Hell Needs More Good Ideas - Dante's Inferno - PlayStation 3 - www.GameInformer.com
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Dante's Inferno

Hell Needs More Good Ideas

If ripping off the gameplay of another title was a sin, there’d be a circle in hell reserved exclusively for Dante’s Inferno. Its combat, magic system, finishing moves, and various other gameplay mechanics unapologetically ape God of War to the point where Kratos fans will feel right at home in Lucifer’s den. Inferno mimics even the most mundane and inexplicable tasks, like requiring the player to mash the action button to open doors, cementing this title’s status as a bonafide God of War copycat.

The result of this imitation however, is that by and large the game is fun to play; the combat is tight and satisfying, and the finishing moves are brutally graphic. Despite being a poet in the source material, Dante is transformed into a badass warrior, almost rivaling that of his Greek counterpart. Minor additions to the formula, such as branching skill trees for learning new moves, hidden relics that can be equipped to boost various stats, and the ability to condemn/absolve souls give Dante’s Inferno some individuality, even if it’s never fully realized.

While the gameplay is largely unoriginal, Inferno’s story is unique to say the least. Tapping a 14th-century poem as inspiration for a hack and slash action title is enough to make even the most forgiving gamer cringe, but Visceral Games uses Inferno’s premise to good effect. The game is scandalous and over the top, but as controversial as the topless lust demons and unbaptized spider babies might be, they are also entertaining and more or less justified – this is supposed to be hell, after all. Literature buffs will likely be offended by the many liberties taken with the source material, but if you can get over the story compromises made for the sake of gameplay, Inferno’s creativity may pleasantly surprise you.

The classic work serves as more than a starting point for the game. Your ability to judge characters that Dante meets in the original poem (which are used to independently level up your Holy and Unholy powers), and Virgil’s monologues add some authenticity in light of the sweeping story changes. The poem also inspires the game’s vision of hell, and fortunately the developers pulled no punches in bringing their interpretation to life. Although the level of detail for the character models is oftentimes underwhelming, the early environments are unique, twisted, and memorable. The game lacks the brilliant level design of the God of War series, but there are times when Dante’s Inferno faithfully recreates descriptions from the poem, resulting in some remarkable sights.

Inferno’s ultimate sin is that the game can’t sustain its early pace. Of its nine circles of hell, the first three – Limbo, Lust, and Gluttony – contain the game’s best ideas and most impressive creative vision. Later circles offer memorable sights as well, but for every river of boiling blood or ride on the back of Phlegyas there are a dozen drawn-out battles against groups of recycled enemies. After the variety introduced in the beginning, it was disappointing (and nonsensical) to see the same enemies popping up again and again in later circles, requiring little in the way of fresh tactics to beat.

This problem ironically culminates in the circle of Fraud, which is composed of 10 different challenges in identical arenas. Each challenge introduces a different element, but most can be beat with either your heavy attack or projectile combos. Despite the plethora of moves to unlock, these two techniques will get you through the vast majority of the battles you’ll face, making the game feel like more of a grind than it has to be.

Dante’s Inferno features some interesting aspects (like its combat), but early innovation loses out to repetition. The game’s biggest strength – Visceral’s recreation of hell – wanes during the second half. Some entertaining unlockable content adds to the replayability, but for most gamers, Inferno doesn’t have enough new ideas to warrant a return trip through hell.

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Second Opinion:

6.75

Dante’s Inferno is a difficult game to score. In terms of gameplay, Visceral Games did a solid job creating some well-worn but enjoyable button mashing. Despite being a mostly entertaining experience for the eight hours it lasts, several circles of Hell – Greed in particular – demonstrate terrible platforming and lackluster level design. However, problems with the gameplay don’t come close to matching the stupidity of the story. I’m not against adapting classic literature for modern formats, but this delicate process must be handled with a certain level of respect that Visceral lacks. The enemies and locales of Hell are interpreted in visually interesting ways, but the great poet himself has devolved into a knuckle-dragging Kratos clone with a dark sin-filled past in the Crusades. As he works through each circle of Hell, Dante relives flashbacks that are supposed to make him more complex, but end up making him unlikable. If you can get past EA crapping on the source material (and its author), Dante’s Inferno holds a brief, but mostly fun, hellish journey. This English major couldn’t stomach it.

User Reviews:

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  • 7.00
    At first I was impressed, the gameplay was good and the story was somewhat interesting but as I played I noticed the quality drop more and more. I thought I would have to fight through all 7 circles of hell (greed, lust, hate, envy, etc) and face 7 unique bosses for that sin however after the 3rd circle...
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  • 6.00
    I played Dante's Inferno months after its release, and I was fully aware of the reviews given by other gamers and critics. Dante's Inferno is, at times, a shameless clone of God of War, and a very poor one at that. The action is fluid and interesting for the first few hours but quickly becomes...
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  • 7.00
    R eceiving Dante’s Inferno from GameFly.com far from its release date, I am well aware that most things to be noted about this game have most likely already been said. Having said that, my current boredom ( and qualms with this game, for that matter ) keep me from passing over this review. So I’ll...
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  • 7.50
    This is not a bad game by any means. I know the game is Loosely based on The Divine Comedy. So the story line is good not the best mind you but good. Game play need a little work tho. I'd say rent it see if you like it then buy it. All this game did for me help pass the time till God of War 3.
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  • 8.00
    Dante's Inferno is a third-person action adventure title produced by the videogame industry's top grossing company, Electronic Arts. It is their 1st successful entry into the genre, accompanied by full fledged marketing campaigns, Super Bowl ads, pre-order extras, free downloadable content and...
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  • Dante's Inferno is one of those games that'll make you think. When playing through the game, I found myself constantly shouting at the screen in surprise because of highly imaginative and horrifyingly brutal looking creatures and bosses. But even more so than the shockingly hellish looking beasts...
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