Repost: Dante’s Inferno Review

Even through the first words about Dante’s Inferno is that it is a God Of War clone, is there a better game to pull influences from in the action genre?

Dante’s Inferno successfully pulls off the “epic” game through the journey of the nine levels of Hell and while most of the game is a linear journey down and boss battles aren’t as often as they could have been, the experience is what the title should be: fun.

Dante’s Inferno can be completed in about eight to ten hours depending on how quickly each area is completed, but sometimes it was fun to stick in areas that constantly spawned enemies to gain experience and attempt to hit high combos.

Plot

Anyone who experienced Dante’s Inferno in its original book form knows that Dante’s Inferno the video game takes some large leaps in fiction. And for anyone who didn’t experience the original, it is possible with the PlayStation 3 version which has the entire epic for consumption.

The video game Dante’s Inferno is the story of Crusader Dante who returns home to find his fiance, Beatrice, dead at his home. Upon his arrival, Beatrice’s soul exits her body and confirms with Dante that his promise of chastity while on the crusades was kept. Unfortunately for Beatrice, who gave her body to Dante before marriage; Dante had some extracurricular activity and therefore damns her soul to Hell and into the arms of Lucifer.

This starts Dante’s journey to retrieve Beatrice’s soul from Hell and the nine levels.

The Look

Dante’s Inferno is an impressive title in its visuals. The camera works well to create the huge scope that the title works to present, though it is usually when entering a new level of Hell does the epic nature of the title really shine. Early levels are presented simply as a path into Hell, but the individual levels have a lot of detail specific to the level of Hell.

All the characters in Dante’s Inferno are full of small detail, most of which can’t be seen in motion, but the designs are well realized. The extrapolation of the story in the characters and the religion behind the title created some disturbing creatures mainly seen on the Lust level of Hell. Further down, enemies don’t change, but gain different class abilities.

While most players won’t focus on it, the environments are something to take a look at. Dante’s Inferno makes the levels feel huge, even with linear paths, some of the levels feel gigantic. There is a lot of eye candy in Dante’s Inferno. A simple example is the climbing surfaces which are damned souls that Dante has to climb over.

The Sound

The orchestral score is only second to the continuous barrage of noise that each level has. There are only a few points where there isn’t multiple screams or attack sounds are heard in disturbing clarity. The score successfully creates the blockbuster feel when it heightens areas. Boss fights have some of the best music in the title. When the score is augmented by screaming, the title hits that “epic” mark.

Attacks by Dante all have a big boost of bass, especially his cross attacks at the higher experience levels. When it is maxed out, the range attack thumps through a subwoofer and with surround sound, the levels engulf players in the Hell that Dante is experiencing.

The only thing that the title could use is a bit more directional mixing because the game is usually front-loaded, but when characters were to the left or right of the screen, the sound would push abruptly to that side and then switch back to the center speaker.

Function

Imagine God Of War in the close-combat and it is basically the same. The range attacks are different because the cross attacks have a different use. Players have to decide to follow a Holy or Unholy path, given the ability to Punish or Absolve souls in Hell. Plowing through the game as an Unholy warrior will strengthen Death’s scythe and absolving souls will empower the cross. Though Dante’s Inferno does supply enough souls to evenly upgrade both, it is smart to choose a side because enemies are effected more by one or the other.

Quick-time events make their appearance and become repetitive, especially opening doors. Dante’s Inferno also has some climbing areas, simple puzzles, and lots of combat. The combat is augmented by relics that are found throughout the title, granting Dante some extra abilities. Honestly, about half-way through the game, two relics will make Dante a tank who can absorb tons of damage and made the title a lot easier until the last fight.

Dante’s Inferno does have boss battles, but they are a little too sporadic and some of the levels of Hell are gleaned over, with the only purpose to expand on Dante’s past and his experience before he entered Hell. But even with the repetitive nature of the gameplay, Dante’s Inferno is fun hack-and-slash.

Decisions

Dante’s Inferno does what it wanted to do well. There are some glitchy camera issues and some levels kill Dante without much explanation of what happened, but these issues don’t show up that often. The story of Dante’s Inferno is a fun fiction of the original story and the game sets itself up for the eventual sequel.

Dante’s Inferno is a mature game and no child should be playing this title. The mature content is decidedly mature, especially all the nipples that appear. But for action genre enthusiasts, Dante’s Inferno is a title that they should play. It might not beat the original, but it does have a lot going for it.

Review copy provided for review purposes

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