I called it. I’d only played the demo for Dante’s Inferno but that was all I needed to figure this one out entirely. Now that it’s been out for a week or so, let’s take a look at Dante’s Inferno as it plays as a game, though I could probably just tell you to go play God of War and get the desired effect. Whoops. Let’s start.
Creating New Games Must Be Hard
As I’ve already pointed out, Dante’s Inferno is absolutely a God of War rip-off. There’s no denying it, even if you want to. The games both have main characters seemingly tricked by dark forces and require you to battle your way through hordes of enemies with hack-and-slash controls and Quick Time Events, ultimately leading to a resolution that entails fighting a god or Satan or whatever.
So for this game, Dante, based off the classic Italian poet of the same name but not of the same anything else, must storm all nine circles of Hell to reclaim his love Beatrice, taken from him by Lucifer for some reason or another. It’s all supposed to be based off of Dante’s Inferno from The Divine Comedy, but we know better, don’t we?
The game does play smoothly enough to be played, and it has a heck of a lot to look at much of the time. The first third of the game throws some truly messed up enemies at you that relate to their respective levels, such as Gluttony or Lust. Problem is, after that these enemies begin showing up again and again in circles other than the ones they make sense in. Right there is where Visceral Games loses its credibility when they say, “We used the poem exactly for inspiration.” No, you got lazy.
What makes this all worse is that the final third of the game consistently throws you into battle after battle on a platform without any real innovation or anything new. You just fight enemy after enemy for the finale stages of the game. That’s not good game design; that’s once again a sign of laziness. And of course the ending leaves itself open for a sequel. Looks like this is going to be a whole franchise if it sells well enough. So let’s try not to let it sell well, okay?
I just can’t get past the game’s two defining characteristics: It’s resemblance to God of War, and it’s use of a classical poem as a backdrop. I realize making games can be tough, and thinking up an original concept is even tougher, but just taking two already successful things with nearly no relation and deciding, “Yes, this is what our next game shall be,” well that just doesn’t work for me.
Maybe you’ll really like Dante’s Inferno, though. It’s not a terrible game. It’s just a game that’s two elements have been done before and done a lot better. Either go play God of War or read The Divine Comedy. Rent this one if you absolutely can’t resist.