Dante's Inferno ReviewGreg Knoll
Initially, Dantes Inferno impressed me.
As an artist, I was in awe at the games striking clarity, flawless rendering and twisted, unique design.
One of the first circlesLustintroduced me to the macabre, tormented world I was set to endure, forcing me to work my way up a seemingly endless tower, battling continuously-spawning souls, all the while a nude, monstrous succubus stalked the outside, waiting for my ascent. And even when I reached the top, she loomed over me by several stories.
I had not seen a boss battle that massive since Resistance 2, and was blown away. Visually, Dantes Inferno set it apart from anything else, and for that I could look past some of my original nit-picks of the mechanics.
Even tried to justify them. Yes, it did play almost like God Of War. Dante fought the same, was a mirror image of Kratos when he was climbing and repelling, and some battles required on-screen button combinations. Even opening a door required you to tap circle.
But I wondered if that was a bad thing. God Of War was the pinnacle of action games. Something modeled after that potentially could be just as entertaining.
And had Dantes Inferno maintained its incredibly brilliant atmosphere and immense boss battles I would have had a much better opinion on it. Unfortunately, the game loses its steam shortly after Lust.
Boss battles become few and far between, and drastically minimized to the point where they are often times no bigger than youbarring the final battle.
The task to get to them becomes arduous and more frustrating with every step. The once intricate design of Hell and its circles take on less and less quality, eventually becoming a drab environment that re-hashes walls comprised of twisted souls, only different colors.
Traversing these levels consists of the same formula: battling countless, redundant enemies to open a path to the next area where you encounter either more monsters, or requiring you to climb, leap and swing your way tomore enemies, and another barricaded area.
Occasionally you get a break from the monotony with a puzzle, yet those only served to diminish Inferno even further.
Puzzles in this game arent simply a matter of using your mind, or shifting objects until they fit properly. Its turning a crank to open a door or lower a platform. And while that sounds simple, theres often a catch. Sometimes the object youve brought down will stay so only for so long, requiring you to rush Dante across a long hallway or climb a wall to make a drastic leap before it reverts back. Miss, and youre forced to endure another involved attempt.
Other times you have to avoid non-stop enemies that hack at you while you try to lower a gate. Draw away to kill them, and more re-spawn an instant later, granting you very little time. Wait too long and the entire room closes in on you, causing an instant death.
I will never understand what possesses game designers to think this is a good idea. Once, twice, builds intensity, but every level, every thirty feet I encountered another crank to turn, even worse than the one before it. Between them a battle with the same creatures over and over. On it went, and I continued the same drudging formula, waiting for a light at the tunnel which never came, like a monkey in a lab constantly hitting the food pellet button, never to reap any reward.
And why I continued is a reason I cant fathom. Pride, perhaps, because it certainly wasnt the story.
Halfway through the game, I completely stopped caring. Dante was a character who lacked anything even resembling charisma. When he enters Hell to save the soul of his love Beatrice, I felt for him. When I found out why shes there in the first place, I hated him.
From there, it only plummets. Infernos story suffered from the same plague of unoriginality as the levels. Each starts with Dantes further decent into hell, prompted by Lucifer floating down to taunt him, waving Beatrices poor soul as bait, then groping her accordingly. Dante shows little rage or personality, only drudges on to ask his spirit guide What place is this?, followed by a pedantic description of the upcoming area.
And though the information varied, the actual levels themselves rarely did, only blended together in one long, remedial, boring task. Shattering the promise and dazzle Dantes Inferno once had. Lost to an obvious lack of effort.
Which is a shame, because the idea had so much potential, but it was marred down by an over-saturation of battles, environments that never changed, frustrating puzzles and a one-dimensional story.
It left me burnt out, and utterly despondent towards it, continuing to recite their tagline over and over in my head:
Go To Hell.
Thanks, Visceral. You made sure I was there.
Disclosure: We are provided copies of games from the game companies for some games that we review.
May I have the strength to lead with compassion. May I have a resolve strong enough to inspire it in others. May my heart be true, my motives virtuous, my spirit valiant. And whether I fail or succeed, may I at least be brave in the attempt.
About the Author: Greg Knoll
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