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Gaming Evolution
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Gaming Evolution
Gaming Evolution
Published By: Electronic Arts
Developed By: Visceral Games
Genre: Action
Players: 1
Rated: M (Mature)
Release Date: February 9, 2010
Screenshots: Link
Amazon: Buy Now!
Written By: Anthony Cara

March 24, 2010 - Delightfully gratuitous hack n’ slash violence, less than pleasant nudity, and a plot resembling something I might have read in my high school English class…if this sounds familiar, you’re not alone- but rest assured Dante’s Inferno is one God of War clone that won’t let you down! Though a bit tedious and repetitive at first, Dante’s Inferno delivers an action packed gore-filled adventure that gamers will definitely enjoy. That is of course, assuming they have the stomach to delve deep into…THE INFERNO!

The story of Dante’s Inferno is a completely new one. The game uses the classic tale only to paint the haunting architecture and ambience of hell. It begins with Dante fighting in the crusades only to fall to an assassin’s blade. Dante, a powerfully stubborn anti-hero, decided not to accept death willingly and stole the scythe of Death himself after defeating him in battle. Having momentarily cheated death, he rushed home to reunite with his beloved only to find his home had been ransacked. His father and his beloved Beatrice had both been slain. As if this weren’t painful enough, the devil came to collect Beatrice’s soul. Dante was dumbfounded at the fate of his pure and innocent lover, but once again his stubbornness surfaced. He refused to accept Beatrice’s abduction and dove straight into hell to save her. From here the story gets a bit more interesting as we discover just what a terrible guy Dante really is. As he fights through the levels of hell, occasionally guided by the poet Virgil, he faces off against his own past deeds and runs into a few…familiar faces… in rather unpleasant situations.

At its heart, Dante’s Inferno is simply the old classic tale of a heroic and brave knight rescuing his beloved princess from the clutches of evil. The game excels in taking the story to an interesting and disturbing level as it is revealed that our knight is not such a perfect hero and that our princess’s peril is entirely his fault. The game, like the poem before it, is rich in religious symbolism and blatant criticisms of ancient church behavior (thought the criticism is a bit slow in coming 700 years later). Despite your personal creed, don’t let the game’s content deter you. From a religious and literary standpoint, our anti-hero does indeed act as a “Christ type” in that he is willing to sacrifice himself to save the innocent. The fact that he is deeply flawed only makes him more closely resemble the types of heroes found in all old religious teachings. From a secular standpoint, the game is essentially a tale of redemption from past mistakes and looking to set things right in the present. In this realm of horrific and entertaining ultra violence, there are no signs that EA is trying to convert you.

When it comes to game play, there is no way around it- this is basically God of War in hell with religious overtones. Go here, boundaries appear, slay all enemies within the boundaries, complete a platforming challenge, occasionally perform a quick time event, continue on, rinse, repeat, and upgrade= enjoy! If that wasn’t enough- even the way you move objects around and open chests (in the form of fountains) all SCREAM God of War at the top of their lungs. Having said that, I must admit that this is not necessarily a bad thing. When dealing in a similar genre, it’s only natural that games have similarities. When one game has clearly done something right, it makes sense for others to imitate some of its good qualities while making their own unique adjustments.

On top of the traditionally expected hacking and slashing, Dante’s Inferno does introduce some unique mechanics to the genre. The most noteworthy being the good/bad tree options and their unique skills. Unlike most games of this genre, you do not only level up your weapons, you also level either your holy or unholy trees. As you fight enemies, you will eventually have the chance to either absolve or punish their sins. The choice grants you holy or unholy experience respectively. The amounts gained this way are quite minimal in comparison to the judgment of the damned. Throughout the game, there are 27 damned souls writhing in agony as they wait for Dante to come along. You are given the choice to absolve or punish them and then taken into a bonus mini-game where you snatch up as many sins as you can (by pressing buttons in the right sequence at the right time). Towards the end of the game, I had managed to max out one tree and had just few damned left to absolve. If you absolve more enemies along the way, you could potentially level up much quicker than I did, but it will still likely take a second play through to fully master both branches. In this way the game functions much like KoTR or Infamous in that there are a finite number of souls to be saved and you have to choose which abilities to go for on your first play through. In addition to this, Dante’s Inferno also features magic spells that are acquired either from the skill trees or story progression. These skills are performed by holding L1 and pressing the assigned hotkeys. Finally, the game also features relics which can be equipped in order to augment Dante’s abilities. At first you can only equip two, but as you progress in both the holy and unholy trees you can unlock two more slots.

One area where the game definitely excels is its atmosphere. The graphics are somewhat average for this generation, but the overall visual style is quite nice. The environments and enemies are thoroughly disturbing. I remember vividly my first trip to the realm of lust… “Oh hey, that’s kind of AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAGH WHAT THE????? EWW EWW EWW NOOOOO!” The music has a distinctly epic classical flair (rather than your typical heavy metal hack slash affair) and the world of the inferno is appropriately dark. The sound design is also carefully utilized to add to the hellish atmosphere. Every burp and fart in the gluttony zone is sure to disgust players. The wailing screams of the dead…well those get old after a while. Aside from the minor incidentals (like some of the damned) the voice acting is all excellent! In addition to some gorgeous CG cinematic events, the game also features some amazing stylized animated vignettes.

Dante’s Inferno is certainly nothing new, but it is a good, solid game. My first play through, I jumped straight into the Hellish difficulty. It certainly was an excellent…incredibly frustrating challenge. I quite literally died 5 times or so at each and every enemy encounter. I completed the game in around ten hours. Gamers far more skilled (or playing on a lower difficulty) could easily beat it in half that time. After that, the game still has more to offer. There are Relics and Pieces of Silver to collect (assuming you missed some) and the Resurrection Mode that allows players to start from the beginning with all of their power ups. If those weren’t enough, the game also has DLC levels and is soon to introduce a very unique piece of content called “The Trials of Lucia” which promises players online co-op in addition to a level editor mode.

If you are deciding whether or not to buy this game- consider this entirely hypothetical scenario: Suppose you had a favorite band. You love them dearly and have all of their albums- you’ve listened to them so much you have their entire discography memorized by heart. Now suppose something like a cover band comes along that looks and sounds EXACTLY like they do. The key difference is they are singing songs you haven’t heard before. Would you not want to buy their album as well?


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