PSP Preview: Dante's Inferno
In placing the development of Dante's Inferno in the hands of Canadian developer Artificial Mind and Movement, EA has shot themself in the foot, with the end game being a poor game with little of the PS3/360 version's good points still intact.
Plotline - Dante's Inferno PSP Review
The storyline of Dante's Inferno on the PSP remains the same as its console counterparts, which is loosely based on the poem of the same name.
Dante, the player character, is a general during Crusades. Knifed by an assassin, he is confronted by Death, who tells him his sins will cause him to burn in the fires of hell for all eternity. However, Dante fights back, dueling with and in the end killing Death. However, this change in the order of things causes havoc, and Lucifer takes Dante's loved ones and begins to send the undead to attack him. It is then that Dante vows to journey through the nine circles of hell to gain back the soul of lover Beatrice.
Using such a classic piece of literature as the basis of a game is an interesting proposition. Westwood in the past tried to do this with Dune books but failed to produce a convincing game. However, Dante's Inferno's storyline is polished and full of suspense, and will no doubt keep the player interested until the last moment.
While the plot of the game may have remained unchanged from the console version, this is where the similarities end. Artificial Mind and Movement have butchered the control system of the game, using many of the same moves and attacks from the console versions but failing to properly adapt the game play to the PSP's controls. Players will no doubt be filled with rage as they are confronted with swarms of enemies, scripted in a way that a console user would easily defeat, but almost impossible to overcome using the PSP's nub and D-Pad.
Judging the player's enemies has become the only real attack that can be used in the game. It is hideously overpowered, and the alternative attacks are hindered by very poor collision calculating which will end in most attacks passing right through enemies with no damage done. Some of the game's scripted kills quite frequently ended with Dante ending up outside the bounds of the map, leading to a frustrating death.
Dante's Inferno features graphics that are quite good for a PSP game. Despite the detail of the game being lower due to the space restraints of the UMD and processing constraints of the console itself, Artificial Mind and Movement have translated the graphical experience from the console to the PSP well. The colours are brighter, which suits the hellish nature of the game surprisingly well.
The graphics would be close to the best a gamer can find on the PSP. Dante looks sublime, with his scythe reflecting the lights of hell, and the interior of hell still looks as massive and forboding as it did in the console versions.
It is here that Dante's Inferno hits its low. While the soundtrack is the same excellent one used in the console versions, it rarely works, with the sound jumping at random times, and quite often simply not playing at all. This is a shame, as Dante's Inferno would have been a much more compelling game if the sound aspects had been implemented correctly.
Verdict - Dante's Inferno PSP Review
Dante's Inferno for PSP could have been a good game. Coming from the solid base established by its console counterparts, the PSP port has failed to impress on a huge number of technical issues. Despite preserving a strong storyline, a part of consoles games usually the first to go in portable ports, Artificial Mind and Movement has torn the heart out of the game, leaving behind a tedious, sometimes unplayable husk. Players may be turned off in the first instance of playing the game because of lack of balance in the game play, but if they play on to the later parts of the game, huge loading times for almost all actions in game await them.
For players wanting to take a look at Dante's Inferno, it is strongly recommended that they consider the console versions of the game, and give this PSP port a miss.