Yes, based upon the classic poem which has defined our cultural view of the underworld for more than six centuries (“Abandon hope, all ye who enter here”), this game literally invites you to “go to hell.”
You play the role of the titular character, whose beloved Beatrice has been whisked off to hell, damned because of his daliances with another woman while he was on the Crusades.
Determined to avert this fate for both himself and his beloved, Dante must battle through the circles of hell to rescue Beatrice. And for those of you keeping score, this is just the first divergence from the source material.
The art direction is phenomenal and a treat to see. The environments, mirroring the Circles of Hell, are intricate and appropriately “hellish.” The City of Dis, in particular, is incredible to behold. The art team working at Visceral Games did an outstanding job.
The combat in the game feels satisfying and solid. The addition of being able to “redeem” or “admonish” the souls you encounter while battling your way through the game is an interesting option, but one that veers from the Dante of the epic poem. In the poem, Dante’s attempts to change the fate of the damned souls around him all fail. Of course, in the original, Dante was just on a tour of Hell in an attempt to reach a mountain path he’d gotten lost on in the night, so all this action-hero stuff isn’t exactly canon either.
Unfortunately, art direction aside, I do feel that the interesting moral twist of being able to admonish/redeem souls isn’t quite enough of a new gameplay mechanic. The game just doesn’t bring much new or innovative to the genre. Instead, it puts forth the same-old-same-old gameplay, albeit well-done, and relies on incredible vistas and environments to impress you. Dante’s Inferno, like Bayonetta, Darksiders and God of War, is good at what it does, and definitely presents itself well, but doesn’t attempt to push limits or break molds, which is a shame given its source material.