Infernal Review

Angels, the forces of good and evil in the forms of giant feuding corporations, and a main character infused with devilish powers; don’t all these factors sound like a nice B-movie? Well, let’s compare those to Infernal, a third-person shooter from Metropolis Software. Like a B-movie, while Infernal has its moments, it plays out mostly as a rather bland shoot ’em up action game. That’s not technically bad, but it’s not technically good, either. The game throws a whole lot of action your way but decides to rely on some old and tired gameplay mechanics. Want to jump back 10 years in gaming but have some nice visuals? Give this game a try.

You play the role of Ryan Lennox, who has been fired from the "good" corporation, Etherlight. After bumbling around in the unemployed section, Lennox is hired by rival and equally powerful "bad" corporation Abyss. Like any mercenary, Lennox jumps at the idea and as a signing on bonus, Abyss CEO Mr. Black infuses Lennox with some nice devilish powers. The first level, a restaurant, serves as a mini-tutorial, meaning you’re thrown random hints outlining the different controls while hordes of gun-touting maniacs attempt to cut you into ribbons. For safety’s sake, you’re given a whole lot of health, which may make you think that you can take a whole lot of punishment throughout the game.

Afterwards, you meet up with Mr. Black, at, of all places, a cemetery, and you sign the deal with the devil. Your first mission is to get some info about some rather sensitive technology from a monastery. In a pretty neat concept, if you enter any place that’s holy, i.e. a church, you begin to lose your mana that fuels your infernal powers. On the flip side, you can refuel your health along with nabbing any ammo by searching corpses. So how do these corpses rack up? Well, by you, of course and note that any corpse will do so if you want to kill any innocent folks on the way, by all means do so. That’ll teach the liberals because, hey, you’re working for the devil.

While Infernal provides some very nice graphics, Metropolis decided to go the route of "over-blooming." This means going anywhere near anything that resembles some sort of light will result in some overexposure madness and might make you want to make an appointment for a future eye exam. In itself though, the visuals are pretty nice. Plenty of bump mapping for those bumpy shirts, and on-the-fly shadow rendering for those dark and damp environments. The game also utilizes the AEGIA physics card. This means for the ones who actually have one, you’ll be treated to some rather fantastic physics. As for the ones who don’t, you’ll still be treated to plenty of physics. Push all the barrels you want around or watch the bodies flop down stairs; the physics get the job done.

The gameplay is, unfortunately, rather mediocre. You shoot everything, find a key, open some locked door and continue till the level is over. In between everything, you’ll be chirped at by Mr. Black about how you’re doing and occasionally some cutscene will explain something. But let’s not forget your infernal powers. Unfortunately, they are a bit of a letdown too. For example, early on you’re given teleportation. While practical, it times itself out; after a couple of seconds, you’ll teleport back to where you originally where. So this immediately tears up any cool gameplay concepts like teleporting behind an enemy and going in for a sneak attack. Instead, it’s used for lame circumventing camera puzzles. One of the somewhat neater powers is Infernal View, which can help you locate hidden health and secret codes. Save for the health, even that view is used mainly for puzzle purposes.

Another gameplay gimmick that’s pretty lame is the searching of bodies. While you’re treated to a nice show of flaring red colors and the infusion of their soul to refuel your health, it’s long and especially annoying if you’re in the middle of a firefight and you’re desperate for health. Note that for a majority of the game, you’ll only get health from searching bodies. Yes, you can get health from the Inferal View, but even that is few in-between. There were also times when corpses seemingly disappeared; my guess is so the game doesn’t cripple itself from memory usage. You would think you would want to keep some bodies around for future health needs, like during boss fights, but nope, they’ll disappear so it’s now or never.

Audio is a mixed bag. During firefights, your generic metal blares in the background. While I’m a fan of metal itself, this music is painfully generic and tends to loop for every firefight in the level. Thankfully, after a battle is over, the music fades out and you’re back to the blissful silence. Voice acting, like the music, can also get annoying. It just seems weird and the voice actors themselves sounded pretty bored while giving their lines. While some guys are voiced decently (Mr. Black, for example) there are twice as many characters that belt out their lines with little force and emotion.

In the end, the game doesn’t really standout from any third-person shooter. While it’s not Max Payne,Infernal still provides some constant action and shooting. Other than the action, though, everything else is rather bland. Reliance on old gimmicks like finding keys/codes to proceed and tired boss fights really made trying to plow through the rest of the game boring. The game may be mindless fun, but only play in short bursts, or else it’ll lose its fun factor.


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Author: GamerNode Staff View all posts by

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