Wade Manns – The Corsair
by Electronic Arts and Visceral Games
Genre: Third-person action/exploration
Rating: Mature, for blood and gore, intense violence, sexual content and nudity.
Between 1308 and 1321, the Italian poet Dante Alighieri wrote his epic poem, which would come to be known as “The Divine Comedy.” This was a three-part epic, which covered a fictionalized version of himself and his journeys through hell, purgatory, and heaven respectively. This game covers the first part of the epic, and changes a few things around.
Dante served as a crusader in real life, as he does in this game, but he was allegedly given leeway by a bishop who said that God would absolve all of his company’s sins, and so in the course of his duties, he indulged in his basest desires, expecting to be forgiven and was ultimately disappointed.
The ideal woman, Beatrice, whom Dante admired from afar in real life, is now made into Dante’s love interest. Beatrice implored Dante to enter into the service to protect her brother. He promised to do so, swore by God, but ultimately failed at this task. By this time, however, Beatrice had fallen in love with Dante, and made a dark deal with Lucifer, the Prince of Lies, that he would protect Dante from death in exchange for her soul. He was killed, unfortunately, but cheated Death (and stole his scythe, even) and was able to return to life.
At this time, Dante was beginning to feel guilty about the many atrocities he had committed in the name of God, and so began sewing a tapestry of his life right into the flesh of his chest. When he had finished, he returned home to his love, only to find her and his father dead, run through by an assassin’s blade. Beatrice’s soul then appeared before Dante before being quickly taken away by Lucifer. After going to a nearby chapel to retrieve a holy cross, he is allowed to enter the gates of hell and begins his journey to find Beatrice.
You, as Dante, will travel through all nine circles of Hell: first through the gates themselves, then the shores of Acheron, then upon the back of the great boat Charon as you do battle while floating down the river. The first circle of Hell proper is Limbo, where the un-baptized (including very angry children with blades for arms) and virtuous who died without taking sides, come after you. You’ll then pass into Lust, where undeniably sexual, yet grotesque and disfigured visions await you, including a gigantic Queen Cleopatra; you must also fight her love (who is about your size), Marc Antony. Next, in gluttony, you face bloated, disgusting demons, and also battle the great worm Cerberus, basically a three-headed worm. In the circle of Greed, we discover that Dante’s father, Alighiero, a wealthy landowner in life, received an offer from Lucifer of a great reward and money for killing his own son, despite the fact the money really has no use in the afterlife. Alighiero definitely tried, but failed, and was absolved by Dante.
Actually, I had to stop playing before I got to Alighiero. Though it is a really good game, with wonderful graphics, sound, and a disturbing atmosphere, which really fits the theme of hell, it is extremely frustrating and unforgiving. I said before that twitch action games, if done well, can be very rewarding. This was not as good as “Bayonetta,” which I reviewed a few issues ago. One wrong move, a failed strategy or lack of one, can result in disaster. You’ll be surrounded by enemies and hacked to death before you can recover.
In case you’re wondering, the remaining circles of Hell you go through are Anger, Heresy, Violence (including the Forest of Suicides), Fraud (including the Malebolge, or Evil Pockets), and Treachery.
I really hate to give this game a low score, but I owe you the truth: 6 out of 10. It hurts me to give that score, as the game could’ve been so much better, but it wasn’t, at least in my view. If it were up to the graphics, the sound and the atmosphere, I would give this game a 9 out of 10. But the controls hurt the game very much. Would I recommend this to someone? If you’re extremely patient and have a lot of good coordination, yes, I would. Apparently, I have neither.