E3 09: God of War III vs Bayonetta vs Dante's Inferno vs Darksiders

Now that the dust has settled from the best E3 in years, we can take a moment to process the years’ worth of upcoming-release insanity that we took in over four days – and that means making early, snap judgments based on what we’ve seen and played. One of the biggest and best presents for PS3 fans this year was a playable demo of the long-awaited God of War III, and it was joined on the show floor by a few games that clearly took their cues from Kratos’ past exploits (or were at least similar enough for us to draw comparisons between them). But are they worthy adversaries, or merely pretenders to the throne? Only by dissecting each one can we decide for sure!


God of War III

Full disclosure time: The author of this article is a huge fan of God of War and would probably moon over GoW III even if it was just hours of Kratos frowning meaningfully at a potato. But even with that in mind, the 10-minute demo that was playable at E3 was pretty badass. So far, it delivers about what we’d hoped for from a PS3 God of War game: more of the same tight, button-mashy action, but with much prettier visuals and more of everything.

There’s more gore, including the realistic tearing of sun-god Helios’ neck as Kratos rips it off, or the “zipper mechanics” that come into play when he slits a centaur commander’s belly open (courtesy of a quicktime kill) and spills a pink pile of entrails. There’s more stuff to do, like hitching rides on harpies to get across chasms, riding on the back of a giant Cyclops to massacre shield-bearing undead warriors, using one of Kratos’ new grab attacks on hapless man-sized enemies and using Icarus’ wings to fly up through vertical hot-air vents.


There’s also a new weapon, the Cestus, a set of lion’s-head gauntlets that – while they don’t feel quite as effective as Kratos’ default Blades of Athena – are almost as versatile and can bash through armored enemies. There’s more magic and cool accessories for the taking; in addition to items carried over from God of War II, like the Icarus wings and the Golden Fleece, Kratos can now use the severed head of Helios like a magic lantern to reveal secrets, light caverns and blind enemies.

Finally, there are more varied enemies, as evidenced by a Chimera that goes through three separate fighting styles (one for each head) and by that centaur commander we mentioned earlier, who can rally crowds of cannon-fodder skeletons to swarm you with coordinated attacks. It all comes together beautifully, with the same carefully calibrated slash-happy gameplay and attention to detail that made the last three God of War games so much fun. With almost a year between now and the game’s release, we’re eager to see what else is ahead.


There was, however, one problem with God of War’s E3 showing: apart from newly redesigned harpies and the appearance of murderable Greek civilians, there wasn’t much on display that we hadn’t already seen in February. We’ve already heard a lot about the game’s plans for ground-breaking “Titan Gameplay,” which will turn Kratos’ allies, the massive Titans, into huge, moving levels wandering through an open world. But we weren’t offered even a glimpse of it in action during the demo or during an in-depth, behind-closed-doors presentation of the game. We’ll give God of War III the benefit of the doubt for now – the series has certainly earned it – but next time, it’s going to have to do more than give us a chance to play through what we were shown four months ago.

Worthy? Without question – although we’re going to be a little skeptical until we see more.

Likelihood of defeating God of War:
(Well, OK, obviously God of War III isn't going to defeat itself. Just think of Kratos as the control group in this experiment.)


Much as Bayonetta isn’t a deliberate grab for God of War’s lunch (unlike certain other titles on this list), its button-mashy, slashy-shooty brawler action is still similar enough to Kratos’ latest monster-stomp to merit a mention. Slick and ultra-stylized, Bayonetta actually looks a lot like Devil May Cry 4, and with good reason: it’s being made by some of the people who worked on that series, including the first game’s director, Hideki Kamiya. The difference between this and Dante’s last outing is that, while DMC was always a little extreme, Bayonetta throws off as many restraints – and as much clothing – as it can get away with.

First, there’s the title character, a sexy witch who carries four guns – two are strapped to her ankles – and wears a skintight catsuit made from her own magical hair. Her basic gun/kick combos are fluid, brutal and fun to pull off, and while she has a sword, it’s not nearly as fun to use as her weird brand of gunkata with its increasingly ridiculous attacks. A lot of Bayonetta’s attacks also incorporate her hair, which means that, mid-combo, she’ll often suddenly appear to be half- or mostly naked (a gold unitard covers up the absolute bare minimum of naughty bits). The hair often seems to have a mind of its own, to the point that – during finishing sequences for certain bosses in the demo we played – it actually grew a dragon-like face and started chomping on our downed enemies.

Above: That’s not to say that all her punishing attacks are hair-based, however 

So far, what we’ve seen of Bayonetta’s visual presentation is nothing short of bizarre; she seems to live in a world inhabited by ghosts, and most of her enemies are huge, angelic-looking beasts with the marble faces of classical statues. Stone mugs or no, they go down pretty quickly, especially when Bayonetta gets their weapons – no matter how huge - away from them, and uses them to go on an angel-killing rampage. (Although, as is the case with most found weapons in games like this, even the really big ones aren’t as fun or as versatile to use as the default implements of death Bayonetta has from the start.

Above: Nor are they as fun as making a giant, kicking hair-foot 

It’s definitely not as dark, blood-soaked or cruel as God of War – in fact, it doesn’t seem to even begin to take itself seriously – but its goofiness, charm and ever-present promise of nudity and sexy hip-thrusting make it just as captivating. It’s also a lot of fun, as Bayonetta unleashes more over-the-top crazy combos than Kratos could even wrap his rage-addled mind around. And that’s not even scratching the surface of her weird abilities, which include growing butterfly wings for a quick triple-jump and being able to walk, run and fight on walls and ceilings with the push of a button.

Worthy? Absolutely, assuming it can keep up its bizarre pacing without wearing out its welcome. If this trailer is any indication, we expect wonderful things ahead:


Likelihood of defeating God of War:

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  • zcarapau2 - January 19, 2010 12:51 a.m.

    I like very much these kind of games, like Bayonetta, action everywere, fast fingers. But this game will be avaible for pc, i wonder? By the way, i love this witch
  • jackthemenace - December 9, 2009 8:22 p.m.

    How could you say that about DI? as far as i can tell, DI looks exactly like GoW III, only on the 360!
  • godofwar3FTW - November 23, 2009 7:46 p.m.

    so basicly its number 1 god of war 3 number 2 darksiders number 3 bayonetta number 4 dantes inferno i think that those are perfict tials
  • brechtje91 - July 11, 2009 12:12 p.m.

    I would have bought bayonetta but it's to feminant and that's a big flaw
  • IslanderSwagg - June 19, 2009 2:59 a.m.

    To tell the truth, Bayonetta looks the best to me with gameplay and variety, its just that she so ugly and slutty to. Dante's Inferno looks cool too but it looks like the onlt game that would give me nightmares.
  • Turkeykilla7 - June 14, 2009 2:13 a.m.

    Darksiders is going to have the Free-Roam kind of style with puzzle Temple/dungeons and hidden weapons inside them. So think Zelda gameplay with God OF War beat em up look. Its like the Darksiders Game Designers Gave link steroids, then they skimmed through the book of Revelations and messed up the entire ending. War is supposed to kill millions of humans not demons Derrrrrr. /Facepalm
  • vitoruss - June 13, 2009 10:50 p.m.

    Bayonetta has NO chance on beating God of War. I don't even like God of War at all, and I can even recognize that. Dante's Inferno has a much, much better chance. Now, that being said, WHAT THE HELL? First came Devil May Cry, an amazing game starring Dante, that beats the shit out of everything ever. Then came God of War (which to me felt like a boring, redundant attempt to copy the formula) which expanded (riiight...) on the hack and slash gameplay. Now we're seeing Dante's Inferno, which is starring... Dante? Seriously, how uncreative are they to bring the genre to a full circle and base the next franchise to star around someone with the SAME NAME? That's just retarded... seriously... what the hell...? 'which so far as we can tell – having only seen the “punish” option – involves stabbing them in the face.' LMAO
  • Denrok - June 13, 2009 6:05 p.m.

    I think I'm the only person here who thinks Dante's Inferno will be better than all of the other three.
  • mertor3190 - June 12, 2009 9:33 p.m.

    THe demo for GOW(GOD OF WAR) seems amazing! Now imagine what the rest of the game will be like. I have a feeling Helio's head ripping off is just one of the many brutal moments there will be in the game!
  • Hazza22299 - June 12, 2009 6:35 p.m.

    bayonetta will get 8, GOW will get 9, dante inferno will get 8 and the other one is the one that i haven't heard much of, probably a 9 though. note to self: no-one reads this far down the page except me!
  • NipplesTheSuperHippo - June 12, 2009 6:24 p.m.

    I agree with everything on this list. We all know the GOW 3 is going to be a system seller for Sony, but this is almost exactly the same thing I thought when I first saw Darksiders, that it is going to be the best thing beyond GOW 3 that the "hack'n slash" has to offer. That's not me belittling any of these games, it just the fact the even if GOW 3 was the worst PS3 game to date and it looked like a PS1 game (which it obviously isn't and doesn't) it would still sell off the God of War namesake. D' Inferno looks cool too, just a little too far off from the source material. But if they did it any other way, it probably would be a lot worse.
  • xXHaloKillerXx - June 12, 2009 5:38 p.m.

    GOW3 just like the other 2 GOWs so they all suck in my opinion.
  • The_Lurcher - June 12, 2009 1:34 p.m.

    Last (F*** you first nobody likes you) yeah realy looking forward to God Of War 3, never heard of darksiders till now looks interesting naturally a huge Meh goes to Dante's Inferno and Bayonnetta looks like a game to stare at tits... however i cant find a flaw in that statement
  • TheApproximation - June 12, 2009 8:45 a.m.

    I will probs get all of these games but I have to put it out there. We can't judge god of war 3 on showing the same thing because from what I have seen the only things we have been shown is the kratos and the ascent up mount olympus and them finally arriving at mount olympus. No boss battles or anything that has really shown us the rest of the game but it looks impressive from these supposed opening levels. Also all the other games especially bayonetta look very good and can't wait to get my hands on all of them one of these days.
  • sgloomy - June 12, 2009 5:05 a.m.

    I am a huge God of War fan, and i mean i have played through the 3 of them a few times and plan to do it again a month before the 3rd one comes out so i personally dont think any of the games above can actually beat God of War, but with that said, i am really looking forward to all of these games and will definitely buy them as soon as they come out. i think anyone who is into God of War or DMC would be crazy to not give these games a try and i don't really thin they should be compared because they each have a very unique story and they all include a bad as protagonist who enjoys ripping people/demons guts out so although they are similar, i think they can all be potentially great games
  • MGS4SolidSnake - June 12, 2009 3:22 a.m.

    i guess ill be the first to say that bayonetta wont be good when it comes out
  • Amnesiac - June 12, 2009 12:30 a.m.

  • Amnesiac - June 12, 2009 12:22 a.m.

    Dante's Inferno...bleh. Didn't look good the first time I saw it and still doesn't. Escited for Bayonetta and, of course, GoW III though.
  • KingEamon - June 11, 2009 10:18 p.m.

    Every game that comes out now has to have trophies
  • Awesomeitude1523 - June 11, 2009 10:10 p.m.

    Nice one crazyhogg. God of War 3 FTW!!!! Does anybody know if it will have tropheez?