Thinking of hopping into the world of Devil May Cry as a first-time player with the latest instalment in the series? There's plenty to think about when you do and we're here to help out in making your first DMC experience as reasonably challenging and fun as possible with this handy beginner's guide.
Pick a difficulty
The first thing you'll be prompted to pick is the difficulty of your coming playthrough and there's more to it than you may think. There's plenty of different difficulties to choose from but only two are available when starting the game up for the first time, Human and Devil Hunter. The Human difficulty is Devil May Cry 5's easy mode and gives the player more health drops when killing enemies who also have less health and lower attack power. This mode makes for a good option for those wanting to just experience the game without having to nail any combos to get through it but for those who want to actually learn the different weapon combinations and epic moves the time it takes to eliminate enemies may be a little too short.
We found that starting off on Human mode didn't really prepare us for the higher difficulties other than teaching us the basic movement controls. That being said, there's achievements/trophies for all difficulties and the lower ones don't unlock when you beat the game on a tougher one, meaning that you have to beat the game multiple times to get them all anyway if you care about your gamerscore or trophy case.
The Devil Hunter mode is slightly tougher than the easier Human mode but we'd say it's not too much of a challenge for newcomers to the series or even newcomers to the genre. Not only will you not have much trouble with the many battles, be they against regular enemies or massive bosses, but you'll also get more familiarised with the gameplay and its many combo elements as well as have enough time for those SSS rank combos to register. The auto combo system is available for both modes as well, so should you find yourself in a tough fight against a group of hellspawn you can toggle that as well as the targeting system while on any one of the modes.
Try out upgrades and combos
When it comes to the battle and mission end ranks, you'll want to switch it up during fights. While dashing attacks are easy to over-use because of the simple fact that they can be used to knock down, push back and damage enemies greatly, using one attack over and over again won't help you on your quest for greatness. Using different combinations and switching your weapons in combat (which you do with a press of the triggers) will boost your rank and net you more bonus red orbs to use towards upgrades for your three playable characters.
Explore beyond the main mission areas
When on the topic of red orbs, you'll want to explore plenty. Red orbs are essential for your continued journey through hell and by exploring you'll not only find more enemies to eliminate, but you'll also find red orb clusters as well as gold, blue, and purple orbs hiding in areas all over the map - and you'll want all of them. Red orbs are, as previously mentioned, used to upgrade your characters' abilities and most of the spent points don't stack through the characters.
For Nero there's different weapons and Devil Breakers to upgrade and buy, for V you have to level up the three summons at his disposal (we recommend to start with Shadow or Griffon first and then moving on to upgrading Nightmare) and for Dante you get a bunch of different weapons as well as forms to spend red orbs on.
While health bar and Devil Trigger gauge upgrades stack (however these you can get for free through finding blue and purple orbs), the abilities don't, so make sure to save some red orbs for upgrading all of your characters. Two of the three playable personalities also have multiple weapons that need upgrading and even though you may have a favourite, you should venture out into the skill trees of some of the other weapon's as well. If you want to explore to the fullest extent, you'll also want to upgrade your jump and sprint as there are places you won't be able to access without double jumping, for example. You can also use the dash to get across un-jumpable gaps.
Upgrade your basic abilities and replay missions
If you want to explore, you should use the direction feature that triggers when you press and hold down the left analogue stick. This will guide you towards where you're supposed to be going to proceed to the next story area, which is where you don't want to head when on a mission of exploration.
Replaying levels will award you greatly. While you won't be able to collect gold, blue or purple gems when completing a level you've already gone through, you will collect a ton of red orbs and this is true for reloading checkpoints and quitting mid-mission as the red orbs are never removed from the game once you've collected them. When we were looking for a secret mission, for example, we constantly reloaded checkpoints and got a ton of red orbs that way since they'd respawn with every reload.
Pick the right Devil Breakers and use the training dojo
As for weapons to use and upgrade, the one weapon type that can be a little overwhelming as a first-time player is Nero's Devil Breaker arm. There are many variations of the Devil Breaker and all of them are very different in combat (and some outside of combat). You'll find Devil Breakers lying on the ground on Nero-headlined missions and in Nico's store when going into the customisation menu through the mission start menu, or through using phone booths/customisation statues during a mission.
Every Devil Breaker is usable for beginners and professionals alike, but the Punch Line and the Gerbera are the easiest and more versatile of the bunch. The Punch Line lets you separate the prosthetic arm (or disarm, if you will) from your body and send it towards an enemy, harassing it while you deal damage through other means. And if you call it back you can even ride around on it in and out of battle to get to hard-to-reach areas or even further towards or away from enemies. The Gerbera is a more explosive piece of machinery that boosts your mobility in battle greatly as a standard punch launches you away just enough to dodge a potential enemy hit (which can be useful considering getting hit while using the Devil Breakers breaks the equipped arm. The Gerbera also has a ton of long-range offensive potential.
With all of this mentioned, perhaps the most valuable gameplay tip of all is to use the training dojo called The Void. Here you can test out all the Devil Breakers, weapons, play styles and combos without paying for an upgrade you may not enjoy to use in-game.