If the woman you loved got dragged into the very depths of hell by Lucifer himself you would probably sit in some corner crying like a little bitch. Now Dante on the other hand is so badass he defeats Death AKA the Grim Reaper, takes his scythe and dives into the darkest recesses of hell to save his beloved Beatrice. Yeah, that’s how he rolls.__STARTQUOTE__A lot of dudes go through hell while in a relationship and Dante does too, quite literally.__ENDQUOTE__This is the basic premise of developer Visceral games’ last action title, Dante’s Inferno. Based on a poem written by some famous dude called Dante Alighieri back in the day, Dante’s Inferno takes players through the nine circles of hell as they fight through all of hell’s minions and then some more to rescue the women they love (a lot of dudes go through hell while in a relationship and Dante does too, quite literally). You’d think that after going through so much for her, she would show some kind of appreciation but every time you see her she’s whining about how you forsook her and so on. So much for gratitude!
Dante while badass to a certain extent is a pretty emo person himself so I can see how he’d attract someone like Beatrice. And then you have Lucifer who like an adolescent teenager seems obsessed by women’s private parts. You’d think the Dark lord of the Underworld would have his share of the fairer sex but apparently he doesn’t.
I’m not a big fan of the game’s plot but I have to bestow some serious respect onto the level designers. The game looks twisted as hell (you know I had to) and every level and its inhabitants are sick, perverted derivations of certain sins. So in Lust you’ll come across grotesque women who attack you with their private parts in a not so pleasant way while in Gluttony you’ll face obese monstrosities whose sole aim in life is to devour you and shower you with some of the brown stuff. And then there’s a boss who - I kid you not - showers undead babies out of her breasts. There’s some real twisted stuff in there that’s brought to life by splendid visuals and grand set pieces.
While I’m all praises for the game’s aesthetics, I can’t be so forgiving when it comes to gameplay. You probably know by now how "inspired" this game is by God of War and it does so shamelessly, losing any marks for originality. You’ll spam away at a key for opening doors or absorbing health. You’ll finish off opponents in some awesome over the top finishing moves and you’ll spend half the game platforming across the nine gates of hell. I can’t complain much about combat because it’s pretty decent albeit a little on the bland side. You have access to just one weapon throughout the course of the entire game that can be upgraded to learn new moves but it’s still just one weapon that’ll stick with you till the credits roll.
While every level boasts of certain unique enemies there are certain generic grunts you’ll encounter in every level. Nearly every level ends in a boss fight and the bosses while intimidating in size are terribly predictable. Still combat is pretty enjoyable and owning hell’s minions in over the top ways never gets old. It’s platforming that really annoyed the crap out of me. Nearly every puzzle in the game is as basic as it gets with Dante running around to pull levers and push crates. Even more annoying is the fact that a lot of these so called puzzles are time based and some of them can really grate on your nerves.
There were times during the game when I felt the devs really lost all sense of direction and put in some annoying stuff there just to artificially increase its length. This is extremely evident in the second last level where you’ll have to take on 10 waves of enemies in a gauntlet-esque fashion. This could have been implemented in the form of a bonus mode but forcing players to play through it during the campaign is just not cool.
Dante’s Inferno is not a bad game but then again it’s not a must buy. It does a lot of things right but never steps out of God of War’s shadow failing to carve an identity for itself in the process. The plot and most of the platforming present in the game are pretty weak but gameplay is enjoyable to a certain extent, level design is phenomenal and visuals are rock solid. If Visceral Games spent as much time on developing gameplay as they did on creating hell we could have had a game worth competing with God of War. But they didn’t!