Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Select Button: Vagina Surprises from Dante's Inferno

Review: Dante's Inferno

Maybe I'm a little bit more forgiving to EA's Dante's Inferno than most who are talking it down as an uninspired and unoriginal copy of Sony's God Of War franchise. I think there's something to be said for taking a fairly slow epic poem from a few hundred years back and transforming it into an action game. In fact, considering the original material presents Hell as a series of levels to be descended, each containing its own characters and monsters, it's surprising it hasn't been tapped more often by video game developers.

As far as the comparisons go, I can't say that Inferno does anything new in regards to controls. It takes an effective, familiar, and efficient model and adds a few pieces here and there. Among the added bits is a ranged weapon, an advancement tree split between holy and unholy acts, and relics that can be leveled to power up Dante. It's not in controls that Inferno excels, it's in its presentation.

The game renders Hell in a very classical European artistic sense with a little modernism mixed in to keep things lively. There are rivers of blood, pots of boiling gold, and walls constructed of the damned that come to life and call to you as you climb upon them. The characters are rendered just as skillfully as Dante cuts his way through basic shambling souls, unbaptized babies with blades for arms, and lust demons with vagina surprises to reach out and grab you.  This game earns its M rating by not shying away from violence, gore, and sexuality.  However, it is not in these areas that Inferno sets itself apart from God Of War.

EA's Inferno is not an adaptation of the original, it is a reworking with names being the only things carried over from Dante's poem and this works to its strength at distancing itself from God Of War. Kratos is a character that is not working so much for the redemption for his deeds, but more to advance his own agenda at just forgetting what those deeds were so that he can find some kind of peace. Dante, on the other hand, is a character who has seemingly chosen to overlook his worst acts, which are thrown back in his face as he delves deeper and deeper into Hell. In facing his past, Dante's journey presents something a bit more rich and nuanced than that of Kratos.

Say what you will about the game mechanics of Dante's Inferno and how they ape God Of War, it's in the character of Dante, a much more human and sympathetic protagonist than Kratos, and their differing narratives where the real differences lies.  This game should keep both button mashing, action oriented players happy along with those that like a compelling story.

Reviewed on: PlayStation 3

1 comment:

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