Dante’s Inferno is the first part of the poem Divine Comedy; it details Dante’s journey through medieval hell and how he is guided by the poet Virgil. In it, hell is shown as nine different distinct circles each represent a sin (Lust, Greed etc.). It’s a discover of the soul’s journey through Hell as it begins to reject sin and rise up to Heaven. The video game Dante’s Inferno is based on this fantastic and dark poem and is based around the central character Dante.
It’s always difficult when you adapt a book or poem to a video game, especially as you often have to take a lot of poetic license to make it into a decent game. Visceral Games and Electronic arts have picked a very difficult poem to adapt to the Video Game market and while there is an essence of the poem, it really is only tenuously linked to it.
Essentially, what this game boils down to is a trip to hell; the graphics are similar to God of War, and the game play is very similar – thus the game ends up as being very good, and the link to a poem doesn’t really matter, aside from the visuals of hell that you see; and you have to admit that the visuals are pretty stunning and at times very atmospheric.
From the moment you start the game and go through the opening sequence where Dante (still alive) comes home to find the woman he loves dead; he arrives just in time to see Lucifer steal her soul and drag it into hell; you, as Dante, must travel through the circles of hell and try and save her, not an easy task!
You immediately are immersed in the superlative atmosphere of the game as you watch and play through the opening sequence – the graphics are pretty stunning, and you know that the game is going to be intense and atmospheric – right away you can see why the game is rated Mature as you quickly see some nudity – it’s not too graphic, but it definitely makes the game an Adult only game!
You do get a feel that the writers have tried to bring the poem to life, basing each circle on a sin from the poem – interestingly the graphics do a great job of conveying this as you progress through the game – they are very graphic in nature, with nudity and violence being very prevalent throughout. This is always in context, but you do get the feeling that it is a little too much and some of it does detract from the game a little.
If you’ve played God of War, then you’ll be instantly at home with the game. It is a repetitive ‘Hack and slash’ type game, with hordes of monsters charging at you – however, there are some interesting and neat nuances including the ability of riding some creatures and demons, plus a fairly innovative system where you can essentially ‘bless’ or ‘damn’ souls.
The combat system is excessively complex, well at least for an older game like me, and having 7 fingers on each hand is definitely advantageous as some of the combination key strokes are very difficult to master, let alone understand – having said that, even common humans will be able to get through the game, although you do miss out on some pretty amazing combination attacks that definitely make things easier.
One thing that pleased me was the ‘platform’ elements of the game that meant that you simply couldn’t just ‘hack and slay’ to your heart’s content – you have to keep an eye on your surroundings – sometimes floors will collapse around you as you fight, so you have to be aware of your surroundings and use your dexterity rather than your ‘hack and slay’ skills – this added an element that made it more intriguing than some of these type of games!
The game is difficult at times, and I found that on quite a few occasions the ‘fonts’ where you regained power or health were either not numerous enough, or were placed in some very silly places – thus the game was more difficult than it could have been!
It’s a high quality game overall though, with excellent graphics, a decent storyline, and enough difficulty to trouble your average gamer. It’s very frantic and exciting at times, and you’ll definitely need to take ‘finger’ breaks occasionally!
The bottom line is that if you liked God of War, then you’ll love this!