FEATURE | David’s Inferno (Dante’s Inferno)

by David Meek

I don’t think of myself as a raging monster when it comes to gaming. I would say that when I get annoyed, I just put the controller down and walk away.

But with Dante’s Inferno, I had a long hissy fit at my television. This outburst included many swear words and maybe punching the wall a few times. So what is it that brought me down to this level? Perhaps it was the idiotic game play choices; or the constant button mashing which will wear down my thumb: take your pick. There is a lot of crap in this blatant God of War clone that would make even a casual gamer rage at the eyeballs.

The game begins with Dante having a joyous massacre (if there is such a thing) – I never quite understood the relevance of this starting mission except for it being a tutorial, teaching you the two buttons you will only use all the way through this game. Swing your sword and jump. This also raises another problem: upgrading techniques with experience becomes rather pointless when you are still just pressing ‘swing axe’.

So you have just massacred many helpless Muslims for no apparent reason, and out of nowhere some evil skeleton man appears and you fight him. I am guessing that this evil skeleton man is the Grim Reaper. If so, why do you kill him? I still can’t get over the fact that you kill the Grim Reaper, then after you take his scythe. I mean, what…?

This start to the game was very off putting, I didn’t feel any immersion, which I was expecting from a game set in such a diverse place. But then I finally get down to hell, which is where the game begins to get good. Just looking at the amount of detail put into this game is amazing, just looking at the walls can be as fun as fighting, and the constant groaning from the victims of hell really add to the fantastic feel.

This is where the game perks up; however many small annoyances on the journey through hell appear, to open doors you need to do a quick time event. Whose idea was it to make you slam down on the B button over and over again – some guy with a wanking muscle in their thumb?

Also a nice addition to the fighting is the chance to Punish or Absolve victims when they are weak enough. Punishing or absolving will also give experience in their respective trees, unholy or holy. The holy tree is based around using magic, and the unholy tree is based around swordplay. To really max out in one tree you do have to stick to one and go with it, which can get a bit tedious when there is about two different kill animations and one of them consisting of you slamming down on the B button (yet again).

What is even stranger about this game is the amount of unnecessary boobage. From start to finish, boobs are thrown at your face, which wouldn’t be a bad thing if they weren’t creepy demon boobs which spawned babies with knives for hands. Seriously, one boss has you fighting boob babies while you are chased by a semi naked woman up a tower, where after you defeat her she tries to have sex with you, and asks you to perform a tricky quick time event to avoid her probably even creepier vagina.

The puzzles vary in difficulty, although many puzzles could have been fairer if it gave an indication as to where I was supposed to be going. I was actually stuck on a puzzle for about 2 days and it was driving me crazy.

Now we get to the part where I had my manly rage. For some unknown but seemingly profound reason part way through the game, your wife-turned-demon forces you to undertake tedious challenges that have no relevance. I had got to the last challenge after many retries, it had asked me to kill all the enemies without breaking my combo, which would sound easy, but they don’t all spawn at once. So, most of the time I would finish off and then lose my combo because the next set of enemies took too damn long to spawn. In fact, the window for contiuning combos is pretty small in general.

At this point, I had enough of this game and raged. I have not gone back to it and have since sent it back to the place I rented it from. I was also tempted to write “DO NOT PLAY THIS GAME” in permanent marker on the disk, just to warn off other people who had rented it. Think of that as my review for Dante’s Inferno.

  1. Just thought I’d add: I played the game recently and had the same experience. Needless to say, I sold it not too long after buying it.

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