Thursday, February 11, 2010
"Dante's Inferno" sizzles
Developed by Visceral Games
Published by EA
Platforms: Xbox 360, PS3
Mrs. Edna Lutz and my other English teachers at Harrison Central High School in Lyman, Mississippi, it's your student, Willie Jefferson Jr. with a message: I'm sorry.
I'm sorry for ignoring your classes when you were trying to get us excited about literature. I was probably sleep or staring at the ladies when we were reading "Dante's Inferno." After taking this video game for a spin, I regret not paying more attention in class. A crusade vet descends into hell for one thing: Love. That's deep.
Developed by Visceral Games and published by EA, "Dante's Inferno" is a video game based on the classical poem The Divine Comedy by Dante Alighieri in the 1300s. The main character, Dante, is a veteran who fights for the Pope during the Crusades. However, he finds his love, Beatrice, was murdered and must go to hell and back - literally - to win her love back.
Here's the backstory: Dante was betrothed to Beatrice. Before they could get married, Dante is called to march in the Crusades. Beatrice gives herself to Dante out of wedlock only if he swore upon her cross to be faithful. After making love, she gives him her cross as a gift.
During the Crusades, a bishop decreed that Dante and his fellow crusaders were given totally absolutions for any sins they may commit. Ummm, yeah, right. And he goes on to commit unforgivable acts in the name of God.
This is where the game picks up. Dante, now a veteran crusader, is guarding captives during the holy wars. Suddenly, a few of the captives get loose and Dante has to go to work. The combat system involves a lot of button-mashing. It's basic at first - but as you progress, Dante's skills are the stuff of legends. More on that later.
After wiping out the rowdy captives, Dante faces his first test - Death himself. You will be transported to the Underworld for a bout with him. After defeating Death, you'll get his scythe. This is Dante's standard tool of punishment and formidable against most - I mean most - enemies you'll encounter.
After traveling back to Florence, Italia, gamers discover his bride-to-be, Beatrice, was slain and taken by the Arch Demon, Lucifer. You know what's next. Expect one hell of a game, folks.
The presentation for the game varies greatly - from a 3rd person, over the shoulder view, to a side-scrolling view. It definitely took some getting used to. There are a few times where you have to step back and figure out how to jump onto a ledge or wall that's out of sight - you know it's there but you can't see it onscreen.
"Dante's Inferno" will take gamers through the Nine Circles of Hell: Limbo, Lust, Gluttony, Greed, Anger, Heresy, Violence, Fraud and Treachery. The presentation will remind gamers of "God of War" and "Uncharted." Players will battle demons, minions, the damned and bosses, such as Cerberus (no, not the folks in "Mass Effect!"), Cleopatra and Marc Anthony, even your own father and mother. You won't get bored with this quest of fighting baddies.
This game is also one huge puzzle. You can use your scythe to leap to far obstacles and swing long enough to reach a ledge or ladder. However, there are levels that are mind-benders. You will have to slow down, figure out how to pass an obstacle without dying. One of the most interesting tests involves turning portal doors to land on a moving platform. Sounds fun, huh? Another involves moving chairs around quickly before they dissolve.
Dante does a lot of scaling walls of lost souls - and jumps around like he's Nathan Drake. There will be several times where you will find yourself saying 'Hey, this reminds me of 'God of War!' or "Uncharted!" It combines some pretty cool methods from several killer games.
You will do a lot of button-mashing. Oftentimes, you will find yourself trapped - or under the influence of suicide - and have to press the B button quickly to foil the forces of darkness. Other times, you will have to press a certain button sequence to pull off a sweet combo. Don't expect to just jump here or scale a wall there. Your fingers will be tired after playing "Dante's Inferno."
Even when you are fighting Hell's finest, you'll be faced with choices. You have the power to perform glorious finishes. This really makes the game shine. You will press the right trigger when prompted, and button sequences to either absolve or punish them. Oh, it's a work of art. If you go with the absolve route, the enemies turn white and vanish, leaving orbs behind. If you go the Unholy path, hee hee ... I'll let you see for yourself.
Another cool feature? Taking control of huge minions. In the final descent, I was having a ball just wiping out pillars, bridges and squashing pesky minions. Full of win!
The graphics are awesome. The only real gripe I have is the static camera. The artists in this game took time to create this magnificent world and we can only see a glimpse of it. Sad. Truly, that is the real tragedy.
The music is moving as well.
The journey to win your love is one that will keep you on your toes.
The verdict: 4 (out of 5 stars). I was impressed with "Dante's Inferno." The game isn't for everyone, the controls are ok, but the gameplay - the dynamic animated cutscenes - and the quest are second to none. While I wish the camera angles could be fixed, it didn't harm the experience. Take "Dante's" for a spin.