Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Dante's Inferno (Divine Edition)


Dante Alighieri's Inferno is given a different twist in this bloody game of one man's quest to save his wife's soul. The game did justice to the description of hell in this adaptation of the first part of the Divine Comedy epic. In this game however, Dante has a different motivation for going to hell. In order to rescue Beatrice's soul from Lucifer's grasp, he fights demons, saves or damns souls, and goes through a series of recollections of his life, in particular the events that led to the breaking of his vow to Beatrice. In the process, he not only tries to save Beatrice but is also seeking her forgiveness and the salvation of his soul. Why Dante was allowed to gain power in his quest and constantly provoked by Lucifer will make sense at the end of the game.

This game is not for the squeamish type. It's very bloody; filled with hellish creatures from women who use their uterus as weapons, well not really just the uterus but the entire female reproductive system, to babies sporting blades in their arms. The music help set the mood. It's easy to see that Dante feels desperate, isolated, and remorseful. 

The idea of going through the nine circles of hell is promising and yet getting from one stage to the next becomes predictable and repetitive as the game progresses. The usual pattern goes like this: get past obstacles to get to the other side or another circle, battle the small fry, and finally a boss fight. It would have been more interesting if they included the puzzle in the Dark Forest DLC at the start of the game. The Malebolge stage broke the pattern too but the level of difficulty of the challenges is not a good warm-up for the fight with Lucifer.

Some of the good points of this game are Virgil's commentaries, the inclusion of some famous damned souls, and Dante's characterization. Virgil's commentaries will help the player appreciate the book from which the game took its inspiration. Although Dante's life was given a twist, the story still stays true to what was written in Inferno. The description of the damned souls are also part of the book and also includes some historical and mythological figures. It makes the player ask why they were sent to hell and might be curious enough to look them up later. Keep in mind though that the game is still about Dante and not religion, that is why there are several references to his life to help create tension in the story. Why Beatrice ended up in hell is revealed piece by piece through flashbacks of Dante's activities in the Crusade.

I like the bonus features like the video on Dante's (the real author) life and the transcription of the poem. A game based on a classic like Inferno from Divine Comedy is not easy to pull off. However there's already plenty of good material in the poem such as the description of hell and its denizens and I think this game did a good job in creating that.

Rating: 7 out of 10