Dante’s Inferno Review (Xbox 360)

Let me ask you something, who doesn’t know about Dante’s Devine Comedy? Well, I have to admit that I didn’t know about it before I saw this game in the local game shop. Still, seeing the artwork on the box appealed to me so that made me decide to pick it up. Dante’s Inferno is based on the first canticle of the Devine Comedy by Dante Alighieri. The game was released back in February 2010 and developed by Visceral Games and published by Electronic Arts when it came to the Xbox 360 and the PlayStation 3 versions, the game was also released for the PSP but for this version was developed by Artificial Mind and Movement. Dante’s Inferno is a third person action-adventure game.

 

The story:

The story takes place during the Third Crusade. You start out in Acre where Dante, a Crusader General, is ordered to guard hostages while King Richard Lionheart tries to get a holy relic from Saladin. Of course all goes wrong and Dante is ordered to take the relic, but as soon as it happens he gets stabbed in the back by a Saracen assassin. Because of this, Death appears and tells Dante that he is damned for his sins despite the fact that the Bishop said that Dante’s sins were absolved. Dante won’t have any of it and ends up kicking Death’s arse and take his scythe.

After Dante leaves the Crusades, he stitches a red holy cross shaped tapestry to his chest which shows all the sins that he’s committed in life just before he reaches home. Upon returning to Florence however, he finds that his father Alighiero and his lover Beatrice, along with all the servants, have been brutally murdered. Beatrice’s soul then appears before Dante and after a brief conversation; she’s grabbed by a shadowy version of the Devil himself, Lucifer. This of course drives Dante to save his lover and after blessing the cross that Beatrice gave to him after making their vows to be true to each other and to protect Dante from the evils to come in the Crusade, the earth cracks open and you start the decent into Hell.

You have to fight your way through the nine circles of Hell and along the way you are guided by Virgil who, despite knowing all of Dante’s sins, agrees to guide Dante on his mission. You start at the shores of Hell where the ferryman, Charon transports the condemned souls deeper into the circles of Hell. After this you will continue your descent, going through the various levels of hell, Limbo, Lust, Gluttony, Greed, Anger, Violence, Fraud and Treachery, until finally Dante is able to safe his lover.

 

The 9 Circles of Hell

Each circle of hell is different, just like the circles in the Devine Comedy. This means that each of the circles also have a different setting and let me tell you, what the game designers did with it is pretty much epic but that doesn’t mean that this game is for the faint hearted because after all this game is about traversing Hell. I have to admit that I’m not really faint hearted or get squeamish easily, but this game did make me squeamish so much so that I had to stop once in a while to be able to push my stomach back in its place. Despite this, the graphics are amazing and clearly a lot of thought has gone into designing all nine circles of Hell. Each of the circles that you enter really shows what the circle is supposed to be about and at the end of each circle, you will encounter a boss that you need to fight to continue, sometimes these will be people that Dante knows and  sometimes these will be people/creatures from mythology.

 

Gameplay

About this I can be pretty brief, despite the fact that it is a hell of a lot of fun to be able to bash in the heads of Hell spawn with Death’s scythe, it does get repetitive on occasions. This is what you basically do throughout the game, bash in the heads of Hell spawn with the scythe and or you use the holy cross that you get just before entering Hell. Throughout the game you can chose to punish souls or absolve them, choosing either of these options will give you holy or unholy points which you can use to upgrade your scythe. Plus there are a few ‘celebrity’ souls to find, who you can absolve or punish, if you choose absolve though, you will be able to play a mini game that allows you to get more souls to get upgrades for your weapons.   Originally I thought that punishing or absolving the souls would give you more moral choices that would in turn decide the outcome of the game, but unfortunately this isn’t the case which is a real shame if you ask me, because it would’ve made a nice surprise for the ending of the game.

When it comes to controls, they can get annoying at times, there are sections where you have to climb, then jump towards a grapple point for the scythe, but if you miss the grapple point, you plunge to your death and you have to start the whole section over again. At other times you have to go through action sequences which is basically a ‘Simon says’ game as you have to press a button at the right moment. If you press the button at the wrong moment, you fail the action sequence and you have to watch the cut scene over again thus having to attempt it all over again. Let me tell you, if this happens to you a few times in a row, which it did to me, it gets so frustrating that you just want to grab your controller and toss it out of the nearest, preferably one on the first floor, window. Despite all this though, the game does stays enjoyable and it has some interesting things going on it in, main thing being having a look at the sins that Dante has committed throughout his life.

Some of the bosses at the end of each circle are pretty gruesome as well, in particular the one at the end of the circle Lust, without trying to give too much away, I can tell you that that particular boss (the only female one in the entire game) can really freak a girl, and I imagine any man out there, out. Let’s just say that she can spawn enemies from a particular area of a woman’s body and I don’t mean the area downstairs, which not only looks creepy but it makes you want to take a shower straight after you’ve completed that section of the game, well if you’re a  girl at any rate.

 

The conclusion

If you’re a fan of bashing in the heads of Hell spawn and constant hacking and slashing then this is the game for you. However if you want a game that is more puzzle solving than hacking and slashing than you might want to give this game a pass. However, the game does have a good story line and it’s interesting to watch the plot unfold and see how Dante absolves himself of all his sins. Plus the game kind of gives you a history lesson as Virgil’s, the soul guiding Dante, lines come straight out of Dante’s Devine comedy.

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