Review by SpirtualCrystos
Considering my tendency for rambling on for way too long, here's Dante going to hell summarized.
Dante's Inferno is a God of War-rip off. It's a well-made, disgusting-looking, beautiful and eventful game all the way through, but a few gripes with the overall quality of the game makes it hard for me to find it anything more than an okay God of War-ripoff. The story is at least a fair bit more interesting - the poet Dante Alighieri (in this game a crusader) and his quest to go through the nine circles of hell (Limbo, Lust, Gluttony, Greed, Anger, Heresy, Violence, Fraud, and Treachery) to save his beloved Beatrice. Kill some tortured souls of hell, solve some puzzles, fight some epic bosses, save the world.
By far the best part of the game. Even though everything looks a bit too shiny and reflective for my own personal preference, and some of the background characters (i.e the screaming bodies in the gold of Greed) but it's not a pretty, clean hell. It's disgusting, nude, violent, bloody, freaking, and provides interesting twists on Dante's trip through the nine circles of hell that almost always stays visually interesting (aside from Fraud's dull brown nature, and Anger's 'general brimstone lava hell'). Wayne Barlowe's creature designs shines through and makes this an interesting tour through most of the game - from unbaptized babies with scythes for hands, to giant obese skin balls with boobs that vomit all over you, to classical beasts like the giant demon Phylegias, king Minos judging who lives and who dies, and some personal demons to Dante - leading down to the coldest pits of hell, with Lucifer in his innermost domain, waiting and plotting for you.
This is good. This segment is a lot more straightforwards - Dante has Death's scythe (gained from the first boss battle in the game), and his holy cross. You can do combos with both of these. When you do combos, you get experience points to get more attacks and magic spells. You can get runes that increases part of your arsenal, and there's quick time events that lead to gruesome executions - or absolutions. That's right, the gimmick of this game is that you're both divine and holy, and you choose wether to punish or absolve the enemies you face - and you get different spells and attacks depending on what you level up. You also meet up with famous figures from history, and get to see what they've done and you get to choose if they get to be sent to seven or... hell hell? Well, it's essentially this, combat in different situations, and some mild (and a few rather intelligently composed and complex) puzzles and platforming.
The later circles become less interesting gameplay-wise, seemingly focusing more on death-traps and unfair fighting areas than the earlier really well-balanced and well designed areas you did battle in. A lot of situations when you get one-hit killed because you couldn't judge the depth of how far you needed to jump in the admittedly rather clunky jumping mechanics. Fraud is just lazy, with it being ten challenges in various combat challenges rather than any interesting design. The entire game is fun, but it feels like the last quarter or so is where the game ran out of polish. There's gonna be a lot of deaths that feel unfair, but at least the loading times are fast.
Dante's Inferno is God of War. It's not as polished, the combat system not quite as fluid, and it has a lot of annoying parts I could do without in my gaming life. But it's one of the games that was still fun enough for me to see it the whole way through, which is kid of a lot for me in gaming nowadays - it takes some good mechanics and understanding of what makes a good hack n'slash work out, and although Dante's trip through hell can feel like a trip through hell sometimes, it still has a lot more heart than... Well, a game based around hell might be.
Graphics: 8/10 - Hauntingly beautiful, yet a little bit too polished to be disgusting all the way.
Sound: 7/10 - Well-edited, but some weird sound-mixing and odd pauses in dialogue makes it hard to give it quite as much.
Controls: 7/10: They work fluidly and as they should, but doesn't offer that much more.
Entertainment value: 7/10: Fun when you get to face enemies on even terms or get to solve rather clever puzzles, but not that fun when some of the cheaper deaths come out from it - and the platforming is just, unnecessary.
Replay value 6/10: It has New Game+. So that's a +.
Rating: 3.5 - Good
Product Release: Dante's Inferno (Platinum) (EU, 02/09/11)
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