What We Know: Electronic Arts tasked Visceral Games, the same studio who created Dead Space (it's a different team, however), with adapting The Divine Comedy into a video game. How does The Divine Comedy become a video game? You make Dante's journey through Hell a whole lot more intense, with God of War-esque gameplay defining the style. If you squinted, you wouldn't be blamed for thinking Dante's Inferno is God of War with a new coat of paint, but based on my few times with the game, that's not necessarily a bad thing -- it just means you're immediately familiar with how the game plays, allowing you to jump straight into the action without hesitation. Response to Dante's Inferno has been decidedly mixed, as gamers have begun to learn the, erm, interesting different directions Visceral Games has taken its adaptation of The Divine Comedy.
What's New At TGS: The "Lust" stage. In God of War, you can have minigame sex with two topless women. In Dante's Inferno, you can fight a massive topless Cleopatra monster who generates enemies for you to fight by squirting them through her nipples. No, I'm not kidding, though I desperately wish I was. I've played Dante's Inferno a number of times now and have always come away impressed with the fighting engine. It's one thing to say "hey, we're going to riff on God of War" and another to actually pull it off. It's not as simple as copying and pasting and the Dante's Inferno team should be commended for that -- it's a great playing game. But then I'm shown scenes where Dante's fighting off creatures that just emerged ala breast milk and I'm shaking my head as my stomach turns over. This isn't clever, this isn't funny -- it's downright embarrassing. It'd be one thing if the Visceral Games team realized it wasn't going to be capable of pulling off a competent beat 'em up and decided to strike at the lowest common denominator to catch eyeballs, but there's a good game here that stands a change of getting overshadowed by an uncomfortably obvious attempt to grab the players' interest with cheap tactics like gigantic flopping breasts and female enemies that seem to protrude crotch tentacles.
What I Want To See: Less of what I just spent the last few hundred words complaining about. At this point, between the promise at Comic-Con that I'll have a chance to burst through the anus of Cerberus and Tokyo Game Show's topless booby giant, I'm ready to write off large parts of Dante's Inferno. Show me disturbing, show me weird, make me want to look away from the screen because there's awful things happening in front of me, but do it because you're representing a version of Hell taken to the nth degree. I'm not seeing enough of that in Dante's Inferno and I'm hoping EA puts its best foot forward when the last big push for the game happens before its release next year. I want to like you, Dante's Inferno.