Devil May Cry used to be the King of the Hill in terms of button-mashing brawlers, then along came God of War and stole our hearts in a spray of Greek Tragedy themed violence and gore. Nothing has quite managed to topple Kratosí number one spot in the collective conscience of gamers across the world. The Ghost of Sparta still reigns supreme.
Now itís the turn of EA to bring another legend to life and I warn you now, if you love the Divine Comedy written by Dante Alighieri, then go no further, in fact. Abandon all hope ye who enter here.Story
Dante has transformed from a poet into a debauched, vicious and cruel Crusader who sleeps with the wrong woman, vows to his beloved that heíll be faithful and kills a whole lot of Saracens in the Holy Land just because a Canting Priest tells him that heíll be forgiven all of his sins. Dante pops his clogs after a fight and decides that heís going to beat down Death, steal his scythe and come back to life to go home.
On the way he stitches a tapestry-like cross into his chest, because he can. When he gets back home he discovers that his father is dead and has a brand new cross-shaped eye accessory and his beloved whom he cheated on has been run through by a sword. Her soul now belongs to a suave incarnation of the Devil and he decides to brave the Circles of Hell to get her back.Gameplay
If youíve played Devil May Cry or God of War then Danteís Inferno will feel similar, again, if youíve spent a lot of time with God of War then Danteís Inferno will seem like a cheap carbon copy and probably with good reason. It checks all the buttons that drove Kratosí adventures but doesnít actually produce a very solid game at all except for the actual combat system. Youíre going to probably invest about 9 hours into Danteís Inferno all told and you have various button combinations to learn, Danteís main weapon is Deathís scythe and itís not very interesting at all - Iím shocked that a developer could actually make that scythe as boring as it is.
You collect souls from slain enemies and the game has big boss fights that are sometimes multi-stage. You can guess right now as well, yes, just like God of War there are Quick Time Events in the game too. These souls can be used to upgrade Dante on the fly, shared between either Holy on Unholy power sets, the game boasts around 60 or so upgrades and thatís its one saving grace right there.
You can punish or absolve enemies once you gain Beatriceís cross. Doing either gives you Unholy or Holy points and these build into levels, once you gain a level in one or the other you can spend points in that rank. Itís simple and it can be done at any time allowing you to evolve your character to suit your play style. This is something I can actually commend the game for.
Apart from that itís a pretty vanilla take on God of War. You climb some walls of the damned, you swing on ropes, leap across chasms using Deathís scythe as an impromptu grapple hook and dodge various death traps. You can save your game at the Beatrice statues and solving various puzzles along the way, finding hidden areas and talking to the shades of the dead will unlock relics that give Dante different powers depending on his Holy/Unholy status. These relics level up rather like the ones in Darksiders.
The game however falls short due to some terrible camera-angles and a few control issues. It doesnít feel as sharp as some of the other button-masher-brawler-adventures and it definitely hasnít got a sharp a feel as say Bayonetta control wise. Itís good; itís just not really all that. Levelling up powers is fun, buying new abilities with souls is always good and some of the puzzles are excellent, it just didnít grab me as much as I hoped it would.
Oh yes and check the Ďride giant creatureí button too, Dante can sometimes jump onto the backs of massive rat-like behemoths and use them to wreak destruction upon his enemies, a little like Kratos in the God of War 3 demo. Should I stop mentioning God of War any time soon?
Some bigger enemies need to be put down using a QTE (check God of War) and so on...
The absolution mini-game is a little jarring, dragging you out of the action to match button presses and catch the sins of the damned before you. In the end I just decided to punish everyone and let God sort them out.