While God of War 3 may be the biggest news this week for action gamers, Dante's Inferno has done quite well to stand out on it's own in the genre. Released last month on the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 many wondered what Visceral's game could to do differentiate itself.
If you've played the game you know that Dante's Inferno is a twisted tale of Dante's journey through hell to rescue his beloved Beatrice. It's loosely based on the 14th century poem, The Divine Comedy, Dante's Inferno does well to tell the tale while creating a fun, yet disturbing experience. The character design throughout the game is twisted and dark, and with every character unveil you'll cringe at what you see before you on the screen. I don't want to spoil anything, but lets just say, this game is rated mature for a reason.
But enough about the game background, lets talk about co-op, something we've rarely seen in an action title. Coming in April, Dante's Inferno will receive a new mode called The Trials of St. Lucia. This arena based online co-op mode for two players will allow players to customize their battlegrounds as they take on waves of twenty six different enemy types, four of which are new to the DLC.
In co-op you'll control Dante or St. Lucia. While Dante will be familiar to players, St. Lucia is a bit different. In my hands on time with her she's much more agile than Dante, offers a faster ranged attack as well as the ability to hover. With each character offering varying abilities that play off each other's strengths and weakness, it's almost a no brainer for co-op tactics.
While we've seen survival modes before in plenty of games, The Trials of St. Lucia hopes to offer replayability through level creation, high scores and social options. How does it work? Players choose from one of seven levels, two of which are completely new to the DLC, and then customize nearly infinite waves of enemies. But each wave isn't just a "kill all and survive," instead players can choose one of twelve different co-op objectives for the wave.
A lot of these co-op objectives involve teamwork to achieve. One mode has players trying to achieve a certain combo multiplier or else they fail, another has players protecting a prisoner from being killed. The most difficult of these we found was the "take no damage" objective, something that, depending on the enemies, can be excruciatingly difficult.
The level builder tool in action, showing off all the objectives.
The final piece to this underworld puzzle is the social aspects. As players build their levels - choosing the setting, enemies and objectives for each wave - they can then play and share these levels within the game's download area. Whoever downloads the levels can then rate your creation.
All the creations are also visible on the global leaderboards, so players can compete for the best co-op scores.
Overall I was pretty impressed with what I played of St. Lucia. Gameplay wise there's nothing mind blowing here, but the variety in which players can customize their survival mode is welcomed. There's no official price yet on the content, but with its April 29th release a little over a month away, we can expect to hear more soon.