I finally started playing this, and it's as fun as series has even been. It's not reinventing the wheel, but the gameplay is refined and it plays really well. The story and characters are as ridiculous and unlikeable as always, but it doesn't matter, I just want to slice monsters with a sword. The first couple of missions are played with Nero.
The new character 'V' is interesting to play. He has the same kind of ranged and melee attacks, but they are performed via a bird and a panther that he summons. It's interesting, but judging range is more difficult, which makes using V feel less satisfying.