Dante’s Inferno Xbox 360 Review

May 29, 2010 by  
Filed under Reviews & Features, Xbox 360, Xbox

Dante’s Inferno is in the vein of Sony’s excellent God of War series, or more accurately, it’s almost a God of War game under a different title. It’s fair to say that perhaps Visceral Games (developer of the excellent Dead Space) have taken inspiration a little too far and I’ll warn you now, this review is going to contain the three words God of War on numerous occasions throughout, it’s simply unavoidable.

Dante’s Inferno is loosely based on the famous 700 year old poem of the same name. It focuses on Dante as he descends into Hell to attempt to reclaim the soul of his murdered lover Beatrice from the devilish clutches of Lucifer, whilst at the same time having to face his dark past. The story is told through a combination of traditional cutscenes and lovely but somewhat out of place hand drawn sequences.

The hellish setting, with the anguished screams of tortured souls and odd enemy inhabitants, is dark, twisted and somewhat disturbing, but nonetheless an atmospheric and well crafted version of Hell – an excellent backdrop for Dante’s inferno and the primary aspect that sets it apart from God of War.

The core of the game involves combat with the odd denizens of Hell that consists of disturbing demon babies with knives as hands and there’s one giant female boss where minions crawl out of her breasts, two examples of which give you an idea of just how bizarre the Hell of Dante’s Inferno can be.

With the focus being on accessibility and brutality above anything else and the abundance of stylish QTE’s the combat systems closest relation is God of War. Combos are always immediately simple to execute and there’s not many of them to store in your memory banks, either. The fighting is a bit more limited than God of War, though: the scythe is your only melee weapon and occasionally I hoped for more sharp or heavy objects to swing around. Like much of the game, whilst it’s satisfying enough, it results in it feeling as if it’s a lesser imitation of Sony’s great series.

Much like God of War and any similar modern age action game, defeating enemies and wrecking objects will earn you souls. These allow you to purchase new manoeuvres to extend your combat options, gradually transforming Dante into a more capable fighter.

The difference here being you have holy and unholy levels, of which through your actions you must raise before you’re able to gain access to certain abilities. Absolving souls add to your holy level, whilst punishing them does so to your unholy level. Unsurprisingly it’s the unholy attacks that are the nastiest, therefore many will say the best and I don’t blame them one bit. It’s not only brutality, though, as Dante’s Inferno also has a brain too, albeit a small brain. There’s nothing taxing, but the incessant fighting gets a well earned break, as do your fingers, whilst your brain momentarily reawakens from its slumber.

Length wise, Dante’s Inferno hovers around the 10 hour mark. Longevity is extended with not only additional difficulty levels, but also Hell’s Gate: a mode where the focus is purely on the combat, with the objective being simple, to kill as many enemies as possible within an allotted time limit.

Dante’s Inferno is a good, occasionally great offering, with a fittingly twisted world, but, for many PS3 owners, it will merely be a stopgap until the looming release of the mighty God of War 3. If God of War had never happened, Dante’s Inferno would be a significantly better game, but those who haven’t had the chance to play Sony’s game, may very well hold it in higher regard than those that have.