A Short Discussion About ‘V’ From DMC5


COMPLETE SPOILERS FOR DMC5 WITHIN.



So last week I appeared on Brandon Carey’s stream with Matthew Lovenzka to talk about Devil May Cry 5, and while I was pretty excited and discussing things during the latter half of the stream, I was rather quiet for the first half. Anxiety be like that sometimes.

So, in an effort to clear my thoughts on the missing pieces, here’s a few notes on someone major that I didn’t talk about enough.

Near the beginning of the discussion, someone that came up that I was mute on was actually the character of V, which may be surprising considering how much I gushed about him on Twitter on the day of release.
Now, after finishing the game, and running through the first half again, and then having some time away, I have some more complete thoughts on the character.

In regards to his characterization, I really liked V initially. Since the story starts in the middle of the action, he’s able to just stride right in and make some vague poetic comments, because that’s just what he does, and in that sense, he stands as a beautiful contrast to the two prior devil boys.

Rather, V still has a bit of a smug attitude to him, like Nero and Dante before him, but he’s also keen to recite poems from William Blake’s catalog, which are mostly fittingly of Angels, Devils, Demons and Humans all together. Additionally, he has this quiet allure to him. He moves carefully in cutscenes, using his cane to support himself, book open to re-read a choice stanza. He watches as Dante and Nero dive into the fray, screaming as loud as they can, and he opts to stay back most of the time, which does, in turn, make some of his bigger moments that much more interesting.

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When V finds Dante’s sword, he’s barely able to even lift it at first, because he’s not a standard Japanese-style shonen protagonist. His strength isn’t in his brawn. He’s small, thin, light, and frail physically, but he’s still strong. In fact, he’s amazingly powerful, able to summon familiars that obey his every command, and that makes him so different in not only the DMC games, but games in general. Remember Folklore, anyone? I bet not.

And about his combat; he’s really good at it and fun to play to boot! I’ve heard some dissention that he’s the least fun to play of the three, and part of that is fairly because some people don’t like this thematics (being this “super emo boy”), but I can’t agree with the notion that he’s “non-committal” as I’ve heard. While V doesn’t initially seem to do anything, as he’s not up in the demon’s faces as often as Dante or Nero, he still has to land the killing blow, and he can’t take as much punishment as the other two as well, so his positioning in the battle is less split second dodges (though they are there, too), but more of seeing the battle from overhead and planning where would be the best way to have both familiars deal damage with the least done to V, and by association, the player.

The developers also added an almost perfect foil to this by having V read poetry to build his devil trigger quickly. Not only is this thematically resonate for the character, but it weaves elegantly into his gameplay as well (which is a topic I’d like to explore deeper some day). V has a hit a button to physically open his book, and while he’s reading aloud, he can’t move nearly as fast or dodge, so if the player wants to maximize their potential damage and effectiveness, they have to plan out when to use it, and make sure they have sufficient time to build this meter. Again, in a combination of good mathematics and mechanics, the reward for planning and building meter is V being able to summon a giant golem that moves slowly, but absolutely cleaves enemies and often knocks them back, not only doing massive damage, but also giving V a brief respite from harm.

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The fact this is hair turns white is no small bonus, as well.

V’s gameplay may be different from Dante’s speedy weapon swapping or Nero’s buster arms and slam dunks, but I would say it is no less engaging because of that. It’s a different kind of fighting for a different kind of fighter.

But, now that I’ve said the things I really love about V’s character, I want to discuss one that really didn’t work for me, though strictly in a personal sense.

Near the end of the game, it’s ultimately revealed (if, like me, the player hasn’t figured out the twist yet) that V is merely an aspect of Vergil, Dante’s brother. So, as Vergil lays defeated to Dante’s power, V returns to him, and they merge back into one, but of course taking on the look and personality of Vergil as he was in DMC3.

Technically speaking, this totally works. When Vergil separated himself from V, removing his human half, V comes out this scrawny, physically weak human-esque man full of emotions. He’s different from the other characters because he’s lacking his other half, and so it’s only natural that he returns to his proper form.

The reason it really doesn’t work for me is simply because I really liked that V was intrinsically, fatalistically flawed. Rather, he was born with this void inside him, something missing, and the fact that that resonated in his look, his dialogue, and his combat meant a lot to me.

The ending makes V feel like nothing more than a plot device, a means to bring back Vergil, who himself is an amazing character, as are Dante and Nero, but now without their emo boy backing them.

And I’ll miss that emo boy, V. He’s the kind of character I really wouldn’t mind encountering more often in video games. Broken, sad, yet driven, maybe a little smug, and devilishly stylish.


If you’d read this and are wanting some more reading, I would suggest Brandon’s further thoughts on the Style Ranking system in his blog post about it!

No Feet, Dead Man, and Cap’N Shammy: A Sea of Thieves Tale

Header Photo by Alan

A dimly lit tavern and it’s quiet shanty tunes offer a night of reprieve for weary sailors on this dark and stormy night.

Oh, and the mead. The mead helps a lot.

Resting in the corner with drink in hand sits a lone pirate. He mumbles to himself between drinks as a duo comes through the door. Soaked in rain, one of them is a burly woman of sorts, covered in tattoos, and the other a scrawny man missing a hand. They each take a seat next to the drunken pirate.

Betwixt their idle conversation, he lifts his head.

“Dark night,” he says.

“Aye,” the woman responds, “cold as well.”

“No colder than the night me and my crew met The Queen of Crests.”

The man sighs.

“Gods, not this again. Every bleedin’ tavern this happens,” he moans.

He gets up with, “can’t a man just have a drink in peace.”

The pirate man lies his head back down.

The duo get up to leave.

The pirate slams a few blue-ish coins on the table. They glow in the faint lamp-light. The woman and man look on with awe.

“What are these?” the woman asks, her eyes fixated on the their beauty.

“The story’s true, if ye care to hear it,” the pirate responds with a sly smirk.

Slowly they both sit back down.

The pirate takes a long chug of his mead.

“Our tale begins on a night much like this…”

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In Memory Of Mitch

I’ve never been particularly good at talking about myself, and the story of my relationship to Suicide Silence isn’t an easy one at that. For years, I told myself I would write this story during the month of November, and always let it slide by, because it always felt painful to think about these years in my past.

But these days, I’m doing well. I’m moving forward.

And I think it’s important to remember a moment when I wasn’t.

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Funny Games: As Real As The Reality Which We See

Released in 1997, Funny Games, written and directed by Michael Haneke, tells the story of a family on vacation being invaded, tortured, brutalized, and eventually murdered by two young men. Aside from the fact that the film is incredibly violent without any reason, what’s notable is that Paul, one of the two young murderers, consistently breaks the fourth wall and acknowledges that the audience is viewing the film, and and questions whether him knowing he’s in a film makes it as real as ‘reality’.

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What I Learned From The Kingdom Hearts Primer

Header Photo Credit

The Kingdom Hearts Primer was teased on September 27th, 2016 and ended on March 2nd, 2018. That’s 522 days to make this series happen, not counting the original botched recording that started exactly a year before the teaser went up. My co-host Brandon Carey and I totaled 103 episodes, averaging about half an hour a piece, or simply a clean 100 if we don’t count the custom-made trailers.
While I didn’t work every single one of those days, the primer was still something that hung around me that entire time, and I feel like I’ve learned a lot from it. Here’s a few of those things.

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2018 And Onward | What’s To Come?

Way back in the day, years and years ago, I used to visit these tiny little blogs, always run by one person, that wrote small essays about anime episodes, video games, movies, or whatever else. While the works themselves weren’t all that great, what really enraptured me was the feeling of intimacy I had with someone I’ve never met. These people often loved to use casual language and share personal anecdotes to add to their points, and it created this cozy, “homey” feel to their sites that I loved.

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