Grizzly Gaming

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Gaming on the Cheap: Dante's Inferno

You want to know the main reason I stick to first-person shooters, RPGs and action games? Most are completely and utterly devoid of platforming. I hate platforming. On occasion I’ve enjoyed games that make use of timed jumping puzzles – Darksiders, Limbo, most anything on the NES come to mind immediately. It didn’t take “Dante’s Inferno” long to rekindle this mostly snuffed out flame of hatred for platforming. Though it is a very small percentage of the entire package that is EA’s 2010 action title based on Dante Alighieri’s “Divine Comedy,” the uninspired combat, cheap enemies and frankly boring story won’t do much to keep you coming back.

First and foremost, don’t try and fool anyone by claiming you’re brushing up on classic literature while playing this game. Outside of the characters and setting, this button-mashing action/adventure title shares little with the original work. After taking part in the Third Crusade to retake the holy land, Dante returns home to find that his wife, Beatrice, has been murdered. After being assured by the bishop all their sins were forgiven following the crusade, a confused and rage-consumed Dante decides to take on the entirety of Hell to rescue his beloved. He’ll have to face every sin he has committed during the Crusade – reliving them through animated sequences.

“Dante’s Inferno” is a game you’ve very likely played before. You might not have played the game itself, but if you’ve played “God of War” or “Devil May Cry,” you’ll know exactly what you’re in for. Only the combat in “Inferno” doesn’t feel nearly as tight or as satisfying as “GoW” or “DMC.” Your main weapon in “Inferno” is Death’s Scythe which can extend and be flung around wildly, similar to Kratos’ Chaos Blades. You’ll also have Beatrice’s Cross, a ranged weapon, which fires holy blasts at enemies. Alternating between heavy and light attacks, as well as using the cross, you’d figure the combat to be fairly deep. Unfortunately “Inferno” doesn’t supply you with a move/combo list and outside of unlockable attacks using the Left Trigger, combat doesn’t stray very far from “mash light attacks – with the occasional heavy – until everything is dead.”

This probably wouldn't end well if I didn't have this bone scythe

“But Grizz,” I hear you saying, “If you didn’t suck at video games so much, you could try not mashing the buttons all the time and maybe dodge and block every now and then.” And to you I say, that may be true – only not in this case. The combat in “Inferno” isn’t very tight – meaning that blocking (not just countering) takes perfect timing since the act doesn’t cancel moves. Not only that but enemies are often as quick as (sometimes quicker than) you, meaning by the time you think you’ve rolled to safety, they’re right next to you, stabbing you in the face. Enemies in “Inferno” are also very fond of unblockable moves – often times being the only thing they’ll do (I’m looking at you, spinning, two-headed demon in the Greed stage). To top it all off, the difficulty is pretty uneven. I probably can’t even count how many times I’ve had to restart from an earlier save because I just don’t have enough health to complete the next marathon “battle chamber” (the parts where you’re suddenly locked in a small area fighting off wave after wave of enemies). I know it’s not a real term but I couldn’t think of anything better.

The abilities Dante uses in combat are divided into holy (cross) and unholy moves (scythe). Often you’ll be able to finish off an enemy (or the random lost soul) with either a “punishment” or “absolution” move. The souls received from choosing go toward unlocking new moves for your two main weapons, which can then be purchased using the souls/currency collected from defeated enemies. Though these moves are often pretty cool looking, the lack of a coherent combo system makes obtaining most of these moves pretty irrelevant.

Overall, I’d probably say my favorite part of “Inferno” were the visuals. The circles of Hell are incredibly detailed, with each area offering its own unique (and ghastly) sights. Character models (Dante, enemies, bosses, etc) are also very, very cool looking. Dante, for instance, wears chain mail, a steel crown of thorns (instead of a helmet), has a red, cloth tapestry depicting his sins sewn to his chest and he tears demons in half with a scythe made out of bones. If you have to ask why all that stuff is badass, I’d have to ask you to leave.

Outside of the visuals, though, “Inferno” really did little to impress me. When there are plenty of other games almost identical to it on the market, there’s really no reason to play “Inferno” unless you really, really, really want to. Though I picked it up used at GameStop for only $20, I’d suggest investing in “Darksiders” instead - a more technically competent and just as visually stunning game that offers much more play time than “Inferno.” Also, if you’re a parent, don’t buy this game for your child (or any other child) just because it’s cheap. There’s absolutely nothing in “Inferno” for children except traumatizing violence and nightmare fuel.


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December 10, 2013 at 12:53 AM  

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An avid gamer and long-time pro wrestling fan, stay tuned to Grizzly Gaming and the Delco Elbow Drop for game reviews and pro wrestling news.

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