Published on February 13th, 2010 | by prime0
Dante’s Inferno – Review
Summary: This is the best God of War clone ever made, and by some distance
To be honest, it doesn’t even try to hide it. Dante’s Inferno is the most flagrant God of War clone ever conceived, and it doesn’t appear that Visceral Games even cares. Why pretend? It steals every idea it has from Sony Santa Monica’s mythological masterpiece, and seems almost proud of it, too.
Thankfully though, it’s also the best God of War clone ever made, and by some distance. Visceral Games has managed to capture the sense of awesome scale that separates Kratos’ adventures from the brawling pack, filling the screen with incredible sights at almost every turn.
As you’re probably aware, Dante’s Inferno is based upon the classic 11th Century literary work from Dante Alghieri, The Divine Comedy. Now, obviously the original poem did not feature combo chains or Quicktime Events, but clear differences aside, Visceral has actually done great work in creating vision of hell that echoes the nightmarish descriptions that appeared in the original text.
Descending through Lust, Greed, Gluttony and the rest of the nine circles of Hell is, at first at least, an audiovisual feast – albeit one that you probably wouldn’t want to eat. Once again, Visceral Games has displayed its flair for body horror, creating some of the most revolting, disgusting images you’re ever likely to see. Whether it’s pallid, skeletal women with phallic protrusions bursting from their stomachs or a trip through the fetid intestines of Hell, every part of Dante’ Inferno has been designed to shock, provoke and upset.
It’s somewhat of a shame, then, that such bold visual design only houses a God of War style of gameplay. Even though cutting down swatches of demonic hordes is well handled with Dante’s whirling dervish of Scythe attacks and elemental magic, the variety of enemies doesn’t match up to Sony’s classic. By the end of the game, you’ll have seen every enemy hundreds of times, and there’s no real tactical difference between fighting a grunt or a hellish Minotaur.
And the bosses – while incredible to look at, and at times genuinely quite terrifying – prove far too frustrating and unfair. Attack patterns that are almost impossible to learn and offense that takes off incredible amounts of damage on Dante’s Inferno’s normal (or Zealot) setting, often stop the game in its tracks and push you right to the very limits of your sanity.
Still, the interim parts are so full of visual invention that it’s enough to push you through even the hardest boss fight, until that is, you reach the game’s one weak spot during its final hour. It’s as if the team just completely ran out of ideas. Just as you’re making your final descent into the very core of Hell itself, you’re forced to spend an hour battling through identical challenge room. After the creativity and invention found in the earlier levels, it’s somewhat of a disappointment to find this towards the end of the game.
So it’s important, then, to remember Dante’s successes in its early salvos – those moments were it leaves you slack-jawed in wonder or grimacing in disgust. It’s still the best God of War clone ever made, but Kratos would never be seen near those final few hours. They’d only make him angry.