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Dante’s Inferno – Throwback Thursday

So here’s a game that was much better than people may let on, at least in my opinion. I was shopping for some cheap PSP games and came across a brand new, in the wrapper, copy of Dante’s inferno. I completely forgot this was released for the PSP. I bought the game on release for the PS3 and had a blast with it.

When I got home I tore into it, chuckled at how old the case inserts were that were advertising old games and turned on the PSP. I didn’t know what to expect, I remember reading reviews that basically said this version was garbage. So a garbage version of an underrated game. Great, what a treat. To my surprise it mimicked the console version very well.  What was supposed to be a quick test just to see what it’s like turned into hours of playing. And that turned into me firing up the PS3 version for a bit as well.

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If you’re unfamiliar with the game it’s a God of War clone, but a good one. It’s based on the poem Inferno from the Divine Comedy by Dante Alighieri. You play as Dante, who is a Template Knight in the game, as he travels the circles of Hell to save his beloved. Along the way you encounter swarms of enemies all based on the theme whichever level of Hell you are currently in such as gluttony, greed and lust.

When I mention that it’s a God of War clone, that’s not just a nice comparison, if you know the controls and even combos from the GOW series then you also know them for Dante’s Inferno. The controls and the feel of combat is a near carbon copy. Why fix what isn’t broken I guess. The developers did a great job of making the combat system just as fluid and fast.

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When talking about the portable version the transition was done well and the combat feels as good as it could on the PSP. There is a big difference in how you approach it however. On the console I would roll and evade the enemies and strike at an opportune time. On the PSP you can still do that but it requires holding both shoulder buttons while moving the analog stick. It’s not as natural so I found that I was just blocking any incoming blows as opposed to evading.

Graphically I think the console game still hold up well. It looks fantastic. The atmosphere is done well enough and the detail is good. It’s not the very best looking game but it’s definitely still above average. Even on the PSP the game looks great. You can see where compromises were made but I think this is one of the best looking PSP games. If Dante’s Inferno had been released on the PS2, that is what the PSP version looks like.

The cinematics are also a high point of the game. They are very well acted and animated. They are where the game really shows how much effort was put into the game. The entire time you play it there is evidence everywhere that a lot of love went into this project. The little details and extras found just from looking around are everywhere. It’s easy to tell when a developer truly cares about the game they are making and when it’s just a job. Dante’s Inferno just oozes with love.

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There is a certain feel to the game, a charm, that is present throughout that helps pull the game along. There are areas that are very frustrating due to cheap deaths or puzzles that are just ridiculous but don’t completely detract from the experience. The game is a good length at around 8 hours and the difficulty is right where it should be. Not very hard, but also not a walk in the park.

The bosses are a definite highlight of the game. I won’t go into detail about them in case it spoils something. But they are definitely memorable, especially in the Lust level. Whether you are looking for a new hack and slash for your PS3, Xbox 360 or PSP so you can take it with you, Dante’s Inferno delivers and is worth the very tiny price of admission you’ll pay for it these days.

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