While the world is excellent, some of the enemy designs leave something to be desired. No doubt they all looked great on paper, but in their somewhat rough in-game forms they appear lacking in detail and look like they're stuck between this generation and the last. The massive bosses don't suffer from this problem, being the game's visual highlights, but general enemies that you face for the majority of the ten hour campaign aren't up to the high standard expected from today's multi-million blockbusters.
If there's a major criticism to be levelled at Dante's Inferno, it's that the puzzles are so basic they need not exist. Not once did I have to think for more than a few seconds, which is a shame as some brain bending would have broken up the relentless combat. And it is relentless. The basic formula is for Dante to enter a new area, walls to emerge and then waves of enemies need to be defeated before the walls are removed and you can move on. At times these waves reach ridiculous levels, but just about stay on the fair side of the difficulty fence. It can get repetitive, but only on a handful of occasions are you forced to fight in the same area for more than a few minutes, with the game generally moving along at a brisk pace.
Towards the end of the game there are also some monotonous and easy arena-based challenges to trawl through, complete with cookie-cutter corridors linking each together. It all builds up to an impressive final encounter with Lucifer, but then the conclusion lets the side down again, with a lame opening for a sequel. Once you're done there's the option to play through the game again using your unlocked abilities, which certainly adds replay value, as does an extra difficult setting. An arena challenge mode isn't quite so exciting, but the promised DLC that will introduce co-op arenas and user-created content should keep gamers playing for some time to come.
Visceral Games has battled against the odds to deliver an excellent hack 'n' slash that action junkies would be wise to take a look at. Based on what we've seen of God of War 3, Dante should be thankful he's got a month in the limelight, but he certainly deserves it. With some impressive combat mechanics, an excellent game world, some of the most disturbing enemies ever seen and tight production values, Dante's Inferno delivers the goods. If you're a PS3 owner, the decision to buy might be tricky given what's on the horizon, but 360 gamers looking for something less gruelling than Bayonetta and Ninja Gaiden 2 now have a great option.