Dante's Inferno Video Review
A much bigger shadow looms over what could have been a great game if it wasn’t for some frustrating moments and an anticlimactic ending. It is hard to take Dante's Inferno as a new IP as right from the beginning Visceral Games have spoken about the inspiration that they took from the God of War series, and man does it show. The main protagonist, Dante, has the same red that when he swings his Scythe blend into his figure making him look like another Greek god that has red paint on his body. However, judging Dante's Inferno on its own merits it has it highs and low but doesn't quite pull off something which its bigger brother does.
If you do not know the entire game was based on a poem that was written in the 13th Century, which follows a poet called Dante, however for the game he is a Crusader, so immediately it is quite obvious the developers have made a conscious choice to make the story more action orientated. The story is told through a series of flashbacks that show Dante losing his beloved wife Beatrice to Lucifer. Dante soon finds himself battling through the nine circles of hell to reach his wife and as I haven’t read the poem I can't judge how close it keeps to the source material but my main problem with the story was that it was not only predictable but the final battle of the game really didn't feel climatic. The comic book style that the flashbacks are presented in are striking and I actually found it to be much more interesting than the CGI or in game cutscenes as it reminded me of Infamous approach to telling the story through a series of comic book flashes, which I personally enjoyed.
As you fight through the nine levels of hell you will be proceeding through what should be very distinct environments, as you will be facing the deadly sins such as Lust, Gluttony, Greed etc. However, I found the first half of the game had a much more varied look than the latter portion. The levels started to blend together and I didn't really feel as I was diving further into hell. You will encounter multiple boss battles along the way that each looked the part and sport their own unique hellish features. For instance a huge woman who spawns babies from her nipples or a huge monster with bouncing boobs. There is no doubt that the designers thought long and hard about each detail but it is ashamed this didn't come across in the environments.
The levels are littered with collectibles to be found which include ancient artifacts, silver coins and also lost souls that have been condemned in hell. This is where Dante's Inferno brings its take on moral choices to the table. You have to decide on whether to punish or absolve the person’s soul by reading their confession. If you choose to punish then you just kill them on the spot. However, absolving a soul will bring up a mini game of Guitar Hero holy style -- this is where you must press the face buttons that correspond with the symbols on screen -- except without any music.
All of these decisions build up your Holy or Unholy meter and this in turn will determine which skills you can purchase from the games upgrade system. You then can purchase new attack combinations and abilities with souls which you have collected. All of this will be very familiar if you have played any God of War game in the past but the main problem is that the combat is not as fluid or fun as God of War. Your primary weapon is the Grim Reapers Scythe but you also wield a holy cross which you can use to shoot out 'holy energy' to smite your foes. I found that this cross was the most over powered first weapon I had ever received in any game as you could stand far away from a battle and spam the attack until all the enemies had a blast of energy.
Quick time events are also present and again like the God of War games will see your character ripping men in two or slicing their faces in two, but Dante's Inferno just doesn't produce the same 'wow factor' that another game has. Combat isn’t the only side to the game as you will be swinging between ropes, climbing walls and figuring out some easy and also frustrating puzzles. This is where the game fluctuates in difficulty as the combat side was easy compared to jumping from rope to rope, or figuring out that a box can be placed behind a lever. The game takes a turn for the worse with these slower parts and it left me more frustrated than anything else as it was more trial and error which isn’t the best way to approach level designs.
Dante's Inferno could have grown into what God of War is today but it is just too late. There aren’t any technical faults with the game and it sounds great with all the burning souls in hell -- okay I may have wanted less mention of Beatrice -- but it just doesn't feel quite right. Visceral Games where close to making a God of War clone for the Xbox 360 but it just doesn't fill its shoes. The story is a bit here, there and everywhere and the combat is a little on the weak side but if you enjoy a gore fest, or just taking a trip to hell then this will serve you well.