Have you ever wanted to play God of War, but, for whatever reason, didn't? Perhaps you were short on cash, or you're a fanboy who hates Sony. Well, now you can play a clone that lacks the polish and general finesse of the God of War series. I shouldn't have to tell you that this game is *Loosely* based on the book, or rather, poem, the Divine Comedy. But that's enough about that, if you want an accurate telling of the book, read it, or have someone read it to you.
Almost everything about this game is ripped directly from the God of War series. From the magic to the combat to the quick time events. All function and feel like God of War. Now, if you copy everything about a great game, chances are, you'll have a decent game. This is the case for Dante's Inferno. What it lacks in originality, it makes up for by way of gameplay.
That's not to say that everything about this title unoriginal. Hell - And it's wicked denizens - are all designed quite well. Some are disturbing, some are incredibly disturbing(I'm looking at you, Lust.) Hell looks the way you'd expect Hell to look. It is easily my favorite interpretation of Hell thus far. Unfortunately, exploring Hell is quite a bit less fun. There were numerous platforming sections in the game where the camera was the death of me. Yes, this game suffers from that age old classic that has made gamers want to pull their hair out from the start - Terrible, uncontrollable camera. Namely, at one point, I was forced to swing from a pillar to a rope surrounded by nothing but air. The camera was back, upwards, and behind my shoulder, making depth perception the bane of my existence. I failed this miserable part so many times, and unfortunately, any changes you make, including collecting collectibles prior to dying, will be lost. So this little bit which should've taken a total of 2 minutes, took roughly 20.
The gameplay - As ripped from God of War - is, as you'd expect, good. But as I said, it does lack polish. I never noticed any framerate drops, and everything is quite fluid. You can choose to level up Dante by punishing your foes, or absolving them of their sins. Each time you punish or absolve a foe, you will gain unholy experience or holy experience respectively. The holy tree focuses on attacks with Dante's cross, while the Unholy tree strengthens Dante's Scythe. Unfortunately, no matter which way you level up, you'll get one or two powers that are quite overpowered, and you'll end up exclusively using these powers for the rest of the game. This eliminates any form of strategy to be had. At least, on the lower difficulties. If you want strategy, you've gotta play on the hardest difficulty. This isn't a slight enemy damage increase, either, the game goes from treacherously easy to "The only reason I'm playing this game is for the achievement." And by the way, there are no difficulty related achievements.
The boss fights, like God of War, mix visceral quick time events with non-stop action. Also like God of War, the boss fights are very good. Most of them require interesting strategies, but you're not gonna be wracking your brain trying to figure out how to kill one. The monstrous size of the bosses and unique strategies for killing them, coupled with the magnificent art design, make them the best thing about this game.
In addition to be able to level up your holy and unholy powers, across your journey through Hell, you'll find relics. Relics can modify Dante's abilities in interesting ways, from simply strengthening his scythe or powering up his cross, to turning your evade into an attack, or giving you passive mana regeneration.. And that brings us to the magic. The magic, again, works exactly like God of War. As you play, you'll unlock new magic, but these suffer from the same things that hold the combat back - Polish. Most magic, when you get it, is completely worthless until you level it up. It just wastes your mana. Upon leveling it up, it'll kill everything on screen in a single hit. There's no middle ground here, if you want that, you've gotta play on the higher difficulties.
The graphics look good, from far away, at least. Nothing to write home about, but they're certainly not bad. When the game's camera zooms in, or a cutscene takes place, the graphics get noticeably worse. The game, however, does make heavy use of CGI - Like a certain other action adventure game - this makes the storytelling a bit more interesting, and far less ugly.
The achievements are pretty straightforward in this game. Almost all of them can be earned in a single playthrough, but there are some collectible achievements. I can't speak for any other achievement than the Virgil commentaries, but if you miss even a single one of those, you've gotta play the entire game over again to get the achievement. The rest of the achievements are pretty easy.
All in all, the game is fun, but it won't last you long, and there's really nothing there to make you want to playthrough again, except for the possible missed achievement. If you're the type of person that doesn't give two s***s about achievements, you'll play it, finish it in roughly eight or so hours, and move on.