Late reply, sorry.
I thought the series was popular because of its gameplay. You know, something that has nothing what-so-ever to do with what the main character looks like.
Yeah, gameplay it's a big part of why Devil May Cry is so popular in the first place. But the overall gameplay have change a lot over the years, so much that anyone can say that DMC2, 3 and 4 are not DMC games because they throw away a lot of elements of the original for better or worse (that makes sense?).
For example, every game have some kind of combo system that looks very inspired from fighting games but every game in the franchise have a different approach to the combat; DMC3 was all about being fast and having the right timing for every hit you make or didn't make, DMC2 lack impact and it feels very empty at times but it gets the job done... better that other game of the same genre at least, the original DMC had impact, timing and above of all things style. Even today a battle of the first game looks better than one from the third or fourth game not to mention that are more harder. Now, DMC4 had pretty much the same style as DMC3 but is more cinematic in some aspects and there's nothing wrong with that.
And the new DmC? I don't know, Ninja Theory is know for make games with good presentations. But they are able to bring a complex or even fun battle system? Heavenly Sword is pretty much God of War but pretty. And God of War is all about button mashing and some QTEs, that's not bad for the type of game that GoW or HS are trying to be, but DMC is about having total control over your character with a large range of combos at your disposal in battle.
There's other elements from the first game that never appeared again, like a boss battle with the style of After Burner/Space Harrier. Or the Resident Evil elements because everyone knows that Devil May Cry started as a Resident Evil game first; Between the development of Code: Veronica and RE4 there were a lot of prototypes of Resident Evils but there was one that was more action oriented.
Overall, the original DMC is still the most interesting game and is also the best. DMC3 was beyond great, but by that time it was clear that Capcom choose for more action than anything else for the franchise. That's not bad all but the original vision of DMC by Kamiya and his team was lost.
Either way, DMC3 is so good that if I'm not wrong Kamiya really enjoyed the game and work with some people of the DMC3 project in making Bayonetta.
Sorry for the long and boring post, but don't worry, is about to end with what worries me the most about this reboot or whatever this thing is... Kevadu, you know what is annoying about DmC? Watch the teaser trailer of DMC4
, now watch the trailer of DmC
Can you see how bad the direction of the new game is after seeing the two trailers? The teaser trailer shows pretty much what DMC fans want for Devil May Cry 5 (+ Vergil and some other cameos and what not) and DmC is just trying to be darker for a new market who doesn't understand the franchise at all.
Inafune and Ninja Theory wants that the new game sells 5 millions copies, good luck with that... no really, good luck with that. Good luck with your westernization Inafune and Capcom, I want to see how far you go with this bullshit.