Let's get this out the way: Dante's Inferno is a God of War clone. It's not reminiscent of God of War, it doesn't have passing similarity to God of War, it is a straight up copy of everything but Kratos' underwear. But you shouldn't let that stop you from playing it, because it's actually pretty damn fun.
Dante's Inferno loosely follows the epic poem of the same name, but instead of Dante being a sensitive poet, he's such a badass that he arms himself with Death's own scythe before fighting his way through the nine circles of hell. I played through part of the Lust level while here at GameX and from the brief portion I saw, the game should more than live up to its M rating. I started off small, slaying female lust demons with what appeared to be tongues coming out of their nether regions, but gradually worked my way up to killing larger satyr-esque creatures. Dante has two weapons at his disposal, the scythe and the cross. The scythe is good for up-close and personal hacking, not to mention huge and devastating combos, while the cross is more about big bursts of energy that lay waste to whatever's within reach. You can charge up either weapon for stronger attacks, or just tap the button repeatedly to pull off a combo.
Dante will also learn four different kinds of magic, though I only got to try the frost spell and the "lust energy," which surrounded him in a ball of purple lightning. The ice spell traveled in a straight line and was a bit difficult to use, given that the enemies I was fighting tended to move around far too quickly in order for me to get a bead on them.
As you kill demons, you collect souls, which you can then use to power up your scythe and cross. The kind of soul you collect depends on whether you choose to punish or redeem your intended victim; punished souls power up your scythe, while redeemed ones add oomph to your cross. A skill tree for each weapon lets you improve each one as you see fit, and you can strike whatever balance between the two that suits your preferred play style.
You won't spend all of your time bathing in blood, however; you'll also have some basic puzzles of the "flip this switch/move that box" variety to solve. But these brain teasers are mere pauses in between bouts of fast-paced chaos. The battles with the lust demons and the satyrs were just the warm-up for a boss fight with Cleopatra, who is about the size of the Colossus of Rhodes in this game, but more naked. Much, much more naked. Let me tell you, fighting for your life while enormous naked breasts dangle overhead is unsettling enough, but when the unbaptized babies start pouring out of the nipples? It's really just plain creepy.
Yes, Dante's Inferno is utterly, completely copying God of War, but you know what? It's doing a really damn good job of it. It's absolutely stunning, with huge set pieces, deliciously detailed environments and enemies that may force you to seek some kind of psychotherapy later on down the line. The combat is responsive, fast, and fun - chunking that scythe into the skull of some demon is incredibly satisfying, as is harvesting the souls you need to become more powerful.
Dante's Inferno is due out on February 9th. If you enjoyed God of War's gameplay, I think you're going to want to give it a shot.