Dante’s Inferno Review

9 05 2010

Intro

Dante’s Inferno which is loosely based on the poem ‘The Divine Comedy’ was released on February 9th 2010 for PS3, Xbox 360 and the PSP systems. The game which was developed by Visceral Games, known more for the critically acclaimed Dead Space series, is a third person action adventure game in the spirit of the God of War series. You play as Dante who attempts to tract down and free the soul of his beloved wife Beatrice. During this journey Dante must ultimately face his own sins and family past as he descends into the depths of the Nine Circles of Hell.

Can this title break free from its stigmatism and ultimately be a success or is it simply condemned from the start? Continue reading to find out.

Single Player

If you think you have seen this game before it’s because you have, many reviewers have compared Dante’s Inferno with the God of War series and rightfully so. Dante’s Inferno is remarkably similar to the God of War franchise and make no mistake about it Dante’s Inferno is unapologetic in its clone status. I wouldn’t be so compelled to bring this up if the similarities weren’t so startling. The controls, use of light and heavy attacks, quick time boss battles along with the savage and grotesque gameplay are all completely the same. Luckily they also share one main similarity, the fun factor, like the God of War games Dante’s Inferno is extremely fun and satisfying to play. Although this makes it even more unfortunate that the Visceral team was unable to complete the entire package.

They did however get a few of the major aspects right and as they did with Dead Space the Visceral team once again establishes a unique setting. But unfortunately the world doesn’t appear to be as flushed out or portrayed as well as the Dead Space world. I believe this is partly due to the bland and darker theme that is present. While over all the graphics are uninspiring they also don’t present a problem or negatively stand out.

Another aspect that must be done correctly and stand out in a hack n’ slash game is the combat and Dante’s Inferno stacks up nicely. The combat which consists of only two basic weapons, a close combat scythe that was taken from the cold ridden hands of death himself as well as a holy cross used to fire long range projectiles, was satisfying to perform and while it may have initially been rather simple it was effective and deliberate. Nevertheless upon further investigation the combat actually has a bit more depth to it than I initially believed, for instance you have the ability to perform either holy or unholy attacks that do vary. Each holy or unholy act grants experience that further unlocks attacks pertaining to that action. You may also choose to ‘level up’ each individual attack to further customize how you choose to dismantle your enemies. You can add to that customization by finding and equipping relics that drastically alter your play style.

My one complaint regarding the combat was that much of the combat took place in small controlled areas instead of revealing the vast unique world that the team so meticulously put together. Not to mention the difficulty in the game only existed due to bad design and not smart gameplay resulting in most of my deaths to occur during the tedious platforming sections. Yet even with these tacked on puzzles the campaign is short clocking in at less than seven hours to complete. This wouldn’t be so bad if there were another mode to look forward to but that doesn’t exist – no co-op, no multiplayer, no other playable mode besides replaying the same lifeless story I just completed. This severely affects the replayability in my opinion especially since the platinum trophy can also be easily had with little effort.

Due to the Visceral team’s previous work I had high hopes that the story would play an intricate role and would disregard the perception that story does not traditionally matter in the hack n slash genre. But as I stated earlier I had no interest what so ever in the story or the progression of the story. Personally I am not sure if it was because the story was too complex, difficult to follow or if the story was just too cliché for my liking. Whatever the cause I don’t find the story to be one of the catalyst reasons why most gamers choose to play this genre of game. However with that being said that doesn’t mean it wouldn’t have been a nice change and I still find that to be a major flaw in the game.

Ultimately even with all of its promise Dante’s Inferno loses momentum after the first few hours of the game, the once fresh and unique enemies become reused, the previously enjoyable environments become bland and uninspiring, the puzzles only seem to exist to artificially slow your progress and distract you from the story, the strong start and momentous transition instead turns into a monotonous and repetitive ending arena that barely conceals its role as a filler. Dante’s Inferno has so much potential but squanders that all away by attempting to copy another series. Still even with all of that the frantic and gratifying combat is just barely enough to pull you through making it a semi-delightful experience.

Overall

Dante’s Inferno does not break any new ground or tread any uncharted waters instead it merely refines an already proven system into its own unique mold. As an original IP I think Dante’s Inferno is a competent God of War clone with distinct characters and a plot that could be polished into a solid title for Visceral Games and Electronic Arts. However in its current state it just does not represent the same caliber of title as a God of War game.

Therefore due to the uninteresting story along with the lack of replayability and relatively short campaign I can not recommend you purchase this title at full retail price. But I do believe if you are a fan of the genre then you will undoubtedly enjoy Dante’s Inferno which is why I believe it is a solid rental and worth a try. This game can easily be completed over a weekend and presents a perfect change of pace. So put it in your GameFly queue or pick it up at your local rental store it’s definitely worth at least that.

Dante’s Inferno for the PlayStation 3 was  rented at my local video store. The games single player campaign was completed on the default setting in 7 hours. I subsequently played through again and obtained all of the 43 available trophies. Dante’s Inferno was developed by Visceral Games and published by Electronic Arts and is available  for the PlayStation 3, Xbox 360 and PlayStation Portable systems.

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3 responses

10 05 2010
GregHorrorShow

Great review mate, this is in my ‘to play’ pile but I wanted to play God Of War III first. Now that’s done I’ll give this a run at some stage.

26 06 2010
God of War 3 Review « Beyond The D-Pad

[…] you remember I discounted Dante’s Inferno on its replayability because the only option was the single player campaign and even though God of […]

26 08 2010
Dante’s Inferno Trophy Guide « Beyond The D-Pad

[…] up and complete a few games. Which is exactly what I did while enjoying the comfort of the A/C with Dante’s Inferno. Here is a road map along with some of my tips on how I obtained that elusive platinum trophy. Now […]

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