Dante's Inferno certainly isn't going to win any originality awards this year. In my time with the game I can honestly say that I feel like I've been playing a slightly worse build of God of War II, albeit without the Blades of Chaos. Inferno certainly pulls no punches when it comes to downright cloning Kratos and his blend of hack, slash and over-the-top button mashing executions. Even opening doors with mashing a button is reminiscent of God of War.
While ripping off another game certainly is a bad thing in a certain aspect, it's also kind of a good thing in another. Really, who wants to play an action game nowadays that mixes visceral high-octane combat with an occasional puzzle if it's NOT God of War or Devil May Cry? Not deviating from it's predecessor's paths ensures that players will be able to jump right into the game without much need for a tutorial, and thats never been more true here in hell where switching up from X to Y buttons while on the ground or in the air are all you really need to do to take out hordes of infernal minions. But not deviating from that safe path also means that your game here isn't going to stand out on it's own.
And really thats what Dante's Inferno lacks. It lacks originality when it comes to gameplay. We've all climbed walls, swung from ropes and have been prompted to execute a series of button mashes in order to brutally eradicate an enemy type.
So while it's easy to get into, it's also not going to blow you away. Unless of course we're talking about the stunning environments of hell. Visceral put an incredible amount of detail into the atmosphere, to the point where you find yourself mortified. Gamers of a particular type of faith may be disturbed by the graphic nature in which their underworld of belief is portrayed. No punches are held here. Tormented souls writhe in agony, scream for help, tortured and twisted into every evil little nook and cranny of every level. Arms will reach for you from beneath the river Styx, abominable angels now demons hound you and in each circle of Hell there's always some new kind of monstrosity to emphasis the sin it's based on. Gluttony and Lust were particularly disgusting/graphic. Also be aware that you may even start to hate yourself for slaying unbaptized babies. However, players who aren't bothered by such things will no doubt find the levels nothing short of cool (like I did).
Boss fights are generally simple yet aren't overly boring. Puzzles aren't too annoying and in a few cases are kind of fun. Although there are a few sections which are infuriating (a part in the circle of Anger comes to mind), as per this genre's standard at this point. The narrative being carried out in segments from here and there are quite entertaining. I should add that all movies and cut scenes can be re played from the main menu, a nice touch. Virgil offers some brief commentaries of insight to each section of Hell and the Damned (which you can either completely damn or absolve) put a fun little twist on collectibles. Coins of Judas and Beatrice Stones are just standard collectibles we've seen a million times before. Character models can be a little rough looking at times but the full blown CGI movies are beautiful and the animated comic style of some of them are pretty neat too. Thats if you can stand the butchering that Dante's Inferno did to it's source material.
So if your a Christian you might get creeped out and if your a Literature buff you may be disappointed. If your just a regular gamer looking for a decent game with moderate replayability to sate your actiony thirst until God of War III comes out, then Dante's Inferno might be for you. I'd recommend a rent first though.
Multiplayer wasn't available for play. The Trial of St. Lucia mode is between two players who can play cooperatively or competitively to survive and score the most points on custom stages. When it's released via downloadable content in a few months, players will have access to a variety of options to create their own stages and arenas, custom things like enemy AI and the way and consistency in which your selected baddies enter the stage. Players can then share their creations with their friends and rate the best ones. A new character will be available for play named St. Lucia who is like an angel, literally. It is unknown whether she will be playable in the main campaign. Since Trials of St. Lucia was not shipped with the game, it seems like a miss opportunity to bring something fresh to the genre (something that Inferno sorely needs) on launch day. And because it's not available at the moment, it does not effect the final score of this review.
Dante's Inferno gets a 7 out of 10 for solid (if cloned) gameplay a entertaining (to say the least) narrative and incredible locations (aka HELL). It's brought to you by Visceral Games and EA. It's rated M for Mature for lots of blood, gore, disturbing images of a hell thats probably real and nudity for sure.