Publisher: Electronic Arts
Developer: Visceral Games
Release date: Available now
Before I start this review, I must clarify that I will not be comparing Dante’s Inferno to the God of War series. With that said, Dante’s Inferno is loosely based on the classic poem The Divine Comedy by Dante Alighieri. EA’s new franchise hopes to raise a few eyebrows with this interpretation, but most importantly, does it raise a couple of thumbs up?
Dante’s Inferno follows Dante, a mercenary of the epic Crusades. Upon his return, he realizes that his “holy” campaign was all in vain. Beatrice, the devoted love of his life, has been maliciously murdered and her spirit captured by Lucifer himself. Determined to save her spirit, Dante must face the Nine Circles of Hell. This adventure is not only one of survival and love, but also one of redemption for Dante’s own sins. This makes for one Hell of a ride.
If Hell is real, then count me in, because this game is beautifully envisioned. Every interpretation of Hell seems to have been utilized to fully depict it. The Circles are effusively described, bringing to life the sins of humans; Gluttony, for instance, features an enemy that feverishly sucks up things with its mouth. Each circle is appropriately interpreted. Hell itself is a very disturbing sight to see. It’s a very desolate environment. Bodies are falling, trapped in the walls, and are even being shoved through pipelines. Grotesque images and depictions are spread throughout the game. This is not for the faint of heart or those who are easily offended.
At the heart of Inferno is a classic platform adventure. Dante travels across the hellish terrain by jumping, swinging and solving puzzles. These come in various forms, ranging from simple switches to a painful level that is made of puzzles. Interjected within the platforming elements is a devilish dose of action. Wielding a scythe, Dante hacks and slashes his way through vicious demonic beings. By decimating these hellspawn, Dante gains more powers. Spiritual currency can be spent on holy and evil powers. Each side comes with its own set of benefits, and there’s a tier system used to gain access to more powerful abilities. To reach these tiers, Dante can complete minigames, or punish or free the inhabitants of Hell. Dante also possesses magical abilities in the form of Relics. These range from shields to projectiles. This mix of platforming elements and action makes for a very rewarding experience.
Hell, as you would expect, doesn’t come without some imperfections. Inferno’s platforming elements are a mixed bag. It’s a typically forgiving and well paced platformer, but there are sequences that threw me for a loop. For instance, certain sections that require precise jumping off of collapsing ground broke some of the pacing. In addition, the difficulty of certain boss battles was uneven, such as those involving Lucifer and Lust. Speaking of action sequences, some of them became repetitive and mundane, and some overstayed their welcome. These inconsistencies can make Inferno’s appeal not as enduring as the developers might have hoped. At times I couldn’t wait to just get to the end, but these grievances didn’t undermine my overall wonderful gameplay experience.
Dante’s Inferno is a welcome new franchise. EA is definitely pushing the envelope in terms of content and material, but this is necessary. It’s obvious this was the plan, and they succeeded. The Crusades is a period of time that is rarely tackled in the gaming world, not to mention in classic literature. For anyone looking to experience a mature and interesting new platformer, please look no further than Dante’s Inferno.