Dante's Inferno Updated Hands-On

We uncover another circle of hell in our latest look at EA's literary video game adaptation.

In our last look at EA's upcoming adventure game Dante's Inferno, the hero, Dante Alighieri, was fighting his way through Limbo, eventually ending up in a mortal struggle with King Minos, judge of the damned. After splitting the king's head open in a thoroughly satisfying way, Dante will eventually make his way down into the furthest reaches of the Netherworld. Recently, we had a chance to see EA's latest build of the game--the one it's showing at E3, in fact--and got a chance to see Dante hack and slash his way through the fifth circle of hell: Anger.

This being the fifth circle, it means that the demo we saw skipped ahead in the narrative to about halfway through the game. The demo we played of the Anger level begins with Dante encountering a lost soul named Filippo Argenti, who, it turns out, was a real-life political rival of Dante's and who also appears as a character in the epic poem that inspired Dante's Inferno. Like with other lost souls Dante finds in the game, you'll have the option to either punish or absolve Filippo; we've seen the punish option before (essentially Dante stabs the soul in the face with a cross), but we have yet to see how the absolve mechanic works, though we do understand it will be a minigame that has a certain measure of risk versus reward.

After dispatching Argenti, it was off to cross a marshy section of the River Styx. A handy raft was at Dante's disposal, and after stepping on, we began the slow crossing, all the while taking down flying demon bats with a combination of Dante's dangerous scythe and his cross, which serves as a ranged weapon that fires beams of righteous energy at his foes. The cross, it seems, is a particularly good form of crowd control, as it can be used to temporarily stun enemies, freeing Dante up to deal with more pressing concerns.

As we reached the far shore of the Styx, the raft we were riding on began to move strangely and, eventually, lift up out of the water. It then became apparent that the raft was not a raft at all, but rather the crown of Phlegyas, an enormous demon who, in the original poem, served as the ferryman across the Styx for Dante and his guide, Virgil. Phlegyas is no mere ferryman here; instead, he's a massive demon who's looking to destroy Dante, who's on his way to save his wife Beatrice. In fact, right after escaping Phlegyas' grasp for the first time, we got a sneak peek at Dante's beloved, who appeared hovering in midair wearing a queen's crown and floating side by side with the shadowy form of Lucifer himself. Producers were tight-lipped on the meaning of this appearance, but it seems that Beatrice herself will be transformed as the game progresses.

While we saw only a section of the Anger level, we can tell you that Phlegyas' presence is felt the entire time. Because of his size, you can't hope to defeat him; instead, your goal is to avoid his constant attacks, while still dealing with the peon enemies that will also appear. In addition to standard demons and blade babies, we saw a new enemy type--a grotesquely obese (and nude, we should point out) female gluttony minion. Though you actually meet the minion earlier in the game, this was our first look at her, and we're not sure which part of "Bertha" (as she's affectionately known by the dev team) was more appalling--her flabby misshapen body or her toxic vomit attacks. And, perhaps just for completeness' sake, she's also got a toxic attack from her other end, which was just as dreadful.

After fighting our way through a good chunk of the Anger level, we eventually guided Dante to take control of Phlegyas himself, at which point the final reveal of the demo was revealed: As Dante guided Phlegyas across a stone bridge and toward the fictional City of Dis, the camera pulled back to reveal an epic hellscape, complete with the never-ending cries of the suffering. It's within the City of Dis that the final five levels of hell are contained (Malice, Heresy, Violence, Fraud, and Treachery), and it's a fitting setup for the second half of Dante's adventure, which looks to get more grim the deeper you plunge.

After the PlayStation 3 demo was over, we got a chance to try out the PSP version of Dante's Inferno. According to producers, it will have all of the content from the console versions of the game along with very comparable controls. Indeed, aside from the grab controls (which weren't implemented yet), the controls in the PSP version felt very similar to those in the PS3 game. The handheld demo featured the Limbo level leading all the way through to the end of the King Minos fight, and despite not having the flashy particle effects of its big brother, it looked to be pretty much on par with the console game.

Our only problem with the PSP version's look was the camera--when the camera pulled back during the King Minos fight, both Dante and the minions he was fighting became so small they were nearly unrecognizable and hard to follow onscreen. Producers told us they were aware of the problem and have a dedicated team working on the PSP version's camera in order to alleviate the problem.

Dante's Inferno is currently due for release in 2010. Look for more information on the game in the coming months.

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Discussion

60 comments
Ghost549
Ghost549

actually no any game that is 1% like god of war is worth playing

Ghost549
Ghost549

is this coming out for the PSP go?

ShadowmeresFury
ShadowmeresFury

I've heard alot of hopeful things about this game. It seems awesome. I hope it won't disappoint.

ahnzz
ahnzz

ea dont make a game like god of war or any thing similar to it, it does look good,

carlwalker
carlwalker

I have two things to say to treader2, one is bad and so is the other: 1) For someone who seems to think he/she can write, try to remember that "For those who doesn't know the poem" is awful English. Here is a quick English lesson - 'those' is plural and 'doesn't' is singular. 2) Who cares what inspired Dante to write his poem? Do you have issues because Shakespeare plagiarised more or less every plot structure in his plays? Does that make his work have any less of an impact on the world? I think I see a cloud over your head. I think - yes, it's a thick layer of smug - argh!!!!! Anyway, in terms of the game, I think it looks macabre and brilliant - more epic stories in video games please!!!

treader2
treader2

I have two things to say to EA, one is good and the other thing is not: 1- either EA change the name along with the story (in that case EA will keep up 1/4 of the world still buying their games) 2- or keep it up as it is (in that case have fun by losing customers) For those who doesn't know the poem, it was written by Dante who derived many features of and episodes about the hereafter indirectly from the spiritual writings of Ibn Arabi and from the Isra and Mi'raj or night journey of the prophet Muhammad peace be upon him to heaven. Please try to be open minded and investigate before you comment back Regards,

Normaral85
Normaral85

This game look graphically on point, I'm just worried about the gameplay mechanics and the reviews of how hard this game is. I love a challenge but if people that play games for a living are whining what does that mean for a parttime player like me?

EvanDeWickeD
EvanDeWickeD

Looks like a lotta people are Whining about how this game looks like a GOW clone..... my personal opinion is ANY GAME that is even 80% like GOW is worth PLAYING! so............... SHUT IT people :P

kevinkelley1993
kevinkelley1993

@ Lohannes he lived in the 1300's bro, get it right lol

TheTrooper22
TheTrooper22

I just played a demo yesterday at gen con. plays just like GOW,but still amazing. definitely gonna buy this one

vivelaps3
vivelaps3

this game looks pretty good. can't wait, might be a pre-ordering for me...

rpgisforme
rpgisforme

Okay it's not an ACTUAL sequel in name but it still looks like another God of War to me .. Well if ya gotta copy something, at least they're copying a great game! I'm definately getting this one, the game looks awesome.

irwin888
irwin888

What can I say? The plot is intriguing, the graphics very nice, and the gameplay entertaining. Sounds like a possible buy IMO. Got to find me a copy of that Divine Comedy, too!

johnryandaplin
johnryandaplin

hmmm, gameplay always prevails over graphics but i think they could do better for this game

Ohaidere
Ohaidere

Seems worth keeping an eye on. Nice to see some new IPs coming out instead of the slew of sequels we've been barraged with for the past year or so.

thunderhorse55
thunderhorse55

that fat chick thing sounds like a disturbing enough reason to NOT get this game. lol thats just disgusting

envybianchi
envybianchi

I can't wait! I'm quite stoked for this game!

DhavokBoss
DhavokBoss

I heard they will have the game playing at 60 frames per second. This game is going to be epic

gedbyz
gedbyz

Looks like a great game.

Tikicobra
Tikicobra

Looks like a good game in its own right, but as a game based off the poem, it does a very poor job of replicating it. I think an adventure game with puzzle aspects would be a much better fit for this poem.

Lohannes
Lohannes

@ alastairf, underquarantine Dante was a real life Florentine poet from the 1500s who wrote Inferno where he portrayed himself somewhat autobiographically as a character traveling through hell who is led by a dead historical Roman poet called Virgil, not really an angel. Dante is the author and the character. But the game should be nothing like the book aside from references; Dante usually cries or passes out when he encounters things in the book rather then cut their heads off. Sweet looking game though.

SSBFan12
SSBFan12

I have been waiting for this game for a very long time and now finally it is coming out.

AyuSora
AyuSora

Can't wait. I'll have to read the poem one of these days after or before I play the game. Looks awesome!

gmax
gmax

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

Gam1nG_W1zard
Gam1nG_W1zard

The scythe is a great weapon and it's original. Think about it how many games uses a scythe as a weapon? They all use swords and knives.

JowzXIII
JowzXIII

Another addition to my list of "What to buy PS3 or Xbox" PS3 had a +10 from it.

ahadj
ahadj

Looked really good I hoping it is as good as god of war games.

UnderQuarantine
UnderQuarantine

@ alastairf I beg to disagree. Dante wrote but also had a character in the book, a reflection of himself, being guided through the nine circles by an angel called Virgil or something. Burn. :) Btw game looks good :P long time since ive played a good ol' mythological slasher.

PSFreak1
PSFreak1

i dont think this game will be critically acclaimed!

pakhair
pakhair

This is a freakin sweet game............

mad_gamer23
mad_gamer23

I love the Divine Comedy, and any game with some mythology intrigues me. I'm definitely gonna track this closely. Hopefully it won't be screwed up by focusing only flashy graphics

alastairf
alastairf

this title looks pretty awesome but why is the main character called Dante? - the guy who came up with Dante's inferno was called Dante, not anyone inside it

zool152004
zool152004

I'm sure i'm not the first to say it looks a little too firmilar...But that isn't exactly a bad thing, after all you could make the same complaint with driving, shooter and sports games. If the gameplays stimulating and story's well told should be a cool game.

Ganzxel
Ganzxel

i have high expectation for this title :)

Junior_AIN
Junior_AIN

After I saw it at E3 I got interested.

guynamedyeah
guynamedyeah

@g_max_ "According to producers, it will have all of the content from the console versions of the game along with very comparable controls." same game with simpler mechanics.

guynamedyeah
guynamedyeah

i'll play it on psp. i see it as a psp game, not a next gen game.

Pete5506
Pete5506

It looks cool, I hope it turns out well

Pete5506
Pete5506

It looks cool, I hope it turns out well

gmax
gmax

Hmm... Wonder what people will think about the story, and how the console and portable versions will compare once they are actually released.

XanderKage
XanderKage

Stilly looks like a GoW+DMC covered in a new package...

esqueejy
esqueejy

Looks pretty good so far, but with GoW on the way too, I'll probably end up waiting to see which one gets better reviews (then play the other when there's a lull in the market hehe).