Xbox 360 Review: Dante’s Inferno

Hell hath no fury like a gamer scorned…

From Darksiders to Bayonetta, there has been a lot of hack n’ slash type games in the first quarter of 2010. Dante’s Inferno is the latest from EA, but with God of War a mere month away…was it the best timing to bring it out?

Dante screws up Death before his descent into Hell...

Probably not. Especially since Dante’s first adventure is short, weak and forgettable. The game is plagued with issues that ultimately stop it from being fun, thanks to cheap deaths and a fixed camera that makes it difficult to get around. What’s worse is that any collectables you picked up will have to be picked up again until you reach a checkpoint. Even more frustrating for achievement hunters is that if you don’t get all 30 silver coins or absolve/punish all the damned spirits, you’ll have to go through the entire game again to find them all.

The story of Dante’s Inferno follows the unlikely hero as he descends into Hell to rescue the soul of his love, Beatrice from the hands of a perverted Lucifer. The game suffers from boobs-overload, now I love tits as much as the next guy…but they’ve gone OTT with it and it’s not nice to see little non-baptised kids crawling out of a big girl’s nipples to attack you. You even get a small glance at Dante’s member in one of the final cutscenes. I’m all for more mature content, but it seems they were more focused on putting all that in instead of fixing the problems that plague the game.

Dante upgrades his abilities through an ability tree with souls and holy/unholy points he earns from making decisions to punish or absolve the demons he comes across. Those who want to unlock both paths of moves will need to complete the game more than once to earn enough experience. The game lasts a few hours, depending on the difficulty that you have it on. If you have it on Classic, you can race through it in about 6-8 hours but it offers little challenge in combat.

It's amazing how effective your moves are. These guys don't stand a chance!

Combat itself is simple button-bashing, although some enemies require some combinations of moves to kill and boss battles end up being nothing more than excuse for quick-time events that are very poorly implemented. There are a few sections where Dante rides large beasts across Hell, but they are so slow and the controls are unresponsive that they are perhaps the worst parts of the game.
Instead of putting in a lot of content, the team have made the game last longer by filling almost every room with a combination of the same old enemies that you fight through the entire game. There’s also a 10-stage arena-like section towards the finale that feels completely out of place, more so than the arena sections of Darksiders. The game paves its way open for a sequel, but do we really want one based on this first outing?

On the plus side, combat is enjoyable and the layers of Hell look dark and detailed enough. The demons that you will face are very twisted and the level of gore is high. I just wish the damn camera wasn’t fixed! There are also a number of glitches that I came across that actually resulted in a few deaths like sinking into the ground and getting stuck in a wall. There is future DLC on the way which will add co-op and some other bits, but will anyone still be playing the game by then? Especially since a full 1000 gamerscore can be earned in approx 12-15 hours if you rush through on Classic.

I also have no sympathy for Dante. He is idiotic and doesn’t understand his part in things, even when it’s more or less explained to him. There are some great animated cutscenes in parts of the game that reveal what Dante has done, which is why I have no respect or sympathy for him. Visually, the game is a mixed bag with nicely detailed enemies and levels, but poor effects and the fixed camera ruins the impact of the design. The audio is also hit and miss with some average/decent voice-work, but a great soundtrack that fits the atmosphere of Hell well.

The Verdict

Dante’s Inferno sadly cannot stand in the same light as the other great adventure games of the year and with GOW 3 around the corner, most gamers will simply overlook this dated attempt from the master of The Divine Comedy.