Ahh, Dante's Inferno. This game was an underappreciated hack 'n' slash action "adventure" (more on that later) that was released for the Xbox 360, PS3 and PSP in early 2010. VERY loosely based on the epic poem of the same name, you play as Dante, a crusader that had been murdered by an assassin in Saladin, after which Death himself condemns Dante to "everlasting damnation for [his] sins" that he had committed during the Third Crusade. However Death fails and is killed by Dante with his own scythe, and Dante begins his quest of redemption by going through the gates of Hell with the help of the poet Virgil and reclaiming his beloved Beatrice from a bet that she lost with Lucifer, the Prince of Darkness that dwells in the deepest, coldest pit of the Inferno.
The gameplay is fairly simple. You fight the demons of the underworld with Death's scythe and Beatrice's crucifix, solve puzzles to help you get closer to Dante's love, punish or absolve shades that give you bonus souls, and collect relics (which boost your stats) and Judas Iscariot's 30 pieces of silver (which give you more bonus souls from shades and fountains). Now, while the game is technically labeled as an adventure, it is almost completely linear as exploration is extremely limited. Most secrets are fairly obvious on where they are hidden, but that is my only gripe with this title as everything else pays off quite well.
The game plays almost exactly the same as the God of War franchise so if you know how to play those games, you'll be able to pick up and play this one without much trouble. However, while the game is virtually the same as God of War in terms of gameplay, the environment and atmosphere is vastly different and where this game really shines. The music is one of the most atmospheric details about this game. It has a very demonic feel to it and it sends chills down my spine when it starts to crescendo at the right time and place. And don't get me started on the environment. The depictions of the various levels of Hell and the eldritch horrors that occupy them is extremely detailed and imaginative, ESPECIALLY with the fight against Cerberus. I have never seen such a unique interpretation of the 3-headed hellhound in my life.
As I played and went deeper into the pit below, everything just got more and more insane. A giant phallic tower enveloped by a cyclone of the sinners of lust, a massive walled city that you destroy on the back of a colossal monster, a bleeding forest made from the bodies of those that committed suicide, it all just gives me a sense of dread and fear.
In conclusion, I had a lot of fun with this title mostly from the atmosphere alone, but if you want to play it for yourself, I highly recommend that you get one of the console versions as the PSP version has quite a bit of content cut from it in exchange for a digital comic which really isn't worth the amount of game that was removed. But until then, I'll be seeing you.