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Dante's Inferno

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Dante's Inferno
DanteInfer
Developer(s) Visceral Games

Artificial Mind and Movement (PSP)

Publisher(s) Electronic Arts
Release date NA February 9, 2010

EU February 5, 2010

AUS February 4, 2010

Genre Third-person hack and slash, action-adventure
Mode(s) Single-player
Age rating(s) BBFC: 18

ESRB: M

PEGI: 18+

USK: 18

Platform(s) PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, PlayStation Portable
Media Blu-ray Disc, DVD+R DL, UMD
Input Gamepad
Credits | Soundtrack | Codes | Walkthrough

Dante's Inferno is a third-person action-adventure game published by Electronic Arts developed by Visceral Games (formerly EA Redwood Shores). The game is almost entirely unrecognizable from Inferno, the first book of Dante Alighieri's epic poem, The Divine Comedy. The story of the game is written by Will Rokos and produced by Justin Lambros. The game was released on February 5, 2010 in Europe.

DC Comics' Wildstorm imprint will also carry a serialized adaptation of the game sequence, beginning in February 2010.

Gameplay

Dante's Inferno is an action-adventure where players take a third-person control of Dante, the game's protagonist, and engage heavily in fast-paced combat, platforming and environment-based puzzles. In the game, Dante's primary weapon is a Death's Scythe that can be used in a series of combination attacks and finishing moves, and his secondary weapon is a Holy Cross that fires a volley of energy as a projectile attack. In addition, Dante can use numerous magic based attacks and abilities channeled from a mana pool to help in combat, many of which are obtained as the game progresses. Another form of combat available to the character is an ability to take control of a large scale demon capable of dealing devastating attacks after its rider has been killed, a tactic oftentimes required to overcome a hazard or obstacle. A quick time event system is used when attempting to discharge the demon of its master and during boss fights, where players must press the highlighted button on screen in order to continue the chain of attacks, or be countered and wounded otherwise.

Many attack combinations and abilities can be unlocked and/or upgraded in exchange for souls, an in-game currency that is collected upon defeating enemies or locating soul fountains. Each of these purchasable skills fall into two categories; into Holy (represented by blue orbs) and Unholy (represented by red orbs) skill trees. At the beginning of the game, both skill trees are equal in power, but as Dante gains more Holy and Unholy experience in his fights more Holy and Unholy abilities become available for purchase. That experience is collected through the game's "Punish or Absolve" system, where enemies upon defeat are either be punished or absolved with the Holy Cross. Much experience can also be accumulated in punishing or absolving the damned souls of many famous figures in history that appear in Dante Alighieri's original The Divine Comedy — upon choosing their fates, players enter a mini game where the characters' "sins" move towards the center of the screen, pressing required action symbols once the sin in place. Players are rewarded with more souls and experience the more collected.

There is plenty platforming in the combat including swinging between ropes, climbing walls, and the environment-based puzzle sequences can impair progress. In addition, there are numerous hidden passages where biblical relics can be found and equipped to improve a certain ability of Dante's.

Downloadable Content

Currently two pieces of downloadable content are planned for release: Dark Forest and Trials of St Lucia. Dark Forest will add a prologue level.

Trials of St Lucia will feature cooperative gameplay and a game-editor. Players will be able to share their created maps and levels with others. The new playable character in this DLC is St. Lucia, a Christian martyr described as Dante's Guardian Angel. Trials of St Lucia is planned to be released on April 29, 2010.

Marketing

Electronic Arts partnered with GameStop for a one-day promotion of Dante's Inferno on September 9, 2009. Those that pre-ordered the game were offered a $6.66 discount, the Number of the Beast. In addition, EA conducted an unsolicited mailing in which checks for $200 were sent to selected video game critics, with the following note: "In Dante's Inferno, Greed is a two-headed beast. Hoarding wealth feeds one beast, and squandering it satiates the other. By cashing this check you succumb to avarice by hoarding filthy lucre, but by not cashing it, you waste it, and thereby surrender to prodigality. Make your choice and suffer the consequence for your sin. And scoff not, for consequences are imminent." A viral marketing campaign was also launched featuring a website and ad for a fake religious game called "Mass: We Pray." When attempting to order the game, the website deems you a heretic and plays to a trailer for Dante's Inferno, as well as providing links to the related Facebook app.

A playable demo was released for PlayStation 3 on December 10, 2009, and for Xbox 360 on December 24, 2009.

A video posted by Veronica Belmont on YouTube revealed another promotional item sent to the Qore and PlayStation: The Official Magazine offices, and to Ben "Yahtzee" Croshaw of the Escapist's Zero Punctuation column. The package contained a small wooden box which, when opened, played the Rick Astley song Never Gonna Give You Up, thus 'Rickrolling' the journalists that received it. The music could not be stopped through any means other than destroying the box using the hammer and goggles provided. Belmont is shown destroying the box, having given in to Wrath as the note then found within the box predicted.

A commercial for the game was shown during the 2010 Super Bowl and was noted for its unusual (and possibly ironic or satirical) use of Bill Withers' song "Ain't No Sunshine". Time magazine reporter James Poniewoziek referred to the ad as "something magical and funny".

"Go To Hell" Application

Visceral Games created "Go To Hell," a Dante's Inferno-themed application that lets users condemn their friends, groups, or photos to one of the nine circles of hell. They can then vote to punish or absolve them, or torment them with activities like beast massage or succubus castration.

"Battle of the Damned" RPG

The Facebook application developer Lolapps, Inc. similarly adapted a Facebook role-playing game, "Battle of the Damned", that lets users fight through the nine circles of hell to rescue their murdered and damned wife. It rose nearly 1 million monthly active users in less than a week after launching.

Super Bowl Ad

Development

Controversy

Prior to Inferno's release, in June 2009, a protest began during E3 2009 in San Diego to oppose the game. Around 20 protesters, claiming to be from a church in Ventura County, held up signs that called the game sacrilegious and labeled it possibly insensitive to people's beliefs. Protesters even went as far as calling EA the anti-christ. This led to many people accusing EA of creating this as a marketing hoax to promote the game. A few days later, it was officially confirmed by EA spokesperson Tammy Scachter that they had hired people to protest the game and that there was no actual protest.

Later, in October 2009, it was announced that the game would include an Xbox 360 achievement and a PlayStation 3 trophy entitled "Bad Nanny", which rewards players for killing unbaptized infants. This sparked a conflict with the International Nanny Association (INA), in which they encouraged supporters to oppose the game. The INA claimed that the achievement is offensive to real nannies and that it also promotes real-life hardcore violence. In retaliation, the INA asked the Entertainment Software Ratings Board (ESRB) to omit the reward and elements of infant violence. The ESRB insisted that its role was merely to label products appropriately, not to censor them, so their request could not be met. Despite this, the INA is still boycotting the game with hopes of it being changed before release.

Special Editions

The PlayStation 3 will release a Divine Edition of Dante's Inferno which comes with Custom Divine Edition packaging, Along with the actual game, it will include developer commentaries, a Wayne Barlow digital art book, the game's full soundtrack, the Dark Forest premium downloadable content pack (available March), and a digital copy of the complete Longfellow translation of Dante Alighieri's Inferno. This edition costs the same as the standard edition. As of January 14, 2010, it is only known that America will receive this version.

Australia and Europe will exclusively receive the Death Edition of Dante's Inferno. It contains a player costume of Isaac Clark from Dead Space, a making-of documentary, the documentary "Dante in History", the full soundtrack, documentary on the creation of music and audio, digital artbook edited by visual designer Wayne Barlowe, over 10 minutes of scenes from Dante's Inferno An Animated Epic, digital reprint of the complete poem in English. It will be available for both the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360. In Australia, the Death Edition is sold at EB Games for an extra AUD$20. In the UK the Death Edition is a GAME exclusive and retails for £10.00 more than the standard.

Reception

[hide] Reception
Aggregate scores
Aggregator Score
GameRankings 74.83% (360)

76.23% (PS3)

Metacritic 74/100 (360)

76/100

Review scores
Publication Score
1UP.com C+
Eurogamer 6/10
Game Informer 7/10
GamePro 4/5
GameSpot 6.5/10
IGN 7.5/10
Official Xbox Magazine (UK) 8/10

The game has received average to generally favorable reviews. It has been criticized for its close similarity to the God of War series. However, it has been praised for its unique setting, art, and level design. GamesRadar gave the game a 7/10, citing repetitive gameplay as a detrimental aspect of the game, dismissing it as a "competent God of War clone".

IGN gave it a score of 7.5, praising the art style while criticizing the derivative gameplay.

Destructoid gave Dante's Inferno a 9.0, noting that it "borrows heavily from predecessors" but concluding that "it's one that fans of action shouldn't miss". Game Daily awarded the game 8/10.

GameSpot gave it 6.5 out of 10 and said "Dante's epic quest loses momentum long before you reach the end."

The game currently has a Metacritic average score of 74 and 76 for the 360 and PS3 version respectively. Cheat Code Central has given it a 92 saying "It's about eight to ten hours of pure, fast-paced action no one should look down on". Computer and Video Games has, despite citing it as a heavy copycat, given Dante's Inferno a 90 saying "A copycat, yes, but when it's this thrilling, brutal, and frankly, awesome, we don't care".

GamePro reviewed it with a score of 80, criticizing its heavy borrowing of elements from other games and not creating a unique enough feel, while greatly praising the level architecture and combat.

NowGamer has awarded the game an 8.9 out of ten, and an 8 out of 10, for the Xbox 360 and PS3 respectively, saying "You'll surely be compelled to keep hacking your way through its sordid depths to the bitter end".

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