While console gaming users were on their quest of the nine circles of hell since February, the PSP variant made its way out in March. I wanted to get my hands on the game mainly for two reasons – it looked appealing and had a gameplay similar to Sony’s successful franchise – God of War. Having spent endless hours playing Kratos on the PSP, I knew I had to give Dante’s Inferno a try.
To give a gist, Dante’s Inferno is an action-adventure game and is inspired by Dante Alighieri’s poem, Inferno. Dante was a crusader who was called to fight in the battle. Although promised to stay faithful with his love, Beatrice, Dante committed atrocious sins in the name of God. On returning he found that his father and Beatrice were murdered and the only way to bring Beatrice back was to chase her from the depths of hell.
Dante’s Inferno can be played at different difficulty levels like Classic for easy, Zealot for medium, Hellish for hard and Infernal for very hard. Starting under Zealot is recommendable if you want decent amount of action but you can change the difficulty level anytime while playing the game. The game begins by killing Death and claiming his scythe. The Death Scythe acts as a main weapon for the game and for killing every enemy, Dante receives some amount of souls. To make combat more interesting, there’s the integration of magic skills that Dante will acquire over the course of the game.
Dante’s Inferno’s gameplay is highly inspired by God of War: Chains of Olympus but has few yet noticeable differences. Dante’s Inferno uses the similar health-mana combination as GoW. The green orbs represent health and purple orbs for mana. They can be acquired either from killing enemies or replenishing a large chunk from the fountains that you’ll find throughout the game. Below the health and the mana bars show a number that represents the number of souls. The souls can be traded as currency for holy or unholy upgrades. Holy upgrades include a more powerful holy cross, larger health or mana bars etc. while unholy upgrades include powerful scythe and more.
Dante’s climbing, using levers, objects and puzzles are reminiscent to GoW. However, despite the similarities, Dante’s Inferno sets itself apart on a number of fronts. In some cases, defeating a large demon will allow Dante to control it. The ride-able beasts are fun and can be very useful to combat hoards of incoming enemies or use them to advance through the game. Another interesting thing the game features is to judge the damned souls. Time and again, you’ll come across persons in the game that are suffering in Hell because of their sins. Now you have the option to Punish or Absolve them. The actions you take does not affect the whole story but will gain you unholy or holy experience points, which then unlocks various upgrades. Likewise, Dante can also judge the enemies to punish or absolve and gain experience points.
Dante’s Inferno offers decent amount to spill enemy’s blood. However, you’ll have to make sure you use the right combination of attack to tackle the Hell’s minions or else you’ll find yourself getting killed. Light, heavy attacks can be nicely complemented with the magic skills like holy cross, which you’ll find it quite handy for short-range attacks.
As for Dante’s Inferno graphical prowess, we may not say it as one of the best looking games but it sure is nice. EA’s developers have put in a decent effort to make excellent cut scenes and the graphics during gameplay quite appealing.
The replay value incentive is that the user can carry on his holy and unholy upgrades from his previous completed game to the new game or if he wishes, can play under Infernal difficulty that is unlocked only after the first completed game. Apart from that, there’s not much to do after you complete the game. Of course, there’s a special features menu that unlocks the credits and a comic book but that’s about it.
Summing it up, Dante’s Inferno is undoubtedly a God of War clone and although it does bring in some originality, it falls short. The game is quite short, sometimes repetitive and has little replay value. This game isn’t a must have but it won’t leave you disappointed either – unless you’re a GoW fan. It currently retails in India for Rs. 1500.
Pros: Graphics, Decent Combat
Cons: Short game, Little replay value