It’s been a little over a month since the release of DmC Devil May Cry, and the promised DLC starring Dante’s brother Vergil – Vergil’s Downfall – has finally arrived. Here’s my review – but be warned, this review contains spoilers for the main game, as it takes place after the ending of DmC.
Ready? OK. You have been warned.
Mortally wounded after losing his battle with Dante, the DLC sees Vergil returning to a grave, with a photo of his family. Questioning where it all went wrong, and slumps to the ground – finding himself waking up to his own personal hell. Guided by the voice of his mother, Eva, he intends to escape and save himself from the nightmare – whilst haunted by spectres of Dante
The story is told in a slightly different fashion to the main game – with most of the cut scenes being told in an animated, black and white comic style, sometimes switching back to the game’s normal in-game scenes before dropping you into the action. It doesn’t look too bad, and at a guess was partly done to save on production time or cost – though I did feel that the animated parts felt somewhat detached from the main game, leaving me wishing that I could have seen each scene using in-game footage. Regardless, it does the job of telling the story of Vergil’s Downfall, with all the regular voice actors taking up their respective roles.
While Vergil is in his own personal hell, the scenery is very familiar – Limbo-esque style surrealism with floating debris, switching between DmC style traversal, and of course – combat. While the graphics are of course on par with the original game, the levels feel as though they are cobbled from elements of the Dante’s story mode – levels that I personally am already tired of. One particular level did have a nice change of scenery which I enjoyed, but sadly it was a short stage without any real platforming. Other than that, I was disappointed by lack of variety – while Dante has stages such as Devil’s Dalliance and Virility, Vergil’s chapters are pretty much all in the same Limbo style throughout.
Combat wise, Vergil has plenty to offer. Initially, he has his standard Yamato, which offers a couple of straightforward combos, as well as a launcher and slam attack, much like Dante’s basic Rebellion combos. Rather than guns, Vergil sports Summoned Swords that can be fired, even whilst performing melee combos and moving around as normal. Also setting him apart from Dante are his evasion skills – as with his DMC3 predecessor, he has the ability to perform short-range teleports called “Air Tricks”. By using the dodge button along with the analogue stick, he will teleport in that direction, whilst pressing the left or right evade button whilst the stick is central will teleport him vertically upwards or downward respectively. By combining these techniques, you can manoeuver Vergil quickly to evade attacks or get yourself into a good position.
For the sake of traversal, Vergil also has access to the Angel Boost air dash, and Angel/Demon Swords that allow him to use Lift/Pull points, as well as pulling enemies to him or teleporting himself to the enemy. Whilst the animations are different, the Angel/Demon Swords basically give him the same Whip abilities that Dante has access to, for all intents and purposes.
As you progress through the chapters (of which there are six in total, clocking in at about two and a half hours for me, on Nephilim difficulty) you unlock more abilities for Vergil. While he only has access to the Yamato as a weapon, he instead unlocks Angel and Demon modes for the sword – with Angel mode allowing him access to wide, fast attacks and Demon mode allowing him access to focused, heavy strikes. With the variety of attacks available, it of makes the Yamato by far the most diverse weapon in the game, and keeps Vergil interesting without him having access to extra weapons.
Vergil’s Devil Trigger also functions somewhat differently to Dante’s. After he gains access to his DT gauge, he can utilise it in a variety of ways. Initially, he only has access to the Spiral Swords. By spending three blocks of DT, he can summon a circle of swords that deal damage to enemies that they come into contact with. He can then buy upgrades to utilise his Summoned Swords in a couple of extra ways, at the cost of DT. Finally, he eventually gains the ability to use a cool Doppelganger ability, much like the style by the same name in DMC3. Vergil summons a shadowy body-double of himself that attacks alongside him, and can even be toggled to change stance or attack at a delayed period after Vergil, which could open up some clever combo options for the more creative players out there.
Aside from the regular enemies seen in the campaign, Vergil’s Downfall includes a couple of exclusive enemies – one that phases out of the material plane, leaving it immune to attack unless it is struck with a Summoned Sword to reveal it, and another creates thorns that make it difficult to hit and evade without taking damage. The DLC does also have a single boss fight – though for the most part it’s essentially a re-skinned version of one of Dante’s bosses with a couple of new attacks. Considering Vergil’s Downfall has him chasing down a specter of Dante, I was disappointed that we weren’t given the chance to see a boss fight between the two from Vergil’s perspective for the first time – though that would have obviously been a lot more complicated in terms of boss design.
Story-wise, it’s a bit of a mixed bag. Whilst it’s nice that Vergil’s been given his own story, it’s hard to relate to his choices as he descends into evil – perhaps it’s partly because it’s been told in only a small selection of cut scenes, but I found his transformation from misguided Son of Sparda to power-bent villain to be a little forced – while I’m happy to see him make the move to his DMC3 stance on things, I almost felt as though his experiences would lead him toward atonement rather than corruption, until he actually makes that choice. Still, it was worth a play, and it was refreshing to actually get to play as Vergil in his own short campaign – though I don’t think it will have as much lasting value as Vergil’s mode in DMC3:SE.
+ Vergil offers a different play style with a good range of new abilities
+ Six full levels with a full upgrade system and collectibles to find
+ Extra story expands upon DmC’s existing plot
- Repetitive level design feels somewhat bland
- Short campaign is unappealing for replay value
- Story could have been told better
Overall, Vergil’s Downfall offers players the experience to play as DmC‘s version of Vergil in a neat package with his own set of upgrades and abilities. Sadly, the story mode is short-lived and the level design is somewhat uninspired – once you’ve seen the storyline for the first time, successive play throughs could quickly become tiresome with the very similar environments throughout. That said, the more inspired players could find some interesting options with Vergil’s move set, especially his Doppelganger and Air Trick skills. Sadly, he doesn’t have access to Bloody Palace – but I’m hoping this will be patched in at a later date.
Vergil’s Downfall is available now for 720MSP / £7.29 on Xbox Live and PSN respectively.
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