Thursday, February 11, 2010

Dante’s Inferno: First Impressions

NOTE: This was written on the 8th of Feb when I got the game. I'm only posting it up now cause I couldn't log onto my account for some reason earlier.

They had me at Hell… but they lost me at FMVs

So I finally got my copy of Dante’s Inferno: Death Edition yesterday, and boy was it a bundle of mixed feelings.

I have been waiting for this game for some time now, with many sleepless nights and fantasies of fighting through Hell. Every day I would read articles and follow the games progress, annoying my friends with new Dante related trivia over coffee.

To say that I had high expectations for this game would be an understatement…

Before we go one let me tell you that I like this game… but only for a few specific reasons which I’ll get into as you read on.

Holographic Covers don't show good in pics

The games presentation is awesome… the art on the start screen and the music all hint at the great horrors that await only a button press away. After kicking the gear into “Hellish” I sat back and was waiting to be blown away…

Then came the first bit of the game… which is where my heart start cracking.

The first bit of the game is exactly what you play in the demo. And here in lies the games major flaw to me. The demo seems very jiggered… it felt like it was cut and paste to give the player a sense of action and to move the story along at a pace that allows you to get as much as you can from it.

Well… the sad problem is that that’s how the whole game feels…

If this is the same team that brought us Dead Space… then I think their writer must have left for some other job.

The narration in Dante’s inferno seems very rushed… which make story telling the games weak point. Sure we get the gist of it… but it just seems like they randomly stuck in story elements in the middle of all the combat. Which kinda wastes the amazing cut scenes that present the story.

And the cut scenes are amazing… But the detailed FMV sequences just feel very abrupt and out of place. The game also has these animated flash backs that work a lot better in terms of story telling, and it would have been so much cooler if they just stuck with that.

Visually the whole game is a treat. But that has a weird thing to it too…

The look of the levels and the designs, vary in quality... with some of them being very polished to some that just feel rushed.

Plus I was really disappointed as to how short the Gluttony level was… for all the hype that surrounded that level, you start it off with a boss fight and then it’s a few hops and turns before you’re in the next circle.

And I’m not sure if it’s a slack thing that I loved the first boss fight the best (second of you count Death as first)

Also… I hate all the comparisons that people make between the game and the original poem. So let me at least compare one element of the game to the “animated epic” film that coincides with it.

In the animated feature we see our hero Dante run into a lost shade named Virgil, who then becomes a sort of guide for Dante through his adventures in Hell. The two seem to become “friends” pretty quickly and soon Virgil becomes like the little fairy from Zelda.

“kick it in the balls Dante!”

“open that door Dante”

“the princess isn’t here Dante”

“You da man Dante!!”

In the book and the animated film, Virgil acts sort of like Dante’s main man in terms of Hells “system mechanics” and such, giving him advice on how to go about tackling things

This could have translated to the game so well…

But sadly in the game, Virgil has been reduced to that annoying guy that keeps telling you the bloody obvious. Every now and then he shows up to give you some random piece of information about something or other, or to recite some random line from the poem.

That whole feeling of “I got your back” that he has in the animated film isn’t there, and he ends up being someone you wanna say “fuck off” too.

In fact there are times when I just run by him without talking… cause it interrupts the action.

And that’s where the game saves it’s self.

The action.

The combat in the game is VERY brutal and unforgiving (At least on Hellish it is) With you having to pull out all sorts of tricks to stay alive. The combat moves are awesome and have really cool animations to them. And there’s nothing more satisfying than beating the shit out of those goat demon guys before choosing to punish them to absolve them for their sins. Combat upgrades are divided into two trees which are Holy and Unholy. So far I haven’t absolved a single soul, which has led my Unholy combat tree to open up.

I’m not neglecting Holy cause it’s a shit tree, it’s just that I like to play all “up in their face” when it comes to combat and holy movies are more to do with range attacks.

The baddies mix it up pretty good too… I read some slack about the lack of enemy types, but this really isn’t that big a deal. Although the flying bat things fucken annoy me only cause I don’t know what the heck they’re meant to be.

What made the game even sweeter was the extra content that came with the Death edition, like the making of and a little talk session with the games art designer as he explains the art for the game and the concepts behind it. But I imagine if I’d picked up the regular copy there really wouldn’t have been anything else to do with the game afterwards.

With the combat being so good I am looking forward to the co-op DLC that’ll be out in April, and I’m also looking forward to playing as Isaac Clarke from Dead Space.

Whoa I’ve written quite a bit…

Let me just say… the combat in this game is freakin awesome and is the only reason you should check it out. If you want story, you’re better off watching the animated feature that accompanies the game. Sad thing is … I kinda agree now with IGN’s score of 7.5/10 now.

I’d give it more of a 8/10 my self.

With minus 2 for shit storytelling and lack of buddy moments with Virgil… Now if you’d excuse me, I gotta go finish up Greed.

Dante's Inferno: After Thoughts coming soon

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