Also On: Xbox 360
Developer: Ninja Theory
Vergil’s Downfall isn’t exactly the DLC I was hoping for after the end of Ninja Theory’s Devil May Cry reboot. Full spoilers ahead here for DmC by the way, so if you haven’t finished it bail out now.
You were warned!
So at the end of DmC Vergil does his best heel turn on Dante and Kat, ending in a final boss battle that sees Vergil mortally wounded by Dante. Vergil’s Downfall picks up immediately after Vergil teleported out with Vergil collapsing over the grave of his father or mother (I’m not entirely sure which). As he bleeds out, his soul shifts down into Limbo, where the entirety of Vergil’s Downfall takes place across six missions.
Let’s get the good stuff found in this DLC out of the way first. Vergil, as a playable character, is a lot of fun. I’d even venture to say that I found his combat mechanics better than Dante’s in vanilla DmC, except he’s restricted to a single weapon with his blade Yamato. His basic combo strings aren’t spectacular, but he benefits from using his teleportation as a way to pull himself towards enemies, or vice versa. This speeds up his ability to chain hits together significantly, making combat feel more fluid than the small delay experienced by Dante’s similar pull abilities.
He also employs a series of dashes useful for dodging and getting into the thick of a fight. It helps that enemies seem more aggressive here, even on the standard difficulty setting. I didn’t have any major qualms with DmC’s combat, but something about the way Vergil plays just feels like a smoother experience.
Another plus is that Ninja Theory has taken out the color-coded monsters that required Devil or Angel attacks to kill. Every enemy here can be hit however you want, freeing you up to chain together whatever moves you desire. The only enemy that it becomes useful to use Devil attacks against is a shielded demon, because it breaks down their shield to lower their defense, but it’s certainly not required to damage him.
There’s also a couple new enemy types introduced here. Both are good additions to the existing group of demons, but the one that stands out the most is the ethereal flying demon that requires you to tag him with a thrown sword in order to actually hit him. The other beast is more of a mid-boss monster, introduced at around the halfway point and then popping up again towards the end, and offers up the biggest challenge in the game fight wise.
But unfortunately the rest of the DLC experience isn’t great. As I mentioned, the stages all take place in Limbo, which is pretty much identical to the way it was presented in DmC. That means lots of floating mid-air platforms composed of broken chunks of rock, with the occasional architectural ruin tossed in. There are a couple stages that actually get repeated, with small variations. The platforming is inoffensive, but hardly the highlight. And while two new enemies are introduced, I was really disappointed with the singular boss fight given here.
The story aspect of the DLC is probably the worst offender. I honestly don’t know that I understand what happened after it was finished. I get that Vergil dies, and that he goes to limbo, but then he seems to tackle his internal demons as a way of regaining confidence, but it’s never clear on what is real and what isn’t. I feel like they sort of cop out in a “Who shot J.R.?” dream sequence sort of way towards the end, but I’m not entirely sure. Needless to say, it adds little to overall plot given by the main game.
In the end, it’s worth playing through if you got it free from a pre-order deal when DmC was purchased. But I honestly don’t think it’s worth the $10 asking price. Vergil is fun to play, and the regular combat bits that make up the majority of the package are fun. But everything surrounding that is pretty boring and stagnant, and for story based DLC it doesn’t add much to the actual story. Assuming there’s more DLC planned for DmC, I certainly hope it’s better than this.