Why Dante's Inferno will eviscerate God of War

We go hands-on with this divine comedy

Gameplay

Let’s get this out of the way - Dante’s Inferno pleasantly echoes God of War… almost too well. Playing on a PS3, the setup seemed familiar: X to jump, Square for light attacks, triangle for heavy and circle for grapple. Hit L2 to block, L1 for magic and the right analog stick to evade/dodge. R1 uses your Holy Cross for what appeared to be a repelling magic spell that sent enemies flying.

We started at the gates of Limbo and had to battle our way through the world. Right away, the scale of Hell’s size blew us away. Bodies tumbled down from numerous crevices around us as we climbed down a rock face. Cliff faces didn’t stretch for miles, but the length of countries. After all, Hell must be bigger than we can comprehend.

We came upon some demons that we easily dispatched with light and heavy combos. Fans of God of War will feel instantly familiar with combat. We progressed further and battled larger demons with horned heads. After we wore down our opponents, an icon appeared above their heads indicating we need to hit the Circle button. Doing so prompted our hero to swing around to the demon’s back, where tapping Circle repeatedly drew Dante’s scythe closer to the jugular of the demon. Soon, the head was lopped off in impressive fashion.

Stylish, awesome and bloody. Everything we want from this kind of game resonated almost perfectly at this early stage of development. if it feels all too familiar, that’s definitely not a bad thing. We next crossed a chasm on a rope onto Charon’s boat. But instead of an old man navigating a small vessel with Dante and Virgil in the poem, Charon is the boat in the game. Charon’s gigantic head steers the ship, while you dispatch demons that overrun the ship. In a grotesque touch, Charon’s spine fuses a great deal of the boat together.

Soon, a gigantic beast climbs up the ship, piloted by another demon. If that sounds almost too much like God of War, don’t worry, the similarities end there. Once we doled enough punishment to the giant we were prompted with another icon, which began a quicktime event. Successfully implementing the correct button combos dispatched the pilot and put us in control of the beast. We then rampaged on the ship, biting heads off demons and breathing fire. We then actually ripped the gigantic mondo head from Charon and tossed it towards the gates of Limbo’s castle.

Next, we jumped (still piloting the gigantic beast) towards the castle walls, which at this point started to crumple. Everything started to fall apart as we scuttled as fast as we could, ending with Dante leaping off the beast to the very top. We couldn’t stop there because the very foundation was rumbling. We pushed on as the bridge gave out underneath our feet. We ran all the way across just as the entire bridge collapsed and made it to Limbo itself and at that point our time was up. We were told that King Minos serves as the “boss” of Limbo and we couldn’t wait to eviscerate him.

Pedigree

Inferno is being developed by the team that made last year’s survival-horror hit, Dead Space. Coupled with two design leads who worked on levels for Half-Life and Metroid Prime respectively, the concept artist for the Hellboy movies and an as-of-yet unannounced Oscar-nominated writer, Inferno appears set to be EA’s next big game.

Being developed for the 360 and PS3, Inferno has no set release date. It will launch “when it’s done.” And that’s not surprising either. The motion-capture hadn’t even been done for the CG cutscenes yet. If we had to guess, we’d say Inferno would hit fall 2010. The game appeared pretty far along in terms of playability to us, so maybe Inferno will hit a hell of a lot sooner.

Feb 24, 2009

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