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HundredProofSam

Review: Dante’s Inferno

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Review: Dante’s Inferno

 

Dante’s Inferno is a God of War clone. There! So now that that’s out of the way, and half the people have skipped to the last paragraph and score, let me talk to those of you who haven’t cast it aside as a bad game just because of it. Anyone who’s played Darksiders knows that a game based on borrowed ideas can still be fantastic. So if Darksiders can be great, then Dante’s Inferno can be great too.

 

But it isn’t. On the surface, there’s not much technically wrong with Dante’s Inferno, but the things you earlier overlooked as slight niggles, slowly gnaw at you the longer you play, which eventually sucks the enjoyment out of it. To be honest, I know nothing about the Divine Comedy, so there’s no way for me to tell how faithful to the original the game is. But in the game, you play as Dante, who must journey through the nine circles of hell to rescue his wife Beatrice, who is being held captive by Lucifer.

 

The story is told through a mix of in-engine, 2D and CG cutscenes. While the latter are gorgeous and an absolute treat to watch, the in-engine cutscenes don’t leave much of an impression. It’s through the 2D cutscenes that a lot of Dante’s past is revealed and his character built up. But while the animation itself is brilliant, the 2D nature creates a disconnect between the story and the game, so you’re not really able to relate those incidents to the character you’re playing, and the impact of some of the rather important revelations is lost because of the fact that it’s done in 2D.

 

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In case you skipped past the first paragraph, Dante’s Inferno is a hack-n-slash game. Dante’s primary weapon is a scythe, which he pries away from the grim reaper’s cold dead hands. You can perform light, heavy and grab attacks, and you can later unlock focussed and special attacks and additional combos. You also unlock four unique limited-use attacks in the form of magic at various points in the game. These are powered by purple orbs of Mana which you collect by opening chests and killing enemies.

 

You can pick up collectible relics throughout the game and these give you specific performance bonuses such as automatic counter-attacking, increased damage, etc, and each of these relic powers level up and become more effective as you play along. You get two relic slots at the start, with the ability to unlock a third later in the game. There’s also a morality system at play, which brands you as holy or unholy depending on your actions in the game. While it isn’t game-changing, it’s a nice addition thanks to the availability of certain unlocks and relics on each side that aren’t available on the other. Sticking to one side is also rewarded by offering more powerful relics on reaching higher holy or unholy levels.

 

When you start out, the combat will feel just fine. But once the game throws a variety of enemy types at you, the inadequacies in the combat system creep through. These are most exposed when facing smaller enemy types like the unbaptised babies. They’re quick and attack without any sort of indication, and neither the block, jump nor evade manoeuvres are responsive enough to counter them. So if more than one of them comes at you, chances are you will take a few hits. This isn’t much of an issue with the bigger enemies and bosses, because you can see their attacks coming, but it’s very often these small enemies in large numbers that can make combat sections really frustrating.

 

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And there will be many such incidents because the combat segments play out like mini-challenge rooms. The quiet sections are the ones when you’re walking through narrow corridors, and then the moment the level opens up a bit, you know there’s a fight coming up. There’s the customary blocking of entry and exit paths with walls of fire and two or three of each enemy type are thrown at you. For large portions of the game, you’ll be facing the same enemy types again and again, only in larger numbers the further you go. On those rare occasions that a new enemy type is introduced, the game celebrates it with a mini-bossfight-like presentation. But once you kill it, it will show up in pairs and trios with the rest of the roster in future combat.

 

If the standard combat segments didn’t feel enough like challenge rooms, the game throws you in ten consecutive challenge rooms later in the game. It’s strange that something that, in other games, would be resigned to a separate game mode, is forced on to you as a part of the story here. Whatever frustration I had managed to keep bottled up until this point finally got to me, prompting me to drop the difficulty down to easy and rush through this artificial elongation of the game.

 

As I mentioned before, the bigger enemies aren’t that hard to defeat, so the boss fights are manageable and not as frustrating, but not that innovative either. They have fixed attacks and predictable patterns and it won’t take anyone long to figure them out. But the game isn’t easy so you will die a fair amount. Like God of War, this game takes a fixed camera approach, which means you have no control over how the camera moves. At times, poor implementation of camera animations can get you killed, like when the camera changes angle in the middle of a big double-jump, causing you to change direction and plummet to an untimely demise, or when the camera zooms way back to accommodate a large enemy, only to often have Dante hidden behind it, forcing you play blind.

 

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There are puzzles too, but they’re the kind that require trial and error more than logical thinking. They mostly deal with pulling levers and moving platforms, and none of them pose any sort of challenge. Since you’re mostly travelling downwards into the lower levels of hell, there is lots of rappling, sliding, and rope-swinging to be done. The rope-swinging activity is often turned into mini puzzles with fire hazards requiring you to time your swings and jumps. Here again, the controls and changing camera angles can often lead to cheap deaths. With so many cheap deaths, a good checkpoint system would be the order of the day. For most part, the system is good and keeps repetition to a minimum, but every now and then, you will be forced to again fight through a horde of enemies to get to the bossfight where you were killed.

 

Technically, I came away from Dante’s Inferno quite impressed. It runs at 60 frames per second, there isn’t a single loading screen throughout the game, and there is no mandatory install on the PS3 version. It doesn’t look as good as the best in the genre, but it definitely has its moment. Hell doesn’t really give you a lot to work with in terms of environments, but Visceral have done a fine job in making each circle of hell look and feel different. A lot of this is also down to the sound effects, particularly the constant screams and moans of all the souls trapped in hell, which can get a little unnerving after a while. What the game lacks in sharp graphics, it certainly makes up in its art style and a well-created atmosphere.

 

Conclusion

 

None of the real issues with Dante’s Inferno have anything to do with how similar it is to God of War, but more to do with the fact that it just doesn’t do enough to keep you hooked. After a promising start, the quality plateaus couple of hours in and stays there till the end. Considering the fact that it can take around 11-12 hours to complete, by the end, it starts to feel like a grind, which is further compounded by its various gameplay and level design issues. Dante’s Inferno is an unimaginative game that is a little rough around the edges in its implementation, and with so many quality recent and upcoming releases in this genre, you’d be best served to give this one a miss.

 

(+) Great art style and atmosphere

(+) Simple, but well implemented morality system

 

(-) Combat lacks fluidity

(-) Camera issues

(-) Boring puzzles

(-) 2D cutscenes hold the story back

 

dantes-inferno.png

How we score games

 

Title: Dante’s Inferno

Developer/Publisher: Visceral Games/EA

Genre: Action Action

Rating: 18

Platforms: Xbox 360 (Death Edition - Rs 2,999), PS3 (Standard - Rs 2,499, Death Edition - Rs 2,999), PSP (Rs 1,599)

Reviewed on: PS3

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How do u beat the boss the one who is tied up and has tentacles that shoot up from the ground???? Chapter 9 i think.. one where

there are little kids that u have to slash

 

 

i've been stuck there since 11am.... paar hi nahin honda :lol:

now puspa will come to my home to get me through this ordeal

 

 

But i love hack-n-slash games now :D

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^^

i love the look of them aborted unbaptised babies :D

cant wait to get my hands on the game to slash them. Do they make any interesting sounds when we decapicate them >?

 

no buts it darn fun to slash them...

i like kids though

:lol:

 

This game has got nothing wrong... it just is *inspired* from another "popular" game. But honestly who cares... the gameplay is fun. The presentation is neat... the game's smooth. And for all the people who only have an xbox, this is the closest they get to the REAL thing !!

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^^

what no sound ?? :lol:

 

i would have loved to hear some sort of belch or a squashing pulp like sound :|

anyway, i am mainly in the game for the gore, naughty bits and the disturbing imagery and a nice combat.

 

looks fun by the way you describe it.

 

 

It IS fun yaar... atleast i'm thrilled to bits cos this is my very first game in this genre. I found GoW collection too tough on normal mode... but now after playin this... am gonna play that on easy mode as well and enjoy the game rather than dying like a wimp all the time.

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It IS fun yaar... atleast i'm thrilled to bits cos this is my very first game in this genre. I found GoW collection too tough on normal mode... but now after playin this... am gonna play that on easy mode as well and enjoy the game rather than dying like a wimp all the time.

 

 

:lol:

 

but but.. you are the jigsaw.. GODDAMNIT !!!

 

 

persist with gow collection, dont give it a miss. two of the very best games of all time, even the remastered visuals look better thaen some fist gen ps3/360 titles

 

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^^ pehla hack-n-slash game hain yaar... time lagega adjust hone ko.

 

I know... bought GoW collection last sunday and its just lying in the ps3. This DI is really getting to me.

I made the company transport wait last night because i had to finish a level

:lol:

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It IS fun yaar... atleast i'm thrilled to bits cos this is my very first game in this genre. I found GoW collection too tough on normal mode... but now after playin this... am gonna play that on easy mode as well and enjoy the game rather than dying like a wimp all the time.

 

I played GOW1 on hard mode recently it was pretty easy even at that , tried hard mode in GOW2 aswell but it was too damn difficult. I had to start over from begining and play with normal (not easy) mode and they game just seemed to be very easy , and it felt like i was play on easy mode . so unbalanced :rofl:

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