Infernal Review (PC)

Ryan Lennox, booted out for unorthodox methods as an angel and signs up for service with Hell. We’ve all been there Ryan.

Thankfully though very few have occupied the tedious, no, the darn right mind numbingly tedious world that Mr Lennox finds himself. What’s that? How could an angel turned demon agent who gets to use guns possibly be anything but jaw dropping? Okay so you may not have asked that exactly but here’s the answer anyway, boy oh boy does that script suck!

Laser cameras, solved by …just shooting them
You can steal their souls to replenish health

Yes sadly Infernal is plagued immediately by a near total lack of storytelling talent, and given this game really does rely on its ‘plausibility’ the whole show comes crashing down fast. It’s near criminal when so many other things looked set to deliver a great ride.

The graphics are fantastic with many superb effects, no I’m not kidding, I found myself begging the almighty God of Gaming (I call him Gamey) to bless another title with such beauty. I think he was currently indisposed, probably waiting for the GTA IV trailer or something because this travesty was still in front of me after a five hour prayer. The fire effects, shadows and details are all impressive but the gameplay itself murders it outright.

The opening level will make it all clear; while you try and overcome your awe at the gorgeous surroundings you’ll soon find the holes that cripple Infernal. It does very little to distinguish itself from other shooters except when it tries to implement the ‘cover’ feature. While theoretically it sounds nice and easy, it can in fact be the biggest load of …frustration you’re likely to encounter.

A quick double tap of the forward key will have you take cover, but you don’t get that much cover, and enemies tend to run around to your sides after a little while anyways. Cover gives very little cover, and when you’re aiming and firing you can take a lot of hits. Plus the damn game puts you into a cover position even when you don’t want it to, it’s not very bright.

What of the AI? Poor, they look to use a brain at first but well they must get bored or something and come running at you. A quick headshot will clear their sinuses and you’re off through the next area. Objectives seem to stem from a “go here and push this” to a “go here and kill him and pinch his key card” affair, it’s repetitive and becomes a drag soon enough.

One of the biggest pains in the Infernal rear!
Questionable level designs

The powers in the game can’t even save Infernal, though some are certainly cool to use or see. Killing a too-goody monk you can then absorb his soul replenishing lost life, whilst looting his person at the same time; Hell doesn’t have time for dilly dallying. Teleporting is a nice touch, a quick aim and click will whiz you to that location given you enough time to use a console for some door or laser. Infernal sight lets you see hidden door codes or stashed health and mana pickups; telekinesis is another to come later. These are paced throughout so you won’t get all the abilities straight off, a pity as it might have saved some of the ridiculous storytelling.

Mana is used up by your powers and can be restored too; most notably it will increase or decrease if you step into hostile or friendly aura zones. You’ll know these when the yin-yang sign changes from grey to red or white. White is holy and will sap your power, red is infernal and will boost mana levels while grey is neutral and so, big surprise, it does nothing - it’s neutral silly.

While general foe AI is laughable, one thing to wipe that smile away are ‘boss scenarios’. These are shear hell grade experiences, they can fill a gamer with Infernal power themselves let alone Mr Lennox, the bosses become insanely powerful and accurate. Some spawn an unending wave of acolyte minions to really, really, REALLY get under your skin. Imagine if you will in just killing one such crazy boss monk, to then be nailed by two retarded lackeys. Oh darn it, guess you’ll have to load from your last save which for your own sanity best have been just before the battle.

It’s such a tragedy for Infernal; I like a game where you can play the anti-hero for a change instead of always playing the ‘good guy’. The villains need their time in the spotlight too you know, but this is the wrong kind of experience. I didn’t know what to expect when I first fired things up, it’s about heaven and hell which usually spells disaster for games as a rule. The graphics and alluring menu helped ease my mind, but as soon as that guy in the opening scene ‘mouths’ “it’s time” or whatever and then seems to have a jaw spasm afterward …well, I knew something was up.

Security consoles, you’ll be seeing quite a lot of these
Shadows are your friend, demon agent

Would I recommend this to fans of the FPS genre or those who like to play on the darker side of the tracks? No, honestly I wouldn’t waste anyone’s time with false prophecies about Infernal. The only ray of light was the amazing, and well out of place, graphics which are both visually stunning and seductive. Gameplay is a repetitive mental abuse and the plot would make baby Jesus cry, there I said it.

Top Game Moment:
The height, no, the pinnacle of my awe at such stunning and gorgeous visuals, …which was right before my hopes and dreams were crushed by the game itself; such is irony.