Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Dante's Inferno.....of War?

I know imitation's the sincerest form of flattery, but c'mon, guys.

Dante's Inferno, Visceral Games' take on the infamous novel, -is- God of War. Yes. I just said it.

I'm not sorry either. Honestly, if Noriko from Heavenly Sword was dabbling around in the "How to Make An Epic Action Game" bullet point list made by the GoW series, then Inferno has gone to Staples, made a copy of it, and dared to stuff it into a decent looking folder instead of laminate it.

I understand the symbiosis of the industry and how we must take an idea or two from each other and expand on it in order to survive, but this is a bit much, even for me. The controls have been copy pasted, the boss battles and enemy encounters are similar right down to the finishing QTE events, and the graphics, while running at a rock solid 60 frames per second, have obviously taken a hit due to this fact.

I almost played the game in a state of utter disbelief, unable to fully enjoy it because I knew where it was all coming from, and unable to hate it because what was on display was very polished. The demo was actually very long and involving, taking me from the beginning of Dante's quest to rescue his love Beatrice, to his entry into one of the many circles of hell he's supposed to endure. It's a concept that is interesting, having been built upon the framework of The Divine Comedy, but it ends up being more unintentionally funny than dramatic. This however, just builds upon what I said earlier.

Everything this game ultimately would like to be, it just falls slightly short in my eyes due to a lack of a tangible soul. The combat is visceral, but lacks that extra oomph it would need to be satisfying. The sense of scale is played up well with convincing camerawork and explosive setpieces, but doesn't feel grand. The game's general design feels so much like God of War and every other action game inspired by it, that it makes me wonder why I'm not playing them instead.

This isn't to say that DI is not a good game however. It's just so blatantly running off of Sony Santa Monica's (the team who created God of War) ideas that it's difficult to justify playing it when the real God of War 3 is merely months away, and even an actual month away from this title's release. There is literally NOTHING I saw in this demo outside of its concept that I found terribly interesting or original, and I don't know if a novel story is enough to warrant a full on purchase. It actually bothers me because I want to see Visceral Games' vision of hell (if the demo's any indication, they've got some things up their sleeve), but I don't know. While Dead Space was a sleeper hit, actually outdoing the series it built its framework upon (Resident Evil 4), this just feels like an impressive knockoff more than anything else. We'll see when February rolls around.

I'll be damned if some of those kills weren't cool though.

No pun intended.

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