Serving as the first major portion of DLC Ninja Theory’s magnificently well-crafted reboot, DmC: Devil May Cry has received, Vergil’s Downfall provides a relatively inexpensive add-on ($9/720 Microsoft Points) to Dante’s intriguing, Limbo-themed campaign. However, does assuming the role of Dante’s demented, power-hungry twin brother, Vergil supply avid hack n’ slash fans with enough incentives to warrant another stab at the franchise?
Developer: Ninja Theory
Platforms: PC, PlayStation 3 (reviewed), Xbox 360
Release Date: March 5th, 2013 for PC and PSN, March 6th, 2013 for Xbox Live
Face Your Demons (Again)
Beginning directly after the events of the full-length game (which should hint to those who haven’t yet completed the campaign to do so before purchasing this DLC), DmC: Devil May Cry’s latest demon-slaughtering adventure focuses on a fatality wounded Vergil’s journey to overcome the fiery depths of his own personal Hell, and receive redemption from a disgraceful defeat that has left him both physically and mentally broken. Told mostly through the use of a distinct narrative that pieces together roughly-sketched, comic book-esque cutscenes into one comprehensible storyline, the roughly three hour campaign Vergil’s Downfall exhibits does a commendable job of distinguishing itself as a fresh tale set within the DmC universe.
Despite any naysayer’s previously perceived expectations, Vergil isn’t just a re-skinned, slightly tweaked version of his younger, more reckless sibling. Displaying a more methodical and calculated approach to swordplay, Vergil lacks the free-flowing style demonstrated by the thrill-seeking, egotistical Dante, and instead, utilizes his sole blade of choice, Yamato, to mercilessly slice apart his demonic adversaries with pinpoint precision. Though lacking his own specific set of dual handguns for ranged attacks, Vergil’s “Sword Illusion” ability thrusts imaginary projectiles at enemies from a distance with unrivaled accuracy. Personally, we felt that the welcome ability to seamlessly use Sword Illusion mid-combo to significantly improve our onscreen combat ranking was arguably more useful than Dante’s own ranged arsenal.
…Vergil isn’t just a re-skinned, slightly tweaked version of his younger, more reckless sibling.
While the initial start of Vergil’s Downfall may display a severely weakened Vergil whose been stripped of his skill-set (meaning that the abilities and various combos you can perform are significantly limited towards the first half of the campaign), Ninja Theory has incorporated an accelerated progression system that’ll gradually allow you to possess the angel and demon move-set modifiers Dante utilized during the course of DmC: Devil May Cry, though in a noticeably different form. Instead of switching through modifier-specific weaponry such as an angelic scythe or a demonic ax, Vergil’s katana-like blade, Yamato, and his Sword Illusion ability accommodate to which trigger is being utilized. Essentially, holding down the demon trigger allows you to perform slow, heavy-hitting strikes, while activating the angel modifier delivers a more crowd-clearing, agile move-set; with both making use of the range granted by Vergil’s sword projectiles by allowing you to teleport enemies to you and vise versa.
Aside from how helpful this new grappling system is, Vergil’s version of angel and demon modifiers lack the sort of combat experimentation and weapon variation Dante’s possessed. For instance, utilizing demon trigger during button-mashing battles oftentimes felt unnaturally sluggish throughout Vergil’s Downfall, making the use of both regular and angel-based attacks far more efficient when dealing with more than two enemies at a time. It can also be noted that Vergil himself doesn’t acquire the vast amount of weaponry Dante does during the course of DmC: Devil May Cry, which made enemy encounters gradually feel stale and repetitive even with the inclusion of brand new creatures to slice n’ dice.
Aaahh! Real Hell Beasts
As aforementioned, Vergil’s Downfall contains two new enemy types that help add some much needed flavor to each finger-crippling engagement. The most common of the two, the Wisp, is a floating, demonic apparition that can devastate your stylish rating with quick slashes and utilizes its ability to become transparent to its advantage. Due to the Wisp’s unpredictability, we oftentimes spammed Sword Illusion into every combo in order to swiftly relieve this formidable foe of its invulnerability.
Perhaps one of the most toughest adversaries (aside from the boss battle) in the campaign, the Imprisoner is a muscular behemoth that wears a porcelain, doll-like mask, and uses its brute strength to smash, stomp, and pound the ground beneath your feet. Most of the time, we relied heavily on aerial combat to take down these punishing enemies, making sure to consistently dodge the occasional flung chunk of debris, and deliver our own brutal blend of sword slices, strikes and stabs whenever we received the chance.
…the Imprisoner is a muscular behemoth that…uses its brute strength to smash, stomp, and pound the ground beneath your feet.
However, even with the inclusion of these menacing, grotesque beasts, Vergil’s Downfall unfortunately suffers from consistent enemy recycling. Far too often, familiar adversaries from DmC: Devil May Cry – like the Cherubs and the Stygians – relentlessly appeared in nearly every battle we engaged in, and, with seemingly no time to introduce increasingly difficult foes into the mix, combat scenarios gradually became far too monotonous to add any sort of tension to the sword-slashing experience. It can also be noted that Ninja Theory’s latest addition to DmC’s demonic roster, the Wisp, seemed slightly overused as well, leaving its once intimidating presence far behind by the time the credits rolled.
Breaking up the constant bombardment of demon-slaying, Vergil’s Downfall utilizes its surreal, reality-shattering environments to great use by incorporating a healthy dose of platforming segments into the otherwise more action-orientated mix. You see, whereas DmC: Devil May Cry featured these sections in order to emphasize its excellently-crafted, Limbo-inspired backdrops, Vergil’s tale features levels seemingly constructed from the ground up to accommodate for the constant traversal of Hell’s landscapes. However, whether it’s using Angel Boost to gracefully glide passed gravity-redefining Gothic architecture; utilizing your ranged Angel Lift and Demon Pull abilities to navigate from one suspended, crumbling slab of earth to the next, or making ephemeral platforms appear briefly in the mesmerizing, red-shaded skies via Sword Illusion, Vergil easily wields enough tools to stylishly proceed through his hellish journey alive.
…Vergil’s tale features levels seemingly constructed…for the constant traversal of Hell’s landscapes.
Unfortunately, the platforming itself grows rather repetitive during the course of Vergil’s Downfall, mainly due to the shear fact that the various hellscapes traveled upon during the six-chapter campaign offer absolutely no noteworthy locales of any kind. We have fond memories of traveling through the confines of DmC: Devil May Cry’s Virility Plant and the propaganda-filled tower of the Raptor News Network, so the lack of unforgettably diverse levels to conquer is extremely disappointing, and fails to offer the sense of replayability seen in Dante’s full-length campaign.
Although Vergil’s Downfall isn’t exactly a flawless, bite-sized DmC experience, it still presents enough content to bring even the most skeptical of combo-seeking slayers to terms with the DLC’s purchase. While witnessing first-hand the corruption and pure evil that mercilessly consumes Vergil may seem like the most logical reason to invest in Vergil’s Downfall, it’s actually Ninja Theory’s distinct, but familiar approach in crafting his specific combat style that’ll keep self-proclaimed button-wranglers satisfied long after DmC: Devil May Cry has lost its spark.
BOG’s DmC: Devil May Cry – Vergil’s Downfall Avoid or Buy Verdict
|Buy||Worth every penny: Intriguing narrative based directly after DmC, cutscenes are unique and well-designed, Vergil displays a distinct combat style|
|Save your money:
Enemy encounters lack variety, levels suffer from recycling, no memorable locales