Tag Archive: dante

The Son of Sparda Returns

It has been over a decade since Devil May Cry smashed its way onto the gaming scene with fast paced, highly stylized action sequences, and introduced us all to our favorite half-demon, half-human, Dante, with his dual pistols and giant sword. And in honor of the new game that is supposed to launch later this year, Capcom has decided to bundle together the first three chapters of Dante’s video game life and give us the Devil May Cry: HD Collection.

Now, the name obviously denotes that this collection sees the first three games get a new coat of paint and now can all be played in stunning HD graphics. But aside from this, Capcom has also introduced some extra behind the scenes bonus content for the diehard fan base and almost 100 achievements/trophies between the three games that should keep all you completionists out there busy long into the night.

Unfortunately, since the game is mostly just a port though, we also get to see many of those last-generation games’ flaws. Compared to what we’ve gotten in this current console generation, Dante has not aged well at all. The cameras, the controls, and a lot of other very basic elements that may have been on par 10 years ago, are now null and void. Not to say they make the game unplayable, but anyone who hoped to use this as a way to catch up on the series incase you missed a title here or there may be in for a rude awakening and it may take even those who played the games the first time around a little while longer to re-adjust than they might expect.

But once you do get used to it again, all the great action and things that made this series great to begin with will rise up. The style meter, Devil Trigger, combo and mid-air attacks, and Devil Arms are all right where you left them and so if you’re looking for an excuse to replay these games, this is it. Not to mention that with the suggested retail price of $40 for the disc, you’re looking at less than $15 per game, which is the same as a XBLA or PSN title and Dante, even an older, less cutting-edge Dante, is still worth that much. So, even though it may show its age compared to what we’ve become used to, if you are a diehard fan of Devil May Cry or a newcomer looking to see what it’s all about, this is a solid time killer that is worth its price of admission.

SUMMARY: Although the games may not have aged as well as hoped, fans of the series are still going to be getting their money worth with the convenience of having three games on one disc, nearly 100 achievements, and some behind the scenes bonus content.

  • THE GOOD: HD graphics, achievements, bonus content, and all for less than $15 per title
  • THE BAD: Technically speaking, none of the games have held up as well as we may have hoped
  • THE UGLY: My fighting ability according to the style meter

SCORE: 7.0

Devil May Cry: HD Collection is available on Xbox 360 and PS3. Primary version reviewed was on the Xbox 360.

Originally Published: January 14, 2011, on youtube.com/CGRUndertow

As a part of CGR Undertow, I reviewed Dante’s Inferno for the PS3 from EA. Following the first chapter of the revered Divine Comedy by Dante Aligheri, Dante’s Inferno has you dive through all 9 circles of hell in order to save your beloved Beatrice.

Originally Published: February 17, 2010, on 1050ESPN.com (now ESPNNewYork.com)

Dante Alighieri’s The Divine Comedy is one of the most influential works of literature the world has known. It depicted the concept of hell, purgatory, and heaven in such detail that it became a widely believed standard that is still referenced to this day. It also was the first major work of literature that used the Tuscan dialect in early 14th century Italy instead of Latin and paved the way for the modern Italian language. With that kind of historical gravitas and background, no wonder EA wanted to make a video game series out of it. I had a chance to talk to Phil Marineau, EA’s Senior Product Manger for Dante’s Inferno, about the game’s adaptation process and more.

To listen to my interview with Phil Marineau,

Dante’s Inferno, the first part of The Divine Comedy, sees the main character, Dante, having to face all his sins from his life as a Crusader as he makes his way through all nine layers of hell on his way to redemption. In the EA version, Dante is not only looking to redeem himself, but to save his true love and ideal woman, Beatrice (it always has to do with a chick).

Along the way, Dante comes across some of history’s most influential beings, from Pontius Pilate to Attila the Hun, in an effort to help depict the nine layers of hell and sin. Limbo, lust, gluttony, greed, anger, heresy, violence, fraud, and treachery all have their famous faces and in the game, absolving or punishing history’s most infamous sinners can also help you level up your abilities.

Unfortunately, like many of these third-person, action-adventure God of War clones, no matter how much you level up, you really only need two or three attacks while the rest are pretty useless. You can standard light attack and heavy attack your way through all nine levels of hell (just like I did) without having to level anything up except, maybe your health bar.

Another sour note about this game is that, at least right now, there isn’t much to bring you back into the game once you beat it. Although there is DLC on the way in March with a prequel level, and then a level-building multiplayer in April, as of right now, there isn’t much to make you want to go back to Hell once you’ve been through it.

I will say though, EA’s interpretation of Dante’s classic work is one of the most visually stunning games I’ve seen in a while. The level and character details are exquisite and the creative way in which they imagined classic characters like Cerberus, the mythical giant three-headed dog and guard of gluttony, is a sight to behold. When you add in an original orchestral theme from the Philharmonic Orchestra in London and the peripherals for Dante’s Inferno are top notch.

The plot is very compelling (the story is still popular after 700 years) and the characters are well developed, helped by top-notch voice acting and an amazing mixture of 2D anime and full 3D cut scenes. Add in EA having Dante sew a tapestry across his chest in the shape of a cross that tells his story up to the point where he enters hell as a creative masterstroke and you have probably the best interpretation of Dante’s Inferno yet.

This is one of literature’s most classic stories and EA did a spectacular job bringing it to life. Unfortunately, in terms of gameplay and difficulty, this game is lacking and shouldn’t take most gamers more than 10 hours to blow through. Dante’s Inferno is worth a look, but I would hold off on buying it outright if I didn’t have the cash to burn.

Ratings are based on a scale of 1 to 10 with 10 being the best.

Graphics: 10.0: Graphics don’t get much better than this. From details like the eternally damned trying to reach up from the rivers of blood they are forever fated to drown in to the design of Dante himself, this game is visually stunning. Add in beautifully rendered 2D and 3D cut scenes and I can’t find any fault in the graphics.

Audio: 10.0: An original score composed and played by the Philharmonic Orchestra in the world-famous Abbey Road Studios in London, tremendous voice acting, and spot-on SFX make the audio something EA should be proud of.

Plot/Plot Development: 10.0: The story is a classic for a reason and EA did a brilliant job staying as true to the original story as possible. The handful of changes and additions they made were insightful and only added to this timeless tale of redemption.

Gameplay: 6.0: The game is simple. An average gamer will blow through the entire story mode in 10 hours and will do it without a more complex combo than hitting light or heavy attack three times in a row. Although relatively glitchless, the game doesn’t put up a challenge.

Replay Value: 5.0: This category is saved a little by the fact that a DLC multiplayer will be coming out in April, but the fact that the original game or even the “Divine” edition doesn’t come with a code for this multiplayer means you’re going to have to shell out more cash just to play more of this game. It seems like a blatant attempt for EA just to milk you for more cash when the original game itself is barely worth the cover price.

Overall (not an average): 7.0: A compelling story with complex characters makes this at least worth a look, but simple gameplay and little to no replay value really knocks this clear God of War clone. An even mix of quality and quantity needs to be found before a game is worth having $60 shelled out for it. Rent it before you decide on buying it.

Dante’s Inferno is available now for Xbox 360 and PS3.

-Ray Carsillo

Originally Published: February 16, 2010, on Lundberg.me and SportsRev.TV

I talked about Disney beginning to destroy Marvel with their reaction to Captain America 602, reviewed Horns by Joe Hill and Dante’s inferno from EA for Xbox 360 and PS3, and revealed my latest hot chick pick of the week: Courtney Elyse Black.

Fly Me to the Moon

Originally Published: January 24, 2010, on 1050ESPN.com (now ESPNNewYork.com), Lundberg.me, and Examiner.com

When one mentions Sega, the first thing that comes to mind, for most people, is a spiky blue hedgehog. However, Sega has taken steps over the past couple years to let people know there is a lot more to them than our superfast friend. First came Jack in last year’s sleeper hit Madworld, with his chainsaw and the game’s Sin City style sending gamers into a frenzy. Now, with the help of Devil May Cry and Viewtiful Joe director Hideki Kamiya, Sega unveils their latest creation: Bayonetta.

With guns in hand (and attached to each ankle), as well as swords, claws, and other weapons you acquire over the course of the game, Bayonetta, a 500 year old witch who escaped the witch hunts of the 15th century, rages her own personal war against the forces of heaven as she fights to not only restore the balance between light and dark, but also to restore the memories she lost when she was forced into a near five century hibernation by her fellow witches.

As soon as the game starts, Kamiya’s style oozes out of the game with over the top characters and situations, a pop version of Sinatra’s “Fly Me to the Moon” blasting in the background, and an ageless battle between heaven and hell unfolding as you’re immediately thrown into a face-off against several angel-like creatures.

The other thing you immediately notice is that the fighting system is exactly like Devil May Cry. It is to the point that you wonder how much work Kamiya actually did on this game or if he just redesigned his classic Dante as a female in a cat-suit. It’s not to say that the system is poor, but points off for lack of originality. Also, the PS3 version lags tremendously compared to the Xbox 360 version so the fighting system on that console lacks the smoothness necessary to pull off many of the elaborate combos that define this fighting style.

One of the nice nuances added to this fighting style, and for many of the game’s button prompt sequences, is that Bayonetta’s power comes from her hair and that she uses her hair to serve not only as most of the construct of her cat-suit, but to construct giant fists and feet to finish off some of her more devastating combos. She also uses her hair to summon hellish demons to her side to finish off all of the massive bosses you have to deal with over the course of the game in some tremendous cut scenes.

To counteract the lack of originality in the gameplay, the game is graphically beautiful. Of course, a good portion of that deals with the emphasis on some of Bayonetta’s…best assets…but even when not focusing on those select areas, the levels, the angel creatures, the demons, the bosses, everything looks like you really are invading a heavenly stronghold.

Throw in phenomenal voice acting (although it was weird that no voice actors were credited in the end credits), a great instrumental soundtrack and some great pop covers on a Frank Sinatra classic, and spot-on SFX and the peripherals for this game are top notch.

It is a shame that it looks like that the great music and graphics are mostly being used to try to cover up a plot with more holes in it than a Palm Beach golf course. As Bayonetta starts to uncover her memories, she comes across a small girl, who starts calling her “Mommy”, that ends up being a time-traveling version of herself, and she has to fight her father, who might also be her husband, who is also the right eye of their god, and Bayonetta may have died, and then come back because of a magical gem, and that is why she hibernated, and…I am confused just writing this. When you also consider that everyone seems to make these unbelievable escapes, whether they are magical or not, and the plot might just make your head hurt like a fourth-rate anime.

If you can look past the plot holes and the Devil May Cry gameplay mirroring and get into the game, there is actually a lot of replay value for this considering it only has a one-player mode. There are endless collectibles and secrets to find as you progress through the game and after beating the game the first time through, you unlock hard mode. Mind you, a full playthrough on normal should only take you 12-13 hours, so even with the replay value; this game will probably give you a total experience of only 25-30 hours if you beat every mode and collect every item.

Speaking of collectibles and lack of originality, the economy system for this game to buy items and maneuvers requires collecting…golden rings. Really Sega? You couldn’t just make some digital cash? Just because you call them “halos” in this game, doesn’t mean we don’t know what they really are. Such a setup is fitting for a game that is best described as “fun, but trite”.

Ratings are based on a scale of 1 to 10 with 10 being the best.

Graphics: 10.0: This game is gorgeous in every aspect. From the color schemes, to the facial expressions, to creature design, to water effects, this game delivers on the visual spectrum.

Audio: 9.0: I loved the cover of Frank Sinatra’s “Fly Me to the Moon” along with a tremendous original orchestral theme. I could’ve used a fuller soundtrack though besides those two songs and that knocks this down a point. The voice acting was top-notch, even if no one knows who the actors were, and the SFX were spot-on.

Plot/Plot Development: 5.0: The plot was more convoluted than most animes and even after beating the game, leaves you asking questions about a lot of the characters. The character development was clearly more focused on how Bayonetta physically developed instead of how her personality should develop. Add-in that the game had a very fast pace to it, which was probably intentional, and you can see the plot was not a primary concern for the development team.

Gameplay: 7.0: The Xbox 360 was very smooth. The PS3 version was anything but. Taking away the glitches, the gameplay was still a blatant rip off of Devil May Cry and left you looking for more.

Replay Value: 8.0: A very good score considering this is only a one-player game. There are a lot of collectibles, a lot of unlockables, and you have to play through the game fully once before you can unlock hard mode.

Overall (not an average): 7.0: A lack of originality really hurts this score. There are games that take elements from other games, and then there are blatant rip offs. Bayonetta is the latter. It is a beautiful looking game that hopes some make-up and bright lights will cover up its deeper flaws. The plot is poorly developed, but the action is good, if not repetitive. A surprisingly amount of replay value for a single player game helps to give this game a passable score, but at the end of the day, I recommend this as a rental, not a purchase, especially if you are eyeing up the badly optimized PS3 version.

Bayonetta is available now for Xbox 360 and PS3.

-Ray Carsillo

On the PS3 Horizon

Originally Published: January 5, 2010, on 1050ESPN.com (now ESPNNewYork.com) and Lundberg.me

Continuing the momentum of my last article previewing games coming out in 2010, I had a chance here in NYC to get a hands-on preview with some of the biggest upcoming titles for the first quarter of 2010 for Sony’s PS3. Among the titles we looked at include God of War 3, Just Cause 2, Bayonetta, Dante’s Inferno, and Dark Void. I know that Bayonetta actually comes out today, but it is still a good way for those of you who may be on the fence to take a look at some game footage, stills, and get some info from the folks over at Sega themselves. So, without further ado, I present to you my PS3 Q1 2010 preview!

Ray Carsillo Q1 2010 PS3 Preview Party
Video by Jared Bodden

Originally Published: December 31, 2009, on 1050ESPN.com (now ESPNNewYork.com) and Lundberg.me

As the year comes to an end, I think this is an opportune time to take a look forward at the year ahead in gaming. Last year we did this and the nine games we previewed were either awesome as expected (Ghostbusters, Batman: Arkham Asylum, Madworld, and Brutal Legend), pretty good (Punch-Out and Resident Evil 5), or delayed until early 2010 (Bioshock 2, God of War 3, and Dante’s Inferno). The three games delayed until early 2010 are basically shoe-ins for this year’s list as well because all the delays have done is make us salivate more as details leaked out to us. So with no further ado, here are the top 10 games to look forward to in 2010.

1. Bioshock 2: I said it last year and I’ll say it again this year: I will go screaming through the halls here at ESPN the day this comes out from sheer, overwhelming joy. With a lot more revealed in terms of the plot and gameplay, this easily tops my list as my most anticipated game as you return to Rapture and assume the role of a Big Daddy 10 years after the events of the first Bioshock. Along with this new twist from the first Bioshock, there is also a confirmed multiplayer mode and the ability to use your Big Daddy suit to explore the ocean immediately surrounding Rapture, which should allow for all kinds of new and creative ways to explore the once great cultural haven beneath the waves. Barring any last minute setbacks, expect Bioshock 2 to hit store shelves February 9, 2010, for Xbox 360, PS3, and PC.

2. God of War 3: There are few trilogies in video games that are more celebrated than God of War and this is before the third one has even hit store shelves. Inspired by many classic stories from Greek mythology, you play as Kratos once more as you attempt to work out your anger issues with the gods for the last time. I had a chance to play an advanced demo of this (which I will post a special PS3 Q1 Preview video next week where I got to talk with some of the developers of God of War 3) and you will flip just like Kratos’ point of view seamlessly does in several epic boss battles as you should expect to start wrapping up this classic trilogy on your PS3 towards the end of March 2010.

3. Dante’s Inferno: Many are calling this a God of War rip-off, but I’m a firm believer that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery and this might be even better because it isn’t limited to just the PS3. Inspired by the part of Dante Alighieri’s Divine Comedy of the same name, if Kratos has anger management issues, Dante is the ultimate obsessive, smothering boyfriend as he is willing to fight through the nine layers of hell to save his girlfriend’s soul while having a tapestry depicting the holy cross stitched to his chest. Just like God of War, Dante’s Inferno mixes classic plot with tremendous, bloody action (and a little bit of nudity) and amazing, original monsters based on this classic work of literature to get any action/adventure fan’s blood pumping. Just like Bioshock 2, Dante’s Inferno hits store shelves on February 9, 2010, for Xbox 360, PS3, and PSP.

4. No More Heroes 2: Desperate Struggle: Travis Touchdown returns with his beam katana (it’s a lightsaber, but that whole copyright thing can be such a pain sometimes) as he has gotten lazy and let his number one world assassin ranking drop all the way down to 51 (possibly in honor of game creator Suda 51?). When things get personal though, Travis once again hones his wrestling inspired moves and attempts to move back up the ladder to the number one spot with even more crazy, over the top boss battles that are even better than those from the first game. The sandbox system is gone to help save on time while you hunt down your quarry and travel from location to location by just going to a map menu now and since that was one of the major complaints from the first game, it looks like No More Heroes 2 could be another sleeper hit from the deranged mind of Suda 51 and his Grasshopper Studios. No More Heroes 2: Desperate Struggle is a Wii exclusive and should hit store shelves January 28, 2010.

5. Dead Rising 2: The first Dead Rising broke new ground in zombie bashing by having an unheard of (for the time) amount of NPCs on screen at one time with no lag. And it was set in a mall allowing you to have a variety of weapons from food court table umbrellas to golf clubs to nerf guns. Dead Rising 2 takes several of the great elements from the first game (regular guy dropped into a zombie invasion) and puts a whole new twist on it that has me chomping at the bit as I count the days until this hits store shelves. Dead Rising 2 assumes you failed to completely contain the zombie virus at Willamette from the first Dead Rising and now there are zombie outbreaks all over the country. These zombie zones have been cordoned off by the government, but with times being tough, leave it to reality TV to step in to offer the masses a chance to risk life and limb for amazing prizes. “Terror is Reality” is one of these reality TV shows that asks people to help control the zombie population in new and inventive ways for the chance at huge piles of cash. Of course, you’re being dropped into these living nightmares with nothing but the clothes on your back, but it wouldn’t be a zombie game if you were given a gatling gun from the get go. Add in what could be the best online multiplayer of the year as Dead Rising 2 pits you against three other players in an American Gladiators meets Resident Evil scenario and sends you all on your merry competitive ways. Zombie bashing will never be the same again on your Xbox 360, PS3, and PC come the end of Q1.

6. DC Universe Online: It is hyped as what could be the greatest MMORPG of all-time as it allows you to interact with the best of the best of the DC Comics Universe with your own original character and with a member of current comic book royalty in Jim Lee serving as the Executive Creative Director, you know you are in good hands. Unfortunately, it has been delayed countless times and is a game on life support to say the least. DCU Online was supposed to come out last summer, but now we are still waiting to rub elbows with the Dark Knight and Man of Steel and take down the likes of Lex Luthor, Mr. Freeze, the Joker, Bizarro, and many, many, many more as a loose Q3 2010 date has been set for this possible PS3 and PC powerhouse. If DCU Online doesn’t come out this year, I think the game will be completely scrapped because it has been in production for far too long for us to wait much longer for it.

7. Mafia 2: Another strong title on the horizon from the folks at 2K (why do they even bother with sports anymore when their shooters and action/adventure games are so awesome?) is Mafia 2. Set in a fictitious mob family in the late 1940s-early 1950s, Mafia 2 combines a GTA-style sandbox experience with a Hollywood-inspired cinematic driven plot as you play as Vito, a small-time hood trying his best to get his piece of the American dream in some less than savory ways. Add in some awesome action sequences and Martin Scorsese couldn’t have done a better job with this. Mafia 2 looks to be the strongest release due out in Q2 when it lands on store shelves May 3, 2010, for Xbox 360, PS3, and PC.

8. Castlevania: Lords of Shadow: Every major attempt to bring the fabled history of Castlevania into the 3D realm has fallen flat on its face and the only thing keeping the series alive has been a successful run with the classic side scrolling action on handheld systems. Things may change come the next holiday season. Castlevania: Lords of Shadow has you cast as the mysterious figure Gabriel as you fight through a massive world in the third person. Mix in some puzzles and some holy (or unholy) artifacts to help power up Gabriel and you have the base for a nice action/adventure game. There aren’t a lot of details out on this one yet in terms of how Gabriel fits in with the Belmont clan or if Dracula is even the main force of darkness here (although I’m sure he is because it wouldn’t be Castlevania if he wasn’t), but from what I’ve seen so far, this could be the best chance to FINALLY bring Castlevania successfully onto modern consoles especially with Hideo Kojima (of the Metal Gear Series) consulting on this project, Patrick Stewart serving as the narrator, and some God of War and Assassin’s Creed style gameplay mechanics shown in the early trailer. Expect Castlevania: Lords of Shadow to emerge from the darkness next holiday season for Xbox 360 and PS3.

9. Super Mario Galaxy 2: Everyone loves Mario, plain and simple. Another game expected to be released in time for the next holiday season, Super Mario Galaxy 2 will be the first direct sequel to another Mario game in a decade (since Super Mario World 2 back for the SNES). Add in that you are definitely going to be riding Yoshi around and I’m sure you’ll see the return of some other classic powers and this is another sure fire hit for Nintendo. Plus, don’t forget that you are sure to see a lot of classic Mario themes, enemies, and puzzles mixed in with the tremendous planetary exploration aspect introduced in the first Super Mario Galaxy and this will be another platforming gem from Nintendo. Super Mario Galaxy 2 should be out in time for next holiday season and is, of course, a Nintendo exclusive.

10. Metroid: Other M: Nintendo has the strongest first party franchises out there and another one confirmed for next holiday season is Metroid: Other M. A lot like seeing Hideo Kojima’s production studio helping out with Castlevania, Team Ninja, best known for the Ninja Gaiden games, has stepped up to help give a bit of an anime style and storytelling flair to this newest Samus Aran adventure. Mixing some classic side-scrolling action and some 3D arena battles as you progress through the game and interchange between the two seamlessly should keep you on your toes and keep you from getting bored. Add in that at least Ridley has been confirmed as one of the boss battles and it should be interesting to see what Team Ninja can do with this beloved Nintendo franchise. Metroid: Other M is another Wii exclusive and should be out in time for the next holiday season.

So there is my top 10 for the coming year and it is one heck of a list. On top of these games, there are also lots of other games that I just could not take the time to go into right now, plus I did not feel they were worthy of the top 10. MAG, Heavy Rain, Bayonetta, Darksiders, Prince of Persia: Forgotten Sands (adding a 4th chapter to one of the better trilogies for the last generation of consoles was not necessary and is thus a major reason that Prince of Persia stayed off the list), Mass Effect 2, Just Cause 2, Epic Mickey, Red Steel 2, Mega Man 10, Gran Turismo 5, Battlefield: Bad Company 2, and an unnamed Legend of Zelda title for the Wii (not enough info for me to be confident that this will make it in time for a 2010 release, but Nintendo is the best at keeping secrets) all deserve honorable mentions and should be awesome games in 2010, but these are my top 10 and I stand by them. It is going to be another great year for games and I cannot wait. Until then, have a great New Year and my resolution is that I will be sure to try my best to keep you informed over the course of 2010 just as I did over the course of 2009.

-Ray Carsillo