Tuesday, 26 January 2010

Wow - Dante's Inferno Demo

Ok, so I'm not one for poems to much myself especially ye olde poems, namely 'The Divine Comedy'. But this thing is fantastic, it shows the real power of how gaming can portray important events that have taken place in the world.

To elaborate further, they've taken a famous poem that requires you as a person to 'imagine' what the writer is describing, but by putting it in this format, you not only get to see a very atmospheric interpretation of how it looked (or at least an Visceral Games interpretation of how the writer wanted it to look to its audience) but as an added bonus you get to partake in the experience yourself.

I was inspired to have a look at what it was all about and have been reading up on it a bit. Seriously, why don't they teach kids these kind of things at school? Power of a game people!

In a nutshell I would say this game is 'Beautifully Disturbing'.

Although you only get to play through a few levels, it was enough time to gauge a sense of what this game was all about, predominately button smashing hack n' slash. I was worried when it first started loading and a it showed me a screen shot of the controller, showing me what each button did -worried because I was going to get thrown into something with a scant knowledge of how to control Dante/the Avatar. It turned out the first level was almost like a tutorial with frequent screen hints detailing Dante's capabilities with light attack, heavy attack, block, movement, grab, jump and evade.
The story starts as your fighting in the crusades, the 'holy war', and your fighting off people opposing you, you eventually get hit in the back with a dagger and death comes for you in the form of some very dark humanoid deformity, which you have to fight. It was very noticeable how I wasn't having to wait at all for when gameplay switched to cut-scenes. The boss fight included some quick-time events that would allow for the most novice of players to execute them successfully with obvious and slow prompts. The UI screen allows you to upgrade your weapon or your cross after getting points for killing the 'bad guys', there are also 4 other screens which the demo doesn't go into detail with. There is an opportunity to ride on a 'hell beast' that you use to crush smaller enemies and break down a door that you wouldn't be able to do just by yourself. This is where the demo ends

The Title screen shows blurred animations of blood running slowly down the screen with light moving in the background conveying a distorted ambience matched with some choral/church music (Dark 13th Century Perotin music (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FvJ6xl3l1ek&feature=related)) giving a 'godly' or 'holy' feel to the game from the outset. The in-game UI includes too much information, that could have reasonably be kept a lot simpler, that said, that's just this gamers opinion and the concept maybe in keeping with the mise-en-scene of the game... anyone for some stimulation overload?
The aesthetics of the surrounding environment during game play are visually stunning at 60 FPS and really convey a 'hellish' theme with their orangey-red colours. Much detail has gone into the surroundings with people's hands sticking out of prison cells; flames flickering brightly and well animated. The Camera moves of its own accord and can not be controlled (at least not in the demo), which doesn't detract too much from the experience but it would have been nice to fully acknowledge and appreciate the time and effort gone into the surrounding art. The game is shown from a third-persons point of view, the camera is normally angled behind and above Dante.
Its perhaps time I upgraded my Television but I do get annoyed with text that appears to small and I have to get really close to the screen in order to be able to read what it's telling me. The combat animations are fast, responsive and beautiful to watch; an enemy will die (be it human in the early stages of the demo or demons) and blood with all sorts can be seen graphically adding to the sense of how dark this game really is.You only get a small taste of some of the artwork used for the different creatures, but take a look at the video below. Wayne Barlow, having spent a lot of his career drawing hellish creatures for films really makes an impression in this game (talk about good old transferable skills). The game could compare to some Legacy of Kahn titles with its 'un-dead theme', so if you liked that then you will love this. I will definitely be getting this when it comes out in February