The lights are on
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 so forth.
The demo of the game is quite gripping, and it captures the actual
start of the game as well. After beating the demo several times I
decided I would put forth the effort to purchase this brand new game
when it came out. I'm not the type of gamer who buys new games when they
are released, in fact, last release date purchase I made was for the
PS2's God of War II, back in March 2007. So I had reasonable
expectations for this game being good based on the publisher, the
low-key hype and obviously the demo itself.
This game is clearly Electronic Arts 'answer' to the top third-person
action adventure games of recent memory; God of War, Devil May Cry,
Ninja Gaiden, Assassin's Creed & Prince of Persia.
Loosely based on the Divine Comedy, the story of the game is simple,
you journey into hell to rescue the love of your life who was taken
there as a token for the sins you committed. Her innocence and your
guilt about it drives the main character, Dante, to hurl himself through
all 9 levels of hell to battle Lucifer and free his betrothed,
Beatrice, from his malicious grip. The game starts at some point after
the crusades, you are in an island battling heretics and suffer a mortal
wound that summons Death to come and claim your soul. You somehow
survive the attack and engage in a battle with the Grim Reaper himself
to save yourself. After his defeat you claim his Death Scythe as your
main weapon. Upon returning home, Dante discovers his father dead and
his wife murdered. Lucifer then appears and takes her soul away and the
High quality all through out. Rich production value is an appropriate
phrase when describing this game because it is not cheap at all. The
variety of presentations used in telling the story, live action, feature
film style CGI, animated cutscenes, in-game graphics mixes it up
frequently and the narration is excellent. Although some sections are
gory and even grotesque, nudity a plenty and blood galores, they turn
rather comical after seeing them over again and I am actually surprised
they were able to get away with that here in the States whereas nudity
and such is more of a staple for Japanese-based games.
Stellar looking game. Crisp atmospheres in dark environments work
well for this title and their vision of hell is peculiar to say the
least. The framerate is fantastic with no visible slowdowns even when
battling hordes of enemies at a time. The cinematic feel of the game
gears you up for battling the minions of hell and their representations
in the different circles makes some of the enemies unique.
Excellent. The sound effects are crisp, the voice acting is very
good, and the environmental sounds are clean and none seem to cancel
each other out. The music itself does not vary much through the whole
game, or at least does not feel that way, so in some instances it will
inspire you to keep forward and others let you know that it is time to
Very Good. Upon playing the demo I was rather concerned about playing
a game that had both an evade maneuver one the right analog and a block
button on the left side, but that turned out to be a minor nuisance
after a couple of minutes through the actual game. Dante's main weapons
are Death's Scythe for melee attacks and a Cross for long range attacks.
Each represents the Holy & Unholy parameters the game focuses on
with you deciding the outcome whether you want to 'Punish' or 'Absolve'
the enemies you kill. Through the game you discover Relics that enhance
your Holy or Unholy powers as well as magic items to add to your
arsenal. The right combination of these as well as the correct use of
souls you gather after dismantling foes to upgrade his abilities expands
the gameplay further. Button reaction time is quick enough, although
not Ninja Gaiden fast, but very good nonetheless.
From the start of the game the level design is very good. Each level
of hell represented a sin of some sort, Lust, Greed, etc, and was
accompanied by a theme, vertical level, lots of platforming, etc. The
secrets are well placed and the camera is only an issue in the Fraud
circle of hell, which is the next to last level. In some instances you
feel like the level is sub divided into sections, whereas you fight
enemies in some areas and just explore in others. Wandering around is
limited and the game makes sure you don't stray too far before coming
across minions that want to end your journey early. Considering the
variety and execution of the level design for most of the game, it is a
shame to state that the last two levels, Fraud & Treachery, is what
causes a major setback for the game. The flow of the game is interrupted
completely when you descend into Fraud, the level is completely
monochromatic in feel, structure and environment. This level is the
exact equivalent of Boss Rush Mode in any Castlevania game that allows
it. You basically pummel through hordes of minions in different ways to
get past 10, yes ten, identical versions of the same battle arena. I
emphasize the #10 not only because the 10th version is the longest and
most difficult part of the entire game but also because the number does
not quantify with the circles of hell at all (9) and makes me wonder
that here is where the wheels came off and the train fell off the tracks
creatively...which gets you to the 'level' of Treachery. The final
circle of hell, the last level of the game, is not a level at all.
There's a couple of jumps, a platform, a decaying bridge of ice and then
you fall into the pit to meet Lucifer. That's it. I can only attribute
this cataclysmic fall of the last two levels on a deadline crunch,
SuperBowl Sunday, the urge to put it up against/before the release of
God of War III and not close to the future release of Castlevania: Lords
of Shadow later this year. I guess as a new franchise they had to see
certain goals met, but the product suffers greatly in the 'finishing
Average. The different kinds of enemies to kill are not extensive,
and does not offer much variety when venturing further down the abyss of
hell. Some demons are uniquely themed per the circle of hell they
originated from, yet you see them again over and over in other areas
where you'd expect other types of minions to come and try to kill you.
Right after beating the game I cannot remember more than 9 enemies in
the entire game and that is not a good number. The Bosses though, fare
better. It has become a trend recently to have larger than life bosses
at the end of levels, and this game delivers a couple interesting ones.
It mixes them up well in the sense that some are gigantic in size,
others are more puzzled based to defeat, and there's even one that the
environment is more of a threat to your death than the boss is. The
setback of the bestiary is the same as the level design, Fraud &
Treachery. After getting past the hardest part of the game, there is no
Boss to block your path from getting into the last circle of hell,
guarding the door to Lucifer's realm. The end Boss, the fallen angel
from heaven, has basically 2 incarnations. In his 1st form he is a
gargantuan demon hoping to smash you apart with his fists. After beating
that version he gives birth to himself in a smaller version to which
you fight some more in the same Arco arena as his super sized version.
Once you beat him the story unfolds and the credits roll. The end. There
is nothing epic about the last boss at all. First time seeing that the
LAST boss in a game is actually a lot SMALLER than the FIRST one. In the
Divine Comedy, Lucifer is encrusted halfway in a pool of ice, holding
Brutus, Cassius and Judas in each of his three mouths. Judas, the
biggest traitor of the three, suffers the worst fate. Coming in I
expected EA to try and make a franchise of this game ( 1-3 games ) so I
doubted you fought Lucifer at the end but the more logical choice of the
ultimate betrayer of Christ ( Judas ). This is where I think that
following the poem's queue down to the T would have been ideal.
Easy. For players who have played ( and beaten ) any one of these
games - Ninja Gaiden Black, Devil May Cry 3, God of War II - this game
will be a breeze to play through. I suggest putting on the 'Hellish'
difficulty setting on before you start so you can feel a real challenge
and a sense of accomplishment.
With plenty to explore and the urges to attain all items and upgrades
I can say the game validates one more play through. Although it does
not reward you for beating it on harder difficulty levels, there is a
Gates of Hell extra where you go through waves of enemies once you beat
the game, some downloadable content on the way that contains a level
creator that you can share online ala Little Big Planet, a prequel level
to the game and so forth. It's possible to attain all the Trophies
without too much effort as well so these should be fun enough to warrant
a buy from wary players. It was a good play through, future extras make
me give it a couple points higher, and the product is a good iteration
of a formula used before with some finishing setbacks.
I rate it an 8.0/10
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