There is only one way to open up a review about Dante’s Inferno.
That’s right. Titties. All kinds of titties. Full titties. Saggy titties. Cleopatra titties that spit out unbaptized damned babies that want nothing more than to make you their play thing.
First, I want to get the literary stuff out of the way, because this isn’t a book club, but dammit if you’re gonna make a game based off a book, I can’t just… not say something! I mean, if you were to ever answer Pixels and Pies trivia and the question came up asking who OurLadyWar’s favorite Italian Renaissance writer was, you will get major points for saying: Dante Alighieri. So, really quickly, just so it doesn’t dominate the review: his muse, Beatrice, is supposed to save Dante in the circles of Hell, not the other way around. Dante is having a mid-life crisis before entering Hell, really this is one big Viagra commercial with some soul searching in.
Such dick jokes aside, the Inferno itself is an allegorical tercet ridden masterpiece that I will drop anything to read should a copy ever swagger in. This does not a video game totally make, but there is definitely something alluring about designing a Orpheus adventure, isn’t there?
That being said, yes, Visceral’s Dante’s Inferno is a far cry from Alighieri’s intentions when he put pen to paper way back in the day. That also being said, regarding what I said earlier, P&P ain’t a book club, so I’m moving on from that to something a little more relevant. For example, it’s not that far of a cry from something else that you may recognize. Let me just lay it out for you like this: IF you were to pick up Dante’s Inferno after playing, say, ANY of the God of War games, you would more than likely fare pretty well down the road to the center of the Hell. Is Visceral doing anything new here with your basic, starting controls? No, not at all. In fact, it is dizzying how similar portions of the game are to God of War. From quick time events, to Dante’s color scheme, to his combo moves, to some aspects of boss battles, to kicking movable objects and opening stubborn doors. It’s there.
So, I guess I’m not making a great case so far am I? You know, for why you should actually, hm, play this game? C’mon, this review wouldn’t be here if I didn’t think it was worth making the argument, would it? Or, hell, even picking up the controller? I mean, look at me, I’m a sucker for the innovative who loves Dante Alighieri and still played a game that reads more like a heavy metal album cover than a cantos while it flirts with the Ghost of Sparta himself, and liked it.
That’s right. I actually really liked Dante’s Inferno, and here’s why.
Look, yes, there are similarities between this game and its predecessor God of War, but fucking A it’s fun. The story is, let’s be honest, it would have been nice to see the source material more at play here; e.g. Dante, a lost soul, cannot escape Hell without the aid of his lost love, Beatrice. There’s a lot of fluff in the story that is beautifully animated in between devil rumbles, but it really is just fluff. Trashy, mind-rotting, eat that shit up with a spoon and ride the heartburn wave fluff.
It was nice to have a main character that didn’t SHOUT FOR EVERYTHING HE WANTED, NEEDED, AND, IN PASSING, THOUGHT ABOUT. Seriously, I don’t think Kratos could ask a grocery clerk if his coupon was still good without tearing his own esophageal lining in a fit of the screamies. Example, there was a great moment when Dante was faced with what should be the end of his quest, but he still persisted without pomp or verbal fanfare, and the silence of the decision was juicy.
I actually found the mechanics more fluid than God of War, and the choice of following a righteous or damned path with my abilities was a great touch in specifying just what sort of tortured soul I wanted out of Dante. In the end, the English nerd in me took the righteous path which included absolving tortured souls in the bowels of Hell as I went. What I can only describe as the cherry on this hellish sundae is the option to punish or absolve souls. You can absolve your demonic opponents for more righteous points, but the real tickler was that I would occasionally encounter characters like Electra or Pontius Pilate and enter mini-games to absolve their mother-fucking souls. You can also discover and equip relics (and other items) that give you special modifications (and even powers).
The game’s design is a twisted and demented playground orchestrated by a dramatic soundtrack, and the influence of Gustave Dore’s art is everywhere.
Walls are made of the twisting flesh of the damned, and there is no end to the blood, the bones, and the tortured yells of the unfortunate. Opening a door means forcing your way past a demon relief that tries to keep your scythe from disemboweling/unlocking it. Once again, Visceral shows off their creature features. I loved that the corpses I had to fight weren’t these emaciated zombie looking things, but instead these distended, bloated cadavers. The demon and damned designs are impressive in their details, and the bosses for each boss battle are just damn fun to look at. Getting back to the English nerd in me, briefly, I really liked that I would occasionally bump into my spectral hell guide, Virgil, who would recite the Inferno to me. That was awesome.
If you have Gamefly, put it on the list. If you see it for about $20.00 bucks at your local Game Stop, pick it up. If your friend offers to loan it to you, take him up on it. This game is fun, fucked up, and worth the looksee. It’s not exactly Alighieri’s Inferno, but frankly, I do have the book for that, and even if there are inaccuracies, I’m just happy to see a video game based off a classic piece of literature. It’s almost God of War, but still manages to be its own game. Sometimes the innovation is in the fun, and Visceral has proved they can mess with the generic control scheme of a game and come out okay on the other end. If they want to kick their feet up a bit, I won’t grudge them.
But don’t think I didn’t notice all those fucked up ladies and babies attacking me, Visceral. I’m onto you, but don’t worry, I’m happy to stay on your case.
But seriously, you should get some therapy.
Gameplay & Mechanics 1
Total: 7 titties out of 10
Loosen up and give it a shot, especially when there are so many ways to get a current game for cheap these days. It does not go above and beyond a lot of common conventions, but the best word to define this blood bath is “fun”. It’s an average game with an addicting quality I just couldn’t turn away. The controls are very intuitive, especially if you are familiar with the hack-and-slash side of gaming. Eye candy abounds, and does not disappoint as you fight your way to the love of your life and afterlife.
Stay tuned for the dish inspired by the game!