Posts Tagged 'visceral games'

Dante’s Infernal

Dante’s Inferno is a game I have awaited with a fair dose of interest. I’m a lit chick, so I do a fair bit of reading and absolute masterpiece classics like La Divina Commedia are all amongst my collection of books- often in more than one language. So when I heard that they were making a game based on this epic the first thing I thought was this could be interesting. Then again, I was also naive enough to think that 2004 film Troy would somehow bear some relation to the Iliad.

Yeah, right.

So, in hindsight, perhaps it was naive to think that Dante’s Inferno would resemble the first part of the epic it was named for. Sure enough the game takes you through the 9 circles of Hell, and you encounter a few familiar faces along the way, but that’s really where the similarities end.

Dante Alighieri has been transformed into a crusader with a bloody past, who, for some inexplicable reason, feels the need to stitch a cross onto his chest. God knows why. (I’m sorry. The bad puns are just. So. Tempting.) Pretty soon after that you find out that Beatrice Portinari has been radically altered for the story’s sake to become Dante’s murdered lover (wait, what?), who needs to be saved from the clutches of the Devil. She’s also not really wearing much of anything. Ever.

I suppose that a game with a Mature rating is expected to have all that in abundance, but the devs may have taken that a bit too literally when designing certain characters and areas of Hell. The blood and gore is mature enough as far as I’m concerned- I personally don’t care for an excessive amount of genitalia of either sex in video games. We get the point, it’s Hell and there are sinners (one circle is dedicated to Lust for a reason) but really. Really. My inner cynic couldn’t help but thinking that maybe the devs were… compensating, when designing certain monsters. Y’know? ;)

The game also feels a little bit repetitive. Perhaps Dante likes to reflect a lot, but not half an hour into the game I couldn’t help but feel that I’d already seen this bit of cutscene. Three times.

But, in all fairness, it’s not a bad game and there were plenty of things I did appreciate about it in spite of the somewhat pointless in-your-face nudity (fan service extraordinaire!) and complete mangling of the two principal characters of the epic.

For example, Virgil is still your guide as you descend further into Hell, and his dialogue is taken straight from the poem. Lit chick squeeage alert. In the same vein, it is well worth dying a few times just to get to see some fragments of the epic that are vaguely topical and well worth reading.

The overall design of the areas is actually quite well done. The ambiance certainly is right for the setting- dark and creepy enough to be Hell even without all the ugly minions roaming around there, and there’s plenty of those to be fought.

Dante has some really cool moves; the guy really knows how to use a scythe. Special attacks and the ability to absolve or punish your adversaries add to a nifty battle system, and the graphics as you execute these are also made of win. If you’re into blood, gore, and other such things anyway.

There are also a good deal of trophies to be earned, varying from the stupidly simple to the insanely hard. Most of them come with tongue-in-cheek names (some witty, some tacky), and one of them even spawned a faux protest campaign to generate more buzz for this game… I know women are supposed to be good with kids and all, but I am a really Bad Nanny.

And honestly, when it comes right down to it I just really, really enjoyed kicking Death’s butt. The game gets instant win (+13) points for that battle alone.

Overall Dante’s Inferno is still worth playing, as long as you don’t expect it to be anything like the epic. It may be a bit of an over-marketed game, and EA’s fake controversy stunts might put some people off, but it’s still a fun hack and slash game to play through, with the occasional literary reference as an added bonus. So, if you do decide to pick up this title (conveniently available for PC, PS3, Xbox and PSP), just remember this:

Lasciate ogne speranza, voi ch’intrate.

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