Capcom’s recent reboot of Devil May Cry is easily one of the best reimaginings in recent memory. Ninja Theory set the standard for how to reinvigorate a series, while still retaining what made the original great. Once I finished the core game, I was excited to see how Capcom would expand it with future DLC. I want to be clear; this review will contain spoilers. Vergil’s Downfall takes place after the main campaign and follows the events taking place after the credits roll. If you have not finished the campaign, now is the time to stop reading and come back after you complete it. What are you waiting for anyway? DmC is, so far, one of the best games of 2013.
Like the name implies, Vergil’s Downfall features a brand new playable character for the game. Instead of filling the boots of sharp-witted Dante, you instead slip on the blue trenchcoat of twin brother Vergil, picking up his trusty blade, Yamato. After the events of the original game, you awaken in what appears to be a sort of purgatory. Dante’s blade wound to your chest is still fresh, and you begin a spiral downward to become the Vergil fans of the series have always known.
Ninja Theory has crafted a solid backstory to the downfall of Vergil. This DLC spans six chapters, and about two hours of solid combat and unique level design. The voice actors return with new dialogue, but sadly the cut scenes are now still animations that more closely resemble a comic book rather than what was found in the retail release. I was disappointed, because it feels like a separation from the original game. Still, the tale that Ninja Theory has woven here is interesting, and gives you a chance to see the progression into evil that Vergil takes.
Combat was the focus of Dante’s story, and Vergil’s Downfall continues that trend. At first, I didn’t care for his style. He has less range with his blade, and the grappling mechanics are awkward in the beginning. After a level or two, things started to click, and once again I learned to appreciate Ninja Theory’s combat design. Pulling off S-rank combos became addictive, and in some ways, Vergil is more complex and entertaining to control than Dante.
Vergil has blades that he throws as opposed to Dante’s guns. The left and right triggers give access to angel and devil modes, modifying attacks. Vergil’s ultimate trigger is much more interesting. First, you get a set of spinning blades that attack enemies in your proximity, and then you gain the ultimate trigger, a doppelganger. When activated, this spawns another version of Vergil that fights alongside you. Mixing combos in with this new mechanic is complex and fun, but more importantly, it keeps this DLC from losing steam too fast.
The six chapters all take place in familiar environments from the original game. Disappointingly, I noticed a lot of reused scenery and set pieces. After the bar that DmC set for level design, this felt a bit underwhelming. There are also very few boss fights to be found. There are new enemies introduced including the Wisp, which is invisible and cannot be attacked until you lob a bullet blade into it, and the Imprisoner, a hulking beast that can wear you down within seconds. Outside of that though, you get the same recycled enemies from the original.
I don’t want to sound down on the experience, because it truly is worth the investment just for the narrative. DmC finally conveyed a coherent and interesting story, and it is great to see the other side of the coin with Vergil. At $7.99 you definitely get your money’s worth, and the collectibles and additional difficulties deliver the same quality experience we’ve come to expect from Ninja Theory’s DmC. Just don’t expect the same level of “wow” you got from the original game. Fans of the narrative should definitely pick this up, especially considering it was free as a pre-order bonus for some. Now I just hope that there will be more expansions for DmC and that a sequel gets greenlit. This is easily Capcom’s best franchise revitalization to date.
Review copy of game provided by publisher. Primary play on Xbox 360.