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Sinful impressions of Dante's Inferno
Posted on December 11, 2009 by Nicholas Gasse

EA just launched a playable demo of their upcoming title Dante's Inferno yesterday, a beefy 1 GB download, featuring the first level of the game, 'Gates of Hell'.  If imitation is the most sincere form of flattery, Kratos is flushed blood red right now. 

You're introduced to Dante with a scene of him grotesquely stitching a red cross on his chest(not quite your grandmother's sewing).  Cue cutscene, skip back a few years.  Dante dispatches a couple dozen of guys within a few minutes, only for a solitary soldier to stab him in the back seconds later with a narrative bullet.  Death comes to claim him, but Dante gets the upperhand in that fight, slaying death and stealing his scythe.  Another cutscene, flash forward 3 years, Dante finds his wife dead and embarks on a quest to free her soul.  The intro jumps round a lot, struggling to tell a lot of story without boring the player.  In the end, it comes off as being rather confusing, something hopefully ironed out in the full game.

Much like the  pacing of the narrative, the play of Dante's Inferno is just as unrelenting, going from 0-60 in the blink of an eye.  Liberally borrowing the core mechanics of God of War with the 'morality' system of Bioshock, Dante's Inferno plays very competently - great, even.  Dante goes from being a boring halbred-wielding crusader to a death dealing monster with magic and holy weaponry in a short matter of 10 minutes.  The game runs at a blinding 60 fps, with only occasional dips when the action gets intense.  The combat feels heavy and brutal, very satisfying overall.  The moveset is very accessible, and the fluidity in which you can chain the ground attacks into aerial assaults into an onslaught of magic barrages is empowering.

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