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Dante’s Inferno – revisited

If you’re anything like me, there are lots of games that you like the look of so buy right away then file on your shelf. This happened with Dante’s Inferno for me. However, something jumped out at me when looking for the next thing to play and so I took it off the shelf and gave it a go. First things first, what is it?

Dante’s Inferno was released in 2010 (yes its taken me a while to play) on PS3, Xbox 360 and PSP and is loosely based on Inferno, the first canticle of Dante Alighieri’s Divine Comedy (thank you Wikipedia). Its a third person action adventure game that follows Dante, a Templar knight from the Crusades as he battles through the nine Circles of Hell to rescue Beatrice from the clutches of Lucifer himself. Why is he in Hell you ask? He was a naughty boy of course.

Whilst battling in the Crusades he committed numerous atrocities, which are revealed throughout the game so I wont spoil them here, but needless to say he dies, whereupon Death appears and condemns Dante to everlasting damnation for his sins. Dante of course refuses to accept his fate, vows to redeem himself, and so a battle ensues with Death where you take his scythe. Dante then leaves the Crusade, stitching a red holy cross shaped tapestry onto his chest and returns to Florence. Unfortunately he returns to find his lover Beatrice and father murdered. Beatrice’s soul appears before Dante, telling him that she knew he would come after her before Lucifer appears and drags her away. After making it to a chapel, Dante blesses the holy cross that Beatrice gave him upon making their vows to be true to each other, to protect him against the evils that await. Upon doing so, a crack in the earth opens up, allowing Dante to descend to the Gates of Hell and this is where the game really starts.

Gameplay

You control Dante with his primary weapon, Death’s scythe, and engage in fast-paced combat, platforming and environment-based puzzles. To me this was very similar in feel to the original God of War games so I instantly felt at home with the combinations and finishing moves (the good old quick time events). Dante also a secondary weapon, a Holy Cross, that fires a volley of energy as a projectile attack (I recommend you level this up and it becomes invaluable when fighting bosses). In addition, Dante can use numerous magic based attacks and abilities channeled from a mana pool to help in combat, many of which are obtained as the game progresses.

Many attack combinations and abilities can be unlocked in exchange for souls, an in-game currency that is collected upon defeating enemies or locating soul fountains. Each of these skills fall into two categories; Holy (represented by blue orbs) or Unholy (represented by red orbs) skill trees.  At the beginning of the game, both skill trees are equal in power, but as Dante gains more Holy and Unholy experience, more abilities become available for purchase. Experience is collected through the game’s “Punish or Absolve” system, where upon defeating enemies, Dante can either punish and dismember them or absolve and save them with the Holy Cross.  Much experience can also be accumulated in punishing or absolving the damned souls that are found throughout the game. On research it turns out that many of these are famous figures in history that appear in the original Divine Comedy whereupon choosing their fates, players enter a mini game where the characters’ “sins” move towards the center of the screen, pressing required action symbols once the sin is in place. You do earn more souls and experience when entering this mini game IF you are good at pressing the correct button at the same time. If its not for you, feel free to punish.

The game involves large sections of platforming, including swinging between ropes and climbing walls, both of which can involve hazards such as fire or swinging blades. There is also a series of environment-based puzzle sequences that can impair the progress of Dante’s quest, such as requiring the correct positioning of movable objects or pulling levers at the appropriate time. In addition, there are numerous hidden passages where Biblical relics can be found and equipped to improve Dante’s abilities

Is it worth your time?

If you like the original God of War series with big boss battles, platforming puzzles and tricky enemies, then yes. Whilst the fixed camera took some time to get used to, it was one of the first games in a while that I always wanted to push forward and see what came next. Even though it is 12 years old I think the graphics still hold up today and with backwards compatibility on Xbox at least, you wont need to dust off your old consoles to play.

Let me know what you thought about the game.

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