PAX 2009 First Impressions: Dante’s Inferno
I had the chance to get in some quality time with EA’s upcoming hack-and-slash title Dante’s Inferno, very loosely based on the first part of Dante Alighieri’s epic poem Divine Comedy. Like the poem, the game is a journey through the Nine Circles of Hell: Limbo, Lust, Gluttony, Greed, Wrath, Heresy, Violence, Fraud, and Treason. However, this is where the similarities seem to end. Instead of being lead through Hell by the ghost of the poet Virgil, Dante is ready to kick some Satanic ass with his enormous scythe. Whether you’re a believer that this is a case of literary butchering or extreme artistic liberties, know this: the game is a fascinating adventure.
While Dante’s Inferno unapologetically uses the tried and true God of War control scheme, the game backs it up with an amazing art style. Everything you encounter in the game feels as if it were directly torn from someone’s nightmares, maintaining a humanoid but otherworldly appearance. Perhaps the creepiest of all enemies featured in the playable demo were the unbaptized babies, portrayed as shrieking and bloodthirsty monsters with hooks for arms.
If mowing down an army of babies didn’t already sell you on this game, the sense of scale will. Like Shadow of the Colossus before it, Dante’s Inferno does a great job of making you feel insignificant compared to a towering beast.
Then they let you control it.
Once in control of this massive beast and gives you a chance to feel mighty compared to those around you, the camera pans out. You then realize what you thought was a massive creature is but a speck in the entire environment of the game. My jaw did not leave the floor.
I entered the PAX booth extremely skeptical that this game would not deliver to its obscenely high expectations. I left a changed man.
Dante’s Inferno is slated to be released on February 9, 2010 on the Playstation 3, Xbox 360, and the Playstation Portable.