Latest in Gaming

Image credit:

TGS 2009: Hands-on: Dante's Inferno (PSP)


While the PS3/360 game is largely criticized for being exactly like God of War, we could only wish the same held true for the PSP version of Dante's Inferno. Developed by A2M, the PSP version falls short of every benchmark set by Ready at Dawn's critically acclaimed Chains of Olympus. While few developers have been able to wring such incredible power out of Sony's handheld, it's immediately clear that A2M's efforts fall flat. Whereas Chains of Olympus featured volumetric fog and dynamic lighting, Dante's Inferno looks dull and lifeless.

The console versions of Dante's Inferno do a remarkable job of copying Kratos' moves, button for button. The PSP game also does a copycat job: everything, from the standard strike, to the spin move, to the dodge, is mapped exactly according to the blueprint laid out by Sony. However, a good game requires more than just copying another game's controls. Dante's Inferno misses the flourishes that made Ready at Dawn's game so successful: visual flourishes, subtle pauses when striking, dynamic camera movement, and easily accessible finishing moves.

Gallery: Dante's Inferno (PSP) | 6 Photos

Perhaps it should have been telling when repeated attempts to jump on a platform ended with the character simply clipping through the environment, plummeting to his doom. That should have been a sign to put down the system and just walk away. After a hard reset of the system, we pressed forward to an elevator battle, where enemies continue to fall. Players must move a gear through a certain path and destroy obstacles in the way, whilst battling a continuing stream of spawning enemies. As a puzzle, it certainly wasn't challenge; and as a combat room, it certainly wasn't very memorable.

There was one moment of genuine awe: an animated cutscene plays abruptly as the player walks towards his destination. This animated clip was stunning, offering a short burst of colorful gore and violence in an otherwise monochromatic world.

The console versions of Dante's Inferno may be unabashedly copying a tired and true formula, but they manage to sneak in a few original twists (nipples that spawn enemies, for example). However, we can't say the same for the PSP game. Perhaps that Michael Keaton movie "Multiplicity" reminds us of a valuable lesson: a copy of a copy just won't have the same charm as the original.

From around the web

ear iconeye icontext filevr