Tuesday, June 01, 2010

Dante's Inferno PS3 full review

Yes I played the demo and yes I thought it a little derivative, but that's at full price and not as an el-cheapo special.

So any difference from the demo to the main game. No, not really. The start-up menu wants to hook you up online and, as with so many other games of that ilk, even asks if you want to sign in even if you don't have an internet connection. I mean come on guys what is it a simple call to "Can I talk to the PSN servers? No. Well do you want to sign in then?"? Not much use when the PS3 knows it's not online now is it. It also scans for saves; not to offer anything useful like a continue option, but simply to unlock extras.

So the game itself, well read my first review that's pretty much it for the most part. Later on you get some puzzles that are quite neat (or infuriating as the case may be) you have a number of slots in which to equip relics that boost certain things, one of which being an auto-use on health-replenishing fountains rather than have to hammer Circle, and you can equip various magical options that are tied to an L1 toggle and the face keys.

So problems and yes there are a few.

It still uses the outmoded Quick Time Event schema in which it flashes up the correct button at the top of the screen thus you miss on all the cool carnage you're inflicting while concentrating on an area bout an inch square. Also not useful in distinguishing the red/pink Square from the pink/red Circle. It also seems happy to throw QTEs at you without you initiating them, at least it has the decency to drop the game colour scheme into a silver wash before it does so as a little warning.

The fixed camera option is fine when you ensure that you don't alter depth too much when jumping around, allow the hero to be hidden from site by a taller enemy, or have protuberances that can't be seen from the angle you're looking at. Yep Dante has all three plus the old favourites - set movement up is now down and down becomes up on the sticks when switching camera angles; and  let's move the camera while the player is jumping.

There's also a problem with edges namely the ability to fall off them. There are two types of edges in Dante 1. You can't cross this edge at all, and 2. you have to cross this edge. A walkway is an example of type 1 so you simply cannot walk run or jump over this invisible barrier; however a series of moving platform is of type 2 you need to be able to cross from one to another.

So what most games have this type and yes you can fall off these things except with the fixed camera you can't tell if you're fully on the surface or not; most games allow the courtesy of being able to grab the sides of such objects to prevent accidentally slippage; and finally most games won't have your player fall off a platform they were standing on as it moves around under them.

Add to that woe the fact that you're frequently forced into combat on such type 2 insta-death traps and that when in combat your character will move forward or backwards in ways you can't predict and you spend a lot of time playing dodge with the demons to get away from the edges so you can attack them without stepping off the edge.

To add to that note, someone should be shot for the way absolution/punishment combines with the world events. Keeping it simple at times you get an option to punish or absolve an enemy and you get a little QTE (sigh) to do. A la God of War when performing such tasks the other enemies don't attack you. Yes it's unrealistic, but it's fun. Now try this in Dante near the beginning you fall through the church onto a shelf of rock. Being the nice person you are you try to absolve the enemies. So you grab one and start to hammer circle to push your cross into their face, at which point the ground begins to tremble.

Yep the ground under your feet is about to fall and you can't do a thing about it because you're trapped in this absolution QTE; and oh look you've just fallen to your death because the scripted 'At this point in time the floor will collapse' timer hasn't been stopped by the QTE.

It's not the only insta-death traps you need to watch out for, in some cases you need to turn a lever, except you keep getting interrupted by spawning enemies. So kill all the enemies. Well you can, except when you can't. Sometimes there's a finite amount and sometimes there's an infinite amount and no you can't tell the difference. No wait I tell a lie at some point in your head cleaving you'll notice that you've not getting any fluffy orbs out of the remains of the dead guys, this is presumably to stop camping there and building up your stats to maximum levels near the beginning of the game.

So good points, as per usual you there are four levels of difficulty with only the first three being available on the first run through and the to level is difficult. No really I'm not joking; I started the game at the top level I was able to to; ploughed through to the point where the demo ends swore a large number of times; checked the trophies and found not a single one was bounded by the difficulty level and turned it down to wimp levels. I'm serious at one point you're facing a giant bull thing that can kill you in one hit and you've not even reached Limbo at this point.

Anyway complete the game and you can run through the Gates of Hell challenge 50 levels one timer; seconds get added for not being hit, or pulling absolutions at the end of each level. Was it easy? I ran through it in one go and had 13 minutes left on the clock.

Oh and one final bullet to the head for the designer of the 8 seconds in the air challenge. An infinite challenge with infinitely spawned enemies until you manage to stay for 8 seconds in the air by using a move that's never been taught to you and that you probably didn't even knew about - hold triangle, release to throw the enemies and yourself into the air then use R2 to grab and bounce them to the ground, then R2 to repeat. Problem is that to get the bonus you need to bounce both enemies in the air, you need to alternate between bouncing between them that you never seem to reach any higher than your initial jump; and that the enemies have a nasty habit of dying on you mid bounce. Worse yet you can't fail this mission you're stuck there until you succeed.

My thanks go out to the video fromNWoodward90 who points out that if you get the right Punishment (Circle rather than sticks) you're sitting on the enemy's shoulders and that counts as in the air; hit the circle fast enough not to be thrown off, but slow enough to stay and you'll beat the challenge.

So pretty much mindless fun dressed in rich clothes with some puzzle elements and some serious frustrations. Enough hidden collectables to make it replayable.