Copycat it might be, but it's a pretty good one.
I know nothing of The Divine Comedy, but I have to assume that the poem never had Cleopatra excreting unbaptized children from her mouth-nipples that have tongues. Or maybe it does. I don't know. But regardless of accuracy the concept of taking the nine circles of hell and turning them into game levels is so simple, yet genius an idea that I'm surprised there isn't more of it.
The gist is that upon returning from the crusades, Dante finds his wife murdered and her soul gets carried off by Lucifer and you give chase. There's a bit more to it then that, it's more than just a simple “rescue the damsel in distress” kinda game, but it's of little import. It's all just an excuse to kill some demons!
There's no mistaking it – this plays a lot like God of War.
Death's Scythe doesn't behave too differently Kratos's Blades of Chaos.
You perform simple combos with a combination of the quick attack button and the strong attack.
You unlock more as you play, unlocking skills based on whether you follow the unholy path of punishing all the sinners and demons you see – which gives you more skills geared for your scythe. Or you can follower a holier path which unlocks skills for your cross, which is your ranged weapon.
Throughout the game you'll also unlock magic of both offensive and defensive varieties. And you'll also gain relics that buff your skills and otherwise makes life just a bit easier. Good thing too because the game can get pretty freaking hard. On more than one occasion I had to turn the difficulty down, because it was just driving me insane.
A lot of the story is told through a combination decently impressive looking CG cinematics and stylised 2D animation.
In game it's decidedly less pretty and a whole lot of brown, not that you'd expect hell to have an extensive colour palette I suppose. Character models look a bit under developed, especially noticable on close ups of Dante or Beatrice in which it appears textures appear kind of muddy.
While not technically visually impressive the game has a decent enough art style, the game's vision of hell essentially appearing to be a Heavy Metal album cover come to life which ain't no bad thing in my book.
Nothing to say about the sound, music or voice acting.
It's simply inoffensive. Nothing struck me as glaringly bad or exceptionally good.
It was just kind of there and it was fine.
Despite simply aping God of Wars game play I had a pretty good time with Dante's Inferno, which word of mouth had not prepared me for. It's no where near as bad as I'd heard and for the bargain bin price you can no doubt pick it up for nowadays it's well worth a look.