V is definitely a different character than your usual Devil May Cry character, as he can’t really attack enemies directly. Instead, he has familiars that he summons to do his bidding in combat. He has two main familiars that will do most of the work, Shadow and Griffon, as well as a third, Nightmare, that only comes out when using Devil Trigger. Both Shadow and Griffon are each assigned to a button, which means that skilled players can take advantage of being able to use both familiars at the same time. The downside to these familiars is that they aren’t able to kill foes, but they rather put them in a catatonic state that requires V to come in and deliver the final blow.
One of the hardest parts about getting used to V is maintaining both Shadow and Griffon. Since they are assigned to buttons right next to each other, it might be more useful to switch Griffon to something like L1/LB or L2/LT. This will make it a lot easier to charge the necessary attacks with Griffon, but it’s entirely up to you. Another big challenge for V is making sure that Griffon and Shadow don’t have their health taken down to zero. Their health bars are located in the top left corner of the screen and should they go down, they become a ball and go into a state called Stalemate. They naturally recover over time, but standing close to them will make it go quicker.
The DT gauge is one of your primary concerns when playing as V, as you need at least three bars to summon Nightmare. The normal attacking/getting hit will fill it up, but V has one more thing to help with it. Pressing and holding the R2/RT button will have V break out a book. As he reads this during fights, the DT gauge will actually recover, but he is extremely vulnerable while reading the book, so use it at your own discretion.
Griffon is your bird companion and is considered the ranged option in battles. His basic attack will just shoot projectiles at the enemy, but holding down the battle and releasing it will have Griffon unleash a pillar of lightning. With the upgrades to Blockade, then holding down the button longer will have him summon more lightning. The other default move is Round Robin, which will have Griffon teleport near you, then conjure an electric ball to surround him. You can have upgrades to Round Robin that increases the size and make it hit multiple times.
Delving into the skills you have to buy, Flank Attack is great, as it covers a decent distance and can launch some enemies into the air. Double Check will conjure an electric orb that then creates two lasers that start spread apart and close in. This move can be a good starter for a combo that involves both pets. Note that you can dodge backwards with Griffon, plus double jumping and gliding also works well in combat.
Shadow is your panther companion and is the melee option for V in fights. His base health is a little more than Griffon, since he needs to be all in the enemy’s face. He has three combos, all of which have their uses, with Combo A being the most basic of the three. This looks different for airborne enemies, as Shadow will just stab them. Combo B delays the second hit and has a sweeping attack before the final strike, which is quite powerful and excellent for the meatier enemies. Combo C delays the third button press and is more for a little bit of crowd control, as Shadow just flails around on the targeted foe.
Breakthrough is a great move to add to V’s arsenal, as it will allow Shadow to close the distance on enemies, plus it will hit multiple enemies. The charge-up skill is Hedgehog, where Shadow will literally turn into a bunch of spikes, creating a massive area-of-effect. The upgraded version will summon some spikes out of the ground, in addition to the normal move. Being the melee option in combat, you probably want to knock enemies into the air, which is what Arbiter is for, plus you can hold the button to have Shadow follow enemies. While they’re in the air, you can use both Bayonet and Guillotine to continue your assault.
While it does a lot of damage, Skewer can take a little bit of time to come out, making it a situational skill. Of course, you have other pets as distractions, so it might not be too situational. Shadow is your pet you don’t want to get Stalemated, as his dodge maneuver is absolutely critical in keeping V safe in combat. While holding R1/RB, move the left analog to the side in conjunction with X/A to dodge with Shadow. Continually doing this will make V quite invulnerable to attacks, so keep it in mind in the tougher challenges.
Nightmare is the pet that is summoned whenever you use your Devil Trigger and initially, he has a mind of his own. He will mainly do melee attacks, as well as shoot lasers at the ground, creating explosions that deal a lot of damage. The fun with Nightmare comes with the Promotion skill in the Abilities tree, allowing you to ride Nightmare and control him directly with the Circle/B button. He has a basic three-hit combo, plus you can delay the third button press to have him spin around with his arms stretched out. Strongpoint will shoot a laser and can be followed with Critical Position for another laser. Desperado, an air move, causes Nightmare to crash down and Illegal Move will help you move this lumbering giant towards enemies more quickly.
It should be noted that when you’re not controller Nightmare, he is invulnerable to damage and his presence actually can revive the others, if they are stalemated. Actually, they are also impervious to damage while Nightmare is out and about, so use this fact on the harder difficulties. However, while using Promotion, getting hit while riding Nightmare will take from your Devil Trigger gauge (you cannot take direct damage while riding him).