Category: First Impressions


Ever since Dante’s Inferno was announced it has been slammed by many people as a shameless God of War clone, and in a general round-about-way they are completely right. The control scheme is completely God of War-esque right off the bat, and the general feel of the game is also very similar.To try to convince people that the game is more than a shameless rip-off EA has released a demo for PS3 owners first, to try to convert the God of War fans.

The demo starts off with a CGI cutscene showing Dante sewing a cloth cross into his skin which details Dante’s many sins. This cross is used to introduce anime cutscenes that go into depth on Dante’s past, and his dark secrets. Both the CGI and anime cutscenes are used in an effective manner, and both have very high production values and work well and add variety to the story.

After some story dumpage we go into the past where Dante is in Acre as a crusader, where he comes under attack by some weak human dudes who fall pretty quickly to your halberd’s light and heavy attacks and combos. After slaughtering those fools you move on and then get stabbed in the back by an assassin.

As Dante is left to die, Death himself comes to claim his soul and send him to Hell. Dante refuses to face his destiny, and prepares to do battle with Death.

All of this transpires with in-game cutscenes, which compares poorly to it’s fantastic CG and anime brethren, but the characters animate well. And I really enjoyed the voice acting, Dante doesn’t sound like a gruff soulless badass like Kratos, and instead has a very soulful and emotional voice actor who portrays the character well. Other characters have good voice work also, with Death and others sounding like they should.

As a first boss battle, Death is good and fair and as long as you block and dodge you’ll survive and triumph. After inflicting a good amount of damage to Death, you switch out your halberd for Death’s badass scythe and precede to beat the crap outta Death.

Combo’s with the early halberd felt wrong and out-of-place, but as soon as you gain the scythe everything comes together well and feels right. Another quicktime event kicks up with Death begging for his life, up until Dante cuts him in half.

After surviving his confrontation with Death, Dante decides to head home back to his wife Beatrice, but finds his house in ruins and arrives in time to find her dead with her soul getting stolen by some dark force. Dante gives pursuit, fighting off mysterious dark demons as he heads to the church. Here he finds Beatrice, seemingly being raped by this dark force, who then drags her to hell. This is where you gain your other weapon, the cross, which functions as a range/crowd control weapon.

Here the game introduces its upgrade mechanic and pseudo-moral choice decision system. By grabbing enemies with your scythe you can choice to either completely obliterate  them with your scythe, or save their souls with the holy cross.

You gain extra souls pertaining to either the Unholy upgrade tree that powers up your scythe, or the Holy path upgrading your cross. The two upgrade trees are incredibly deep, and seem like it’ll be impossible to fully fill up both of them by the end of the game. Obliterating enemies is quick and satisfying, while saving them takes a great deal of time to accomplish and probably gives the greatest benefit.

Once you make your way through the church you find yourself at the gates of hell, which happens to be modeled after Auguste Rodin sculpture, but you cannot open it. Here you find Virgil the poet, who claims that Beatrice asked him to guide you through hell to her.

Dante swears an oath to save her, Virgil gives him the power to unleash devastating attacks called Magic. After which hordes of the unholy erupt from the ground around you, trying to kill you.

After long long fight sequence, a new powerful demonic enemy with goat horns confronts you who is a little harder to kill than the little dudes you fought along the way. After more fighting a gigantic beast with a rider on top breaks through a wall.

Once you’ve worn it down, you’ll enter a quicktime event where you gain possession of the beast. Which controls incredibly well, then you use the beast to kill more enemies by smashing them and breathing fire.

After all enemies are dead you steer the beast over to the gates of hell, and using the beast you rip them open. As Dante enters in, the demo ends.

The demo was fun and a pleasure to play through, the controls were incredibly solid and offered no hinderance to the mayhem you caused. Technically the graphics were a little on the weak side, though the game ran at a steady smooth 60 FPS which really added to the experience.

Once of the most surprising thing about Dante’s Inferno was it’s upgrade system, was which incredibly deep reminding me of Diablo and Borderlands right off the bat. And the Punish and Save system is an interesting innovation to the hack ‘n slash genre.

Another good thing was that the story was very interesting, and was told well with a good mix of CGI, anime, and in-game cutscnes. And I’m intrigued on how it’ll develop.

The ultimate sin of the Dante’s Inferno demo is that it doesn’t take place in hell, which, from the videos, looks incredible and shows Dante’s Inferno’s unique artstyle.

Despite that I fully recommend that PS3 owners try this out, which is out now while 360 owners will have to wait until December 24th.  The game will be in stores Feburary 9th, 2010. Prepare to go to hell.

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gran turismo psp 2

Gamefly was happy to send me this game right away after I put it in my GameQ, now I’m not really a driving game kinda’ dude, the furthest I’ve ever step into the genre was my safe little hole called Burnout. But after playing the Forza 3 demo, I found out something. I REALLY like racing games. This realization urged me on to try out Gran Turismo on the PSP, an entry from the popular console series of games that I’ve never played.

After popping the UMD into the handheld and starting it up, it immediately went  “DUDE, YOU SHOULD TOTALLY CHECK OUT THE CHALLENGE AREA TO LEARN HOW TO NOT SUCK AT THIS GAME!”. Shrugging my shoulders I opened up the challenge mode and started up the first mission. I’m not sure what it was trying to teach me really, as all I had to do was stop the car inside a little box.

Bleh, said I, race time!

Before that however I decided to check out the cars that I could buy at that dealership. The games generously gives you quite a lot of credits in the beginning to mess around and buy some cars. Now, I’ve read that the game has over 800 cars which is quite an impressive number, but the weird thing is that the game doesn’t show them all to you. The game tracks your progress with ‘Days’, each time you race a day goes by, and each day a new set of cars will show up.

It’s kinda weird that they don’t just have them all there for you to pick and choose what you want, instead of relying on luck, hoping they have the car you wanted.

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After that I bought a couple of cars and got into the meat of the game, the single player race mode. Now a terrible mistake the developers did that I noticed right away was they did not create a career mode for you to race in, instead you just pick from a list of a bunch of tracks and races. And you even have to unlock harder AI modes on EACH TRACK so it becomes boring having to out race D ranked AI constantly.

Now the driving itself is fine, cars sound good and each are different to drive and are fun to learn how they work. The graphics in the game are pretty impressive considering it’s on a PSP, the stand-outs being the car models themselves while the environments looked kinda’ plain and dry.

Overall I had fun with the little bit I played of it, even if the experience was very unstructured and confused as a whole.

That was my first hour of Gran Turismo, stay tuned for a review coming out this week.

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After opening my mailbox today I found my package from Amazon containing Demon’s Souls for the PS3 lying there! After ripping it open and giggling like a school girl for a few minutes I put the game into my PS3 and played through the tutorial and beat the first major Demon boss.

First off the game has a really weird if not terrible character creator, that only serves to make your character look weirder and weirder. I guess that’s what helmets are for, covering up ugly faces. Also the game has a lot of character classes, but I picked the Knight because he looked the coolest.

After hitting the randomize button 50 times to get a decent-looking character I set off into the game’s tutorial stage, which really didn’t tell me much and was pretty vague. For example it doesn’t tell you how to lay messages for people or how to other peoples rate messages.

Here I would like to comment that the combat feels really solid, and has the right weight to it that an action RPG needs to have. The dodge rolls are pretty weak though and I don’t use them, but the spirit feels right at least. Also for actual fighting your got 2 different types of attack, light attack with the R1 button, or heavy attack with R2. My favorite combo is using my shield to block an enemy attack, then stab them with a heavy attack for massive damage.

I trekked ahead and after slaying many weak enemies I confronted this gigantic evil-looking dude, after yelling my head off  at the sight of the thing it promptly crushed me and killed me in one blow. My pride would’ve been wounded until I realized that it was that silly thing RPG’s do when you’re supposed to die.

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I got turned into a spirit form, in spirit form you get half of your HP taken away and can only regain it after defeating a big boss Demon dude.

After some long boring story-telling I entered the 1st dungeon and ran through the level slashing fools up, dodging clever traps (Indiana Jones-esque boulder roll down some stairs at me)and picking up some herbs and stuff. Eventually I decided to head off the beaten path and got raped by this badass Demon Knight dude who was weak to magic, which I didn’t have at that point.

That was the only time I died throughout my entire play session, and overall I didn’t find the game as difficult as people have been telling me. If you take it slowly and use your brain you should be good. Also read the messages people leave on the ground for you, they have a lot of useful information.

After dieing you lose all of the Demon Souls you’ve collected, which are the sole currency in the game, until you go back to where you died and reclaim them. After running through the entire level again I regained my souls and continued on. Eventually I activated the lever to open the door to the Demon boss room.

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I didn’t die once during the battle, and defeated the Demon boss. Not to say the boss wasn’t challenging, but I was playing defensively and slowly which helped me stay alive, taking shots at it when I could. After beating it I gained thousands of Demon’s Souls and regained my body, getting my full HP bar back.

So far Demon’s Souls is a fun and enjoyable experience, with a fun combat system and challenging gameplay, I’m looking forward to running through this world again and experiencing its rich atmosphere. I just hope the RPG part of the game deepens a little, as for now it’s pretty shallow I feel in that regard.

At that was the end of my first trip through Demon’s Souls, check back here in a while for a full review of the game.