Spare a thought for the video game brother, forever cast in the shadows. Nintendo's placing the spotlight on the lesser sibling of its star duo this year, so DmC's first substantial DLC that puts Dante's brother Vergil on centre stage feels like it's part of a curious trend. Vergil's Downfall is a substantial if not entirely satisfying single-player add-on, retaining so much that made Ninja Theory's reboot a success while never really building on it in an engaging way.
Set immediately after the events of DmC (you'd be well advised to complete the main campaign before heading in to the DLC, and likewise you'd be well advised to not read much further on in this review if you'd rather the story remained unspoiled), Vergil's Downfall follows Dante's brother as he's cast into the underworld, and as he works his way through the twisting landscapes of hell.
It's a more surreal backdrop than that of Dante's tale, the link to reality cut loose as levels are constructed of floating walkways and gothic architecture hanging free in the purple skies. Vergil's tale - which is as engaging as that of the main campaign, as in not very at all, with the series' camp theatrics clashing with some straight-faced mugging - is told through scruffy animations that book-end each of the six new chapters.
There are extremes, and then there's DmC. This reinvention of Devil May Cry is capable of leaving you open-mouthed in amazement, gazing in wonder while clutching the joypad so hard it creaks - but it also easily segues into boredom and, occasionally, frustration. When DmC gets going it is sensational and when it slows down it's barely average. It's the 10/10 game that won't stop forgetting itself.
Dante's new look is a mix of hard-edged and drop-dead gorgeous, every stance filled with arrogance. Even more irresistible is the way he moves. A wiry powerhouse that runs on flair, every arc and sweep of this Dante's blade oozes over-confidence to the extent that it sometimes leaves him stumbling. But only for an instant. The animation throughout DmC is exquisite and Dante is the showcase, his hundreds of potential moves stitched together into the most incredible extended sequences. With attitude in spades and a clutch of killer lines, there have been few better reinventions of a classic character than this.
Then there's the combat system, the thing everyone was concerned about, which turns out to be DmC's trump card. With Ninja Theory on development duties you can take fluidity and style for granted, but the sheer range and utility of Dante's moveset is what's most impressive.