You also have new items like a bow that shoots fire arrows, a pair of boots that let you run up certain pre-defined walls and a head (that you obviously ripped screaming from its owner Helios' body) which shoots a bright light that stuns enemies and reveals secrets.
Despite the familiarity though, the controls can be clunky in places. Pressing L1 just as an enemy hits you parries the attack, following up with a tap of Square to counter. It's a move that requires acute timing. But the same combination of buttons, L1 and Square, also activates a spinning cyclone attack - a long-winded animation that can't be interrupted.
You get into the habit of tapping Square immediately after L1, but on the occasions when your parry fails - easily done in all the chaos - and you hit Square button you enter the cyclone spin that leaves you open for a second blow as you furiously hold block to put your guard up.
That's a problem with controlling Kratos in general - there are too many long and uninterruptible animations. When you hold block, you just want Kratos to block. But when you see an enemy draw back for an attack and you slam L1, Kratos is usually in the middle of some flamboyant spinny move that he MUST finish before he responds.
There are scenes when you're scampering along walls, hitting X to leap along faster, but again this animation is slow and clunky, making necessary changes in direction more difficult and often causing death.
Double jumps have a small window for success too; in an age when most games allow a second jump whenever you like - early for height, later for distance. This is a problem when all hell's breaking loose and you can barely track where you are, where you're going and what platform you need to jump to.
This is perhaps one thing Dante's Inferno has over GoW: it's more responsive. It doesn't matter what Dante is doing, when you press block he just blocks. When you want to roll he rolls. It's one minor difference that has a huge impact on fighting: that sense of immediacy and control.
Parries in Dante's are better too: Dante's deflections send sparks flying as you hear a loud 'CHING' sound, and the special counter-attack is a worthwhile reward - a slow-mo earth-pounding blow that batters enemies across the screen. Kratos's moves are comparatively limp.
At first we thought that, purely because of this, Dante might have just done the impossible and bested God of War. Fighting is, after all, what both games are all about. But God of War III's winning ticket is in it sheer awe-inspiring set pieces.
Outside of the occasional shit puzzle (including one particularly cringe worthy rhythm-action mini-game that has the PlayStation button icons actually drawn into the ancient Greek scenery), you are treated to a barrage of chaotic fight scenes and epic boss battles on a scale larger than any game we've ever played. It's genre defining - something that Dante's fails to be in any area.
And EA's game simply fails to nail Kratos' kill-first-think-later badass attitude. It's void of any form of tact, and has scenes of brutality that even we, as gamers numbed to virtual violence, find squeamish.
But that's what Kratos is about - he doesn't give a monkey's who you are or how big you are; get in his way and you're getting a blade in the eye. Kratos takes no prisoners with this one. There's not a great deal that's new here - it's essentially GoW II on crack, but this nevertheless sets the mark for all-out action brawlers with unrivalled brutality, gore and epic scope.
An epic, over-sized gorefest unlike any other. Sorry EA, Kratos is still the king of brutal brawlers.