Visceral Games' Dante's Inferno has received its first public outing with the release of a playable demo that's available to download from the American PlayStation Store. First impressions are that the game is clearly inspired by Sony Santa Monica's epic God of War series, albeit with the ancient Greek mythology swapped out for Crusader-era Christianity, as the eponymous Dante battles enemies of a literally biblical scale, Kratos-style.
The DF video analysis of this particular demo is actually much more useful as a preview of the demo itself, as the FPS analysis is what you might call rather one-note. Frame-rate graphs are rather uninteresting as this is a 60FPS game in the truest sense of the word. Six of the eight clips selected for the video are from gameplay, and out of the 25,000+ put through our tests we only saw a measly two dropped frames: 0.008 per cent of the overall capture - of course completely invisible to the human eye. Tests confirm the drop to a locked 30FPS for the cinematics.
The truly impressive performance we see here does come with a cost of course. Compared to its immediate competitor God of War III the geometry, detail and effects are significantly pared back. Resolution is confirmed as native 720p, but there is no anti-aliasing. On the plus side, this is 60FPS with no apparent compromise: the game is v-synced and absolutely rock-solid, certainly in the sampler levels provided in the 1GB download.
Where the game is a touch on the disappointing side is in its cinematics. The drop to 30FPS isn't a particular concern, but while it's clear to see that elements such as the player model gain detail, there's still no anti-aliasing and no motion blur or other post-processing effects, resulting in a sometimes-rough appearance.
More than that, the game switches between FMV sequences and engine-driven cut-scenes, making for a rather jarring jump in image quality. The inclusion of high-end CG and even what you might call cartoon animation mean the overall presentation is somewhat inconsistent.
Overall though, first impressions are favourable. In an industry where the 30FPS is effectively the standard, it's refreshing to see Visceral Games sustain 60FPS so impressively, especially in a cross-platform project. Yes, Dante's Inferno will also appear on Xbox 360, but the corresponding demo won't be appearing on Xbox Live until Christmas Eve, when we'll all be on holiday. If we can sneak a look at the 360 demo during the festivities, we'll see about updating the DF Twitter feed with our thoughts.