Now normally anime that uses the bible as the story rip off turn me off. It’s not that their boring but usually they try to shove the particular brand of religion down someone’s throat and usually do it poorly. Evangelion is the best example and since I hate it very much I usually color anything bible related as total junk. So here comes Dante’s Inferno, a video game based on a book (The Divine Comedy) that’s based on the bible.
Let me get this out of the way and let this loom over the rest of the review. It’s the crusades (weirdly this is only the second game I have ever played in this time era) and you’re a crusader who is guarding some cells when they all break out and start attacking you. You’re using a rather overcompensating halberd to take on a bunch of fist fighters in a hack and slash style brawl where you have a massive advantage and the enemies haven’t so much as a chance. Combat for this section is rather boring but it does get you used to a guy who serves as a medieval knight who’s way to athletic to be accurate for the time period.
Then the game gives you a quick tutorial on the jumping mechanic then kills you. To be honest when I first saw the direction for this cutscene I couldn’t help but wonder what Dante (the guy you play as) has in his ears. The dude who stabs you in the back with a knife makes a ton of noise coming up to you yet you shrug it off, collapse and then death appears. Now when I looked at this and started fighting him I immediately thought this was one of those “supposed to loose” fights. Turns out it isn’t, but for Altana’s sake EA could you not fall into the Final Fantasy XI syndrome of making fights take too long? The fight against death takes over ten minutes to do between having to guard and counterattacking while dealing with the moving platform you’re both on and a camera that’s not controllable with no lock on system you begin to think is this game really too hard on the second easiest difficulty? (Four in total) Now a ten minute boss fight I expect on the hardest setting, not on second easiest. I’m too lazy to replay the demo on easy to see the difference (if there even is one) so I’m just going to leave it there.
Eventually you cheat death and steal his scythe to replace your halberd. Come home to see your sexy wife to tell her that the crusades are a lie and you find out your family has been murdered and then the fun part begins on why this game is rated M. See, when you see your wife, her dress is half open revealing her breast and to top that off she has a sword stuck in her gut. No blood curiously, but then her soul escapes from her mouth and you’re treated to a face full of soul boobies. Now, I heard God of War does something along these lines, but this is the first I’ve seen of this much nudity in a video game that isn’t designed for it (in other words, not a Hentai or Eroge game). And thus begins an epic tale of…actually, I’m not quite sure. The description I gave is rather detailed of the demo, but the problem I have is that there isn’t a whole lot of backstory given. Not giving the backstory can be okay at times, but giving too little makes you wonder what the character’s motivations are other than it’s his very good looking wife. Also he has sewn a leather cross onto his entire torso for who knows what reason. Lots of questions here.
So when I first played this game it came across as a hack and slash with some RPG elements just like every other game to date. However the game includes a really poorly done dodge mechanic. You see, when doing a dodge I want something like what’s out of Dissidia: Final Fantasy. When I use the dodge move with the stick idle you jump backwards, left and right appropriately does a circle-strafe jump and when pressing forward you leap and flip over your opponent. Sounds easy right? Well in Dante’s Inferno you have to use the right stick which in combat gets to be a real problem switching from the dodge stick to the attack button. Armored Core 4 and 4A both have this problem where the buttons are needed to attack and the sticks are to move with the triggers constantly needed to be used to move faster than a brisk jog that a 10m tall hunk of metal can do. Ironically I was just talking to Ultimaknight about this very same problem of controls becoming too complicated for the average person to use. This is something I refer to as “The Counter-Strike Effect” where the developers assume every person is a twitch player and has reflexes that puts light to shame. No. This doesn’t work for me.
Lastly I should mention the level up system and how awful the idea is. See, in order to skill yourself you have to beat up dudes and stuff to collect souls but that’s not the problem. The problem is in order to level up skills under the either holy (Magic Cross that serves as your projectile attack) or unholy (Death’s scythe) you have to grapple an enemy and rapidly mash a button. Now I hate button mashing like this for the reason my hands aren’t exactly muscular and this hurts after a while. In fact, I got an old toy out of an old board game called Knock-out called the Rammer Hammer so I could skip these sorts of events just by placing the hammer over the button and pressing a different button so it does the mashing for me. But the problem isn’t so much the button mashing is how long it takes. If you need to gain holy or unholy EXP you need to spend five seconds doing this and during the entire time you’re wide open. No this sort of grind is pointless and should have been scrapped. Oh and on that subject, the game also suffers from a case of the quick-time events like how Star Wars: The Force Unleashed does them. When are people going to drop these events because they are annoying to do?
I can also mention something else. Army of Two: The 40th Day’s demo hit too. Played it and while it’s still as non-appealing as the original was, I really have to ask what the point of me logging in with my EA account is. I don’t work well with over the shoulder shooters so I generally avoid them.