Dante's Inferno Updated Hands-On

We follow Dante a few more steps into hell in our latest look at EA's literary video game adaptation.

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Although the Dante Alighieri of historical record was skilled with the quill and scroll, the Dante of EA's upcoming literary-adaptation video game, Dante's Inferno, prefers to get things done using the business end of a huge bone-and-metal scythe. That's bad news for the minions of hell as Dante plunges headlong into the underworld, searching for the love of his life, Beatrice, in a third-person action game that owes as much to the God of War series as it does to the classic poem on which it's based. At EA's recent spring press event, we had a chance to take Dante a bit deeper into the bowels of eternal punishment to see how the game is coming along.

Dante's monstrous scythe is a formidable weapon…

The demo level on display picked up in a familiar spot, on board Charon--the living ship that ferries doomed souls across the river Styx. We saw Charon in our previous look at the game, and the encounters on board still play much the same. First up was a group of minor enemies that we took out with a few swipes of the scythe. They were followed by another group of minions and a couple of demonic-looking bad guys, as well as some flying enemies that were vaguely reminiscent of the Mutalisk in Starcraft. After that, it was the biggest baddie of them all, a huge, lumbering beast that climbed over the side of Charon to stand on deck. The beast was being piloted by a humanoid riding atop the demon's neck, and to take him down, we first had to soften the demon up with some scythe strikes before climbing on top of it and engaging in a short quick-time event, a la God of War. Once you complete the quick-time sequence, Dante will defeat the demon's rider and take control of the beast himself.

From there, the demo took us through more familiar territory. After Dante ripped the head off of the living ship Charon, it crashed into the side of a mountain, and he scaled the sheer cliff and ran into the hellish castle that housed King Minos, the mythological judge of the dead. It's here that Dante once again ran into the infamous blade babies: tiny infants who, because they were unbaptized during their brief lives, were sent to hell upon their death, only to be reborn as hideous monstrosities with blades for arms. Individually, the blade babies are easy to defeat, but once they surround you with sheer numbers, you'll find that babies with swords for hands are a very big problem indeed.

With the blade babies dispatched, Dante continued his climb up the tower to his face-off with Minos. Once at the top, he was confronted by the menacing judge of the damned himself. In keeping with the gruesome tone of the surroundings, King Minos is a hideous beast: a huge, eyeless, serpentine creature with a long, forked tongue and a necklace made of human corpses. The boss fight featured several stages. The first part started with Minos trying to gouge Dante with his powerful tail. Simply running around in circles was enough for Dante to avoid those attacks, and soon enough, Minos brought his huge face in close enough for Dante to do some wet work on Minos' grill. Reeling in pain, the overlord then reared back, exposing his guts, which we immediately attacked with Dante's scythe.

After wearing Minos down enough, you'll move to another quick-time event that has Dante leaping and swinging around with his scythe. Perform it accurately, and you'll finally take Minos down once and for all by grabbing his forked tongue and yanking his head toward and onto a huge spiked wheel. With Minos' head in place, Dante sets the spiked wheel in motion, essentially tearing the demon's head apart in the process. At that point, it was game over for the demo.

The gameplay in Dante's Inferno was similar to that found in our original look at the game, with moments of combat strewn between dungeon-crawling and even some light puzzle-solving. The combat animations are impressive, with Dante doing all sorts of fancy flips and tricks as he wields his deadly scythe. We'd like to see a bit more contextual animations on the enemy side as a result of Dante's amazing attacks. This is especially the case with larger bosses, who barely seem to react as you're slicing away. Considering that some of the development talent on Dante's Inferno came straight from the team responsible for Dead Space (a game that reveled in its contextual enemy damage), here's hoping some of that same philosophy carries over to this game.

…and he'll need it when taking on the Limbo boss, King Minos.

Given that the bloody King Minos fight occurs in Limbo, the first circle of hell, it stands to reason that things are bound to get a lot tougher and considerably more grim as Dante makes his way through the eight other circles. Having familiarized ourselves with Limbo, we're hoping that our next look at Dante's Inferno takes us deeper into the cavernous realms of the undead. The game is due for release in 2010, and we'll be following through to its completion.

Discussion

166 comments
TheSmoj
TheSmoj

This game is essentially a new story set in Dante's envisionment of Hell.

CapitaoNinja
CapitaoNinja

the protagonist in Dante's book, never fight anyone, he just talk to people about their sins and punishments with some etical and philosophic content, and saw the cruel details about the other world, passing trough hell, purgatory and heaven. Except for the names of places and some people, there is no way this game to be close to the book, its far more close to god of war instead.

100starz
100starz

@Joste the story in the book i believe is about redemption. Over here its about saving the damsel in distress.

pocket-dragon
pocket-dragon

This seems like the oddest thing to base a game on. The book was fantastic, hope this lives up to the classic poem.

joste
joste

this game looks great! just hope the story matches the one from the book

pilot_riaz
pilot_riaz

@RasutoSSAikou This game will be a button masher like Ninja Gaiden was. In Dante you can do many combos now how will combos perform without button mashing? So this game is going to be a button masher

RasutoSSAikou
RasutoSSAikou

@Daylen: I don't know how you can even type that. God of War for noobs? Are we even playing the same game? Sure, easy mode may be a push over, but God Mode is anything but. And where's the satisfaction is killing bosses with normal skills? It seems like a letdown that the same attack that killed a worthless minion can down a big bad boss that I've been trying to kill for the whole game. Woo, climactic. By the way, next time you want to talk about button mashers, try actually naming one, like Ninja Gaiden: Black. I practically slept through that bore-fest.

Daylen
Daylen

@RasutoSSAikou: No I'd rather more depth was added to the actual combat and finishing kill cinematics were kept brief. And no I don't think God of War would be better without QTEs, because it would still be the same brainless button-masher for n00bs.

RasutoSSAikou
RasutoSSAikou

@Daylen: Wow, really? Troll detected everyone. Do you honestly think that God of War would be the same or better without QTE? Would you rather go back to just sitting there watching everything unfold while you do nothing? I know I wouldn't, because it's boring and gets me less involved from the game. But, like I said, a comment like that ("designers that use them are talentless hacks") could only be from a troll, because it is the stupidest thing I've ever read, and I've seen the off-topic forums on GameFAQs.

Blank_Testament
Blank_Testament

yeah go satan. i heard a little story from some band something along the lines of "god hates us all".

invu8
invu8

i like hell in diablo 2 hail satan :]

Blank_Testament
Blank_Testament

@ philsternator Yeah exactly hell is one of the best places i can think of to have a game but as always they have to do it right as you said. to bad they always just take the easy way out on everything and just make it look goth-ish and dark everywhere.

brennan7777
brennan7777

@ philsternator I dont know what you meant by "Sortve read inferno in high school," but in case you didnt know this games looks absolutely nothing like the book...

philsternator
philsternator

@Blank_Testament - You've got me on that one dude - it's hard thinking of places as badass as Hell to go running around in. But games have been referencing medieval Hell imagery for nigh on twenty years now - it's well-worn territory! They're going to have to do a pretty awesome job of capturing the sheer freaking epic terror of Hell to get me interested is all. I mean, it's Hell man! They should be going freaking NUTS with all sorts of crazy, twisted sht, not half-assing it with this LOTR meets GOW meets DANTE FOR DUMMIES approach. I only (sort've) read Inferno in high school, but isn't Hell full of, I dunno, damned people? I hope everything you meet isn't trying to kill you. Demons are scary, sure, but thousands of people being tortured in fk'ed up ways for all sorts of weird sht is even scarier. I hope these screenshots are just the tip of the iceberg, but so far it doesn't feel like Hell, it just feels like generic evil-lava-world. Do Dante proud dudes! Got a little carried away there. Sorry. I care too much.

Blank_Testament
Blank_Testament

@ philsternator no offense man but how many other unexplored places are there for games to go to? if they do this right and adhered to the right conventions of hell this could be very interesting.

rob_dAmAgE
rob_dAmAgE

@ daylen- really man? shut up! i happen to really like the cinamatic feel of qte's. the bourne game had them, the gow games had them, & same with ninja blade. if you don't like em' fine. but don't judge other people for liking them simply because you don't!

philsternator
philsternator

I'm pretty excited about the concept, but I don't have high expectations for the art direction. I don't mean to be offensive, but aren't there enough games set in Hell already? Just looking at these screenshots - dimly lit, subterranean, 'demonic architecture', lava, variations of brown and gray - sheesh, it's putting me to sleep already. I'm just judging it by the preliminary screenshots, but I feel like I've already played this game. And it was lame. Y'know what game had a great Hell level? Earthworm Jim. That Hades section in God of War 2 with all those people trapped in the walls, groping you the whole time? That was awesome! The Hell section in Doom 3 was pretty rad too...The more I think about it, the more this game feels a bit like a wasted opportunity. If you're going to do a game set exclusively in HELL, do something original! 'cause a million other games already been there. Also, Daylen, I'm with you on QTE's. Pain in the ass.

Daylen
Daylen

@RasutoSSAikou: Hardly. I've beaten both God of Wars and other titles that use QTEs to a lesser degree such as Prince of Persia, Uncharted, Tomb Raider Legend, Resident Evil 5 etc. etc. Quick-time events are a tacky substitute for a real gameplay mechanic. A cheap and dirty attempt to add "cinematic" action to a game with an uninspired whack-a-mole-like minigame. Studios that use them are second-rate, designers that use them are talentless hacks and gamers who like them are simple-minded folk content to settle for mediocrity or less.

RasutoSSAikou
RasutoSSAikou

@Daylen: Just because YOU suck at them doesn't mean they fail. And this game is looking great. I think I'll download the demo as soon as it comes out.

Blank_Testament
Blank_Testament

yeah im not denying that GoW was a good game im its just annoying that everyone talks about it as if it was the first game like this. im not 100% that DMC was eather but it was b4 GoW. personally just because this game is based on the same story and has the same namesake does not mean you have to rule it out, hell why not give it a try... sorry for the pun.

rpgnutt
rpgnutt

imma keep a lookout for this one

bigman180
bigman180

This game really looks amazing just by looking at it . I wonder if is going to have some cool a Achivements .

Junooni
Junooni

i think the game will be more like sony's GOD of War series, as we can clearly see that the mechanics are the same.But still the game will be fun though.

johnfrusciantex
johnfrusciantex

Im only interested and might rent this game because the Divine Inferno is my favorite book next to The Masque of The Red Death-Edgar Allan Poe. I would have liked to see a more literal interpretation of the game, making it maybe an acrion rpg where you can go to certain parts of hell that you passed and get items weapons etc. somehing like that would probably do better than a God of War knockoff.

laptop12
laptop12

old gameplay, just brand new looking and graphic

Quofan
Quofan

Concept and story is an interesting one, but it all sounds too God of War to me. God of War - (Greek mythology + Kratos) x Dante = this game

Daylen
Daylen

QTEs = epic fail

neubert81
neubert81

I guess if they were worried about staying true to source material it would come with a pad and a pen and we could all begin writing. Quick time events included when changing paragraphs. I actually am really interested in how they end up bringing a literary masterpiece to life.

gk_of_berea
gk_of_berea

I can't wait. I loved the literature. It was an amazing read. Definitely one of my favorite reads from classic literature. Looking forward to the video game portrayal.

GoodGamez
GoodGamez

I just feel the need to state that Limbo is not a circle of hell but a completely separate astral plane. It is no longer a part of christian mythology, but was actually the place that unbaptized babies went after death. In contradiction to the game, it was a plane of near perfection, only one step below heaven because God was not there. It is however no longer recognized by the Catholic Church as existing.

stevenrkorea
stevenrkorea

This game looks like it's going to be really fun to play. And to everyone that thinks it will suck because it is going to 'butcher' the book...wow, just let it go. Do you also hate The Magnificent Seven because it was a re-hash of The Seven Samurai? Lots of ideas get re-hashed and ripped off. I'll bet your favorite games/books/movies are re-hashes and rip-offs that have 'destroyed' their originals. Just let it go. Game on!

bigd575
bigd575

I can't wait to see how this turns out.

infect999
infect999

It's probably going to be a good game...I just don't know if I'll be able to get passed the fact that they're butchering the source material

shenron43
shenron43

seems like it has a solid story and should make a good game.

PannicAtack
PannicAtack

Okay. They are making a video game based off of Dante's Inferno, as a hack-and-slash. What are they going to do for Purgatorio and Paradiso?

Broken-Silence
Broken-Silence

Can't see how people think this is a rip off of GoW. Apparently god of war is the only game of the hack/slash adventure genre that these people have played. Provided it is a good game, please try and have some sense. It is based off of DANTE'S INFERNO.

joe71103
joe71103

THIS GAME IS GOING TO SUCK , IF YOU WANT TO GET A 3RD PERSON GAME SET IN THE DEPTHS OF HELL IMPORT A GAME CALLED DEMON SOULS ONLY ON PS3.

boyinthahood
boyinthahood

Bro, this may end up being a good game on its own, but when linked with the book?!....psh...they failed the second they got the idea.

no1gamefan
no1gamefan

That may be so but you can't deny that GoW was good game. Incidentally both DMC and Gow were great games and this one looks good too.

Blank_Testament
Blank_Testament

devil may cry is the original in my book god of war ripped that off to the days!

warhawk-smakaho
warhawk-smakaho

this looks like a good game... but DON'T compare it to God of War.

Taevataat
Taevataat

Spit on The Divine Comedy some more and release Purgatory & Paradise. This is a disgrace to one of the greatest pieces of literature.

Chaos_Bladez
Chaos_Bladez

Hmm... if it comes out after GOW3 I'll probably never accept anything less. Too bad for this game.

Sgt_Blitz89
Sgt_Blitz89

This looks pretty good. Dante's Inferno is a pretty beast story, so i cant wait for the game. it reminds me a lot of God of War though.

mikeyvp87
mikeyvp87

I don't want to sound like a, huh, fanboy but could this rip off of God of War anymore? i'll get it for the story but come on.

TheGunKnight
TheGunKnight

I am definitely looking forward to this game. And BigDaveyDogz, the game you're talking about is Darksiders: Wrath of War (long time no see).

meghus
meghus

Gunna have to say that it looks pretty Epich

BigDaveyDogz
BigDaveyDogz

This game looks awesome, I'm also looking forward to that game about the Horseman, forgot the name of it if anyone knows what I'm talking about.

ascalon94
ascalon94

looking forward to the PSP one