Dante’s Inferno Review

Go To Hell… or just straight to the bargain bin? We get down with the Devil on PS3.

By Edwin Evans-Thirlwell, February 3, 2010


I’d love to have been in the boardroom on that sweaty, dead-end day in 2007 when one of Visceral’s moneymen threw his arms up petulantly, crossed his legs, uncrossed them, took a deep breath and said: “Look, why don’t we just make God of War III. With a different name, obviously. Yeah, Bob, I know Sony have green-lighted God of War III already. So we’ll just launch our version a few months before theirs. Bam. Back of the net.”

Perhaps he leaned back with a satisfied air at this point, digging a handful of pistachios from the bowl in the middle of the table. Perhaps Visceral’s lead designers – bright-eyed true believers in Iron Maiden T-shirts – looked at each other in dismay.

Crucifix to the face. The netherworldly equivalent of stabbing somebody with a broken bottle.

Crucifix to the face. The netherworldly equivalent of stabbing somebody with a broken bottle.

“But what about all these cool original game concepts we’ve been working on?” One chap may have protested. “I’ve got this idea for a point and click adventure game based on Dante’s Inferno.”

Crunch crunch. “Dante’s the guy from Devil May Cry, right?”

“Well yeah, but the original Dante was a 14th century poet – ”

“That’s good. Devil May Cry’s good. Tell you what, we’ll put Dante in there.”

Visceral’s reputation for imitation isn’t entirely unenviable. The Godfather titles might have failed to win out over the crowd of Johnny-come-latelies vying for the status of Official Passable Alternative to Grand Theft Auto, but some critics consider offworld key-and-corridor odyssey Dead Space the game Resident Evil 5 should have been, loosening up Capcom’s plodding move-aim system a little and unleashing it on a gristly interior-scape straight out of Event Horizon.

Dante’s Inferno tries the same trick, clawing a feature set from Sony Santa Monica and parachuting it into Dante Alighieri’s Nine Circles of Hell, but the results, though commendable, aren’t quite so stellar.

It’s hard to overstate how much this game owes to God of War, but I’ll do my best. Almost every point of note, from the ethereal firewalls which pen you in with your enemies through the three-way balancing act between combat, puzzles and platforming to the spinning button prompts which herald sinew-snapping finishers, has its forefather in the exploits of a certain Spartan slaphead.

The Circle of Lust is predictably buxom.

The Circle of Lust is predictably buxom.

It’s not a question of broad similarities merely, but of the very tiniest details. Take the enemy hierarchy for instance. There are mobs of regular vanilla Damned (cf. “undead”), who keep your blade well-lubricated with blood in its passage from one worthier foe to the next; ubiquitous bat-winged critters (cf. “harpies”) whose job is to interrupt your combos with low-damage but hugely irritating fireballs; tough goat-legged mid-bosses (cf. “cyclops”) who yield a mouthful or two of health replenishment once QTE’d; slavering succubi (cf. “medusas”) who zip in and out of your hit zone with all but uncounterable haste.

8 Responses to “Dante’s Inferno Review”

  1. Cameron says:

    I must say that I’m dissapointed in your review of Dantes Inferno. Not because it was bad, but because you spent the whole thing comparing it to God of War. I can understand you wanting to compare the similarities between the two, but Inferno should be judged completely on its own merits.
    I for one have never played God of War, and quite frankly never want to. That said, Inferno excels in its cutscenes and art driection from what I’ve seen and played. And I look forward to playing the whole thing.
    If you want to compare the two games based on originality then you must remember that Inferno, (the poem) came out way before God of War did. So you should make it a point to say that God of War ripped off Dantes Inferno.
    My comment is not meant to blast you for your review, only to remind you that we depend on you to show us what the game offers. If the gameplay is uninspired, say so. If the graphics suck, let us know. But don’t waste your time or ours telling us how much this game may be like that one.
    Remember, everything old is new again, and in the entertainment industry, nothing is new.

    • Edwin says:

      I hear what you’re saying there, Cameron, but we’re talking about pretty damn comprehensive cross-over here. Dante’s Inferno’s merits are God of War’s merits, more or less. The only real major difference – setting and morality system aside – is that it isn’t quite as good.

      If I *had* tried to judge the game in isolation, those readers who *are* familiar with God of War would have taken me to task for it. After all, most people want to know how a new release stacks up against others in the genre, even when the title in question is on the unique side.

      I’m glad you’re enjoying it, mate. It’s a good, solid effort. Do give Kratos a chance, though – the God of War games are some of the best you’ll ever play.

      As regards the original Inferno – last time I checked, it wasn’t a linear hack-and-slasher with copious QTEs… :p

  2. zarbor says:

    It amazes me how people want to argue about the obvious. Any idiot can realize that this game is a God of War clone. A game considered my most (not all) to be a very good series.

    Dante Inferno should be flattered to be compared to such a game. I have no problem with the review besides the score. You gave this game more credit than it deserves. EA struck out with this one.

  3. Emofag says:

    Shut your mouth Zarbor.

  4. hah says:

    I just finished this game and I gotta agree, they stole from GoW by the buckets lol, but this isnt necessary bad – I wish there were more games like these, however unlike GoW games, Dante suffers from uninspired pacing in the second half that seriously drags the game down. First 3-4 hours, great. Last 3-4 hours, uughhh…
    I also wish they didn’t recycled the enemies so much, GoW2 has like triple the number of unique(not just different skin) of enemies.

    Instead of trying to release it before GoWIII, they should have iterated more, the potential was there.

  5. Nimrah says:

    Im reading up some reviews cos Dante’s story interests me and every time it ends up with the God of War being the best discussion, well how about this … if there is one big rip off, its God of War being an exact copy of Devil May Cray, now why dont we hear anything about that ?

    Im not saying god of war is bad, on the contrary, but ppl should stop the rip off discussion and view the games on it own, there was only one real revelation in this kind of game style wich also had a great story, and that was Devil May Cry 1 on the PS2, thats the pioneer in this genre and not at all god of war.

    So let this rip off discussions plz end, cos everyone who is telling god of war was original, should dig a bit deeper into the real genre history.

    Its a genre these days and not so much a copy mode of another game, so the games should be reviewed on that. Handling, story, pace, coop and fun, thats what matters.

  6. Kratos says:

    I know I am pretty late to this discussion but I just had to say that this game deserves its title as a Gow rip off.Its not because its in the same genre comparing Devil may cry to god of war is apples to oranges.Its just like the reviewer said this game is a clone down to the character animations and level design.I am torn while a copy and paste of this magnitude is downright shameful.GoW is a damn good series so even a as an inferior knock off this game is still good.I guess my biggest gripe was releasing so close to God of War 3 which is even more disrespecful since it attempts to compete with the game it rips off.It must have been pushed by microsoft so they could have a game like this on their console.If this game would have released a year or so before when people where starved for Kratos it would have done better sales wise and would have been little more accepted.

  7. Dipshit says:

    You’re all douchebags if your biggest worry is what game ripped what off. If the game is fun and worth 40 to 60 bucks then play it you fan boy faggots and stop crying. If you can’t review it as to whether it’s a good game to buy and play then shut the Fuck up.


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