Dantes Inferno Review
March 11, 2010 by Jereme Puik
It’s not often that you see developers like Visceral Games, for instance, take us back in time to the Middle Ages but we finally get our chance with Dante’s Inferno. It’s a game that’s loosely based on the work of the epic poem, Dante’s Inferno. The poem itself sees the character of Dante being taken through the Circles of hell to see if his soul is worthy to be among the living and to fight for his love and it’s the same premise we are presented here with the game’s adaption of it.
When Dante went away during the Third Crusade his love and wife, Beatrice, made a pact with the Devil. She bet her soul on Dante’s fidelity and in return the Devil promised that Dante would return from the Third Crusade unharmed so she could be reunited and they could be together in their love forever. However, unfortunately for Dante he broke his love to Beatrice and gave into his urges. This damned her soul in which the Devil sends her soul to Hell. After realizing this, Dante comes to terms with his fate and descends into Hell to get his love back from Lucifer himself.
The story is surprisingly well-done and gives players a chance to get immersed into the game. Players will be seeing the story told through pre-rendered cutscenes, in-game cutscenes, and even the interesting animated cartoons. It’s amazing how the pre-rendered cut-scenes look. It’s movie like and completely immerses you into the action on screen and the story while the animated cartoons offer glimpses into Dante’s past. There aren’t many surprises you’ll find in the story given the fact it’s basing itself on the poem but you’ll find the game highlighting Dante’s new perspective on life as the game moves forward. It’s an enjoyable adventure that’s a roller coaster ride into the depths of hell. There are many challenges that you’ll have to overcome, many them that you’ll find yourself dying many times in the process in order to move forward.
Dante’s main actions in the story revolve around his combat, and you’ll be immersed in a lot of it. The game maps you around 3 buttons that unfortunately cannot be used in combination with each other. There is a normal attack and a “Holy” attack which sees you shaping a bright blue cross as your long-ranged attack which seems to never run out of energy. Of course you’ll still have your other normal dodging, blocking, counters and magic attacks; the combat just boils down to a quick time event of sorts by hitting a button at the right moment and hammering down until the enemies are dead. You should remember that most of the enemies also get stunned by Dante’s attacks as well, so you don’t always have to rely on blocking and dodging.
Another interesting addition to the game is the fact that Dante can collect souls and gain Holy and Unholy levels. You can generally attain these by punishing or abolishing certain famous and unknown enemies in the game like Pontius Pilot for instance. After attaining new levels you’ll be able to upgrade your attacks or give yourself an increased health bar, which is highly recommended for the later levels of the game. It’s a little disappointing that even the Redemption mode which makes Dante move a little quicker sees the game with no depth whatsoever. While it’s not all bad, the combat can be quite fun and addictive as you’ll find yourself enjoying punishing or abolishing those enemies to gain progress.
There are also moments that slow the game down completely after an intense boss fight. These moments have you either completing a puzzle or going through some platforming. The many puzzles you’ll find in the game aren’t exactly challenging and aren’t obvious either. More often then not you’ll find yourself moving a block somewhere just to get the next part of the level and others just have you pulling a lever that’s hiding somewhere. It’s unfortunate, because this was a really good opportunity to for some clever puzzles. The platforming elements have you climbing walls of the dead to reach further down into Hell or holding ropes to swing across while fire breathes from the walls. Some of these instances happen without warning and you’ll have to fight with trial and error to figure it out. For instance, during the tower of Lust you’ll find yourself falling fast as rocks fall to break the platform your standing. It’s not clear where these rocks will fall and break, so you’ll have to be quick and pay attention otherwise you’ll find yourself starting over again and again. After you beat the game, you have the option of returning through the story again on a harder difficulty and let’s you continually level up Dante’s character. You’ll also be able to play in The Gates of Hell’s Arena which is a version of Horde mode once again that pits you against 50 enemies while battling against the clock to see how long you can survive.
Dante’s Inferno is a great action hack/slash title that shouldn’t be compared to God of War so discriminatingly. Yes, we know it looks like God of War in the way you have every level containing some kind of quick time event or you have to fight your way through waves and waves of enemies. Dante’s Inferno changes the genre by giving us a completely new story to become attached and a new character to love. While some of us may not have fallen in love with the characters per se, but it’s something developers can build off and give us another entertaining sequel.
Dante’s Inferno unfortunately falls flat to the mold of being monotonous and repetitive. You’ll often find some bland puzzles along the way as well that would make you fee like a thick rock if you couldn’t progress through them because they were so easy. The game does have fun combat though and has breaks in a great path to an interesting story that could be expanded to a sequel. Though this also stops Dante’s Inferno from breaking ground into the genre and doesn’t quite make any new changes to it. More of the same is the motto here. Rent it before you buy.