This game has provoked Christian riots and seen some of the industry’s most unorthodox PR tactics to date, but now Dante’s Inferno will truly bring Hell to games retailers’ shelves.
The title is obviously inspired by its source material: Inferno, the first part of the classic 13th Century epic poem The Divine Comedy, written by Italian poet Dante Alighieri.
For those not au fait with such historical literature – and this includes more than a few members of Team MCV – it tells of a journey through the Nine Circles of Hell.
In Dante’s Inferno, EA invites gamers to embark upon this ordeal themselves with the task of taking down the demons that live within each Circle.
For the record, these are: limbo, lust, gluttony, greed, anger, heresy, violence, fraud and treachery.
Only by doing clearing these areas of Hell can Dante retrieve the soul of his beloved Beatrice.
Thanks to its diverse source material, this third-person action adventure boasts a variety of environments that stand out from anything else in its genre. Every Circle has its own distinct look that not only reflects the sin in question, but also recreates the hideous visages described in the poem.
The ‘lust’ environments, for example, are populated by naked, large-breasted temptresses led by a colossal but sultry version of Cleopatra.
This theme is also carried across to the other characters, monsters and even the geography throughout this stage.
For his quest to rescue Beatrice, Dante is armed with a scythe he acquires from Death. Using this, he is capable of devastating attacks that players will need to master if they are to subdue the beasts of Hell.
Battles are fast and intense, and developer Visceral assures that it will run at a smooth 60 frames per second – a feature many core consumers crave in their action games.
It’s not all reckless reaping, either. Thanks to the Holy Cross left to him by Beatrice, Dante has a wide variety of magical attacks and techniques in his arsenal. Like his scythe attacks, these can all be customised and upgraded to suit the player’s fighting style and give them a greater edge in combat.
The wanderer also has another trick up his sleeve. Dante will learn certain techniques throughout his journey that will allow him to tame large-scale beasts, which can then be used in his fight against the minions of Hell.
SEE YOU IN HELL
Electronic Arts has been pulling out all the stops to impress upon the public the significance of this release.
As well as being an adrenaline-fuelled action adventure title, the game also offers a new take on the classic 13th Century poem.
The title also holds prestige among the gaming community, developed by the makers of last year’s critically acclaimed Dead Space.
A demo has already been doing the rounds on Xbox 360 and PS3, giving gamers a glimpse at Dante’s first steps into Hell and whetting their appetites for the game’s arrival in February.
As always, retail is key and incentives have been rolled out to draw gamers to EA’s key retail partners. For example, Play.com customers can pick up exclusive downloadable in-game items, while GAME is offering the Death Edition – a collector’s edition that includes artwork, an in-game Dead Space costume, a bonus DVD with documentaries, soundtrack and a full digital reprint of Dante Alighieri’s poem.
As if that weren’t enough, there is even an animated Dante’s Inferno movie to be released on Blu-ray and DVD a few weeks after the game arrives to give it a further boost.