Electronic Arts shocked us when they announced they'd be putting out a videogame based on Dante Alighieri's "Inferno", which is actually an entry in a collection of books called The Divine Comedy. Granted, there is nothing comedic about Dante's Inferno, seeing as how this is basically Electronic Arts' very own God of War game, and that means tons of gore and demonic imagery. But don't be confused about Dante's Inferno, either, because the game is only loosely based on the book – as the story, while it pays homage to the original, also takes its own creative approach. One such example of that creativity is making the character of Beatrice Portinari Dante's love-interest in the game, this was not the case in the literature.
In any case, unlike Ben, I am not very versed on the details of this series, so I'll refrain from making any further comparisons between game and book. That said, this preview is here to tell you how fantastic Dante's Inferno plays. EA has put out a demo of the game, and while God of War is clearly what the aim is, Dante's Inferno never felt like a blatant rip-off. In fact, the game manages to stand on its own quite well, as its atmosphere and story creates a huge rift between it and Sony's game.
Dante's Inferno plays every bit as fluid as God of War does. You have your scythe, which serves as Dante's main weapon capable of both low and high attacks. Naturally, low attacks come out quick, meanwhile high attacks are a bit slower but deal a lot more damage. Assigned to your circle button is a magic attack using Beatrice's Holy Cross. The Holy Cross attack is dealt much like that of Devil May Cry's guns, so you can spam and combo with it freely – which helps aid the fluidity of the game.
Boss battles are pretty straightforward, and in some cases certain beasts that you defeat can be tamed and used by Dante. Usually taming a beast involves getting rid of the original beast rider first by depleting the beast's health, and then by initiating the QTE and timing your button hits. Controlling the beasts isn't usually done for a long time, as you'll only need them to break something down or solve a specific puzzle.
Visually, the game can stand to look better. There are many muddy textures to be found on the characters and environments – and they look particularly obvious when watching the cutscenes. But the game does run at 60 frames per second, which is certainly nice, albeit I still think there's room for improvement, visually.
The fact of the matter is that Dante's Inferno plays superbly well, and don't think you have to choose one action game over another. Both God of War III and Dante's Inferno must end up in your library next year.