Rating

A

Specific Ratings

GameplayA-
GraphicsA+
Learning CurveB
Replay ValueB+
SoundA+

Pros and Cons

Pros
  • Amazing graphics
  • Exceptional sound quality
  • Controls are very responsive
  • Excellent RPG elements
Cons
  • A very easy game
  • Play it twice and you'll see it all
  • A bit of a button masher

Dante's Inferno (Xbox 360)

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Summary

God of War clone or not, this game is an excellent choice for the action/adventure gamer.

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Description

It's good...it really is.

I read Dante's Divine Comedy years ago (I am a book geek on top of a video game geek) and it left an indelible impression on me. Not only the poem but also the art in the book created by Gustav Dore. It has created a life long interest in hell and the afterlife in general. Thus naturally I was intrigued when I saw the advertising campaign for Dante's Inferno (who could miss it? It went on for months...)

To me the game did not disappoint. Now I know some God of War fans out there may take issue with this but I have a confession to make...before playing Dante's Inferno I had not played God of War, not any of them. (Pause for laughter). Ahem. I have since played two out of the three of them and can completely understand why many gamers have an issue with Dante's Inferno being a rip off. But my comment is: WHY NOT? It works very well and games and game companies have been ripping off each other's ideas for decades.

The game is (very loosely) based on the first part of the Divine Comedy by Dante Alighieri. It is a tale of Dante's travels through Hell, Purgatory and Heaven...of course this game focuses solely on the Hell element and takes huge liberties with the plot and purpose of the poem. Yoiu play as Dante descending through hell in search of Beatrice, his love in life whom he has wronged and caused her descent into hell.

The game graphics are beautiful. The only issue is that it is on the darker side at times (understatement I know), so it can become necessary to fiddle with the brightness of the screen image. But I forgive this flaw because it is truly a beautiful game. The game also has an incredible frame rate that does not seem to ever slow down...I saw it happen once when I was fighting a gargantuan boss at the same time as twelve minor enemies and other graphical animation happening in the background. Again I can forgive this because it is very impressive.

The sound quality and music are excellent as well. I have to say I typically favor sound effects over music in a game myself and that is why I enjoy the soundscape in Dante's. The sound effects are potent without being over the top and the music is effective but kept low and in the background for the most part. The orchestration picks up when necessary, like when boss battles begin or events unfold.

The gameplay is also excellent with one issue. Positives are that the game is very responsive to commands from controller and the action keeps you immersed and intrigued. The main issue I had is that the game has two potential drawbacks depending on the kind of gamer you are: 1. You could button mash and do pretty well in this game. 2. You could use the same combos over and over and over and it would be effective as well. For many (like myself) these are non issues as part of the experience is to adapt to situations and adjust gameplay. The game can be a masher but a player can also be more effective by playing the right combos for the right situation.

The RPG elements (customizing Dante with power ups, etc) are balanced quite well with the overall action experience. There are definitive lulls in the game, but they can be utilized as 'down time' to customize Dante's abilities and choose power ups. The power ups are dependent not only on how many enemies you kill and how, but also seeking out hidden items and damned souls that are scattered around hell. Overall a well balanced RPG element in an action/adventure game.

There are some negatives and the major one is that this game is really easy. I found it hard to die. The only time I died repeatedly had nothing to do with what I was facing but the screen actions (you know the press A, press Y, etc) necessary. The control demands that you roll the analog a particular way...but once that is done it is a cakewalk all the way through.

As I said it is a bit of a button masher and it is easy to fall into that when faced with numerous enemies. This ties in with the other significant problem...play it twice, once as good and once as bad, and where do you go from there? The replay value is only in the second play through...not much beyond that. You will have a great time with those two times but it will sit on the shelf after that.

All in all I really enjoyed my experience with Dante's Inferno. The experience of a video game for me is in the immersion quality of it. This game is able to immerse you within for hours and maintains its immersion by avoiding gameplay and graphical issues, while not holding you up with plot and storyline for too long. So in the end I would have to recommend you go to hell.


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