Review: Dante’s Inferno
Depending on who you ask, Dante’s Inferno can call very different things to mind. To anyone interested in literature Dante’s Divine Comedy would come up, to anyone interested in sculpture Rodin’s the Gates of hell might pop up. And if you asked me, my mind would immediately jump to slaughtering dozens of unborn babies who have scythes for hands.
Not quite what you were expecting right? Well neither was I. When I sat down to play Dante’s Inferno I wasn’t quite expecting a dusty stroll through Hell with Vergil quietly preaching at my side, but I wasn’t quite expecting what I did get either. Which was a lot like playing Bayonetta (or Devil May Cry) against demons – in hell. Which was pretty damn awesome.
Dante’s Inferno is a third person hack and slash action-adventure in which, much like the poem it’s based on, you travel through the 9 circles of hell trying to reclaim the soul of your beloved, Beatrice. But, quite unlike the poem, this had me hooked straight away and managed to maintain that interest. Dante’s Inferno really deals with pacing well, when you get bored of killing a type of enemy a different type of enemy will appear, when you get bored mindlessly killing things a cinematic will trigger or a puzzle will need to be solved. And always, if you look around, there are some secrets to discover.
On top of this they have an integrated Holy/Unholy point system which works as a two branch talent tree more commonly seen in MMO’s. This allows you to customize your Dante to either specialise in Holy magic or the Unholy power of his scythe, basically melee fighter or ranged caster. The two trees can also be used together for a more well rounded attack, and the customizability this offers was the biggest draw for replaying the game for me (and I still intend to go back and replay it).
The design of the game is nicely varied as well. I thought that going through Hell would involve a lot of flames, blood and screaming. And I was right. But I didn’t realise it was also offer creepy silences, barren plains of dark rock and pools of molten gold melting people alive. And that was a pretty awesome surpise.
But you can’t really talk about Dante’s without the controversy. From people boycotting the game for the parts in which you kill babies (but it’s so fun…) to people complaining that the story has the roles reversed between Dante and Beatrice (in the poem she saves him, in the game you save her) there are a lot of complaints that stack up around this game – which I think has affected its reception because to be honest this was a good game.
Oh and did I mention there were boobies? I don’t quite understand why writer Will Rokos is quite so insistent on Beatrice showing off her breasts in every shot of her, nor do I think the Lust demon spewing babies from her tongue-nippled breasts (yes you read that right) was entirely necessary but I make a point of not interfering with artistic vision. Especially when that vision is of lots of boobs.