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Dante’s Inferno: Divine Edition Afterthoughts

Dante's InfernoThough it was a completely derivative and rather brief experience that brought nothing new to the action genre, I ended up enjoying Dante’s Inferno because of a well-realized vision of Hell and a deep and highly customizable combat system.

The nine circles of Hell described in Dante Alighieri’s epic 14th century poem are presented as one continuous path in the video game from Dead Space developer Visceral Games. Though the game is extremely linear, there are plenty of souls, coins and relics to collect and damned to punish or absolve scattered in the farthest corners of Hell. Read More…

My first run through the game took just under eight hours, though I did miss a fair amount of the collectibles. I expect a second run to clock in around the six hour mark. I managed to max out the Holy side of the skill tree on my first run by absolving the sins of my enemies and the damned that I came across. The 40 second mini-game that appears when absolving the damned got old fast, so I’m not going to miss it while punishing everyone my second time through.

I will also not miss the sketchy platforming sections in Dante’s Inferno.  There was nothing that was particularly difficult, but inconsistent use of invisible walls and some questionable camera angles led to a few frustrating deaths. Repeating sections of the game grew tiresome as well because you are forced to recollect any items you got before you died. I’d have loved to have seen “progression checkpoints” that remembered what you’ve collected.

Dante Cofronts Death Early in the Game

Any action game fan that’s played the God of War or Devil May Cry games should find much of Dante’s Inferno familiar and shouldn’t have any trouble getting through the game on the normal difficulty setting, here referred to as Zealot.

From colour-coded chests, to quick time events and even the control scheme, most of Dante’s Inferno could be looked at as a clone of other popular action games. What sets this game apart is a stark vision of Hell brought to life. It’s not the best looking game, but it has a consistent art style, good animation, 60 fps performance and some of the best audio work I’ve heard in the past few years. The voice acting, ambient noise, soundtrack and sound effects are all top-notch and are punctuated by an excellent surround sound mix.

Hell seemed to have entirely too many timed switches, shockingly easy environmental puzzles and underwhelming boss fights, but Dante’s Inferno is at the very least a solid rental that shouldn’t be overlooked solely because of its derivative nature.

Those given a choice should opt for the PlayStation 3 version. The Divine Edition contains exclusive video content, a digital artbook, the full game soundtrack, a code redeemable for downloadable content including a prequel level and a digital reprint of the full Inferno poem.