*Editors Note*: This review contains spoilers regarding some key plot details of Devil May Cry that was released in February. You have been warned.
Capcom’s rebooted Devil May Cry is easily one of the best action games I have ever played. Ninja Theory clearly demonstrated that they know how to breathe life into a stale series. As my editor noted, this review does contain some major spoilers. The story for Vergil’s Downfall takes place after the original games campaign, and it picks up where the game left off, throwing players into control of Vergil as his brother Dante stabs him.
As Vergil, you become familiar with his blade Yamato. As a playable character he is similar to the old school Devil May cry character designs; white-haired and seeking vengeance. The DLC takes place in a much more hellish locale in comparison to Dante’s campaign during the main game. The first stage begins as Vergil wakes up in some sort of purgatory. As mentioned earlier, Dante has gruesomely stabbed Vergil in the chest, and so begins Vergil’s spiral downward, with him becoming the evil Vergil fans of the series have always known him to be.
Vergil’s Downfall has solid back-story. This DLC lasts for six chapters and it took me about three and half hours to go through it all. It is full of intense combat and unique level design. The voice actors return with new dialogue, but the cut scenes are now still comic book-like images, rather than what was found in the full version of Devil May Cry. This is a significant departure from how the previous game approached story telling. Though this causes a bit of a rift in the story telling between the DLC and the retail game, it still captures the Devil May Cry vibe. The tale that Ninja Theory has written here is great and gives you a chance to watch as Vergil falls further into darkness.
During my time with Vergil’s Downfall I had no gripes with the story and its method of sharing. I did find myself disappointed however that many scenarios and cool ideas were teased, and then resolved entirely in story, not gameplay. This add-on’s best part was easily its final boss battle. In fact I found it to be superior to many of the regular game’s biggest brawls; however, the general content is lesser in when compared to the full version of Devil May Cry.
Combat is obviously still the focus in this game. When first playing as Vergil I struggled to see his strengths. He has less range with his blade and this was annoying; while his grappling mechanics were awkward. After clearing a couple stages though I began to appreciate Vergil’s unique move set. Pulling off S-rank combos is always satisfying and Vergil looks just as badass as Dante during intense combat with his stylish fighting. In regards to ranged combat, Vergil has blades that he throws as opposed to Dante’s guns. The left and right triggers give access to angel and devil modes, much like in the regular version of Devil May Cry. It is worth noting that Vergil’s ultimate trigger is really cool.
Initially, you get a set of spinning blades that attack enemies in your proximity. Following this you gain access to the Ultimate Trigger that unleashes a doppelganger. When this is activated Vergil spawns a shadow of himself that stays linked to his movements. Mixing combos in with this new mechanic is complex, but really fun.
Throughout Vergil’s Downfall, there are only a few new enemies introduced. There is the Wisp, which is an invisible enemy and cannot be attacked unless you impale it with one of your lobbed blades. There is also The Imprisoner, a hulking beast that can wear you down within seconds. You will also come across a small amount of bosses to fight. Outside of this you really get more of the same from recycled enemies crawling out of DMC’s bestiary.
All in all the Vergil’s Downfall, the first DLC for Devil May Cry, is a solid experience as Vergil’s unique combos are fun and the narrative is actually pretty good, all which make the $7.99 (720 MS Points) worth the price of admission. The collectibles and additional difficulties deliver a fair amount of content for the coin too. If you found yourself a fan of Devil May Cry’s narrative it would be wise to pick this up. It would seem natural that if this DLC does well enough, more should follow with additional content in a similar manner.