When I was a young college student reading The Divine Comedy by Dante Aligheri, I thought that it was definitely one of the most unique pieces of literature I had ever read. It’s not actually a novel but rather a long poem that recounted the tale of Dante, a soldier from the Third Crusade that was “lost” and is guided back to the path by journeying through the three realms of the dead: Inferno (Hell), Purgatorio (Purgatory), and Paradiso (Paradise). The game however focuses on just the first realm, Inferno. I never would have thought when I read it all those years ago that someone would find a way to turn it into a video game, but leave it to EA’s visceral studios to pull it off.
Dante’s Inferno is loosely based on the literary material but takes some creative license in order to make it a compelling story for a video game, so it’s not exactly historically accurate but it is done well. The biggest difference between the real material and the game is that in the poem Beatrice and Dante never actually had a relationship, she was more the embodiment of his “ideal women”. For the purposes of the game though, she was the love of his life that Lucifer has stolen from him and Dante will go to the very depths of Hell to save her soul.
From a presentation standpoint, the game is quite the contradiction. There are some levels where the environments seem to be alive and others that just look like nothing impressive at all. The character models are OK, with Dante of course being the most well done. One of the game’s positives is the control system and the fluidity of Dante’s movement. The control scheme is very familiar and by now most of you know that to say it was influenced by God Of War would be an understatement, but none the less its done well. The major difference in the way Quick Time Events (QTE) are handled in Dante’s Inferno versus God Of War is that when you complete a set of actions there usually is none required to see the final finisher. One of the major issues I have always had with God Of War is that you are so focused on getting the buttons right that you hardly have anytime to truly enjoy some of the viciousness that you dish out, but you won’t have the problem in Dante’s Inferno as you get to watch the gore in all its glory.
The combat itself is fun and the skill upgrade system is easy enough to customize and use. The game has been called a God Of War clone, though I wouldn’t go that far. It is more like a close cousin and in the end imitation is the highest form of flattery. If you are going to take so much from an established franchise like God Of War, you at least better to do it well and in that respect you have to give Visceral credit. If you like God Of War then you will probably like Dante’s Inferno though I think EA’s biggest mistake was the timing of the game’s release so close to to the highly awaited release of the final chapter in the Kratos saga of the God Of War franchise. I haven’t looked at the sales numbers on Dante’s Inferno yet, but I can gurantee that they aren’t anywhere near what they would have been in a year where there was no God Of War title. If EA would have held Dante’s Inferno back till next year sometime they could probably have doubled wherever the final sales number will be on Dante’s Inferno.
As it stands, this is another solid title by the guys at Visceral. They took material that was already vulgar, brutal and downright disgusting at times and they brought it to life like I am not sure any other studio could have. Dante’s Inferno delivers on exactly what it promised though its up to you to decide whether that’s enough for you as far as purchasing it. If you had some time to kill, it wouldn’t be a bad game to pick up but this close to God Of War III’s release its not worth it. In a few months though, when its on sale for $29.99 at Gamestop, pick it up and go for it. Dante’s Inferno was unique in my opinion for this day and age because we pretty much got what we expected, not an awesome title but one that could hold its on and because of that we give Dante’s Inferno by Visceral Studios 8 out 10 stars.