Dante’s Inferno (Xbox 360)

Burn, Baby, Burn:

Reviewing 18 month old games is fun and relevant! Just this Saturday I wrapped up a Zealot (Normal difficulty) playthrough of Dante’s Inferno.  It’s an early 2010 release from Visceral Games and EA.  Loosely (probably very loosely) inspired by The Divine Comedy, the player controls Dante, the Templar Knight, as he descends his way into Hell after killing Death and stealing his scythe, so that he can free the soul of Beatrice, the woman, he loves from Lucifer’s clutches.

It also features a metric crapton of creepiness, gore and nudity.

Pictured: Strategically Placed Hand.

Boobies.  Evil Boobies.

That is an image of one of the bosses you’ll face.  Cleopatra (yeah, that Cleopatra) has apparently been granted dominion over the Lust circle of Hell.  So, obviously, she’s fucking gigantic, and has evil armless babies that  spew out of her nipples which she sprinkles on you like goddamn cinnamon.  Oh, and those nipples are more like mouths with lapping tongues.  This game is fucked.

Granted, not all the boobs in the game are evil.  You get a hefty helping of Beatrice boobs early on as well.  I’m sure plenty of 13 year old boys who shouldn’t have been playing this game in the first place had a hefty fapping session during the not-quite-opening cinematic.  10/10

It ain’t all boobs and babies.

So, while it’s easy to be distracted by boobies, one has to remember that there is also a video game here.  Video games have to have good qualities, other than just boobies, about them to be fun.  Things like:

Gameplay:  If you’ve ever played God of War, you’ve played Dante’s Inferno.  You’ll spend about half of the time mashing the living Jebas out of the buttons.  Then, you’ll likely find a combo that really works for you, and you’ll constantly repeat it throughout every battle, until it’s time for a quicktime event.  You know, that’s when you’re expected to time certain button presses to a glorified cutscene.  This is pretty much exactly how I end up playing any Hack ‘n Slash title, so you can’t very well call it on being too repetitive.  8/10

Design:  The only way, it seems to me, that a good Hack ‘n Slash title can avoid feeling repetitive is to have fantastic level design.  They need to look absolutely gorgeous, and add different gameplay elements throughout.  Dante’s Inferno has the gorgeous–or rather, utterly hideous–thing down.  There are flames and tortured souls and sweeping hellscapes everywhere.  It looks fantastic.

Visceral Games has also tried very hard to add different elements of gameplay to each circle of Hell.  They don’t succeed quite so well here.  The platforming elements they’ve added feel more like padding out the length of the game than an interesting, engaging challenge.  8/10

Story:  A great game needs a great story.  You’d think something based on one of the oldest existing pieces of literature would have a fantastic, enthralling story.  In the end, it doesn’t seem to be much more than a “Go Save the Princess” story, except instead of Bowser, you have to kill Satan. 4/10

I suppose that’s not as big a stretch as I initially thought.

Sound:  I had to play this game with the sound almost completely off.  The ability to turn on subtitles was handy.  The parts of the game where I could turn the sound up were pretty fucking creepy though.  Those souls certainly sound tormented.  Good job.  N/A

Achievements:  This doesn’t affect my final judgement on a game, but the achievement list here is pretty decent.  A single playthough got me 710/1000 Gamerscore, and had I been a bit more focused, I probably could have earned another 100 without much effort.  The game does have 2 pieces of DLC with 290 Gamerscore attached, which, if you like DLC (and the game) is great.

Final Verdict:

With a 10 hour runthrough of the story on Normal, Dante’s Inferno is one of the shorter games I’ve played in the last year.  But as it happens, that’s exactly what I was looking for.  It’s also the closest I’m going to be able to get to playing God of War 3 until some god of something drops a fucking PS3 in my lap.  Since the only spot that this game truely falls flat for me is the story, my final verdict is that Dante’s Inferno is a solid title. It did some things well, a few things great, and I enjoyed playing it.

Boobies:  10/10
Gameplay:  8/10
Design:  8/10
Story:  4/10
Sound:  N/A

Overall:  7/10

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