Ninja Theory came out guns blazing with DmC earlier this year. Dante has been remodelled and reinvigorated and the brand has never looked better for Capcom.

Now to draw players back to the game they clocked in January, we’ve got the first major portion of DLC. Vergil’s Downfall has arrived and is focused on Dante’s dejected and demented older brother, but is it any good?

Publisher: Capcom
Developer: Ninja Theory
Formats: Xbox 360/PC/PS3
Release: Out Now
Version Tested: Xbox 360

Vivid and Vicious

The DLC is set in Vergil’s own personal hell, and it takes place immediately after the events of the main game. It goes without saying that you probably shouldn’t play this (or read this review) unless you’ve completed DmC.

Vergil is on the cusp of death, heart ripped out of his chest, blood oozing from his wounds and sweat perspiring from his brow. He’s weakened, beaten and there’s very little left for him to do but keel over and die.

Vergil finds himself gazing down at his father’s tomb, recollecting his struggle with Dante, merging those memories with his childhood playtime with his brother, imagining a different outcome, praying for another life. He gasps and falls on top of the tomb.

However, instead of dying, Vergil keeps plummeting. Deeper and deeper he goes, until he reaches the fiery pits of hell. His own personal hell and home, ravaged by flame and destruction.

Vergil

New beginnings

The DLC has been designed so players start fresh. Vergil is incapable of properly defending himself, and remains in a weakened state, clutching his chest, moving sluggishly, barely able to carry the weapon in his hand. In some respects, the game is at it’s toughest in those initial stages.

Initially, Vergil can perform an Angel Boost, much like his brother, though it is much less effective. Vergil can also evade attacks using LB or RB, and trick up or down in a flash, making him a pretty hard target.

Vergil’s steel is known as the Yamato. With it, he can slash, crosscut and upper slash to great effect. However, with his amulet gone, Vergil is not at all at the peak of his power, and so remains pretty vulnerable to attack.

So players plough through the horrendously defaced scenario Vergil used to call home in order to piece him back together. Restore his heart, reclaim the amulet and re-learn all the abilities he lost. It’s a more interactive, engaging form of training and the most effective way of getting a clear, full understanding of how Vergil controls.

And credit to Ninja Theory, Vergil isn’t just a carbon copy of Dante re-skinned. Vergil is very distinct and different to handle. Very methodocial, calculated and considered with his attacks. Whereas Dante is a lot more free-willed and thrill-seeking. Vergil is also capable of unique ranged attacks through sword illusion. These spurt out imaginary sparks that cause damage from a distance.

There’s something a little off about playing as Vergil. He’s engaging and interesting, but you will probably find yourself struggling through the DLC just to reach the conclusion to his narrative arc, and not so much the enjoyment you had with Dante. It’s not until the final stages when Vergil is at full strength that the most fun can be had, and when you get to that point, the end boss is … well … not much fun either.

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Eternal hatred

The narrative is moved along with comic-book esque cut scenes. These are well designed and drawn, and are depicted in a dull, decayed way through a hue of grey and black, with the occassional glimmer of color to add emphasis. These are generally well-written and illustrated, and give deeper insight into the enigmatic Vergil, and his deepening descent into madness and anarchy.

Vergil’s Downfall also introduces some new enemies. The Wisp is a floating apparating, similar to the cherub, that causes some pretty vile damage. Much like Cherubs, however, they can be dragged and diced pretty swiftly and effectively.

There’s also the over-sized, overwhelming Imprisoner. These creatures charge and stomp pretty menacingly and will destroy Vergil should he get too close.

Generally, the DLC is quite sound, though it’s a pretty swift playthrough at 3 hours and it’s not the least bit as entertaining as DmC. It’s not bad, but not particularly memorable either.

Also, some of the animation is pretty poor in combat, with regular stuttering and stammering. You can tell the PC was the lead platform in development as the Xbox 360 version really starts to struggle from the very early stages. The final boss in the game is a terrifying example of this. Playing it on any difficulty above normal, and the lag will be one of the main reasons for your continued death.

Still, Vergil’s Downfall sets out to tell a story and it does a decent job of it. The ending certainly poses some questions as to the future of Ninja Theory’s DmC.

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Pros

  • Interesting narrative that continues the story of DmC
  • Vergil has a distinct combat style and cool new moves
  • Cut-scenes are well implemented and designed

Cons

  • Takes way too long to get going
  • Loading and combat lag
  • Short and quite forgetable

Rating 3/5

Delving deeper into Vergil’s psyche makes for interesting beginnings, and the character is very different to Dante, but the DLC takes far too long to get going and it’s pretty forgetable once it’s all over.