I talked about Devil May Cry a half a year ag0, and now with the release of DmC, I think it’s time once again to tackle the Devil May Cry series once more. Plus, I just platinumed DMC3 like 20 minutes ago
So the topic this time around will be the relationship between the brothers Dante and Vergil, arguably one of my favorite videogame-brother rivalries. I shall cover their history and differences through Devil May Cry 3, 1, 4 and then finally with the newest DmC. I will talk about their gameplay references and styles and the actual plot and character differences presented in each. Let’s get started.
Dante’s Rebellion is significantly larger than Vergil’s Yamato, but Vergil is constantly able to match his brother’s blade. Dante keeps himself with a seemingly untrained but skilled style of swordplay while Vergil utilizes Iaido, the quick draw katana technique. Dante’s playstyle in DMC3 focuses on multiple styles with multiple weapons. Styles include the likes of Trickster with its dodging abilities, Swordmaster with the emphasis on melee weapons, Gunslinger with firearms, and Royal Guard focusing on blocks. He gains two more styles halfway through the game: Quicksilver and Doppelganger. The former manipulating time (ZA WARUDO, even with the color inversion) and the latter creating a shadow double. Dante’s weapons range from triple nunchucks to electric guitars. Vergil however focuses on one style with only three weapons; his firearms being summoning magic swords to pierce enemies. His Dark Slayer style allows for his trademark teleportation ability, either appearing in front, above, or behind an enemy. Dante has an extensive barrage of combos to use while Vergil has shorter combos
Dante’s relationship with Vergil is a shakey one. The two obviously see eachother as enemies but seem to hold high respect toward their abilities. Each and every single one of their fights are strictly duels, mano-e-mano, a deathmatch. While many boss fights in the series have some gimmick toward them, Vergil’s fights are ALWAYS an honorable 1 vs 1 standoff. DMC3’s Cerberus had his ice armor, Agni and Rudra with their dual boss fight, Nevan and her annoying-ass swarm of bats, and so forth. Vergil shares a similar model and animation style as Dante, strenghtned by the fact that he is playable in the Special Edition of DMC3. So in a sense, the two are completely on equal terms on fighting ability. But because Vergil needs to serve as a boss, he has 5 “Exclusive” moves he can use only when he’s the enemy. First one is his spinning blade: Vergil considers firearms dishonorable in duels and effortlessly blocks all sorts of bullets with his a flick of his wrist that twirls his blade like a windmill. Second, his arm counter. Once Vergil gets a large chunk of damage taken, he uses his left arm to deflect your next attack, leaving you open for counterattack. Third is a simple, unbreakable shield he gets when he enters Devil Trigger and utters a cool one liner (around the lines of “You are not worthy as my opponent” in a demonic-whispery voice). 4th and 5th are triggered when he’s at low health in his final battle. After activating that shield and saying another devastatingly cool line, he either disappears to chase you around, cutting everything in this path or teleporting like mad to try to get you with his downward slashes.
With gameplay differences aside, let’s go with the story.
So let’s go back to the chronological order of plot here. Devil May Cry has Dante running around a large tower trying to stop Vergil from opening the gates to hell. Dante fights Vergil 3 times and during the final fight, Vergil finally accepts his defeat, but decides to stay in the demon world. He clutches on to his half of their mother’s amulet and presumably falls to his death. Dante tries to stop him but he gets his palmed slashed and watches his brother fall with a small smile. The secret ending shows Vergil alive, but he makes the mistake of challenging someone way above him. That of course leads to their fateful reunion at Mallet Island. Vergil takes upon the identity of Nelo Angelo (Nero Angelo being the original translation, it means Black Angel in Italian), encased in a demonic armor and under the control of Mundus, the revived demon emperor. Dante fights him a total number of three times and the third time, Vergil removes the helmet and he “Disappears” after his defeat. He leaves behind his amulet this time around, and with it, Dante is able to restore the Force Edge’s (Their father’s blade) back into its glorious state. He proceeds to kick Mundus’ ass. Many years later, the lost Yamato is recovered and apparently was orignally meant to seal demon gates. Either way, it ends up in the hands of Nero, who’s devil trigger highly resembles Vergils. Sparda looked like an insect in his demon form and Dante’s DT now resembles an insect as well, Nero’s ghostly aura that acts as his devil trigger is insectoid with scale like armor and also has a scabbard for the Yamato biologically merged into his left arm, similar to Vergil’s DT. Dante at first doesn’t want to have the Yamato in the hands of some kid he just met. Whether or not because of its untapped power or honoring his lost brother, Dante fights Nero for the blade. Nero proves himself worthy and in the end, Dante entrusts his family blade to Nero.
So let’s now discuss the new DmC here.
Instead of being born of a Demon Father and Human Mother, Dante and Vergil are now nephilim: offsprings of a demon and an angel. The matter remains the same in a way, Eva is dead and Sparda is gone. The world of “Limbo” is controlled by the demon Mundus, who runs the entire scene. Unlike the straightfoward sort of demons with their strange looks and their rather ordinary weapons, the demons here are vague beings that wield modern-like weapons. While Mundus was represented like a giant statue sort of entity, Mundus is rather shown as a man in a business suit (at least in human form). Dante is an uncaring rebel who is introduced to Order, by a girl named Kat. Order see’s the demon’s control over the human world and they are trying to fight back for their freedom. The Order is head by none other than Vergil. Vergil is rather estatic to meet his brother again, and he proposes that they work together to free their world. Dante isn’t too willing at first because he has no idea what his past is. Vergil and Kat allow him to view his memories again and brings back his memories. After Vergil’s small family history course, Dante is more than willing to cooperate. Mundus knows only one of the Nephilim exists, Dante, so Vergil proves to be their secret weapon. Vergil’s plan to slay Mundus is quite simple. Mundus’ system is quote on quote “Lobotomy in a can”. The Human world is like a large farm to him. He keeps everything in check with two human companies, Verility a soft drink franchise and Raptor News Network that has CCTV’s all over the place. Vergil and Dante plan to take out both of these corporations to draw Mundus out and draw him away from his source of power, the Hell Gate. Once those are gotten however, Kat gets kidnapped and Dante wants to save her. Vergil is opposed to the idea but their chances for an even compromise is found when they are able to kidnap one of Mundus’ whores, Lilith who bears his heir. The two groups form a small ceasefire and have a trade of persons: Lilith for Kat. The trade goes well and as soon as Kat reaches their half of territory, Vergil takes a potshot at Lilith and kills her and the baby. Our crew make an escape and then assault the tower. Dante goes through the straightfoward way while Vergil sneaks around. Dante and Vergil confront Mundus and take him out in a large scale fight, (Mundus turns himself into a large golem of debris).
Vergil and Dante are able to kill Mundus and free the humans. In their moment of triumph however, Vergil announces that they are now fit to rule. Dante comes across Vergil’s true colors. He realizes that Vergil had been planning for them to rule over the humans as protectors. Dante and Kat don’t agree too well with that plan and the two draw their swords.
So right off the bat, let’s get through the differences. Obviously, Dante and Vergil have changed their relationship. Dante and Vergil have only worked together once, and this is before their final battle in DMC3. When Arkham, Vergil’s ally betrays him and goes to the Demon World to take their Father’s power. Dante chases him down first and engages in a fight. Vergil follows in soon after and the two are able to combine their abilities to kill Arkham, ending with their famous “Jackpot” shot. Dante cries at the end of DMC3, as he presumes the worst has happened to his brother. Although he was willing to cut him up with blades, he still loved his brother. DmC switches all the hate seethed from the two and turns that into a mutual alliance. Instead of going their seperate ways in the original, DmC has the two working together for a common goal. In the original, after their mother’s murder Dante embraced the “Human” side and decided to become a demon hunter. Vergil however took the more ruthless path of a “Demon” so he could become stronger. Dante vows to hunt down every demon while Vergil wishes to obtain absolute power. While that point seems to be ignored in DmC, that is changed when Vergil planned to be the “ruler” of humans after Mundus is killed.
In terms of gameplay, there is a considerable shift from the original games. Of course, the games are still a hack-n-slash game with weapon switching and gun blazing awesome but Dante’s gameplay has changed a bit. First off, the Rebellion remains as your main sword but you can utilize the seperate Devil and Angel weapons you obtain instantly by holding either the R2/L2 button. It’s similar to Vergil in DMC3 and Dante in DMC4. Dante’s combos also are now much like Nero’s. He’s more focused on aerial combos and pulling enemies from afar and grabbing onto objects to fling himself to a position. Old moves like Drive and Million Stab are present and the gameplay feels like God of War in a sense that there’s a “dodge” move. Of course, there’s a huge shift on some moves look. Obviously, Dante’s Rebellion combo is different but his key skills like the ones mentioned above remain mostly untouched. Vergil essentially remains the same, he focuses on his Yamato and like his Dark Slayer style, is able to teleport short distances. Judgement Cuts, Rapid Slash, Tricks, Summoned Swords, and the signature Iaido technique, Vergil is almost exactly the same only without the brotherly love attitude showing. Just because I’m biased, I’ll say this: Judgement cuts look so pathetic compared to DMC3 and Rapid Slashes takes a few seconds to charge up. Still, at least they fought at the end, nothing less for Vergil. I would have been particularly angry if they stuck with the happily ever after thing. One thing I will mention was creative was that Dante’s Devil Trigger (don’t know why they call it that, he doesn’t go into demon form, plus he’s half angel) is basically Quicksilver (time stopping) while Vergil’s is Doppelganger (he creates one clone of himself). Lastly, the final fight reminds me a lot of the last fight in MGS4. Brother vs Brother, one on one, and small cutscenes after someone takes enough damage.
In my judgement, DmC would have been a terrific new IP for Ninja Theory if it wasn’t for the names Dante, Vergil, Mundus, and ect. The Story for its credit, is a pretty simple but interesting one. One problem that I just have to mention is the voice-acting quality. It’s decent but the voice actors can’t yell/scream too well, in a sense of a “war-face” quality (Fullmetal Jacket reference btw). It’s only my preconcieved impression of Dante and Vergil that sort of brought the game down a few pegs. I really can’t help but compare the originals to this one, even if they shouldn’t be related. Vergil is still alive and we’ll see how far he drops in Vergil’s Downfall that comes out this month