At the heart of almost every Devil May Cry game is a tale of sibling rivalry. They center on brothers who, while twins, are almost polar opposites in every way imaginable. Unfortunately, that theme hasn’t to the gaming world as well — you tend to spend your time only as Dante in the game franchise has you slaying demons as a take-no-prisoners, badass that put slick, room-clearing combos together without a second thought. In DMC’s DLC, Vergil’s Downfall, you’re finally given the chance to wipe out the demon hoards as Vergil himself. Sadly, the end result is disappointing and the flawed combat system that Vergil commands will have you wondering if Dante has any reason to fear his brother at all.
I love the reboot of the Devil May Cry series and I was excited to play as Vergil when developer Ninja Theory announced him as a playable character for their upcoming DLC. To their, credit Ninja Theory does a great job of differentiating Vergil from his brother. Vergil’s move set seems slower yet more powerful at almost every turn. Vergil’s Yamato sword isn’t just Dante’s Rebellion blade with a new coat of paint, wielding it forces you to play the game differently, whether that be for better or worse is debatable.
Vergil’s attacks, while different, really begin to stray from what makes Dante’s campaign so great. For starters, Vergil’s grapple moves, while they mimic Dante’s in theory, don’t work nearly as well. By pressing either L2 or R2 and square Dante will grapple toward or pull in an enemy to continue building any combo. Vergil does away with the grappling hooks and trades them in for direct teleports. The moves may look flashier on screen but are far less functional. Harder to aim, Vergil’s teleportation technique will often have you attacking the wrong enemy or flying off a cliff. Adding to the frustration is that many of the enemies within the six levels of the DLC campaign are air born, forcing you to use your teleporting abilities. Too often I found myself killing enemies on the ground with one flawlessly executed combo, then painstakingly killing air born enemies one by one. The poor execution of Virgil’s “grapple” is a real letdown, especially when you consider how essential it is in the main game’s campaign.
Virgil’s lackluster move set doesn’t stop there. During the main campaign Dante uses both his demonic and angelic powers to extend combos, switching between the two effortlessly. While Virgil can still easily switch between powers, any demonic moves are just too slow to be effective in battle. Ninety percent of Virgil’s campaign will have you dispatching enemies via your angelic attacks. As with the grappling system, the demonic and angelic powers really fail to impress when stacked up to Dante’s skills. While none of these issues are deathly problems, it’s hard to justify spending too much time on the DLC when the gameplay for the main campaign is so much better.
The story itself here focuses on the events immediately following the game (spoiler alert). After Dante defeats Vergil, Vergil climbs his way through a portal into limbo and starts to see visions from various specters of his past. It is in these six levels where Vergil grows to usurp Mundus’ throne. By the end of the short two hour campaign, Vergil will become angrier than ever and will renew his desire to rule all of humanity. It sets up a sequel nicely, but the story of Virgil’s Downfall doesn’t feel like something that absolutely needs to exist. To tell the story, Ninja Theory does away with the in-game cutscenes from Dante’s campaign and has instead replaced them with motion comic scenes that are a nice change of pace from the main game.
Vergil’s Downfall is a tough sell. I absolutely love DMC: Devil May Cry, and to be honest, I had a lot of fun with this DLC. However, for most people, I’d imagine the main campaign provides more than enough action and unless you’re in love with the reboot, paying $9.00 for two hours of content on a story that didn’t need to be told is asking a bit much. The greatest strength of DMC’s main campaign lies in Dante’s ability to make you feel like an unrivaled juggernaut of brutality. Virgil may be Dante’s twin brother, but unfortunately he doesn’t fight like it.
DMC: Devil May Cry is rated M (Mature) by the ESRB for Blood and Gore, Drug Reference, Intense Violence, Nudity, Sexual Content, Strong Language. This game can also be found on: PC and Xbox 360.