Review by evmatrick
Not Quite Divine
Dante's Inferno, as you most likely know by now is loosely based on the first book of the epic poem trilogy the Divine Comedy. Without spoiling much of the content for you, Dante is a crusader who cheats death to return home from war only find out his beloved has been taken by the devil. Dante decides to chase after them, which leads him through the nine circles of hell. The story is mostly played out in a series of impressively detailed cut scenes, some Saturday morning cartoon style animations, and speaking with Virgil, a ghost who guides Dante along his journey. Overall, the story is reasonably compelling, though not anything you'd find yourself pondering during time away from the game. My only major complaint with the story is with how it ends, I won't say exactly, but instead of leaving the door open to the possibility of a sequel, this game pretty much insists there will be, and if there isn't, the ending is poor.
Gameplay & Control: 7/10
This game plays almost exactly like God of War. This is both good and bad. Good in that it's arguably a very solid control scheme, bad in that the developers didn't attempt to bring anything new to the table. As previously mentioned, you wander through the 9 circles of hell, solving the occasional puzzle and killing most anything that gets in your way with an arsenal of attacks and spells you unlock by killing things and seeking out hidden treasure. I suppose one unique aspect of this game is that many of the enemies and lost souls you find offer you the opportunity to punish or absolve them. Punishing levels up your unholy skill tree, while absolving levels up your holy skill tree. The battles are mostly satisfying, though there could have been a few more enemy types to keep things fresh, or at least more level specific enemies. The game is relatively easy and players of moderate skill might want to consider starting on hard mode to keep things interesting. One slightly disappointing thing to mention is that all the quick time events stay exactly the same throughout the game. Also,
Music & Sound: 7.5/10
The musical score to Dante's Inferno is more or less as you would expect it to be, epic choirs chanting and dramatic string arrangements. The music definitely feels in place, but it's unlikely that any of the melodies will get stuck in your head or hold any sort of emotional resonance. The sound effects, on the other hand are fantastic. The blurping, slurping bodily sounds of Gluttony are dead on, as are the tortured cries of the people trapped in living walls.
Graphics & Design: 8/10
The cutscene graphics are some of the best I can remember seeing this generation. Unfortunately, the cartoony bits are kind of cheap looking, similar to the cutscenes in Mirror's Edge. The actual gameplay graphics are quite nice, and everything runs at a smooth 60fps. Unfortunately, this means the action is never as detailed as God of War 3. However, the levels themselves are a marvel to look at. Each circle of hell looks distinct and well thought out.
Replay Value & Trophies: 6.5/10
Regardless of your skill level, it will take close to 2 full playthroughs of the game to max out your skill trees. However, if you're not a completist, once you finish the game the first time, (depending on your difficulty setting should take between 9-12 hours) there is not much reason to go back. You do have a new game+ option, which extends to the harder difficulties, and there is a fourth difficulty level unlocked after completing the game. Apparently there is a new level to released as DLC in March, however, at the time of this review, DLC is limited to a new costume and some soul (experience) packs. In terms of trophies, Dante's Inferno is extremely easy to achieve platinum in. You are not required to play on any specific difficulty setting to unlock any of the trophies. It would be entirely possible to get everything in less than 20 hours.
Rating: 3.5 - Good
Product Release: Dante's Inferno (US, 02/09/10)
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