Wednesday, 17 February 2010

The Moderner - Dante's Inferno (XBOX 360)

They say no man has ever seen Hell. Dante has. He's fought through it to get back the one he loves: Beatrice. To find her, he has to go through the Nine Circles of Hell and face the devil himself, Lucifer. On his quest, he will face Hell's minions, be tempted by Lust, Greed and Gluttony, stare Death in the face before ripping it off his head and ride a Hell Beast.
The story, adapted from Divine Comedy, makes for a cracking game plot, indeed. Facing demons from the very depths of Hell is a not akin to fighting the bad guys in Knights of the Round, only this time you get to use a Scythe and an array of moves and Beatrice's Holy Cross, with which you can send forth Righteous Force to help subdue your enemies. Right, that's the story covered. What's next?

To the left, scratch a little to the left

Right, the first thing you notice after booting it up and setting options is the Intro before you start slaying merrily. Lavished with care, attention to detail and incredible voice acting, it sets the scene quite nicely. Now, a word of note, this game isn't for the squeamish. There is plenty of claret and guts (litterally in one of the sections), impalings and people on fire. But the graphics are so rich and deatailed also, that it is, easily just one of the best looking games I've played. It's a shame that a couple of the bad guys you face (especially in Gluttony) aren't well deatiled. Sure, they look gross, with loads of flab and slime, but they are just a bit bland. the Hell Beasts, Riders and some of the tougher enemies are well detailed though. There's even people falling on fire from the sky when you have to get on Archeron's boat, accompanied by screams of pain and torment. The boat that you have to ride on is well animated as well, with the Head being alive and at the 'head' (funnily enough) of the boat. Lust.....well....let's just say that it has images of personal parts as soon as you get through the Storm Wall. But that's not to say that it isn't as well detailed. Even Dante is awesomely animated, detailed and voice acted. It sure does smack of professional. With the cross stitched to his chest, the excess ribbon wrapped around his arms and hanging off his hands flaps when he walks and blows a tad when he's standing still. This amount of detail is what makes looking at it so great.

So, the graphics are great, but what are the controls like? Well, they're simpler to use than in Bayonetta, thats for sure. With one button for Strong attack, one for weak, one for your Holy Cross, one to block, one to jump. right stick dodges and the left moves Dante. Dante moves with ease, but sometimes doesn't always do what you want, especially against bosses. Actually, that might just be me being inept.

My, thats a big one you have there!

So, gameplay then. Sometimes likened to God of War on PS2/PS3, its a hack 'n' slash affair with magic thrown in. It starts off well enough, with you bashing buttons and throwing Righteous Force around willy nilly at anything that looks like it's going to use it's weapon to pick your nose. But after a few levels, it becomes...well...boring. There's only so much hacking and slashing you can do before you wish for something else to do. Also, some of the levels are unimaginative and quite bland. Sometimes, you can never tell where you're supposed to go, especially when absailing down walls). I mean, yes, you can climb walls, ride Hell Beasts, use a variety of moves (with more to unlock after you've leveled up your Holy and Unholy sides and purchased them with the souls you have collected), pull switches, use levers and such, but it gets samey after a while. You can also save certain people scattered around Hell or Punish them for their sins. If you decide to Absolve them, then it becomes a 'press the right button when the icon gets over it' sequence, which is quite a good bit, as it gets harder the more buttons you press at the right time. You can also collect 3 stones which make your Absolutions more powerful and easier to pull off. You can also collect items to make you stronger, extend your life and so on. But for the price of £39.99, it's not really that worth it. Yes, its good fun for the first half hour to an hour, but after that I can only feel that I've been ripped off. Don't get me wrong, its presented well, with excellent music (an original orchestrial score of the highest quality that wouldn't be out of place in a Roman/Sci-Fi epic), excellent voice acting, great graphics (apart from some bland textures) and the way its presented, but I just feel it needs a bit more variety in it.
Its not a bad game, its just a case of style over substance, and for that, it suffers.


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