Because most gamers aren't familiar with the Divine Comedy, Dante's devs were free to safely take creative liberties but that doesn't absolve them of the burden of crafting a coherent narrative where your actions actually matter
- Worthwhile combat sequences and excellent level design are the highlights in this devilish tale
- It doesn't carry the emotional or moral weight that it should, for a game set in Hell it is surprisingly bland
Just a few days ago Dante's Inferno didn't have much more to show for itself outside of an expensive marketing campaign. But we found EA's Hell-based brawler to be a well-structured hack 'n' slash with some memorable levels, inventive enemies, and a worthwhile combat engine; it's just too bad the story doesn't live up to its potential.
Price$ 129.00 (AUD)
Game design feels like one big round of "follow the leader" sometimes: when a game does something successfully, everyone else tries to put their own spin on it. Grand Theft Auto 3 had that effect, leading to a bevy of like-minded titles that aped the concepts that made it so great. The God of War franchise has also left its own indelible mark and it's finally starting to show with titles like Bayonetta and Darksiders following in Kratos' deity-sized footsteps. Dante's Inferno is another chip off the old Grecian block but it exists somewhere in the middle of those two aforementioned titles: unlike Bayonetta, which took the formula and gave it a total glam makeover, Dante's hews closer to the tried and true; yet, unlike Darksiders, which was a little too familiar for its own good, it actively tries to do something different.
Dante's more or less succeeds on that latter point, at least in terms of the overall game world. The Divine Comedy might seem like an odd choice for source material, given its relatively small mass market appeal -- before any of you literature lovers decide to write me angry yet elegantly worded hate mail, I'm only pointing out that it's not something most gamers will know intimately -- but Dante Aligheri's epic poem gave the developer lots of material to work with and it actually manages to step away from Kratos' imposing shadow. The nine circles of Hell deserve a lot of the credit for that: they're impressively constructed and the dev team got a lot of mileage out of the unique setting.
The architecture in the Lust level, for instance, is appropriately composed of phallic structures and pulsating flesh while the Greed level shines with spilled gold, both in coin form and the molten lava in which the avaricious are constantly bathed. Unfortunately, while the environments are well done, the overall atmosphere is incredibly lacking: You are surrounded by woe but it's all rather vague; you see disembodied souls plastered into the walls and you hear shrieks of agony, but it's never more than ambient fluff. I expected my experience to be suffused with suffering but it's almost an afterthought; even without reading the Divine Comedy, I'm sure Aligheri describes the horrors that he witnesses in great detail and the resulting sense of dread and foreboding is curiously absent here. The puzzle design -- a definite holdover from God of War, complete with block moving puzzles and handles you have to rotate -- also doesn't leverage each level's theme enough; a lot more could have been done with the material but it's mostly a rehash of the timing and environmental based puzzles that you've seen before.
But I still enjoyed my time with Dante's because the combat is expertly handled. The cross, which acts as your projectile weapon, is especially satisfying and after fully upgrading it, it became my default weapon; the scythe is a decent implement but shooting out waves of holy death was far more enjoyable. The minor enemies, while uniformly dull, are also serviceable and the bosses are varied and interesting. The deep skill tree, the collectible relics which buff your abilities, and the overall pacing of the game -- it constantly has you moving forward and you never stay in one circle long enough to get tired of it -- also conspired to make me enjoy myself and I, for the most part, gave into that temptation. But there were a handful of moments so maddeningly frustrating that I felt as though I was suffering through a divine punishment of my own; poor cameras and ill-placed lakes of lava resulted in many cheap deaths, and you can't skip cinematics so prepare to rewatch the same clips multiple times. The final boss fight is also ridiculously hard, enough so that I gave up and bumped the difficulty down to the easiest mode just so I could see the ending for purposes of review; when I did that, I literally beat the boss in literally two minutes.
I also found that I was never really awed by the game's narrative. Rampaging through a realm of eternal suffering should have left a deep impression but it didn't, mostly because the storytelling is weak; because I'm not familiar with the Divine Comedy, I had to accept the built-in narrative on face value, and it falls flat thanks to some incongruous holes. For instance, while the main character Dante looks memorable -- the Holy Crusader motif is surprisingly effective, from the metal crown-of-thorns to the cloth cross he stitches into his chest -- he's basically an empty shell in terms of his personality. For a man who confronts the demons of his own past, Dante demonstrates no real sense of moral complexity or inner torment; he screams with emotional agony a lot but I never really felt the weight of his plight. Also lacking are the encounters with the many lost souls you can either punish or absolve; while the choice itself is meaningful -- relegate them to suffering or offer them salvation -- the end result is anything but. These encounters exist solely to open up the skill tree, and it felt like yet another wasted opportunity to leverage the rich setting of the game.
Because most gamers aren't familiar with the Divine Comedy, the devs were free to safely take creative liberties but that doesn't absolve them of the burden of crafting a coherent narrative where your actions actually matter. Dante's doesn't do that particularly well and while the combat and level architecture is interesting enough that I stuck with it to the end, I was never fully invested in the story nor did I ever come to truly care about Dante's quest. Add in the fact that the plot twist revolves around an age-old cliche and you're left with something that has the scope of an epic tale but carries the emotional weight of an action movie. That I enjoyed it as much as I did says a lot about the high level of expertise expended on the game's action and set design but the lacklustre story means it isn't nearly as timeless as the poem it was based on.
Join the newsletter!
Bang and Olufsen BeoVision 14
Apple iPhone X
cloudandco Smart Cane
Panasonic OLED 4K Ultra HD TV - TH-77EZ1000U
WD MY PASSPORT™ Gaming Storage
Nespresso Creatista Coffee Machine
Breitling Superocean Heritage Chronographe 44
Dyson Supersonic™ Hair Dryer Fuchsia/Iron
WD MY PASSPORT™ X Gaming Storage
SanDisk MicroSDXC™ for Nintendo® Switch™
Toys for Boys
UBTech First Order Stormtrooper Robot
Ubiquiti Network’s Front Row Camera
Leica M10 Digital Rangefinder Camera
Lego Mindstorms EV3
LaCie Rugged USB-C Portable Hard Drive
Bose SoundLink Micro
Propel Star Wars T-65 X-Wing Drone
Onyx Smart Walkie Talkie
Google Daydream View VR Headset
Toffee Bags Commuter Satchel
Panasonic 4K UHD Blu-Ray Player and Full HD Recorder with Netflix - UBT1GL-K
Xbox One X
Amazon Echo Bluetooth Speaker
Belkin Pocket Power 10,000mAh
Panasonic Hi-Fi - SC-UA7GS-K
PETKIG Go Smart Dog Leash
WD MY CLOUD™ HOME Personal Cloud Storage
Nest Protect Smart Smoke Alarm
iRobot Roomba 980 Vaccum Cleaning Robot
Dearear Endear In-ear Wireless Earphones
Logitech Doodle Collection Wireless Mouse
Urbanworx Full HD Action Camera
Tile Pro Bluetooth Tracker
Raspberry Pi Starter Kit
3SIXT 3-in-1 Smartphone Lens Kit
Fallout Geeki Tikis
Panasonic Portable Splashproof Fun - RF-D20U
Kogan Bluetooth Soundbar
Razer DeathAdder Expert Ergonomic Gaming Mouse
Ikea NORDMÄRKE Wireless Charging Pad
Lexon Flip Alarm Clock
Most Popular Reviews
- 1 Huawei Mate 10 Pro Review: A solid winter flagship that cribs from the best
- 2 Google Pixel 2 review: not quite 'pixel perfect' but damn close
- 3 Google Home Mini review: a welcome addition to the smart speaker family.
- 4 Huawei Nova 2i review: Flagship features get smuggled into the mid-tier
- 5 Moto X4 review: This is what a world without MotoMods looks like
Latest News Articles
- Australian Destroyer joins in World of Warships
- Acer attempts to woo Australian gamers with reveal of its new Predator range
- Nintendo Switch software update: What does 4.0.0 feature and how to install it?
- Robot House announce vacuum-bot adventure game ahead of PAX Australia
- Wargaming launches ANZ servers for World of Tanks
PCW Evaluation Team
I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.
It’s easy to set up, it’s compact and quiet when printing and to top if off, the print quality is excellent. This is hands down the best printer I’ve used for printing labels.
Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.
The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.
The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.
The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic
- LG V30+ review: The videographer's smartphone arrives
- Fitbit Ionic review: Impressive but not quite iconic
- Xbox One X review: Brave new world
- What's the difference between an Intel Core i3, i5 and i7?
- Laser vs. inkjet printers: which is better?
Product Launch Showcase
- FTIntegeration ArchitectOther
- FTData AnalystOther
- FTBusiness AnalystSA
- FTBroker Support/ Applications SupportOther
- CCTechnical Field Engineer/SupportVIC
- TPProject Manager - IaaSQLD
- TPSenior Business AnalystNSW
- CCGenesys Specialist - SME - TelcoVIC
- FTPlatform Engineer (Teradata/Datastage) - Permanent - Sydney CBDNSW
- FTSCADA Technical Lead/ ArchitectOther
- CCNew Relic Integration ConsultantNSW
- CCTest Analyst - BrisbaneNSW
- CCJava Developer - BrisbaneSA
- FTBDM/Account Manager - TechnologyACT
- TPOrganisational Change Manager | CommunicationsQLD
- FTSenior .Net Developer - (Australian Citizens Only)Other
- TPSAP Technical Data AnalystQLD
- TPSystems EngineerNSW
- FTSenior Business Analyst - WealthOther
- FTJava Software Engineers wanted (Melbourne CBD location)VIC
- TPFull Stack Developer - AWSNSW
- CCM204 Developers - Federal GovernmentSA
- CCInfrastructure Solution Designer - Financial Services - Contract - Sydney CBDNSW
- CCSenior Application SpecialistNSW