DmC: Vergil’s Downfall – And, To An Extent, His Redemption

By Kris . March 9, 2013 . 10:30am

Note: Spoilers abound for the end of DmC: Devil May Cry. If you want to avoid those, skip down to the next screenshot and begin reading from there.


The portrayal of Vergil in the original Devil May Cry series shifted from an enslaved but noble dark knight to as a cold and calculating demon willing to acquire power at the cost of his humanity (to a ghost channeled through his sword and the demonic arm of what might possibly be his son, but let’s ignore DMC4’s story for now). Both portrayals were awesome, highlighting Vergil’s combat prowess even before you had to fight him, and made Dante more sympathetic as he was forced to cut his brother down.


DmC Devil May Cry’s Vergil wasn’t quite as impactful. He didn’t come across as a skilled fighter, killing one demon with a throwing knife, a couple more with a rifle, and one off-screen with his katana Yamato (which he hilariously mispronounces). This was a young man who, minutes before what should have been a high-tension face off, shouted “Dante, help me!” when he didn’t think he could avoid a slow moving attack from a giant demon. His talents seemed to lie more within hacking and information-gathering than actually slaying demons.


He and Dante even joke around that Dante is much stronger than he is, despite Vergil’s advantages in… other areas. While he came across as somewhat uncaring and manipulative, his turnaround as DmC’s last boss didn’t carry the menace and weight that it should have.


The Vergil’s Downfall begins right after the end of DmC, with Vergil on the verge of death after his fight with Dante. Feeling betrayed by both Dante and Kat (who, ironically, was the reason Vergil was still alive at that point), he stumbles his way in a comic book cutscene to the grave of… someone (he’s talking to his father as he looks at the family portrait on the grave, but the only person in that portrait who’s dead is his mother Eva)… and collapses.


Then his soul falls into hell.


For those turned off by the more socio-political take on demons in DmC proper, Vergil’s Downfall has something else. Gone are the Live-style messages that appeared on wall in limbo. This story is just about Vergil going through hell and, egged on by a phantom version of himself, removing the last few traces of compassion from his heart. This both pushes him towards the brink of madness and allows him to focus completely on the acquisition of power.


Whereas DMC1 Vergil had traces of nobility and DMC3 Vergil was brutally single-minded, Vergil’s Downfall lets Vergil go crazy. He chases after mocking phantoms of Dante and Kat, and hears the voice of his deceased mother talking to him as he tries to make sense of where he is. And even though the story isn’t put together particularly well and the acting is uneven, there are a couple of moments where Vergil’s insanity comes through as rather disturbing… because he’s no longer a manipulative wimp. He’s a powerful madman, and the demonstration of that strength comes through in the way he plays.


As I see it, Vergil’s moves revolve around three of his abilities/weapons—teleportation, his Devil Trigger, and his swords. Let’s go over each one.




Regardless of how much time you’ve put into DmC Devil May Cry or Vergil in Devil May Cry 3, this Vergil is going to feel unfamiliar. For one thing, he’s FAST. Where DmC’s Dante had diving rolls, Vergil just teleports. These dodges provide fewer invincibility frames and don’t use Angel and Demon modifiers that Dante’s dodges utilize for extra movement and ridiculous attack boosts. Because they’re quicker, you don’t have as much invincibility, but dodging an attack and getting back into combat in the blink of an eye feels awesome. One point of contention in DmC that’s somewhat addressed in Vergil’s Downfall was the default mapping of both RB and LB to dodge in lieu of a manual lock-on function.


Well, since Vergil doesn’t have a double-jump like his brother did (possibly a nod to his playstyle in DMC3), he has to make do with Trick Up, a vertical teleport mapped to neutral LB which can be done on the ground or in the air. He can also immediately return himself to the ground if you hold RB, which allows you to catch falling enemies with heavier attacks if you have decent timing.


Vergil’s also quicker when it comes to grappling enemies. Instead of using hooks like his brother, Vergil summons a Phantom Sword and throws it into an enemy then teleports to it or teleports it to him. No startup animation, no cooldown animation on a misguided input, just speedy movement. If there’s already a sword stuck into the person you want to grapple, you teleport even faster. By unifying Vergil’s summoned swords with what is essentially Nero’s Devil Bringer from DMC4, it opens up new opportunities to use them in fun ways. For instance, some attacks can be upgraded to “Embed” versions of themselves, which will stick a sword in whatever poor devil you’ve hit, allowing you to pull them back in immediately for another combo. I’ve also recovered from what would have been falls into the surrounding abyss (there are a lot of fights on floating platforms in this DLC) by teleporting back to a sword in a stuck enemy after killing an airborne one. I liked that extra utility.


Devil Trigger:


Vergil’s Downfall also brings with a complete redesign of the Devil Trigger. Instead of being one slowly-filling bar like in the main game, it’s now a series of squares referred to as “Devil Trigger Orbs,” and in place of a typical Devil Trigger, Vergil can summon a doppelganger to fight alongside him.


When you first get it, it’ll just mimic your attacks, letting you dish out a bit more damage. Not too exciting… until you throw a couple of upgrades into it. A fully upgraded Doppelganger will have you working your d-pad in the midst of combat, as you can switch your doppelganger’s style on the fly, so you can be Rapid Slashing around in Angel mode while your doppelganger is taking other enemies out with Demon attacks.


You also have the ability to activate and deactivate an extended delay on your doppelganger’s attacks by tapping down on the d-pad (the upgrade screen seems to be missing this information, however), which allows you to set up ludicrously long combos since the doppelganger will teleport toward your enemies to make up for the delay. When you start mixing that in with everything else Vergil has to offer combat becomes chaotically sublime.




Speaking of chaotic, obviously, Vergil’s swords can be used in more damaging ways. Using four Devil Trigger Orbs will let you generate a number of swords that rotate around Vergil, that last until they’ve dealt enough hits to disappear. These last quite a bit longer than the Spiral Swords in Devil May Cry 3, especially because summoning more swords won’t cause the Spiral Swords to disappear. This also means that, should you have the extra Devil Trigger Orbs, you can fire off the other special Summoned Swords abilities while you still have your swords circling. Mix those all together with melee and you can output a lot of damage in a short period of time.


Physical combat is where things get weirder. Whereas Dante has 5 weapons in DmC, Vergil only has Yamato, but it can be modified into three different modes: Angel, Demon, or standard. At first I expected that these modes would each function like one of Dante’s weapons, each a range-covering attack done by double-tapping forward and a pause combo that I could swap typed during. That was not the case.


Instead, these three movesets complement each other. Standard is built for direct attacks and taking care of one enemy at a time, but it doesn’t have any attacks that move Vergil quickly from one enemy to another (which feels weird at first, since Devil May Cry has always been reliant on Stingers and the like). The Angel moveset counteracts that somewhat by turning Y into the Stinger-like Rapid Slash, eliminating the need for double-tap inputs, but also barring Vergil from using any standard combos in Angel mode. Demon mode provides access to the dive kick Killer Bee which provides some aerial momentum, but has very slow attacks on the ground.


Rewarding Perfection:


One of my favorite additions to the combat in Vergil’s Downfall, though, is the increased focus on perfect release attacks. Although DmC would reward you if you released your charge attacks the moment they hit the second level of their charge, it would only ever result in increased damage and style, and as a result, most of the DmC players I talked to didn’t notice them. Vergil’s Downfall pushes these to the forefront, giving perfect release attacks different names and attributes than their imperfect brethren. For instance, in Demon mode, there’s a chargeable area-of-effect launcher that works on smaller enemies called “Volcano”. However, if you release it on the right frame, it becomes “Atomic,” resulting in a wider reaching explosion, launching heavy enemies, and rewarded with a giant “BOOM”. It’s nice to see precision rewarded.


At first, the swords, the partial movesets, and the perfect releases feel disparate, but with a bit of practice and a few upgrades, everything starts clicking. All of a sudden, you’ll find yourself creating a set of spiral swords, using Atomic to send a group of enemies skyward, Trick Up, alternate between Angel and standard air attacks to build up your style gauge while holding other enemies in the air with the automatic air-juggling provided by Blistering Swords (at the cost of one orb), before returning to the ground with Trick Down to set up a perfect release, field-covering Judgment Cut to kill three enemies simultaneously.


All this having been said, despite how fantastic Vergil’s combat is and how much more dangerous this DLC makes him, I was kind of surprised by how unpolished certain things felt.


For starters, the upgrade screen is inaccurate, saying that summoned swords take three orbs instead of four, and is missing information. The story works for Vergil’s transformation, but aside from that it feels like it needed more time to cook. The sixth and final level in the DLC is the first level again, but with tougher enemies. They even misspelled the name of Vergil’s voice actor, David de Latour, in the credits. I understand that it’s DLC, and that combat is the important part, but some of these annoyances definitely could have been taken care of to elevate the rest of the experience.


Food for Thought:


1. One of the greatest benefits of Vergil’s unconventional style is the removal of color-coded enemies from his campaign. It’s nice to have all of my attacks work on all of my enemies again.


2. Unfortunately, color-coded enemies have been cited as the reason that Vergil isn’t playable in Bloody Palace… He wouldn’t be able to fight some of the bosses that require Demon Pulls, either. In my dream world, Capcom would release an alternate bloody palace that would remove the colored enemies and allow me to fight the (surprisingly fun) new enemies from Vergil’s Downfall alongside the (tragically missing from VD) Dreamrunners and Drekavacs I love so much.


3. To a certain extent, Vergil’s Downfall feels like DmC for people who don’t like DmC. In addition to Vergil’s more precise playstyle, cutscenes are fewer and farther between. I was surprised a couple of times to land on a platform to see enemies bursting out of the ground without any sort of cutscene fanfare.


4. Fans of DMC3 and DMC4 will notice a few references to those games in the dialogue and some of Dante’s animation.


5. I quite liked DmC’s soundtrack, but none of those artists return for Vergil’s Downfall. Instead, Jason Graves (who worked on the Dead Space series and the new Tomb Raider) provides an ominous score, which did a good job of making the game feel isolated, but didn’t have any tracks that stuck with me, and I was kind of disappointed by the lack of the franchise’s typically heavy battle music.


6. I was kind of disappointed that there were only two costumes for Vergil.


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  • FitzpatrickPhillips

    Man I wanna grab it so bad…but I’m in the middle of some other games. Might just say eff it and get it.

  • Oni123

    Nice article ^^ loved the DLC but like you say it did feel unpolished in some areas. it’s a nice little add on especially for those that pre-ordered DMC. I did find it a little easier than dantes story even on VMD mode.. a certain boss on hellandhell gave me a lot of trouble though O.o

  • Crevox

    There’s another costume for Vergil; you have to finish the game to unlock on a certain difficulty. (nevermind, I’m wrong)

    Bloody Palace doesn’t work because they put forth zero effort for it to work. They never intended it and it could’ve worked if they developed it. If you forcefully load Vergil into Blood Palace in the PC version it crashes, but if you load him into Dante’s levels it does work, but you can’t advance through the level (first level, 3 enemies spawn, then nothing after that).

    They simply didn’t take the time to develop it.

    • Kris

      Well, I’ve never really considered Super versions to be costumes… Unless there’s another I don’t know about?

      • Crevox

        Hmm… I was pretty sure there was one more, but I’m having trouble finding it now. Maybe I’m just derpy.

        • Kris

          Let me know if you find it though! Even coatless Vergil would be a nice extra…

          Also, I wish I had PC DmC, I had no idea you could attempt to get Vergil into Dante’s stages. Shame about the crashes though.

          • Honestly, it sounds like something that could easily be patched in later. I wouldn’t be surprised in the least if they release an update patch that lets you do that. But then again… releasing updates costs $$$ console-side, especially on the 360… and this would be a pretty minor update. Mmm…

          • Crevox

            In order for it to work, they basically have to add an entirely new version of the map just for Vergil. Even his training mode map is not the same as Dante’s… it’s a modified clone. For Bloody Palace this is reasonable (though they would have to do checks to make sure he’s compatible against all the bosses, and change his attacks to be angel/demon, because as proven on the witch in DLC, even his angel attacks are not angel). For main story… I would say never gonna happen.

            Either way, it’s gonna be a big amount of changes if they did it, and it would likely have to be free… so I wouldn’t count on it.

            As a note: Ch20 is one of the very few (if only) missions that work with Vergil, although you play the entire opening cinematic being able to walk around in the cutscene, and Dante doesn’t exist (so they are talking to air). Fighting Vergil is kinda wonky, and some of his moves don’t function properly. It just goes to show what would happen against other things.

          • Oh right, I forgot that the platforming wouldn’t fit Vergil’s moveset. Mmm…

    • Bobby Jennings

      Crevox sup, it’s Silence!

      …Just figured I’d say that.

  • Prinnydoom

    Dante: I am stronger

    Vergil: I am smarter

    Dante: I am better looking

    Vergil: Mundus is behind the vault door. Lets not keep him waiting………..and i got a bigger dick.
    Loved that scene ^___^

    • Kris

      I was considering “and I’ve got a bigger dick” as a potential subtitle for the Playtest, but I decided against it. XD

      • Ferrick

        how about “and I’ve got a better gameplay” XD

        • Kris

          That would have worked too. XD

    • FJF1085

      It was hilarious, I’m a little late to the game but I just finished the main game and just started VD and I think it was the funniest bit of dialogue in the game. Totally a fight I’d have with my own brother.

  • Kaihedgie

    Sounds like tasty gameplay :3

  • Guest

    Best thing from the DLC is one of Vorgil’s hurts noise

    • SunOatBoatMatadorQuattro


  • Whoa, is there no notice for a spoiler alert at all? Damn…

    • Kris

      I’m sorry, I had one in a draft but it vanished during editing. >< Will fix!

      • Haha, it’s okay. Mistakes happens… especially if there is a mess up that you had no control over. =)

        • Kris

          Thanks for bringing it to our attention though! :)

    • My mistake, I accidentally deleted Kris’ spoiler warning during editing. It’s back in now.

  • Solomon_Kano

    I can’t wait to actually play this. Glad that it’s sounding like a significant change of pace from Dante’s gameplay.

    I got impatient and watched a playthrough of it though, and… well, it’s kinda unfortunate that the story for this is so bare. I was looking forward to them doing more with Vergil and they kinda do… but then they kinda don’t. Rather than fleshing out his personality and letting us see more of what he was thinking, they just kinda pushed him more towards being crazy without really expanding on what occurred prior. It works, but I was honestly hoping for a bit more.

    Ah well, should be fun!

  • Göran Isacson

    While it was nice to see Vergil get off his ass and FIGHT for once, the-

    -fact that it looks like it’s all just a dream, and that we don’t even get to see how life was like for Vergil and why he wanted to take over the world in the first place was a dissapointment. It’s like the developers went’ “NOPE HE EVIL THAT’S ALL”. Sure, one can argue that the ghost-creatures were his mind throwing stuff he knew deep down in his face and him cutting them down was just him refusing to face the truth, but what was the matter with him meeting his mom? Did that happen or was that also just a dream? He can’t have really gotten his hands on Dantes amulet, that was just a ghost-thingamajig. The weird ghosts felt really vaguely defined and Vergils reaction to them just makes him look ever more like a petulant child, if they were indeed his “conscience” trying to get him to acknowledge why things ended up the way they did. Whyever they then attacked and harrassed him, I do not know. Kat-ghost tried to warn him first, but then she suddenly turns evil and I suddenly have no idea what the game is trying to tell me anymore. Were they something created by an outside force trying to push Vergil into becoming evil? Was it Heaven, perhaps? Because darnit we STILL haven’t seen anything from heaven, wasn’t that supposed to be a big darn deal?

    Also, called it- Vergil leading the now leaderless demons as set-up for the potential sequel. Eh, it works I guess. Can’t say I’m that jazzed unless Vergil and Dante become more compelling, but again- it works.


    On to gameplay, I have to admit I did NOT know that charge attacks were more powerful if you release them in time with the final flash in regular DmC- thought they introduced that in this one. While I had some problems with the platforming here (far too many narrow platforms with enemies on them that push me off, as well as camera angles that do not help me one bit) I did like it overall, if only because while I mostly base my game around Arbiter and Aquila in regular DmC and pretty much smash all competition with little challenge regardless of difficulty, here Demon attacks are not as convenient and you have to work a little harder to get some bad combos going. Granted, that could be because I’ve only beat it once so far and haven’t really replayed any stages to farm for orbs. Mostly focused on filling out the vanilla-move list so far with some extra Demon-moves on the side, because I’m not that jazzed about the Embed and Angel-moves so far. But if they allow instantaneous teleportation back to platforms I may have to change my tune- if I can eliminate that, I can cut down on the damage I take by at least 60 %.

    Finally- any good strategies for fighting that Splitface-monster? Nothing Vergil’s got so far flinches him, he hits like a truck and I can’t really dodge his weird thornbush-attacks with any regularity.

    • Kris

      For the Imprisoner, I recommend launching him with Atomic or Solar Flare and just wailing on him while airborne, or Judgment Cuts and Blistering Swords to pick at him from a distance … He still gives me trouble on the ground, gotta try to figure him out better!


      As far as the story goes… yeah. I think a big problem with DmC’s storytelling (and VD’s even more so) is the fact that they could flesh out little aspects of the world so much more with a sentence here or there that explains the world just a touch more. We still don’t have any idea what’s going on with the angels, even though they’re apparently at war with the demons… wouldn’t they want to support Dante and Vergil against Mundus? Why couldn’t one of the multiple lines reminding us that Nephilim were the offspring of angels and demons be about what happened to the angels? Why do we only have hints at Vergil and Dante’s upbringing? Why was Vergil adopted into wealth and Dante tortured at an orphanage? Wouldn’t Sparda have thought better of checking his children into a demon orphanage? Why did Mundus not know about Vergil, but know about Dante? Why didn’t Hunters kill Dante before he learned to control his powers? Why doesn’t Yamato come out of a birthmark on Vergil’s back like Rebellion does for Dante? …lots of questions for a game that was supposed to improve the franchise’s storytelling.

      I don’t really want to get into VD’s numerous story issues, but it seemed like a dream that allowed Vergil to awaken to his new role as a demon king… I dunno, it was weird. That said, Vergil’s VA did a decent job with a couple of his lines for making Vergil sound a bit more crazy, but man, so often it seems like this is the worst story NT’s ever done. I wish Alex Garland wrote the whole thing instead of just providing story supervision.

      • Göran Isacson

        Alex Garland being the guy who wrote Enslaved, right? Yeah, I had heard that he wasn’t that involved with the script here, and does it ever show… of course, there’s no telling how much could be NT’s responsibility and how much could be pressure from Capcom to conform, but I calls it like I calls it- it IS the poorest story for their games so far. Some of those questions you brought up there where questions that I honestly think I should be more peeved over than I am, but I just… stopped caring at some point and let it all wash over me.

        But that Vergil grew up rich and just so happens to be a manipulative asshole who looks like he has no redeeming qualities at all anymore (and he was apparently jealous of Dante for… reasons?) while Dante is poor and pure and heroic and stuff, that… that was a groaner. Not to mention what a dick it makes Sparda look like, but I guess you can fanwank that he was in such a hurry and stressed from watching his wife die that he just… didn’t have the time to check if it was safe? Idk. I’m still kinda peeved that Eva was so unimpressive. Sure, we know almost nothing about her in the original game but Dante there said she had fire, and if she had “fire” and managed to Woo someone like Sparda I’ve always thought she had to be a badass of some sort. Here… not so much.

        Thanks for the tip with Atomic though, I’ve got to try that one out later. I never could manage to get him airborne or stunned in any way, so he would always wreak terrible havoc on me.

        • Isaac Newton

          Can join to your conversation and….

          Guys what are you talking about?

          • Göran Isacson

            Ha ha, did you ignore all the stuff that we said were spoilers ;) If you did, the only other thing we’re discussing is how to beat the Imprisoner, a tough enemy/boss-thing in this DLC. It’s the only enemy I’ve come across I wasn’t able to throw up into the air and so it was CONSTANTLY attacking me. Pretty tough.

            OTherwise, we were mostly just talking about the stuff in the plot we didn’t like, and I don’t think it’s that hard to follow that discussion?

  • SunOatBoatMatadorQuattro

    Capcom didn’t even try hiding the spoilers. Just by reading the title I thought what Vergil would do in the ending of the game. Not that spoilers bother me but well. If DmC was the gaming equivalent of Blue Exorcist then this DLC episode is Bleach the Movie 4.

  • Valtiel Ikari

    so basically the dlc plays more like a Devil May Cry game than the actual game?

  • I forgot this game existed. ;p

  • Setsu Oh

    i can t wait to hear the end word from capcom about the whole dmc thing.

    will they keep their word and regroup, making the next one a japan only game or will they try again and continue with ‘no-sequel’-ninja theory????

  • Isaac Newton

    I play this game because of One Ok Rock
    if you know what I mean…

    • eilegz

      thats the only good thing about DmC everything else its meh

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