Electronic Arts turned a lot of baffled heads when the company announced a video game inspired by / based on the classic Divine Comedy epic poem, but the end result is actually better than it has any right to be. Turning Dante's Inferno into a big dumb action game in the God of War mold for the Sony PlayStation 3 and Microsoft Xbox 360 makes for an interesting exercise, as protagonist Dante must descend into the circles of Hell after his beloved Beatrice is slain and her soul taken into the underworld by the devil himself who intends to make her his unholy bride and Queen of Hell. The ensuing adventure goes deeper than you'd expect, as the player is actually drawn into the action and becomes part of Dante's trials. Comparisons to Sony's God of War and its progtagonist Kratos are inevitable, as the two games have plenty in common. Both games star a morally gray hero who has done unspeakable horrors in the name of religion, who were one day pushed too far, and who now vow revenge against powers greater than each. Both games play largely the same with similar camera perspectives, control schemes, and skill tweaks. Both games even have a combat power-up system through which slain enemies become a form of currency used to buy upgrades. While there are many glaring similarities, Dante's Inferno has a unique twist that sets it apart from Kratos's saga when it comes to thematic presentation and the playing of tricks on the player beyond mere gameplay mechanics.
The game opens on Earth as Dante fights on the orders of the Church in the closing days of the crusades. Slaughtering dozens of innocents and heathens, he is told by the bishop that all of his sins will be absolved for doing the Lord's work (never mind that during the course of the war, the crusaders steal, rape, pillage, and commit unspeakable acts all their own). Instead his reward is to be knifed in the back by a heathen, summoning the specter of Death to take him away. Unwilling to go along quietly, Dante fights the Grim Reaper, eventually stealing his legendary scythe and using it to cleave the skeletal ghoul in half. Yanking the knife in his back free and tossing it away, Dante returns home to find his father slain, his house ransacked, and his lovely lady murdered in cold blood in the backyard. As he approaches her body, her soul escapes and is promptly taken away by the smokey form of Lucifer. Pledging to rescue her, Dante plunges into the underworld, and this is where Dante's Inferno takes things up a notch.