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In Dante’s Inferno, gamers ‘go to hell’

by Brad A. Greenberg

February 14, 2010 | 7:45 pm

You probably saw this commercial during the Super Bowl. If, like me, you were wondering whether EA had made a game about the seven circles of hell defined in Dante’s “Divine Comedy,” the answer is yes. From NPR:

By the end of the poem, Dante has a deeper understanding of the Christian idea of sin. But to turn the poem into a video game, producers felt that the main character needed to be more active.

“Our reimagined version of Dante is as a warrior,” Knight says. “He’s a fallen crusader, and he’s fighting his way through hell.”

In the video game version, he’s doing it all for love. Beatrice, a love from the real Dante’s life, becomes the fictional Dante’s reason for going to hell — he must rescue her from the clutches of Satan.

Of course, some scholars aren’t happy. How dare EA re-imagine a 700-year-old epic poem. But the real question is how’s the game?

On his Tech Out blog, my old colleague Redmond Carolipio reviews “Inferno” and says that it’s enjoyable but felt too similar to the “God of War” series. Additionally, he wasn’t a fan of some of EA’s artistic liberties. For example:

There’s the Lust level, which assails you with groans, moans and phallic imagery that could make a lot of people blush—or puke.

You watch a giant, demonized version of a practically butt-naked Cleopatra climb the “carnal tower,” and eventually have to end the confrontation by stopping her from jumping on you and having her way. This was a little too in-your-face for me, and it felt like an unneeded sacrifice of artistic touch for the sake of shock value.

The graphics look amazing though, and I like the idea of any game where you are battling your way through hell. And, regardless, it could be worse. The game could have been “Muslim Massacre.”

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Since launching the blog in 2007, I’ve referred to myself as “a God-fearing Christian with devilishly good Jewish looks.” The description, I’d say, is an accurate one,...

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