Monday, March 8, 2010

Dante's Inferno - NOT for the sensitive souls

Not very long after finishing Assassin's Creed 2, I started up Dante's Inferno (a b-day present from Rachel). It's a lot of fun. It's also so over-the-top batshit insane that I worry it's warping my very psyche. This is coming from a guy that has played through any number of Call of Duty/Grand Theft Auto/"insert crazy death and mayhem title here" games. But Dante's Inferno is so far beyond any of those, I find myself coming up with buffer activities before bed just so I don't have dreams inspired by this f'd up game.

NOTE: If you are easily offended, stop reading this post. Seriously. Maybe tomorrow I'll talk about something more uplifting. There's always WAA in a couple days. Heck, even if you're fairly difficult to offend, I'm still not sure you should continue.

What really strikes me about Dante's Inferno is how cavalier it is about human suffering. Granted, the game takes place in Hell. As in the place where the damned go to suffer eternally. So it's only natural that things should be a bit on the bleak side. But how about a big spiky metal pole with human beings impaled on it, writhing and moaning in agony? And that's not even an object with which you can's just a piece of scenery. This game is not bashful in the slightest with its depiction of human torture, and the sounds in particular drive the point home a bit too convincingly for my comfort.

The suffering isn't reserved for humans, as Dante metes out a fair bit of hyper-violent punishment to the minions of the Underworld. Lots of blood and guts in this title, as well as enemies getting torn apart, strangled, decapitated, and other forms of violence I lack the vocabulary to describe.

If you like a heaping helping of sex with your violence, then Dante's Inferno is definitely the game for you. There's quite a bit of nudity, bare breasts in particular. In fact, this is the first game I've played with female nudity (search the archives if you want to hear about my first brush with male-full frontal in a video game). Now, I'm not one of these Quaker types that thinks there's anything inherently immoral about the human form "au naturale". Breasts are just breasts, after all. But how about 50 foot tall breasts with giant, convex (???) nipples that waggle what appear to be tongues (double ???) at you? It's a sight that's more than a little disturbing.

But the craziest thing I've encountered so far in this game are the babies with knives for hands. Yeah, you read that right...babies. Tiny infants that attempt to stalk and murder you. And you have to fight them, including the tearing apart deaths and such. The game explains that these are unbaptized babies that never had a chance to find the "one true religion".'s justified then? I'm not sure I get it. Shall I assume that Buddhist babies become knife-wielding maniacs?

To be fair, I get the impression that Dante's Inferno is taking the piss out of hardcore Christian theology (especially Catholicism) in many places. One could conclude that the whole game is a meditation on the hypocrisy of a religious system that give power and wealth to those who claim to hold the keys to salvation, which is meant for all but doled out to the privileged few. But then I get an Achievement like this one and it makes me wonder:

"Bad Nanny" - 10pts
Kill 20 unbaptized babies

No matter how you spin it (and Penny Arcade has tried), that's pretty messed up...


  1. I wonder, do the babies have to make such babyish noises? I think the whole thing would be much easier if they didn't. >)

  2. Well, naturally you want the most realism possible in your "fighting through Hell" simulator...