I took my sweet time getting to it, but I have finally gotten around to playing 2010’s Dante’s Inferno, brought to you by Visceral Games. I would say that I was interested in playing the game when it first came out, and I had played the demo and it seemed solid, but I never really trusted it enough to pay for it at any price I saw it at. So I hit it up on GameFly and, when I finally found my lost GameFly games and sent them back, I got Dante’s Inferno in. So let’s take us a nice little trip to Hell, shall we?
Dante’s Inferno is very loosely based on the first part of Dante Alighieri’s epic poem from the 14th-century called the Divine Comedy. I can only assume they’re working on Dante’s Purgatorio and Dante’s Paradiso, though I don’t know how they’ll make an action game out of a poem set in Heaven. This game follows Dante (a poet in the poem, a crusader in the game) who fights Death himself and wins, taking his scythe (one can only assume he got a new on by the time he ran into Bill & Ted). He leaves the Crusades to go home to his wife Beatrice (who is not his wife in the poem), just to find some guy went to his house, ripped her shirt just enough to get her titty out, then stabbed her. Then it turns out she made a deal with Lucifer that Dante would be faithful to her (and he wasn’t) so she goes to Hell. Dante decides that there are, in fact, no more fish in the sea, so he goes after her. In Hell, he meets his ghostly guide Virgil (who was, in fact, his guide in the Divine Comedy) and starts descending the 9 circles of Hell to whoop on that Lucifer and get his lady-bitch back.
Anyone who has played both this game and the classic PS3 games God of War will say to themselves “Wait, isn’t this God of War?” No, it’s not, but it’s exactly like God of War in many ways. The controls of this 3rd person hack-and-slash is like what would happen if Kratos picked up a scythe and a cross instead of swords on chains. Another big thing in this game is the GOW-esque timed button press events. I don’t mind the timed button press things in the game, but I did wish the ones in Dante were a little more forgiving. I have a short attention span, especially when your game isn’t exactly riveting, and there were a few times when I got my butt kicked for not paying attention during these moments (which, granted, may be my fault a little). Also, I don’t like the “mash B button” parts, if for no reason other than I’m pretty sure games that require you to mash a button are the cause of many spent controllers, their poor B button beaten down until it could no longer perform it’s function. I wanna make a sappy commercial with Sarah McLachlan music playing and scenes of defeated controllers, asking you to help. And I don’t like that, with some of them, losing the button event meant instant death. Howl you, game! Be better and I’ll focus. Another gameplay problem is the checkpoint system, which would occasionally save you with next to no health and no options for replenishing it and then throw you into a big battle. So you would inevitably die a few times and THEN it would give you a little extra health to help you out. It only really became a problem for me earlier in the game, but it was annoying.
Also, I get the feeling that this game was trying a little too hard to be “edgy” or something. Much like it’s illegitimate father, God of War, the game’s story could not be told without the appearance of random, unnecessary titties. Which is fine for a little bit, but this game (and I never thought it could happen) kind of made me sick of titties. I’d be willing to wager that every cinematic in the game has titties in it for no reason. I’d allow it when they were in the Lust circle of Hell, but EVERYWHERE? Beatrice is scarcely in this game without at least one titty out. And the boss of Lust, Cleopatra, is always lettin the titties fly AND baby demons actually come out of her nipples. I’m guessing there’s a certain game developer who never had “the talk” with his parents and don’t know how babies work. The more forgivable version of this is the minor demons in Lust that are quasi-naked chicks that attack you with their stomach wangs. …You heard me! And when you’re in Gluttony, you fight a big fatty fat fat who tries to vomit on you as an attack. Naturally, I reacted by getting behind Fatty FatFat so as to avoid his vomit. His reaction? He shat upon me. …High brow stuff there. Also, in the beginning of the game, Dante decides for some reason to sew a tapestry red cross onto his chest. I assume this made him a badass in the developers mind, but I didn’t get how it fit his character. I think your body is supposed to be a temple for God, and I don’t think Jesus wants you to do that. And what do you think your wife will say when you go home with that? That shit looks infected. It’s a good thing you’re dead, Dante, or you’d have some serious itching going on right now.
Now, I make a lot out of the bad parts of things because, let’s face it, it’s funnier to rag on crap than talk about the good. But there are plenty of good things to this game as well. There are a couple of puzzles in the game (just like God of War, in case you’re noticing a theme) that, though usually easy, are creative. In Gluttony, you walk into what appears to be the door from Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (the one Sirius Black falls into) and walk into a 3d realm inspired by the famous MC Escher painting that I believe is called “Crazy Stairs”. When it comes to the story, it’s very solid. Does it have very much in common with it’s namesake? Nah, not really. But who cares? This game didn’t claim to be a video game port of the poem, that’s just the inspiration. And if nothing else, this game actually inspired me (and probably others) to actually read about the Divine Comedy. Not to actually read the Divine Comedy itself, but it’s Wikipedia. Give me a break, I don’t read!
So, my final assessment of this game is: If you like God of War, or own a X-box and cannot play God of War, and don’t mind a slight step down in quality, this game has story enough to deal with it’s derivative, swagger-jack of a gameplay situation. So buy it if it’s cheap, or rent it. I got through it in about 2 days. So I give this game a 4 out of Yes. …DAMNIT! I went the wrong way. I’m narrowing in on this, I tell you!