Despite the expected outcry of Dante’s new look and the reboot of the franchise, DmC: Devil May Cry has received a fair amount of praise for its gameplay and good story. Dante’s character and interaction with others and the world around him was handled well, the worlds of both the Human realm and Limbo were created in a way that made them immersive and interesting, and ultimately, it breathed new life into the PS2 classic franchise.
We’ve already seen some of Vergil’s story in the game’s DLC, but with the comic tie-in The Chronicles of Vergil, we’re essentially given a prequel that both explains Vergil’s motivations and sets up for the start of the game. Sadly, while it will provide a decent amount of fanservice for those who can’t get enough of the game’s fiction, it ultimately fails to tell a cohesive and interesting story.
In The Chronicles of Vergil, we learn that Dante has been locked up in the infamous demon prison known as Hellfire. Intent on breaking him free to enlist him in the fight against the demon hordes, Vergil gains the help of Kat, an unassuming psychic who, after being in the wrong place at the wrong time, has been accused of aiding Vergil in a terrorist attack on the Virility factory.
From there, Vergil appears to her in a series of cliched and vague explanations that involve astral forms and all other psychic mumbo jumbo that has grown tired over the years. Kat is hesitant to join him at first, but quickly caves in to his demands and decides to help him in a convenient and not at all believable decision.
With her help, Vergil gains access to Hellfire prison, where he and Kat both learn that Dante has escaped and fall in love seemingly twenty minutes after meeting each other. It’s also during this ride that Vergil defeats demons while shouting out his attacks like a character from Street Fighter II. Oh, and despite his super human abilities, there are demons he simply cannot defeat. Except he can, but only when Kat believes in him. It’s after this that he’s even able to destroy Hellfire, which, while escaping, they learn is nothing more than a massive demon. Like I said…there are enough cliches here to drive even the most moderate of literature geeks crazy.
It all ends with Kat showing up at Dante’s door and warning him that the demons are coming, essentially leaving us at the very start of DmC.
While reading, I couldn’t help but feel that the author’s heart was in the right place. They wanted to tell an interesting prequel story that would help explain the events that precede DmC’s core plot and would allow fans to dive into the game’s fiction that much further. And I also can’t help but feel like this could very possibly be done while remaining interesting and insightful. Ultimately, however, it’s riddled with cliches, bad dialogue, sloppy pacing and exposition, and character development is weak and nonsensical.
Also, it should be noted that this book is really only geared toward fans of the game. Comic fans will find that the story relies heavily on assumed knowledge of the reader and will continually ask you to accept random terms and occurrences without fully explaining itself in a way that doesn’t feel totally ham-fisted.
Despite its story issues, however, the book’s art is very well done, re-imagining the characters of Vergil, Dante, and Kat with the artist’s individual flair. Action scenes are well drawn, and the design of demon enemies is both disgusting and well-realized. It’s the book’s saving grace, and comic art fans will likely enjoy the visuals presented in the pages of The Chronicles of Vergil.
Being that there’s a lot of potential for a prequel story to Devil May Cry, I was especially disappointed by how sloppy and disjointed this prequel story was. If you’re a big fan of the DmC reboot and want more from the game’s universe, it may very well scratch the itch you’ve had since Vergil’s DLC was released. But if you’re like me and want a little bit more from a story than cliches and predictable outcomes, this may not be a book for you.
The book is currently available on Amazon.com for $8.99.