Dante's Inferno Review

Dante's Inferno uses the classic of literature of the same name as the inspiration for its setting, but beyond that it doesn't have a lot in common with the original masterpiece. In the game, Dante is a crusader who is as brutal a man as he is a soldier. He is stabbed in the back by an assassin before he can return home, and as he makes the transition to the afterlife he learns that his father and wife and have been murdered during his absence. Making matters worse, his wife Beatrice made a deal with the devil that if Dante could remain faithful to her during his time away he would assure that Dante returned safely. If Dante failed to remain faithful, she would lose her soul. Unfortunately, Dante managed to commit just about every one of the Seven Deadly Sins during his time at war and the devil has claimed his prize. Dante refuses to let Beatrice pay for his sins, and so he sets off into bowels of hell to retrieve his love…

If you've ever played God of War, then you'll have a good idea of what Dante's Inferno is like. In fact, Dante's Inferno blatantly rips-off God of War from the enormous bosses all the way down to the fixed camera angles. If you're going to imitate a game, you may as well imitate one of the best. The problem is that it doesn't imitate God of War enough, or rather doesn't imitate it for long enough. The game starts out strong, packed with battles against enormous bosses and fascinating levels drawn from its inspired source material. The demon enemies you encounter are as fascinating as they are fantastical. The story is told with a combination of CGI cutscenes and motion comic styled animation that work well together and give the game a unique and intriguing look. You'll probably really enjoy the game's first couple of hours, but then things rapidly begin to unravel as you descend further into hell and towards a decidedly uninspired conclusion.

After the boss-heavy beginning and intriguing early locations you'll have to make your way through long stretches of monotonous levels populated by the same enemies that you've been hacking apart by the hundreds since the beginning of the game. The cohesive design that sends demonic unbaptized babies at you in Limbo, writhing female demons in the Lust Circle, and puking, obese monstrosities in Gluttony, falls apart soon thereafter and has you encountering attacks by combinations of these demons in circles of hell devoted to other deadly sins – why are unbaptized babies running amuck in the Violence circle of hell? Overall there's a surprisingly small gallery of enemies in the game, as if the project ran out of money for character design early on in its development. In fact, the whole game feels like all of its resources went into the opening levels. The middle of the game lacks most of the excitement of the opening and is heavy on jumping sequences and switched-based puzzles. And the term "puzzle" is used loosely here as they're not really puzzles as much as they are sequences of switch pulls, sometimes made quite frustrating by far too tight timing that makes you repeat the same sequence ad naseum until you finally manage to make it through on luck as much as skill.

Even less imagination went into the final part of the game in which you must inexplicably face a series of mini arena challenges. How'd we go from epic boss battles to "this is the part of hell reserved for traitors, now juggle kill five enemies and then you can move on"? It's as lame as it sounds, and is made even more so by the fact that the game's opening couple of hours were actually quite good.

Once you complete the game, you unlock its Gates of Hell challenge. This is a series of fifty waves of attackers with the goal being to make it to the end. There's an overall time limit, but you can earn bonus time for completing a wave quickly and the time limit isn't much of a concern. You continue to collect "souls" from slain enemies as you do in the main game, and can exchange these for new and upgraded combos like in the main game, so the main point to this challenge seems to be to provide an opportunity to max out your character before taking on the game again at a higher difficulty level or challenges presented by future DLC for the game.

I'd recommend renting the game, playing for a few hours until you compete the Gluttony circle, and then turning it in at that point since you'll have experience the best the game has to offer by then, Going any further should be left to masochists, gluttons for punishment, and game reviewers.

In The End, This Game Hath Been Rated: 66%. The fun factor is inversely proportional to the time you spend with the game.


Also reviewed on:
  •  · PSP 

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