X360A Review: DmC: Vergil's Downfall DLC
Written Friday, March 08, 2013 By Richard WalkerView author's profile
What's the one thing you wouldn't do if you were charged with creating an add-on for a critically well-received game like DmC? Would you take the fast pace and scale it back? Would you reduce the number of weapons and abilities in your character's arsenal? Or would you try for something bigger and better? It appears that Ninja Theory has gone for the former in Vergil's Downfall, delivering a rather flat piece of content that fails to hit the same high notes that DmC did. It is however a slightly compelling epilogue to the main game's story that's worth a look. Be wary, there will be some light DmC spoilers past this point.
Taking place immediately after the conclusion of DmC: Devil May Cry, Vergil's Downfall sees Dante's sibling facing his own demons in a weakened state. If you were thinking about picking this add-on up before you've finished the main game's story, don't. It shows you where Vergil ends up after DmC's final chapter and continues the feud between Vergil and his more cocksure brother.
One of our favourite things about DmC: Devil May Cry was the speed and fluidity of the game's combat and the range of moves and abilities at Dante's disposal, so it comes as something of a surprise to find that for Vergil's Downfall, Ninja Theory has slowed things down somewhat and stripped away a lot of what makes DmC so enjoyable. It's all clearly in an effort to establish Vergil as the raging yang to Dante's relative yin, and his arrogant style is a stark contrast to his brother's speedy, versatile approach.
Vergil has his Yamato katana to begin with and the ability to impale distant enemies with his summon swords, but you won't really unlock his true potential until the DLC concludes. The best part of Vergil's Downfall is a second playthrough with the devil and angel Yamato abilities, Vergil's devil trigger spiral swords and his spectral doppelgänger. Having the full suite of abilities beats the hell out of the initially sluggish start in which you have to build up having essentially more then two moves.
There's a few neat twists on the DmC formula, some eye-opening hellbound vistas and Ninja Theory deserves praise for at least trying to make Vergil markedly different to Dante, even if it doesn't quite work. The animated cut scenes are slightly jarring too, but are well-drawn, stylish and in keeping with the dark tone of the story. Ah yes, the story. Vergil's Downfall sees the blue-coated one gradually developing into something more akin to the Vergil from the original Devil May Cry series, which will delight fans. And that's really the main draw for this DLC: setting up the next chapter, providing a satisfying coda to DmC's events.
New, inventive enemies like the Wisp and the Imprisoner provide new challenges, while there's new collectibles to track down and a range of upgrades to unlock. If you're hoping to max out the new achievements, you're in for repeated playthroughs on each difficulty level from Son of Sparda to Hell and Hell, as well as clocking up a 100% completion statistic and SSS ratings on all six missions playing on Nephilim difficulty. It's a rather unimaginative and uninspiring achievement list in all.
You can rip through DmC: Vergil's Downfall in just shy of three hours, meaning any real longevity comes from replays on different difficulty levels or unearthing all of the lost souls and cross fragments to achieve that elusive 100% statistic. As a self-contained expansion, you might not feel all that motivated to completely upgrade Vergil in Vergil's Downfall either, as there's only the six missions to revisit. Had there been an option to take Vergil into the main DmC campaign (despite the complete lack of sense that would make) or even into a few new secret missions, that might have provided some added impetus.
It starts off incredibly slow and can be hair-tearingly frustrating at times, especially during some of the shoddy platforming sections, and Vergil's Downfall simply doesn't offer enough bang for your buck. That said, its story might just prove essential for fans, revealing how Vergil came to gain the formidable power that transformed him into a worthy DmC antagonist. Just don't go expecting the same kind of frenetic thrills that came with Dante's journey in DmC. Vergil's Downfall is something of a disappointment.