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Dante’s Inferno – Xbox 360

Dante’s Inferno – Xbox 360

Platform: Xbox 360cover di

Developer: Visceral Games

Publisher: EA

Release Date: February 9th, 2010

Genre: Action/Adventure

Nerd Rating: 6 out of 10

Whether we acknowledge it or not, a vast number of the games we play such as The WitcherMetro 2033, and S.T.A.L.K.E.R, are actually based on books, or take inspiration from novels, poems, and other forms of literature. Sometimes they’re awesome, other times they fail miserably. Dante’s Inferno on the Xbox 360 is about a 60/40 mix of the two. As a fan of Dante Alighieri’s epic trilogy, The Divine Comedy, I felt compelled to play the game to see how it stacks against the masterful poem written by the exiled poet.

That's gotta hurt!

That’s gotta hurt!

Dante’s Inferno puts players in the shoes of the poet Dante, re-imagined as a crusader. Following some poor decisions on Dante’s part, he’s stabbed in the back by an assassin. In a way, Dante “dies,” and literally faces Death himself. However, he refuses to leave this world until he atones for his sins, so Dante whoops Death’s ass, steals his scythe, and goes about his merry way to redemption. In other words: Dante is a fuckin’ undying, repentant badass! Meanwhile his girlfriend, Beatrice, and his father are murdered and their souls stolen by Lucifer. Dante then jumps into a portal to the Gates of Hell, meets the poet Virgil, and the two proceed into the depths of Dis so that Dante can absolve himself and save Beatrice. Confused yet? I was too as most of the beginning gameplay and story is untrue to the epic poem until we get to the Gates of Hell, at which point the game realigns with the classic epic.

whoa ewwThe gameplay in Dante’s Inferno is fast paced, insanely bloody, and so intense it almost puts God of War to shame.


Tortured souls, monstrous demons, evil babies, and ancient mythical creatures (many of which are accurate to the actual poem) attempt to prevent Dante from completing his mission. Players will primarily use Death’s Scythe (melee) and a Holy Cross (range/magic) to cut down his foes. New skills, combos, and powers can be unlocked through the skill trees, Holy, and Unholy. Which path is best is up to the player to decide through the choices made (absolve or punish).  Holy skills focus on the magic abilities used with the Cross, while the Unholy skills focus on Dante’s skills with the Scythe.

Each level in Dante’s Inferno has a healthy mix of hack-n-slash fighting, platforming, and puzzle solving to keep players entertained. There are 9 circles of Hell for the players to explore, the first of which is Limbo, where souls are judged. Limbo is followed by the layers named by the sin with which they are associated:

  • Lustseven+deadly+sins
  • Gluttony
  • Greed
  • Wrath
  • Heresy
  • Violence
  • Fraud
  • Treachery

One of my favorite things about this game is that each layer stays true to the themes in the epic. For example, in the poem, Cerberus guards the 3rd circle, Gluttony, and also serves as the games 3rd boss fight. Even the lost souls (read NPCs) Dante encounters along the way are mentioned in Inferno. These encounters allow players to punish or absolve the souls in question, adding a “good” and “bad” factor to Dante’s character development. Dante must punish or absolve any and all who stand in his way in order to make it to the 9th circle.

Here we have Dante gently guiding a demon to the light.

Here we have Dante gently guiding a demon to the light.

While the first few levels are gory, bloody fun, later levels do get repetitive. Enemies may look different but players just use the same tactics throughout each wave of enemies.

One can only handle the same pattern of gameplay so many times.

While the game does a good job of providing new powers through the Holy and Unholy set of skill trees, these powers are only interesting the first few times players use them. Then it’s back to whatever works. If your not into repetitive gameplay, puzzles, and bad guys, Dante’s Inferno may not be for you.

The level, character, and overall design of the game is it’s saving grace in my opinion. Each ring of Hell is designed to fit the narrative of the poem; Gluttons wallow in filth, Heretics burn in a rain of fire, and the Treacherous are buried up to their necks in ice and so on. The theme of “Abandon hope, all ye who enter here,” is prevalent throughout as players can almost always hear the moans and screams of the damned as their souls are tortured for eternity. Dante, Virgil, Beatrice, Lucifer, and every other character is detailed to have their own unique look, personality, and growth throughout the game. Bosses are designed to be unique to the layer they inhabit as well, making each level run together seamlessly. The game is well designed considering it takes place almost entirely in Hell.

The "great worm" Cerberus.

The “great worm” Cerberus.

I judged Dante’s Inferno harshly due to my love for the actual Dante’s work. However, aside from the beginning of the game, most of the story is pretty well told through the game’s plot. Really, the repetitive gameplay, lackluster enemies, and boring puzzles ruined this game for me.

It’s a good game to pass the time, but definitely not worth looking into if you are fan of good gameplay. I will say that it adds a unique perspective on the narrative poem, so check it out!

Written by Poseidon


Student, dreamer, video game enthusiast, with an affinity for all things anime. Poseidon (or Zack for short) is a full-time recruiter with a staffing agency in Raleigh, NC. When he’s not screening resumes and scheduling interviews, he’s usually nerding out and devouring vegan bacon in his free time.
If you have any questions or want to know more about Zack, reach out on Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn!
Twitch: PoseidonNB (schedule TBA)
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