Friday, January 29, 2010

Dante's Inferno PS3 demo review

From a disc rather than the PSN store so I've no idea how big it is Dante's Inferno is taken from the Divine Comedy where instead of Virgil taking you on a quick tour of the afterlife for theological reasons you're taken on said tour to smash (or redeem) the wretched souls of hell. You know as you do.

Set during the Crusades the opening sequence is not for those of a squeamish nature where Dante sews up his own chest eep; then it seems we're thrown to a flashback where we find Dante committing the sin of killing innocent people under orders from his boss.

Rather than not do this the game throws you into the situation where you have to lop off their heads lest they take yours. A simple tutorial gives you the weak attack and strong attack etc. Sadly this is one of those delightful missions where you're meant to fail (at least at the point when the developers want you to) and after taking care of business you end up with a knife in the back and Death standing before you waiting to take you off to Hell to be punished for your sins.

Obviously you're a bit narked at this having been assured by the High Priests of the Church that you were doing God's work and were absolved of any sin performed in this Holy endeavour. So you decide to kick Death in the nuts and nick his scythe; no really that's almost what happens. Death is a right stick in the mud with telegraphed and repetitive attacks the only point that things become a hardship is when he floats around and you have to jump into the air to twonk him rather than stay ground-based.

Occasionally he'll grab you or you'll manage to knock a large chunk of his health at which point you can do the [thunk] Quick Time Event oh joy! I love those things! My New Year's wish was that they could bring out a new game that was just one long QTE that's how much I love these things. Yeah.

Anyway Death dispatched you decide to head home to your loving wife, who of course is dead. Woah never saw that one coming. Well at least you've got Death's scythe to take care of all the gubbins that seem to be pulling themselves out the ground; oo and they drop pretty white soul orbs that you suck in and can use to buy upgrades to your scythe moves. Killing them drops a magic barrier that was blocking your way and you get a cut-scene where your wife is pulled down to hell because you broke your promise. Yeah that's fair anyway what promise. Flashback - oh the one where I said I wouldn't be with another women until we got back yeah see the Priest said that was alri... oh he was wrong wasn't he.

So down she goes, but leaves some sort of remnant behind yuck. Being very odd you decide to stick your holy cross in it (no that's not an euphemism) and it goes all glowy. Now as well as having the Unholy scythe you have the Holy cross and can build up powers and level each tree accordingly yep it's a bloody moral system disguised as combat.

Anyway said gunk must have been load-bearing because the floor crashes away and you can head down into Hell, hmm yeah and if I decide to turn around and find a whorehouse instead? Yeah right sorry down to Hell I go.

Some bat/harpy things attack and oo my new cross is a ranged weapon attack. It's nice that you don't have to choose weapons or any of that rubbish; Unholy scythe with triangle and square, Holy cross with circle.

Anyway yet another kill all enemies to open barrier, this time with happy shooting flames coming out of the walls of the narrow ramp you're on. Luckily there's some health fountains around here, unluckily you can't just use them you have to QTE them and they can only be used once.

Then the same enemies but on fire, with a different tactic; you can't just twonk them you have to dustify them with the cross then smash them to progress or they'll just keep coming. Then I get some magic an ice dash wheeeh, then some tougher enemies oh hey when they're down to their last health I get the option to Punish or Redeem them and oh dear gods another QTE to do that.

Finally another riding an ogre type appears. Oh look another QTE to take out the rider and put me in charge; didn't see that coming at all [sigh] oh I can use the ogre-type to smash the other enemies around what a surprise.

Do all that and you hit the end of the demo.

So verdict. It's pretty, it's very pretty, the outdoor cut-scenes put me in mind of Assassin's Creed to in their vista and loveliness; then you're shoved into a dark hole. Okay the graphics are fine at this point but nothing thrilling. Perhaps the most disurbing way to sum up this game is this is what you'd end up with if you stuck Kratos from God of War with Dante from Devil May Cry into a blender and hit purée.

Able to switch effortlessly between a melee and range weapon (DmC)
QTE events on larger monsters (GoW)
Magic barriers stopping you from getting to places until a set number of enemies defeated (DmC)
One time only health/magic 'chests' you have to QTE open (GoW)

I can almost see the whiteboard at the developer's meeting with a copy of these two games stapled to the sides of it and the bullet-points running down.

Seriously at times I was playing this and thinking this is God of War, only to stop and think no this is Devil May Cry. Hey homage is a great thing, and taking things that work from other games is hardly frowned upon; but when you do that sort of thing you're supposed to put some twist on it that will stop players having flashbacks to those games.

So fun, but very derivative.

Tagline: Dante's Inferno crashes God of War and Devil May Cry's party and doesn't even bring a bottle of wine.


buy 2gb gaming card said...

I plan in giving the game a chance but it definitely looks like a GOW clone.

The fact that the sickle is also on a chain greatly reinforces that point.

If this game wasn’t made by Viceral games who knows how’d I’d feel about it. They did win me over with Dead Space which I still feel is better than RE5

FlipC said...

Heh I saw your handle and thought "not another bit of spam".

But with the real GOWIII about to appear plus the HD remodels of GOW! and II what's the point in Dante?

From the demo at least it just doesn't seem to do anything new.

I did try the demo of Dead Space, perhaps it's just me but I can't get past the first encounter, just eep you're dead.

RE5 I didn't touch after RE4; perhaps it's the same problem I just don't like this over the shoulder shooting and whoever thought "Hey we'll make them stand still to shoot and reload" should themselves be shot.