Developed by Visceral Games, the highly acclaimed team behind “Dead Space”, Dante’s Inferno is a video game interpretation of Dante Alighieri’s “The Divine Comedy”. Visceral Games certainly know how to make fun games and with Dante’s Inferno they almost achieve the feat again. On a first look it might seem as a complete “God of War” clone and there is no denying it borrows many a things from that blockbuster franchise but also it manages to add enough fun gameplay elements of its own to distinguish itself from Santa Monica’s masterpiece. And in the end Dante’s Inferno offers solid third-person action and impresses with visually stunning tour of Hell itself.
The main story of Dante’s Inferno is basically a quest of a young man to save the woman that he loves. Game starts with Dante, a young crusader, who on returning to Florence finds his fiancée Beatrice lying dead. When he tries to approach her, Lucifier appears and takes her soul with him into Hell. Dante in order to save her, travels into the depths of Hell while facing his own sins. He realizes the mistakes he made that lead to this nightmare and eventually ends up correcting them.
The story telling here is quite impressive with use of in-game cut-scenes, animated sequences and CG movies. This is quite a unique combination and this way of presentation most of the times is highly effective. Overall the game does succeed in depicting the extreme nature of Hell and quite possibly sets the bar for violence in games. You do feel the misery of people trapped there. Also the game does starts out on a very strong note. And you do sense the whole epic scale of the game. Gigantic monsters in the background, boiling lava below and crumbling pathways always keep you involved.
Combat is the most important part of an action game and Dante’s Inferno doesn’t disappoint. Combat is solid here and you always feel to be in control of Dante. There are standard light and heavy attacks to wield Dante’s scythe, a massive blade. Scythe is the standard weapon of hacking and slashing through the enemies. Dante also wields a Holy cross which is essentially a ranged attack. Holy cross is especially very useful in keeping the enemies at bay. Now where combat really shines is when you use both the Scythe and Holy cross in combination which results in some really satisfying combos.
In addition to the fun combat there is also some standard platforming here, which obviously is not one of the strong points of the game. The puzzles aren’t quit challenging enough rather they sometimes feel just time wasters. Sticking to the combat, the game does offer some twist to it. Every time you kill a monster you acquire its souls. Now depending on how you decide to finish the enemy you either fill your holy or unholy meter. Punishing them earn you unholy points while absolving them help you earning holy points. And with these points you can upgrade your skills via skill tree. Also various relics can be equipped to further enhance your abilities.
Visually speaking, Dante’s Inferno is quite a treat. As you move through different circles of hell, the distinctions are very clear in the environment. Each level is unique and memorable. Variety and distinctness of each enemy is also commendable. And the fact that the game runs all so smoothly on 60 frames per second makes it quite special. Although it uses a fixed camera but its worth noting that it streams almost the entire game seamlessly which is an achievement in itself. Sound is also top notch. You can hear the screams and howls of the damned echoing in the air. Soundtrack is very good and voice acting is pretty solid as well.
So in the end it all comes down to the mindset with which you are approaching the game. If you want an entirely original experience then Dante’s Inferno is definitely not meant for you. But if you leave all the comparisons aside and just want to go there and have fun with purely action packed 8 hours then Dante’s Inferno is worth every penny of yours. An amazing action game not to be missed by any fan of the genre.
This game was reviewed on the Xbox 360.
Impressive visuals. Fun combat. Varied and unique bosses and enemies.
Essentially not very original. Platforming is boring.
Visceral Games deliver an intense and entertaining action game experience not to be missed.