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

Dante’s Inferno


Probably the most blatant attempt at creating a God of War clone, Dante’s Inferno (very) loosely adapts The Divine Comedy, the satirical 14th-century epic poem by Dante Alighieri, into a pitched battle against gargantuan monsters in a massive medieval hellscape. It also deserves credit for the sheer balls it must have taken to try and transform this guy:

Above: The real Dante 

Into this guy:

Above: A somewhat more fanciful rendition 

Crimes against literature aside, Inferno is already clearly more than just a cheap cash-in on God of War’s good looks. Granted, the gameplay is undeniably GoW-inspired, as Dante relies on Death’s scythe (whose blade is attached by a retractable chain) and backup magical powers to cut a bloody swath through huge demons, and the game’s lava-filled environments and monstrous Gothic architecture immediately bring to mind God of War’s weird, frequently crumbling vision of ancient Greece. But Inferno saves itself from clonedom with lavish production values, the ability to use the scythe as a zipline and enormous, unique bosses who get disposed of in messy ways.

There’s Charon, a sort of living ferry on whose back you’ll battle a giant demon-beast; rather than killing it, however, you’ll be able to dispose of its rider, take control of it and use it to rip off Charon’s massive head before ditching it in a desperate, brute-force entry into Hell. We’ve also gotten a glimpse of Minos, the Greek king who judges the dead in the poem, but who is here depicted as a gargantuan, serpentine horror who’s disposed of by impaling his tongue on a spiked wheel, which is then reeled in (via quicktime event, of course) to stab through his chin and ultimately rip his face right the hell out of his head.

Above: If ever there was a face that deserved to be torn off… 

A later glimpse at the Anger circle of Hell revealed an even more gigantic creature to contend with, the demon Phlegyas, who wears a crown so huge that it alone makes a sizable vessel for Dante to ride around in. And he’ll get plenty of opportunities, as later parts of the level involve taking control of Phlegyas, at which point he appears as a normal-sized character (relative to your screen, at least) and Dante is barely visible as a speck on his head.

Also setting Inferno apart are the weirder, creepier touches apparently inspired by medieval Christianity. These include the blade babies, vicious souls of unbaptized infants who swarm Dante, and Dante’s own cross, which provides an energy-weapon alternative to the scythe. And then there’s the ability to “punish” or “absolve” the souls of characters from the Divine Comedy, which so far as we can tell – having only seen the “punish” option – involves stabbing them in the face. Apparently, your choices at these junctures will determine which skills are available to you as Dante levels up. We don’t yet know what those are, but we’re pretty sure we can guess their nature by this point.


Worthy? Inferno already shows considerable promise, although at this point it’s still second-string promise. Still, the huge bosses and revisionist take on the classic have gotten us intrigued; now it’s just a matter of seeing how the rest pans out.

Likelihood of defeating God of War:


Darksiders: Wrath of War


Of all the games on this list, Darksiders has the biggest potential to completely stomp out from underneath God of War’s shadow, although you’d never know it if you just went by what was being shown on the floor at E3. If you judged it by that alone, then you could be forgiven for thinking Darksiders is a lumbering, somewhat bland take on God of War’s formula. Beefy protagonist War – as in, one of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse – clanks around like one of the armored goons from Gears of War, swinging a broadsword (how passé!) at zombies and climbing specially textured walls in a crumbling version of Earth set 100 years after Armageddon. Which, incidentally, was won by Hell, a travesty for which War and his fellow Horsemen have been wrongly blamed.

Above: Samael there is hopefully about to get a nice taste of War’s steel 

It’s fun enough, in a meaty, hulking kind of way. But behind closed doors, we saw the real Darksiders, and while the combat might be blatantly GoW-inspired, the game’s structure will be anything but. Instead, Darksiders is structured like a post-Armageddon Zelda, in that War explores a big, open, demon-conquered overworld that’s connected to puzzle-filled dungeons. Each of these will feature some weapon or item that’s key to solving the dungeon’s puzzles and defeating its boss. And speaking of bosses, THQ has promised that they’re going to be ginormous. To drive the point home, we were shown one of the game’s “smallest” bosses, a grotesquely huge bat-dragon named Tiamat who can be defeated by sticky bombs.

Above: OK, so she looks a little small here, but the perspective’s off in this shot 

We also caught a glimpse of an arena in the Ashlands, a desert playground for demons in which War has to bring down a series of demon warriors for the entertainment of the crowd. It’s all a plot to get to the monster who’s running the place, as said fiend stole War’s horse, Ruin, after the apocalypse. Once the demon is dead, War re-tames Ruin by refusing to harm it – apparently the first sign in the game that he cares about something - which then enables him to ride and summon Ruin anywhere in the overworld, even when he’s leaping off a cliff. Ruin also enables War to get around quickly in the hard-to-traverse Ashlands, which then opens up more areas to explore and more monsters to kill.

Finally, there are the weapons, and while War’s primary means of annihilation is that massive broadsword he carries, it’s by no means his only one. Over the course of the game, War will be able to use two alternate weapons, which – in a nod to the fact that players of these types of games tend to stick with the default weapon – just provide secondary attacks to supplement his sword combos. And those don’t include guns – during our demo, we saw War shooting pistols while on horseback, and trudging through a long hallway carrying a really huge cannon, third-person shooter style.

Above: Sure wish we had some pictures of those guns. But in the meantime, here’s some horse action 

Factor in buckets of gore, a few enjoyably simple puzzles, an intriguing premise and a menacing sidekick voiced by Mark Hamill in full Joker mode, and we’re excited to see what else is in store for War’s big adventure.

Worthy? Tentatively yes. The basic action has gotten a lot stronger since the last time we saw Darksiders, but it could still potentially be dismissed as a weak God of War imitation if the Zelda-inspired stuff doesn’t turn out to be something special (which it already looks like it could be).

Likelihood of defeating God of War:

June 11, 2009

E3 09: Hub
All the stories from this year's show


E3 09: Modern Warfare 2 vs Left 4 Dead 2 vs Halo 3: ODST
The deathmatch is on as we compare E3's top shooters


GamesRadar's E3 2009 awards
The best, worst, and weirdest from the only game convention that matters

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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?