Dante's Inferno

Posted by Alex Jordan on


The solution to my Around The World shader discrepency continues to elude me. I took a break from my ineffective attempts to solve it and played the Dante's Inferno demo, knowing full well how much ridicule the game's concept has already received.

I wound up deleting the demo within 30 minutes, a little weirded out by the half-assed synthesis of three elements of game design that don't really match.

First, there's the gameplay itself. Dante's Inferno is one of those highly-stylized action hack-and-slash games in the vein of Ninja Gaiden and Devil May Cry. These games tend to bother me, as I couldn't give a shit about all these different attack types and combos and whatnot in a game genre that usually boils down to (a) kill all these enemies, (b) move to the next section, (c) go to (a). That, and the combination of third-person cameras in a 60 frames per second environment (first-person games are usually 60, third-person games are usually 30) just feels odd, like everything is greased in melted butter. Anyway, suffice it to say, the depth reachable by this genre - Dante's Inferno included - entirely begins and ends with the fighting system, in my opinion. That leads to shallow games.

Pairing up the shallowness of the game with my second issue, Dante Inferno's TOTALLY HARDCORE nature, just leaves a bad taste in my mouth. Dante's Inferno decided to be TOTALLY HARDCORE by, predicably, relying on the twin pillars of extreme gore and tits-n-ass. I'm a little too old to be wowed by the sight of Dante sewing a red Crusader's cross through his skin, not to mention totally kicking the Grim Reaper's ass and ripping out his spine. 'Kay. Ditto for the fact that, for the brief bit of the demo I bothered playing, Dante's wife was naked in every scene she was in. I completely get the younger guys like boobs, and probably virtual boobs too, but I can't take anything seriously that has such a high mandatory T&A factor.

Finally, if combining the insipid gameplay with the insecure TOTALLY HARDCORE pandering to younger demographics isn't enough to turn you off, how about combining them in the service of my third issue, the complete bastardization of The Divine Comedy?

The demo starts during the Siege of Acre, a bloody battle during the Crusades that took place during the end of the 12th Century, roughly one hundred years before the plot of the actual Dante's Inferno story takes place. In the game, badass Italian soldier Dante Alighieri does some horribly wicked stuff during this battle and elsewhere during the Crusades, and eventually winds up having to move through the Nine Circles of Hell to redeem himself and recover his wife's soul. With none of the keen observations of The Divine Comedy, mind you... Dante's redemption is represented by him killing everything in his path (that, and the tits-n-ass). Dante's reimagining as a grim, sinful Crusader would've had some merit strictly as a lesson in Crusades history, but for the fact that the game is too shallow to properly explore this. And thus, an otherwise-thoughtful reimagining winds up being a pale shadow of want Dante Alighieri achieved hundreds of years ago when he wrote The Divine Comedy.

And all of this just happened to combine into a whirwind of Suck that briefly blighted my 360's hard drive. Fortunately, that's been rectified.

Moving on.