Review: Dante’s Inferno

It seems that lately we are seeing a new trend in games, and that is basing the story of games from novels. Previously this was the domain of the movie industry, but there is now a slow trickle into the games industry. The much anticipated upcoming release of Metro 2033 will be based on a Russian novel, even the Stalker series games are based from a little to unknown novel (which funnily enough I don’t know either). The latest game to follow the story from a novel approach is Dante’s Inferno. Having the power of a compelling story at its side, today we will look to see if a game can adapt from a novel.

Firstly, although the previous mentioned games have been based on novels; Dantes Inferno is actually derived from an old Italian poem, known as The Divine Comedy. Written entirely in Italian, I found it difficult to read as my Italian is… non-existent. Luckily enough, there are translated versions available and I am currently making my way through Hell, but from what I can gather so far, the game is very loosely based from the poem.

The game has you in the period of the Holy Crusade; you play as Dante, a distinguished knight of the Third Crusade in the belief that you are fighting for God. Throughout the game you will be given brief flashbacks of your life to find out that you are not a typical hero in shining armor – as is in so many other games. Your sins are grand and endless, and the amounts of defenseless human life that has been extinguished by you personally, is countless. So it is fitting that the game begins with Dante killing pointlessly, for what feels forever – I almost turned off my console right at the start thinking this game just is not for me. Luckily I endured, because what comes after is pure fueled action that has you on the edge of your gaming beanbag!

The games story begins with Dante being killed, where he is then judged for his sins. It was obvious from the beginning that you were going straight to hell no matter how many donations you made at the collection plate, but what is not so obvious, is that you battle Death himself. If that was not enough for you, then how about actually defeating Death and equipping Deaths Scythe for yourself. This introduction is where you get a taste of what is to come in this game; that is fast-paced and adrenaline fueled action, even more than Jason Statham can deliver. Wielding Deaths Scythe, you will battle on through the nine circles of hell in pursuit of your love, Beatrice, who has been taken by Lucifer himself. Lucifer’s intention is to wed your love, who was meant for heaven, all in an attempt to conquer the Throne of God. The story is epic to say the least, and remarkably fits in perfect with the fast-paced gameplay.

This brings us to the game style of Dantes Inferno. As mentioned, it is fast-paced and extreme like slamming down a can of Solo. You control your character in a third-person view through the various levels of hell, allowing the camera to opt its own view of each sequence – almost like a plat-former. You perform your fighting moves against your enemies by executing button combinations, or button mashing (be prepared for some serious gaming arthritis). A basic leveling system is incorporated for your character, which allows you to unlock several different combat abilities. What is interesting about the leveling here though, is that you can choose the path you wish your hero to take. As you play throughout the depths of hell, you will come across underlings, which are your bottom of the ladder foes. Using the Death Scythe, you grab these underlings and choose to absolve them of their sins, or punish them. This then feeds Dantes evil or good side, and with enough points you are able to learn new skills in that specific skill tree. Later on in the game, you are able to decide the fate of stronger foes as well.

The graphics are a splendor to behold, with extensive detailing to the backdrops and textures. Early on, each circle of hell is unique and brings with it different monsters. Demons and beasts modeling are grotesque, with interesting artistic ideas thrown around – for example, demon babies who are in hell for not being baptised. At the beginning of your journeys, the level designs are excellent and purposeful, and you can always see a large boss in the background of the level. This gives the player a clear goal to achieve; to venture past the obstacles to finally fight that boss. The audio is equally grand, with angelic choir chants to match the story and fuel the player along. Special mention should be made to voice actor Graham McTavish (voice acted for Call of Duty:Modern Warfare) who is outstanding in this game – he delivers such a powerful voice for our hero that it sends trembles down your spine.

Unfortunately, the game does fall terribly short and it is a shame as the start is so epic. You may have noticed throughout the review i mention, early on, or the beginning of your journey. The best way to describe the game is that it has a large uphill start; the player climbs, to what you would expect ultimately, is to reach a summit. That is the goal put forward to us, but now imagine that this mountain suddenly stops with the incline, and just goes flat, and this flatness continues on to the end of the game. It is almost as if the game designers became lazy half way through, or had to meet a specific deadline which is not so inconceivable as the game has a massive EA badge on it. Either way, it goes from an epic introduction to an epic disappointment. You will play the last half of the game on the same level design, over and over again, and against the same enemies, over and over again. Other minor annoyances to mention is the terrible targeting of enemies, but mainly the abrupt repetitiveness of the last levels ruin this game.

Having said all that, I would still recommend giving this title a go – for the first half of the game anyway. It is no God of War game, but it is an alternative, and the story is by far in my opinion greater – just have a friend play through the last 2 hours or so.

Rating: ★★★★★★½☆☆☆

About the Author

Nightshadow is an avid PC gamer, but occasionally strays off to the Xbox360 for some console action. Frequent writer for Gameolio - he has a strange obsession for uniquely flavored soft drinks such as Cherry Coke, Passion Fruit, and Buzz Monkey. Currently Playing: - Mafia II - Age of Conan - Red Dead Redemption