Play
Please use a flash video capable browser to watch videos.
00:00:00
Sorry, but you can't access this content!
Please enter your date of birth to view this video

By clicking 'enter', you agree to GameSpot's
Terms of Use and Privacy Policy

Review

Dante's Inferno Review

  • First Released
  • Reviewed: February 5, 2010
  • X360

Dante's epic quest loses momentum long before you reach the end.

While Dante slices through the belly of an undead beast with his razor-sharp scythe, traverses a crumbling bridge with a quick-time event, and overthrows the ruler of a damned land with vicious determination, a burst of familiarity might flash through your mind. From the gothic art style and the vengeance-fueled story to the stationary camera clearly displaying the blood-splattering combat, Dante's Inferno is a wholesale imitation of the superb God of War series. Or, at the very least, it's desperately trying to be. Unfortunately, the impression lasts for only the first few hours. What starts as a fast-paced and epic quest to destroy Lucifer in an underworld populated by grotesque and disfigured beings, devolves into a monotonous and downright predictable hack-and-slash. Dante's Inferno gets close enough to its source material to make for a gory and satisfying few hours in hell, but its many flaws prevent it from rising to paradise.

The lesson delivered by Dante's Inferno is one every person should keep in mind: Do not, under any circumstance, make a deal with the devil. You will lose, and you may not be handy enough with a scythe to hack your way out of the mess you create. In this case, Beatrice thought too highly of her husband Dante's moral character. Worried that he would lose his life while liberating heathens during his holy crusade, she comes to an agreement with Lucifer. If he stays faithful, the devil will ensure that he makes it home alive. If he loses control with a seductive slave girl, though, Beatrice will forfeit her own soul forever. The story is told using three distinct styles to chronicle Dante's descent into darkness to rescue the eternal spirit of his betrayed wife. The CGI and in-game cutscenes are expected, but it is the series of sparsely animated cartoons that stand out. These fill in the backstory of Dante's actions during the crusades and go a long way toward developing his character. The story has few surprises, but the manner in which it slowly puts Dante's entire life into perspective makes for an interesting setup for his adventure.

And the adventure does start out on a strong note. The first few hours have an epic scale that makes the descent from the earthly plain into the pits of hell feel like a momentous transition. Pathways crumble underfoot, threatening to spill you into the bubbling lava below; gargantuan creatures loom in the distance, tossing out taunts as you make you way through their defenses; and horrible abominations are introduced every few minutes. The vile enemies you battle are modeled on the circles of hell, and they do an impressive job of embodying these contemptible sins. Lust, for instance, is populated by prostitutes who were all too willing to sell their bodies while they were alive, and they are punished by having their souls sold in the afterlife. The typical anatomy of these women of ill repute is grossly exaggerated, and though you'll certainly want to avoid their disgusting makeshift lassos, their presence makes for a disturbing trip to the land of the damned.

Dracula isn’t the only evildoer who’s vulnerable to crucifix attacks.

In the early stages, you will battle a number of horrific caricatures. The prostitutes of lust are followed by obese monsters who do a fine (yet gross) job of personifying gluttony, and an army of blade babies who haven't been baptized are sure to get a rise out of even the most jaded individuals. But these disgusting portrayals of the deadly sins are soon forgotten as you get deeper into your quest. After the shocking imagery used in the early going, you have only knights and wizards to look forward to, which lack the appeal of the repulsive enemies that precede them. In fact, the only memorable foes in the entire game are introduced within the first couple of hours, making the rest of the adventure much less interesting and far more predictable. Furthermore, although it makes sense that the circle of gluttony would be populated by grossly obese individuals, the fact that they pop up in heresy, anger, and every other circle doesn't mesh with the rules set in place.

The level design follows a similar descent into banality. What starts as epic and explosive soon becomes repetitive. Too much of Dante's Inferno takes place in confined rooms that don't hint at the huge world you're in, which lowers much of the impact of clawing your way through the netherworld. The puzzles that crop up only serve to artificially slow your progress rather than give you a worthwhile change of pace from the violent combat. Much of the time, endurance is the only tool you will need to complete these tests. Box-dragging or crank-turning puzzles aren't fun or mind-bending challenges. Rather they are just time wasters and only detract from the experience. The few times that they do force you to think only reinforce the poor design of these puzzles. Difficulty only exists because the camera either doesn't show you what you need to see or highlights an area that is not important.

The bulk of the game focuses on Dante's expertise in eliminating forsaken souls, and the combat is the element that most closely mimics God of War. Battles are brutally violent. Your powerful scythe slashes through treacherous beasts like a hot knife through butter, and it's great fun to hack away at your enemy while you deftly roll away from its counterattacks. Quick-time events play a large part of the action, letting you take down your foes in elaborate and horrifically violent ways. The over-the-top, merciless portrayal of the combat fits in perfectly with the dark themes presented in the game, which makes it the strongest aspect of your quest. You earn souls for every enemy you kill, and these points go toward upgrading your attacks. There are both holy and unholy meters to fill, which let you personalize your moves a bit. Upgrading Dante gives you a steady stream of new attacks, and though you aren't able to unlock new weapons through the course of the game, there is enough variety to make sure combat doesn't get stale.

But the combat is not without a few flaws, which results in more than a few aggravating moments. First of all, once you begin a combo, you must see it through to the end, which is maddening if you're trying to avoid an attack but Dante is stubbornly still swinging away. Second, you have a handy projectile attack, but the auto-aim functionality doesn't work right, so it's nearly impossible to hit a specific enemy in a crowded room. Third, challenge is all over the place. Most fights are fairly easy, but knockback attacks are overpowered. All too often, Dante will be caught in a chain of punishment that is impossible to break out of because enemies can attack you even when you're lying prone on the ground. It's possible to lose half of your life bar or more to these annoying situations, which makes the otherwise fun fights quite frustrating.

The quality of Dante's Inferno fluctuates wildly throughout the course of the game. During the first one-third of this eight-hour adventure, the diverse array of enemies and epic environments make for an enjoyable, hectic quest for vengeance. Things level out in the middle one-third, though. Memorable characters are no longer introduced and the level design is far less adventurous, but the frantic combat is enough to make this stretch fun, if not particularly noteworthy. The final one-third of this game is uninspired and downright bad at times, making for a wholly unsatisfying end to this derivative game. During the buildup to the end boss, level design has been virtually scrapped. Instead of tearing through the depths of hell, you are confined to a series of platforms where you must pass certain objectives before you can move forward. For instance, you will need to eliminate every enemy without summoning magic or by just using air attacks, which is just as lifeless as it sounds. This is a boring way to end the game and leaves a sour taste when the credits roll.

Skeletons are notoriously scared of fire.

It's a shame the entirety of Dante's Inferno couldn't match the frenetic pacing and horrific imagination found in the beginning of your adventure because it could have been a worthwhile alternative to the excellent God of War series. But most of the game falls far short of its impressive beginning, which results in a repetitive and uninspired adventure that loses steam long before you reach the bitter end. Dante's Inferno is certainly fun during those hectic first few hours, but there is little reason to play beyond those parts. It's not worth visiting hell without the promise of heaven on the other side.

The bulk of the game focuses on Dante's expertise in eliminating forsaken souls, and the combat is the element of Dante's Inferno that most closely mimics God of War. Battles are brutally violent. Your powerful scythe slashes through treacherous beasts like a hot knife through butter, and it's great fun to hack away at your enemy while you deftly roll away from its counterattacks. Quick-time events play a large part of the action, letting you take down your foes in elaborate and horrifically violent ways. The over-the-top, merciless portrayal of the combat fits in perfectly with the dark themes presented in the game, which makes it the strongest aspect of your quest. You earn souls for every enemy you kill, and these points go toward upgrading your attacks. There is both an unholy and holy meter to fill, which lets you personalize your moves a bit. Upgrading Dante gives you a steady stream of new attacks, and though you aren't able to unlock new weapons through the course of the game, there is enough variety to make sure combat doesn't get stale.

But the emulation is not without a few flaws, which results in more than a few aggravating moments. First of all, once you begin a combo, you must see it through to the end, which is maddening if you're trying to avoid an attack but Dante is stubbornly still swinging away. Second, you have a handy projectile attack, but the auto-aim functionality doesn't work right, so it's nearly impossible to hit a specific enemy in a crowded room. Third, challenge is all over the place. Most fights are fairly easy, but knockback attacks are overpowered. All too often, Dante will be caught in a chain of punishment that is impossible to break out of because enemies can attack you even when you're lying prone on the ground. It's possible to lose half of your life bar or more to these annoying situations, which makes the normally fun fights quite frustrating.

The quality of Dante's Inferno fluctuates wildly during the course of the game. During the first one-third of this eight-hour adventure, the diverse array of enemies and epic environments make for an enjoyable, hectic quest for vengeance. Things level out during the middle one-third, though. Memorable characters are no longer introduced and the level design is far less adventurous, but the frantic combat is enough to make this stretch fun, if not particularly noteworthy. The final one-third of this game is uninspired and downright bad at times, making for a wholly unsatisfying end to this derivative game. During the buildup to the end boss, level design has been virtually scrapped. Instead of tearing through the depths of hell, you are confined to a series of platforms where you must pass certain objectives before you can move forward. For instance, you will need to eliminate every enemy without summoning magic or by just using air attacks, which is just as lifeless as it sounds. This is a boring way to end the game and leaves a sour taste when the credits roll.

Caption goes here, don't forget the quotes.

It's a shame the entirety of Dante's Inferno couldn't match the frenetic pacing and horrific imagination found in the beginning of your adventure because it could have been a worthwhile alternative to the excellent God of War series. But most of the game falls far short of its impressive beginning, which results in a repetitive and uninspired adventure that loses steam long before you reach the bitter end. Dante's Inferno is certainly fun during those hectic first few hours, but there is little reason to play beyond those parts. It's not worth visiting hell without the promise of heaven on the other side.

The Good
Combat is bloody good fun
Some of the creature designs are gloriously vile
The Bad
Final one-third of the game is lousy
Puzzles are either way too easy or just lame
Uneven difficulty too often relies on cheap deaths
6.5
Fair
About GameSpot's Reviews
Other Platform Reviews for Dante's Inferno

About the Author

Discussion

12 comments
Grenadeh
Grenadeh

A) Please change the picture to the proper box art. B) This review is wrong. 

While the game admittedly had some frustrating and infuriating platforming, none of it was so difficult you couldn't get it. Probably the most complicated part of the entire game was the mirror platform puzzle. The art was wonderfully done, as this is what Visceral does best - for lack of a better word, visceral action and environments. Everything is quite appropriate, considering it's hell  - the environment, story, and gameplay. 

Even though the story obviously is bollocks and not the actual story of the divine comedy.

The combat was less fluid than say, Ninja Gaiden or maybe even God of War, but it wasn't broken, and it was certainly challenging enough to entertain.

6.5 is a joke.

Smith7010
Smith7010

GOD AWEFUL ROPE SWING PLATFORMING!!!

For what ever reason, a double jump on the rope swing sends you straight up, killing all forward momentum, and usually causing you to fall to your death.  Coincidentally, I am experiencing this crap in the anger realm, and I'm about 5 more failed jumps away from breaking this disc in half and tossing it where it belongs. 

sudarsanvrs
sudarsanvrs

The game has some severe camera issues  during some portions and down right horrible during certin platforming sections, controls are not fluid and the cross's auto aim is broken, no matter where I aim it always select only one random enemy and hits the same guy until you kill him, i would give 7.

PuNkeRoiD
PuNkeRoiD

In my opinion this game deserves much more than 6.5...

Grenadeh
Grenadeh

6.5 are you shitting me? Dante's Inferno was a masterpiece, just like Dead Space, and is in no way a God of War rip-off. God of war is stupid easy and ridiculous compared to this game.

Super-CrazXzie
Super-CrazXzie

Should have put the weak stuff at the beginning of the game.

g1rldraco7
g1rldraco7

So basically McShea is Milhouse? The review was good, but his video review was creepy.

Assemblent
Assemblent

@Grenadeh "6.5 are you shitting me? Dante's Inferno was a masterpiece, just like Dead Space and this is no way a God of War rip-off." Fixed.

Grenadeh
Grenadeh

@Assemblent @Grenadeh Are you implying God of War was not insanely easy? Because it sounds like you are. 

Or are you implying that my use of a clause was improper? It wasn't.

Assemblent
Assemblent

@Grenadeh I am implying that God of War isn't ridiculous compared to this game. GOW redefined the genre and this game drank a little bit from it, although I completely agree that DI isn't in any way a GOW rip-off or even similar and yes... I found it a masterpiece also. 

As for the easy part about GOW, yes, it is an easy game, hard mode should be normal, the hardest setting makes things "interesting". However, Dante's Inferno is even easier. Both Ares and Zeus boss fights (for example) laugh at any boss fight from Dante's Inferno in therms of difficulty.

Dante's Inferno More Info

Follow
  • First Released
    • PlayStation 3
    • PSP
    • Xbox 360
    Based on the classic poem, Dante's Inferno takes you on a quest of vengeance and redemption through the Nine Circles of Hell.
    7.8
    Average User RatingOut of 5332 User Ratings
    Please Sign In to rate Dante's Inferno
    Developed by:
    Visceral Games, EA Redwood Shores
    Published by:
    Electronic Arts
    Genres:
    Action, Beat-'Em-Up
    Content is generally suitable for ages 17 and up. May contain intense violence, blood and gore, sexual content and/or strong language.
    Mature
    All Platforms
    Blood and Gore, Intense Violence, Nudity, Sexual Content