Dante's Inferno - Divine Edition (Video Game) Review
Written by: alex1176
If imitation is the biggest form of flattery, than "Dante's Inferno" deserves the biggest praise for it. Visceral Games, the studio behind the highly-acclaimed "Dead Space" has followed it up with another horror. This time, it's a hack n' slash adventure that is basically a darker "God of War". The source material may be classic literature, but the game is simply pure entertainment. Critics haven't been too kind to Visceral's latest effort, but it has been vastly underrated. The truth is "God of War" fans will love every minute of it. However, those expecting another masterpiece from Visceral will probably be disappointed.
I'd like to first say that kudos should go to the talented development studio for pushing EA's own brand of product. "Dead Space" was the first EA game that earned a hard 'M' rating. It was also the first game from EA that strayed from the company's own "safety net". Developers who worked their would finally be given a freedom to take risks. "Mirror's Edge" was another innovative title that was released under this new direction. When "Dead Space" was released to high acclaim, the studio gave Visceral Games (formerly Red Woods Studio) another a chance to make a dark property. The team jumped at the chance to make their version of David Jaffe's "God of War" with "Dante's Inferno" as their reference point. It was a good mix and the final result, while not as strong as "Dead Space", still provides action gamers with a good time.
I purchased the PS3 version of "Dante's Inferno" and pleased with it. I was big fan of "Dead Space" and the "God of War" games. However, after reading the early reviews of "Dante" (the average rating stands about 7.5) , I decided to cancel my reservation. In the end, I still went back to buy it because the game just looked too awesome to pass up. I'm presently fighting the end boss and I'll probably finish up at 13 hours on the normal difficulty. The main criticism I have is that it's a little too much like "God of War". That's not a bad thing, but the game isn't original in the least. Still, it's a very made clone and that's a good thing, it not a great one. "Dead Space", on the other hand, while inspired by "Resident Evil 4", managed to carve out its own identity.
The two best things about "Dante's Inferno" is the stylistic presentation and the fluid combat system. "Dante" is mainly set in hell and the artists at Visceral have spared no expense at creating the nine levels of damnation. These guys made "Dead Space" after all, so if you're a fan of that game's visual atmosphere, than you'll love what they created here. It's dark and well...hellish. Rivers of blood, fire and brimstone, dark caves, everything is visually well made. The first few levels are clearly the most inspired and the opener (where a Catholic church is split open) is a stunner. The visuals are equally matched by the audio component. The actor who voices Dante does a great job as well as the supporting cast. Dante's beloved Beatrice is performed with great conviction and so is the poet Virgil. The sound effects are simply astounding. You'll hear the swinging and clanging of swords, intense war cries from Dante, the screaming of the damned and even evil laughter from Satan. The musical score is epic and spooky, in the vein of "The Omen" with its latin chants. The numerous Japanese Anime segments (which tell backstory) are even spookier and very creative. They mesh exceptionally well with the game's overall wicked design. Oh, yea, and the monster creations are great, especially the boss characters.
As far as the combat system, it works the same as the one featured in "God of War". Thankfully, it's just as fluid and awesome. Dante can upgrade his melee (Death's Scythe) and projectile attacks (Holy Cross) by purchasing them with souls. If you punish the damned, you'll power up the scythe, and if you absolve their sins (in a "Guitar Hero"-like way), you can power up the cross. The Holy Cross is one of the coolest supernatural weapons in recent game history. It acts just like the one found in the "Castlevania" games. Hidden relics (there are 32 of them) can be found to give Dante special abilities and automatically level up; RPG style. Magic attacks (there are 4) can also be powered up and it's extremely cool to use them simultaneously. If you find all three hidden Beatrice stones, you're given the ability to absolve sins from the damned automatically.
Once you master the game, you'll unlock a new game + (which retains all your powers), a new costume, an additional difficulty level and the Gates of Hell, a 50 level survival mode. If you buy the Divine Edition (only on PS3), you're treated with a voucher for a free download of the upcoming "Dark Forest" level. Exclusive videos, the game's soundtrack and the poem in all of its entirety are also available to see, hear and read. The game itself is a good mixture of action, light platforming and puzzle solving. It's also a lot harder than I thought. The fights, while not as tough as "Ninja Gaiden", are a bit harder than "God of War"s (on normal). The fraud circle of hell puts players to the test with 10 challenging arenas. It can be tough if you're not in the right mindset. Getting 100% trophies will probably be easy to hardcore "God of War" fans and the Dual Shock rumble feature is utilized constantly in this game.
Overall, if you love "God of War" and can't wait for the third one, than you'll have a good time with "Dante's Inferno". It's not the best game ever made, but it's perfectly entertaining and that's the best compliment I can give it. 8 out of 10 skulls.