Developer: Visceral Games / Publisher: Electronic Arts / ESRB: Mature (Blood and Gore, Intense Violence, Nudity, Sexual Content) / Played on: PS3 / Price: $5.00
Yet another dose of god fearing judgment is upon us as The Trials of St. Lucia is out for Visceral Games’ Dante’s Inferno. This DLC is a bit out of the ordinary when it comes to content, however is it worth the $10 price tag?
First off, a bit of history on who exactly St. Lucia is. St. Lucia was a wealthy young Christian martyr who was venerated as a saint by not only the Roman Catholic church but the Anglican, Lutheran and Orthodox Christian’s as well. How does she tie in to Dante’s Inferno you might ask yourself? In Canto II, Dante mentions that Lucia is a messenger “of all cruelty the foe” who was sent to his beloved Beatrice from “The Blessed Dame” to rouse Beatrice to send Virgil to Dante’s Aid. For those of you who really don’t understand, she used her cunning wits to get Dante’s lady friend to send Virgil to help Dante in his journey through the circles of hell. Some of St. Lucia’s most devoted followers have torn their eyes out so that they can be like the blind martyr themselves.
History lesson over, and we’re off to how this fits in with the video game itself. The Trials of St. Lucia is an expansion on the arena mode for Dante’s Inferno. There are two elements which make up this DLC. First of all, you can create your own arena trial, replete with multiple waves of enemies and enemy types and upload it for others to play. The second mode allows you to play either your own arena, or the creations of others.
EA pitched in and have created several pre-made challenges to play, but the whole idea is to play another user’s devious creation. In the arena creation you select what type of objectives you want the player to strive to complete. These vary from the “kill em all” mode, in which the player kills all the enemies on the screen, to the “explosives only” mode, where you have to grab an enemy about to explode and toss him against a swarm of enemies. You can select which enemies spawn and how difficult they are to take down. Additional items in the arena are available such as fountains of mana and/or health. Trap doors, hidden items and obstacles can be implemented in the arena, as well, making for multi-faceted combat strategies. You are not limited to one arena or wave. As a designer, you can create multiple waves that include various enemies across multiple game types. The more the merrier.
There is a rank system in place as well; the more waves/game types/arenas, the higher the points are for defeating the trial. They are on a medal-based scoring system, bronze being the lowest and platinum being the highest. They differ in difficulty as well.
In the non-creation element of the trials, you can peruse the arena inventions of the rest of the world or you can play some of the trials that come loaded with the game created by EA. You may also play your own trial if you feel it is worthy enough. A rank system is placed for each trial, meaning you beat it, people see it. The Trials of St. Lucia all about this elitist world of video games we live in, enacting a “bow down before me” sort of mentality. I have no qualms about it; it exists for those gamers that get thrills in being listed on leaderboards and mastering their craft. For others, the lasting appeal of ranked challenges will fall flat. It just depends on what kind of gamer you are.
Another addition that needs some of that epic cross light shone upon is the fact that you can play co-op. You can play as either Dante or St. Lucia herself. Her maneuvers and weaponry are not drastically different from Dante’s but some of the combos you can do are slightly different. Aerial combat seems to suite her well, as she has wings. Instead of a cross, she has a staff in which she shoot’s magical orbs at enemies. This adds a slightly different feel, but it is still very similar to Dante’s combos. Skill tree not fully upgraded? Do not fret my witless chum! It is auto-upgraded and needs no attention. You are as powerful as you possibly can be and frankly that’s the way it should be.
Down to the nitty gritty; I thoroughly enjoyed making and uploading trials. I think it’s a nifty idea. That being said, I fear that it will lose its flavor after a few trials are created. And while that’s where the idea of playing other user’s trials comes in, it isn’t always compelling. There isn’t a sense of balance when it comes to the user uploaded trials. Some are beyond easy and others are far more difficult than they should be. Of course, this is where the kids say “get better at the game.”
It’s not a matter of skill, it’s a matter of balance. This has none. It’s one extreme to the next and any chance to get a balanced trial is hard to come by. They do exist, you just have to seek them out.
Another qualm I had was St. Lucia herself. I (being a fan of The Divine Comedy) like the fact that St. Lucia was mentioned in the game, but as a playable character she felt weak. If there was a bit more changed in the weaponry and abilities I would have welcomed it more. She was too similar to Dante for my taste.
Functionally, the online co-op can be dreadful at times. Not only do you have to wait for a player to show up, you have to hope to the heavens above and the sinners below that this player knows what he or she is doing, not to mention.hope they won’t quit half way through the trial. Having a friend to play the trials together as opposed to depending on a player who may not match up to your skills is almost necessary. It’s even better if they love Dante’s Inferno as much as you do. So, the co-op can be a bit arduous at times.
Overall I think Visceral had the right idea and executed it fairly well as far as DLC is concerned. I just don’t feel that $10 is an appropriate price tag for this. Perhaps $5 would have sufficed a bit more. I am not tearing my eyes out to become one of St. Lucia’s followers. I will however give this a 6.