when considering end of the year rankings. Each game appeals to a different side of my game-loving brain, and manages to be a masterclass example of their respective genres. Devil May Cry 5 is what so many hoped it would be, more, and... well, as established last post, a little less as well. Not just in setting and design, but I think the story takes a downward turn for some of the final few missions. It's as if the developers didn't have much more story to tell and thus just had you bounce between each character, running through tunnels of Hellscape before fighting a bunch of demons. On a purely gameplay level I can see the logic. Give the player one more chance to play as each character before the final major boss fights. Really, though, it feels like missions 13-16 could have been put to far better narrative use.

Also, regarding the final boss... mechanical spoilers within, I'll try and be vague regarding narrative details.


Missions 19 and 20 are the same encounter, just 19 playing as Dante and 20 playing as Nero. There are narrative reasons the fight with Nero is satisfying, but on a mechanical level you are doing the same thing a second time. You just happen to have one advantage that actually makes it a bit easier. So you have 4 very samey missions followed by four that are more interesting on a narrative level, but are also effectively three boss fights and a boss rush (but not like all the prior boss rushes of DMC).

I may not be giving it enough credit, but I feel like the game is running on all cylinders and suddenly drops into low gear.... assuming that makes any sense. I don't know cars. I drive an automatic.

Everything else, good and bad, to be discussed in spoiler tags below. Focused on narrative rather than gameplay. To close off, I'm super glad this game exists, I do hope they can continue the franchise moving forward, and I hope the sales numbers are the best of the series. I want Capcom to be rewarded for focusing on what made their games so good again rather than chasing trends.

...oh, and I guess you can buy orbs as microtransactions but I never felt the need. You'd have to be really, really bad at the game to need to spend real money, and at that point DMC5 is just not for you. You can, however, get a Gold Orb as a "log-in bonus" each day, so if you have trouble picking some of those up throughout the game then just close out of the game and start back up each day you play.

To that end, this is possibly the most noob friendly DMC game since DmC: Devil May Cry.

Alright, story talk.


I am really, really frustrated with what they did to Lady this game.

They didn't do anything overtly bad. Her outfit is better than what she wore in DMC4 and she and Trish both have more presence in this game than they had there. I also don't really care much about Trish because the writing and voice acting in the first Devil May Cry was so bad I could never see her as a character anyway. Lady, however, was a really good character, and for a moment I was amazed that she wasn't one of the most common "Top Female Video Game Characters" lists that dominated the aughts until I realized games press are always whining about how character action games are ranking them poorly for being bad at the game. Like most of gaming's best female characters, Lady appeared in a game that lacked mass-market appeal and thus was easily overlooked.

What made Lady great wasn't merely the fact that she was a mere human capable of taking on demons and surviving. It was the struggle she went through in her mission to kill her own father. Though she lost the fight to Dante regarding who had the power to go and take her dad on, the game still made sure to give her that final moment. She was the one that pulled the trigger. She was the one that shed tears for a man she both loved and hated.

For the majority of DMC5, I was... fine, I guess, with Lady and Trish being minor support characters again. It's not really their story, and Nico is the new DMC girl (much in the way James Bond films always have the "Bond girl") so Nico is the one getting the focus. I didn't get truly angry at the game until it was revealed that Vergil was Nero's dad, and both Dante and Trish wanted him out of the fight so he didn't have to kill his own dad. Lady slips out a line about how "you never recover from that", and I was just... irritated. I feel like it misunderstood Lady's mission in the first game. Yes, she cried upon killing her dad, but she should understand more than anyone else what it means to need to kill someone you love, because otherwise nothing good will happen.

Of course, it turns out it was just a throwaway line anyway, as Nero winds up having no desire to kill dear ol' da'. But this then winds back into how four stinking missions were wasted having the three main guys race to the bottom of Hell to fight Urizen/Vergil. I don't know how else I'd have paced it since film and video game story-telling has to spread things out differently from one another, but Nero should have spent far more time in the game struggling with the reality that Vergil is his Dad and the mission being to kill him. Have Dante and Trish on one side and Lady on the other, and Nico likely trying to stay out of such decisions.

What makes the timing on this difficult is that you'd need to have V merge with Urizen earlier. While on one hand this could have been mission 14 or 15, you then need to fill up the remaining two-to-three missions before 18. I'd like to reiterate that I'm actually pretty fine with 18-20 on a narrative level. I liked finding out that Griffon, Shadow, and Nightmare were all parts of Nelo Angelo, and boy howdy I wanted to smack myself in the forehead reading Nico's notes on them when I realized they were all enemies from the first flipping Devil May Cry game. Yes, executed in a different fashion than you'd have seen them in back then, but it's like... wow, talk about oblivious me!

I guess maybe having each of them be their own boss fight or something, stretch that concept across multiple levels rather than just mission 18, but I feel like you'd be losing something given how well it works currently.

So I guess what makes me frustrated is that the one most relevant line/plot development to Lady's character is, to me, not at all fitting with her arc from the third game. Everything else is just a matter of how they could have better told the rest of the story while varying the gameplay up better. If you wanted to accuse them of running out of ideas/development time, missions 13-16 are the spot to do it.

Otherwise, yeah, I was really happy with how things turned out. There's something slightly anti-climactic to seeing Vergil and Dante fighting each other in the Underworld still, but the two have definitely changed. That they're not necessarily fighting to kill each other is indication enough. Their rivalry will never go away, but thanks to Nero they've finally gotten some level of resolution. Doesn't feel like Hollywood's method of resolution, but it is fitting nonetheless.

So them's my gripes, but they really don't reflect the overall joy I felt in this game.

Now if only I could get the Exceed timing down right with Nero.

I'm about halfway through Son of Sparda (the second playthrough), and I'm very impressed so far. I really don't care much about the story or the characters, it's about what I expected. In that regard, and in terms of level-design from a visual standpoint (and sense of place) I feel that it actually falls short of DmC.
But the combat! I don't think I can overstate how goddamn good it is. It's what I came for and it doesn't disappoint in the slightest. I'm just starting to get a feel for some of the mechanics, getting the parry timing down for an enemy or two, varying moves enough to dip into the S and beyond rankings more often, etc. I still have lots of moves left to unlock, not to mention that the characters all play wildly differently and once you feel like you're kind of getting a grip on them they'll switch you to someone else on your first playthrough. Speaking of which, the first time through felt more like a tutorial than anything else with how they introduce new mechanics and weapons all throughout, not to mention that you don't even get access to major parts of Nero's moveset until you have beaten the game once.
Experimenting with combos in the void and applying them correctly in an actual encounter, correctly inputting your moves for three characters at once, switching stances, melee and ranged weapons mid-combo, ... so far I've only had glimpses of how awesome it'll be once I really get it down, but even in these early stages it's all so great to play that I'm already confident to say that it's likely the best spectacle action game since Bayonetta.

I'll definitely play through it a couple of times, at least to beat all the difficulty settings you unlock.