Dante’s Inferno (Xbox 360/PS3) Review
Version of game played: Xbox 360
Dante’s Inferno is based off of the 14th century epic poem “Divine Comedy”. I haven’t read the poem, so I can’t tell you how close it resembles the parent medium but if it’s anything like the video game, I’m actually very interested in reading it now.
The game starts off kind of like a cross between God of War 1 (PS2) and God of War (PSP). In that, you have a very ambiguous short intro that is immediately followed by being attacked by heathens, all the while flaming rocks are being volleyed at your position (Which is to highlight how you can control your character with an onscreen tutorial). Thankfully Visceral had the hindsight to look at what GoW did wrong and fix a few of the small annoyances. One annoyance they did away with is when you are shown a tutorial, they don’t pause the game and put in a forced delay of about 3 seconds before you can continue playing. Some people, in fact, can play games and chew gum at the same time. Obviously this isn’t to say that God of War is a bad game, because Dante’s Inferno is pretty much a complete clone. Which is still a good thing.
Story-wise, it’s seems like Lucifer just took your bitch. Shit just got real.
A lot of red and black and sickly green (I wanted to say all over) in a few places. Most of the game is like this, not so much sickly green, but the red’s and blacks. Only 15% of the game takes place in snowy/sandy/forest type areas. So this is one area that Visceral could have done a better job in copying GoW. They did try, because you’re mostly playing in Hell and I don’t think there are many spots with rainbow waterfalls and unicorns running around. They deviate slightly here and there, sometimes with purples, but overall the colors are very dark.
However, they do have lots and lots of titties, though. So in my opinion the visuals are FANTASTIC. No seriously, I mean they could have gone all out and put some big honkin’ flap-jacks on every female character. But they didn’t. They kept themselves reserved. They said to themselves, “You know, we have tons of topless women in this game, maybe they don’t need to be Tomb Raider huge” to which one of the co-workers said, “Yea, let’s keep this classy.” But not all Ho-Ho’s are created equal, no sir. Just to show how pro-juggs Visceral is, one of the main bosses is gigantic AND topless AND AND her nipples are actually mouths that spit out unbaptized babies who have scythes for arms. They didn’t just single out one pair of melons. They got fat honkers, small hooters, the creepy fun-bags I just mentioned, NO discrimination. Visceral are equal opportunity fat-sack enthusiasts.
To sum it up, even though the red’s and blacks can be a little ‘Virtual Boy’ bland, the headlights easily make up for the difference. +a million towards the score…. Plus some of the Hell scenes are pretty cool.
Oh crap, I also forgot to mention that they got a toddler to do the motion cap for the unbaptized babies. It’s the little details, people. This game has them.
It’s a God of War clone. I think they faithfully recreate the feeling of God of War. But instead of using your Chaos blades (Grim Reaper Scythe) I found myself spamming the cross all over the place. It wasn’t bound to my mana pool, it was basically like the unlimited ammo guns from Tomb Raider/DMC/Bayonetta type games, but played in a GoW style. But the Cross is a bit OverPowered. Especially when you start going Holy spec. Again, the scythe isn’t bad. The scythe IS more powerful than the cross, especially when leveled up. But the trade off I didn’t feel was there. I could effectively hit multiple targets from great distances with the cross, while the scythe was more for delivering massive amounts of damage to a single foe. They did include one baddy who would go turtle with spikes mode if he got hit by the cross, which forced you to counter with a block and they had Heretics that made other baddies immune to the cross. So they had elements that forced the scythe to have more play. And I definitely see that they tried to balance the cross/scythe. My ONLY suggestion that would even the trade off for using the scythe more often is the Punishment/Absolve mechanic.
The Punishment/Absolve mechanic is a method where they force you to carefully attack your enemies so that you can enter a QTE and get Unholy/Holy xp. However, the punishment option is really just killing them, which you are doing regardless if you enter the QTE or not. So it would be my suggestion to have Unholy xp be delivered by just killing with the scythe instead of only entering into the QTE. Also this would help in making it possible to 1000/1000 or Platinum the game with one play through + mini games. I am seriously not a fan of games that have achievements that require two run through’s. It’s possible to Full Complete DI in one play through, but it would have to be very meticulous and you’d have to kind of know what you needed to do ahead of time.
Some pluses. Some mechanics they carried over from GoW, thankfully Visceral again, toned down how annoying they could be. All of the climbing/rope sequences have a sprint button in all directions. Want to drop down faster, hold RB/R1. Want to go up faster? Press up and A to take jumps. Just the little things that help a game be less annoying and let you get on to do what you want. There is also a power up item that takes away the tedium of opening Health/Mana/Exp ‘chests’
Combat mechanics are pretty solid. If they instituted my unholy xp method above, I think they would accomplish fostering a varied fighting system that both makes sense in the game world and would encourage using more than one weapon/one combo for most of your battles.
Platform mechanics, the ones that cloned God of War, I felt were just as good if not better. Anytime that there is a moment that goes slow from platforming, they include options to speed through it. Plus they did away with combat while climbing walls or sashaying in 2D movement. Which personally I am thankful for. However, the jumping is a little loose. It almost seems like when moving in air, if you wanted to move immediately backwards, the fulcrum is at some point outside the model and he moves along a circle. Which results in if you wanted to move backwards, you are actually moving backwards and to the right or left about two feet depending on where you pointing. I.E. if you jumped to the left and wanted to pull back, he would turn around in this sweeping left pattern. I’m getting into this detail because one of the other little things, is somewhere in the game they have a chain of events with falling stalactites that becomes a Death Course.
So if you don’t have a mechanic that assists jumping (ala Uncharted 2) or some type of control over time, it can be kind of frustrating. Because again, some things only become visible after jumping. Sometimes you don’t know if it’s a trap or a leap of faith.
Puzzles. They are pretty much like God of War. Especially with the movable blocks. They make it very apparent that you need a block at a certain location. But hidden off camera somewhere is a place where the block can get you to a hidden chest. For the most part, they are pretty simple. I’d say even simpler than GoW. My one complaint is they had a movable block in a location that I couldn’t see very well. So it’s not that it was difficult to figure out. It was just difficult for me to see how I could get the block on the moving platform.
Overall, the game is pretty solid though. A couple of things to work out and it would be golden.
Maybe I was just focusing on the sound effects more, but the music was pretty generic. Heavy on the war drums. Quiet scenes have the long drawn out violin strings. That’s pretty much all I remember from the music side of things. The sound effects were really well done. I don’t know if the intention was to have the ambient sound mostly filled with the screams and moaning of the damned. The picture that is painted auditorially is very much what I think I would hear in Hell. So they did a very good job conveying what they thought Hell should sound like. However, I wished they experimented with the music a little bit. Relying mostly on sound effects isn’t a bad thing, but it’s kind of shallow emotionally. Again, I’m not sure they really wanted to experiment or maybe they did and it didn’t work out. That whole audio experience is more than proper for this title. I wasn’t “wowed” by the audio, but I certainly didn’t think it was bad by any means.
Again, solid showing.
This one I’m not really going to touch on too much. I never read Divine Comedy so I am have no basis to be offended by how they treated the source material. I heard other people say they ruined the story with this portrayal. Coming from a person who never read the source material, all I can tell you is I really loved the story. Virgil with his commentaries, the depiction of every layer of hell. Why and how Dante is in his hell. What’s nice is I could say that most of the topics they touch on are huge cliches. But this book was written in the 14th century, so it either created the cliche (doubtful) or was maybe in the top 10 that used the cliche. If anything OTHER stories are cliches of Divine Comedy.
In the end, the story was fantastical while believable. Which is all I could ask for, really.
Summing up and some notes
Before I give my verdict and try to apply a score to Dante’s Inferno, I think one of the more important things to note is the game’s length. It took me about 6 hours to complete on the easiest difficulty setting. 30 minutes to do the mini game and about 30 minutes to appreciate all of the bonus content. So you have 7+ hours at a minimum worth of entertainment. For some people, that might not be enough. For some people like me that have a full time job and a family, I LOVE shorter games. Things don’t get drawn out and they don’t resort to cheap tricks to increase play time. Like going UP all the layers of hell that you just went down. It’s a tight experience and very graphic. I would say that a mature 13+ year old is okay to play this game.