REVIEW – DmC: DEVIL MAY CRY, VERGIL’S DOWNFALL DLC.

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Played on: PS3
Played for: 2 hours to complete the DLC on the Devil Hunter setting for the first go round. Still re-playing higher difficulties and mopping up collection-based trophies.
DLC Pricetag: $8.99 on PSN, 800 MSP on Xbox Live.

*Spoiler Alert* – This review will contain spoilers for both DmC and the Vergil’s Downfall DLC. If you just want to read the verdict, scroll to the bottom. For my review of DmC: Devil May Cry, go here.

DmC: Devil May Cry was met with much criticism by fans of the series, yet received generally positive reviews from the big named publications in print and online. While I enjoyed the game and felt that it was a worthy purchase, I don’t feel that it opened the door for a continuation of the rebooted series and hope that Ninja Theory uses what they’ve learned to create a brand new IP with similar features. Ninja Theory has come unto their own with DmC, showcasing their abilities in level design, art style and flashy combat. Honestly, I would have enjoyed DmC even if it weren’t labeled as a Devil May Cry game, and I still find myself coming back to replay it quite often, despite the flaws. After finishing DmC, the outcome peaked my interest enough to purchase Vergil’s Downfall and spend a little more time in Limbo–heavy emphasis on “a little”.

The story in Vergil's Downfall is told through these poorly animated cutscenes.
The story in Vergil’s Downfall is told through these poorly animated cutscenes.

Vergil’s Downfall picks up where DmC left off, with a defeated Vergil narrowly escaping through a portal after being wounded at the hands of his brother, Dante. Their disagreement on the future of humanity lead to a damn good boss encounter and a new outlook on Vergil’s character. While Dante still felt human, Vergil started to embrace his demonic side and craved power above all else. Vergil’s Downfall allows you to explore that side of him through its 6 new missions, but still presents some of the same flaws as DmC: Devil May Cry.

I know there are mixed reviews about the plot of Vergil’s Downfall, but I enjoyed it. Cutscenes are now hand drawn, look pretty terrible and have the same b-movie voice acting that Vergil had in DmC, but the story told was pretty solid and left me wanting to play more chapters as this new, more powerful Vergil. As he exits the portal, he crawls to his father’s grave and seems to succumb to the wound left by Dante, but awakens in Limbo with three wounds on his heart–which I assume symbolizes the emotional marks left by Dante, Kat and his mother, Eva. It’s worth noting at this point that all 6 missions take place in Limbo, so unfortunately all 6 missions feel like one long mission with a few checkpoints.

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During the course of Vergil’s Downfall, his out of body experience causes him to chase the spirit of Dante and crush it with a bus, save Kat from a demon until she turns in to one herself, and sever all ties with his mother because he’s emo and felt that she always loved Dante more. The DLC culminates in a pretty slick encounter with Vergil taking on Hollow Vergil, the very essence of his demonic side, but while the boss fight brought an epic conclusion to mission 5, mission 6 is just a re-mapped version of mission 1 with a large wave of stronger enemies at the end. Afterwards, Vergil goes back to his father’s grave–the starting point of the DLC. I wish they would have just ended it with the boss fight before magically swooping us away to the gravestone for the final animated cutscene where Vergil is approached by a swarm of demons, his eyes glow and they all bow at his feet.

Vergil plays very similar to Dante but has plenty of new abilities and tweaks that make the two feel like separate entities. Rather than obtaining multiple weapons to choose from, Vergil’s only melee weapon is his Yamato which has both angel and devil modes. Like Dante, Vergil’s angel mode focuses on quicker, weaker attacks that build combos and control crowds, while his devil mode is slower, delivers higher damage and can be used to break shields. Where Dante could use both modes to grapple to and from the enemies, Vergil teleports in the same fashion. This is really where their similarities end.

Vergil has a lot more abilities that require you to "charge" the attack, much like Dante's Eryx gauntlet abilities.
Vergil has a lot more abilities that require you to “charge” the attack, much like Dante’s Eryx gauntlet abilities.

Vergil’s ranged weapon is not a gun, but rather a Spirit Sword similar to what he used during the final encounter in DmC. Spirit Swords are unique in that they impale in to the enemies and, while impaled, guarantee the use of a demon or angel teleport to set up some very intricate combos. A new platforming element was also added where certain platforms would go in and out of Limbo, forcing you to use your Spirit Sword to pull them back in. Adding this in to the grappling mechanic intensified the non-combat portions of DmC and I wish it were something available inside of the original game with Dante.

Vergil’s Devil Trigger also functions differently from Dante’s “I win” button, where you build charges and spend them on various abilities. These abilities range from surrounding yourself with Spirit Swords for some insane AoE damage or, my personal favorite, Doppleganger, which summons another Vergil to fight with you until your Devil Trigger gauge is empty. With this method of storing charges, I was able to use my Devil Trigger abilities much more often as opposed to storing Dante’s for those “oh shit!” moments.

The first thing I noticed in Vergil’s Downfall was his inability to double jump, but he instead has the ability to teleport in all directions by using both dodge buttons. In the PS3 version, L1 allows you to teleport straight up in the air while R1 teleports you back down to the ground. Chaining this together with launchers, air combos and grapples added a new element to the combo system that makes up for the slower pace of Vergil’s attacks. Using his Yamato, I assumed he would attack much faster than Dante, but instead is noticeably slower in his default stance and reminded me of the sluggish combat in DMC2. I also found that his combos seemed to leave him more prone to attacks and didn’t really care for how his angel or devil mode worked on the ground, but applaud both weapons for feeling completely different from his standard Yamato abilities. Just to give a little more detail, angel mode’s basic attack causes Vergil to dash through enemies and offers a spinning AoE attack similar to Aquila for Dante. His devil mode offers a generic 3-hit combo executed at a snails pace, but you can charge the circle button to slam the ground for an AoE that launches groups of enemies in to the air. As you can see, neither really goes well with ground combos, but thankfully chaining together air combos happens to be Vergil’s bread and butter.

The Hollow Vergil skin is definitely the most impressive.
The Hollow Vergil skin is definitely the most impressive.

From a graphical standpoint, Vergil’s Downfall is on par with DmC but I would have liked more variation in levels. I get that it’s all supposed to take place in Limbo, but Dante’s Limbo was a hell of a lot more interesting than Vergil’s. I was also bummed out that there were only three new enemies while the rest were taken from DmC. Vergil’s character model didn’t have as much polish as Dante, especially his face, but his unlockable character skins were much more impressive.

The Verdict – D+

For $8.99 you get 2 hours worth of DLC that feels a bit too familiar, but your first playthrough will most likely be a bit awkward as Vergil gains his abilities at random plot points. However, replaying the DLC with all of your new abilities is a lot more satisfying from a gameplay perspective. Unfortunately the repetitive level design, the poorly hand-drawn cutscenes and the mission 6 buzzkill left me with a sour taste in my mouth.

If your favorite part about DmC was the combat, Vergil is a hell of a lot of fun to play and offers a more complex combo system than Dante, but I don’t feel that it’s worth the price tag. For $8.99, I don’t understand why you aren’t able to use Vergil in the Bloody Palace DLC and why kills earned don’t count toward any of the DmC trophies. While I enjoyed his new combat mechanics–especially the new Devil Trigger–I wish there were more variety to ground combos and consistency in his teleporting, as any form of movement on the left analog stick would cause him to teleport in that direction rather than up in the air. Like DmC, Vergil’s Downfall is a mixed bag, but this time around it was hard to enjoy the interesting combat with such poor level design. It’s a short trip back through Limbo and the selling point will be Vergil’s combat or whether or not you’re in to replaying these 6 missions over and over again.

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