I got the chance to not only watch the animated film but also play some of the full retail version of the Dante’s Inferno game. Both are excellent.
Animated by Film Roman (the guys who previously partnered up with EA to create the animated film Dead Space: Downfall), Dante’s Inferno: An Animated Epic follows pretty much the same story arc as the poem The Divine Comedy which the game too is based from: Dante, a warrior returning from fighting in the Crusades finds his lover Beatrice dying outside her home. She dies and Lucifer the devil takes her soul to Hell despite her soul being pure. She made a deal with the Devil that Dante would remain faithful and pure whilst away from her but it seems he broke the promise.
Dante, accompanied by a poet called Virgil sent from Heaven, travels through the nine circles of Hell to save Beatrice and defeat Lucifer. He travels through each of the nine circles, the sins he committed during his time fighting in the Crusades are shown to him and people in his life damned to Hell for all eternity torment him as he traverses.
The story itself is fairly dark, but the animators go all out to show the gruesome depictions of Hell and the violence that is in the video game: at one point, several people screamed in horror when one particular demon suffered a very brutally vivid death. For 104 minutes, the film didn’t feel overly long and hopefully this is the same in the game because what I played of the game seems to follow a more in-depth and extended version of the accompanying film.
Expect a lot of gore throughout the game because the film is full of it. Also, expect lots of nudity and violence because the film had it by the bucketloads. There’s no question that Dante’s Inferno feels like a variation of God of War but thankfully the time I spent with it and the film itself didn’t feel like a knock-off version. It comes into its own as the character developments, the journey through Hell and the action & violence have their own sense of enjoyment varying from the experience had with God of War.
The film isn’t without fault: on the odd occasion it bumbles along and certain scenes seem to fly past without explanation and the pacing seems bumpy at times. Again, hopefully this doesn’t happen in the game because the narrative will play a big part in the game’s fluidity.
The film is a visual treat and even the most gruesome moments in the film weirdly fit because the basis of the plot and the setting sets the narrative up for a horde of violence. I got the same feelings from the game too: the visuals are excellent, the violence and gore fits the game’s structure and narrative. Along with this, the controls feel tight and well mapped-out and the attention to detail seems to be very high.
Dante’s Inferno for some will serve as a filler while waiting for God of War 3 but I don’t think it should be that: the game deserves your full attention and it shouldn’t be judged before really trying it. It looks like it’s going to be brutal fun that will be worth the retail price. As for the film, if you’re skeptical over the fact that it is animated… I’m not an anime fan, I don’t particularly like animated films but I was thoroughly impressed with the film. It really surprised me with how enjoyable it is. It’s worth at the very least a rent, especially if you love a bit of violence in your visual entertainment.
The game is released on the 5th February in Europe and the 9th February in the US, on the 360, Ps3 and PSP. The film is released on the 9th February on Blu-Ray and DVD.