PC Games Reviews
Infernal Review (PC)
By Todd Leveen May 14, 2007, 17:32 GMT
Woe to you who play this game.
Living in this world you sometimes wonder if the gates of hell have opened and the minions have been let loose. Look no further than the darkest demons living amongst us for proof - Osama Bin Laden, Charles Manson and the darkest of all, Paris Hilton.
It’s no wonder then that another game representing the age-old battle between good and evil has come along. Infernal’s premise is based on an angel, Ryan Lennox, who has been kicked out of heaven for using “unorthodox methods” to get the job done. He has landed on earth in human form and is commissioned by the satanic team known as the Abyss to defend themselves against the angelic earth-bound known force as Etherlight.
“Please Allow Me To Introduce Myself”
Ryan starts out in a night club toasting to his humanity with a scantly clad with some serious guitar jams tearing around in the background. The conversation is cut short with a military helicopter dropping goons into the club just as our antihero is about to receive some important information from the little lady (dontcha hate it when that happens?).
There’s no time to git the digits because you are immediately thrown into an insane firefight inside of the club – and thus begins your trials and tribulations through the good and bad of Infernal (read: good, about the first 15 minutes, bad… well, we think you can guess.)
Once you clear the club you meet your new boss known as Black. I got the eerie sense that they modeled him after Ice T. A dialogue opens between the two characters leading to one of my favorite bits of dialogue in the game, when Ryan asks Black asks how he likes being human, to which Black responds “I love the feel of wool sweaters. And those mittens? They ROCK, you should try them.”
So Ice, err Black offers you a deal to survive by coming to work for the dark side. It was an easy decision for Ryan as he uses a simple flip of a coin. The result lands on heads clearly focusing on the words “In God We Trust”. That seals his fate as he decides to work for the Abyss.
Up to this point in the game I had high hopes for Infernal - the graphics, game play, voice over and cut scenes brought me right into the action and the conflicting images and subtle references to heaven and hell like the full horned goat in your path or the large cross with the images of early Christianity carved into it had the makings of a fresh title which I hoped would deliver some new innovations and welcome changes to the boring and repetitive third person shooters of the past. Unfortunately, this was the end of my enjoyment as the game began to sin like a bunch of college seniors in Las Vegas.
“Hell Hath No Fury”…Infernal sure doesn’t.
The game boasts “State of the art technology offering real life physics. Bodies react and crumple accurately and objects recoil to being shot, pushed or blown up.” Yeah, and in real life when I blow a box up, it reappears blocking my way instantly just like in the game. I also believe that Collision Detection might have been one of those odd sounding Latin phrases the developers over at Eidos forgot to research. Several times I skated up stairs, shoved an arm through a wall or got trapped against an item by simply walking too close to it. Fortunately, I was able to jump roll away from those little traps along the way.
When I mentioned that the voice over went well during the first part of the game? Well, that went to “Hell in a hand basket” shortly there after as well. The voices of the Etherlight henchmen caused me to spit my Rockstar out of my nose and all over my liquid display. Imagine an 8 year-old whiney kid asking his mom repetitively for the box of Apple Jacks rather than the Special K she just threw into the basket at the grocery store and you have nailed 70% of the corny voice acting coming from these folks.
Timeless phrases that should end up on tee shirts such as “Intruder, full assault!” “Casualty! Join the Firefight!” and the ever classic, “Shoot Him! Over and Out!” is continually used by your enemy, along with some other fine gems.
Despite the annoying voice over work, the ambient sounds during the game come across very well. I have the Sound Blaster Xfi (the recommended sound card for the game) and it really brought some of the elements to life. But even that life was snuffed out and tossed into the fire. As you enter combat, the same tune from the nightclub blares into the speakers. Yes, each and every time you encounter a bad guy, the guitars start grinding and it seemed pretty cool for the first 127 kills. After that, I clamored into the settings and turned it off. Seriously guys, you could have come up with a variety of music.
“For Whom the Bell Tolls”
If you thought Hell was a continual torment of the soul for eternity, look no further than the killing of the bad guys as the shining example of what you have to look forward to should you die and be sent there.
The computer AI wasn’t sure if it was fighting an opponent with a lethal weapon or if it expected me to hand out donuts. Some times the attackers would hide behind walls and shoot from cover and other times they would walk carelessly in front of my bullets.
The first three bosses were super-charged monks ala Kane from Kung Fu with shields around them where you had to tirelessly blast them with your special attack in order to break through and dispose of them. The game offers a way to suck the soul life out of your victim after death by holding your hand over the body serving to pump your health up and clean the weapons and ammo from the corpse. Of course, Doom 3 did this first and better than Infernal. But Infernal makes you do this to every single corpse in order to loot them. Two Hours of this and I found myself singing “99 Bottles of Beer on the Wall” to pass the time and serve as count for the henchmen I was killing and sucking the life force out of.
The map design is just as stale and repetitious. Needless to say, the crew who designed the environments decided to utilize many of the same or similar maps over and over in areas adding to the grind and repetition this game offers.
“How Many Times Will We I Be Forgiven? 7 Times 700.”
My mother always told me that there is always something good to be found in everything. And so it is true with Infernal. Somewhat.
First, I enjoyed throwing the Ninja Stars at the opponents. Head-shots were registered and brought the enemy down as it should with one well-placed blade or round. The game provides for teleportation, giving you the ability to temporarily zone from one area to another. This allows you to bypass a dangerous long enough to enter a door code or remove a foe in your path.
Although I slammed the game for repetitive maps, there are spots within the game that are rendered quite well. Graphically, it is not a bad game but don’t get too excited over that. The key elements within the instruction manual are contained within 9 (count them) pages. That is a welcome change for anyone who is used to taking manuals from most games to the bathroom for three or four trips in order to understand how to load the lousy thing.
Within the game, each time you encounter a new ability, you are given an on screen tutorial to remind you of the button presses needed to make the action. These tips are going to be especially welcome to those suffering from short-term memory loss as a result of attending too many Black Sabbath concerts in earlier youth.
“Step Into The Light Children, Step Into The Light”
By the time I finished playing this mess, I honestly forgave most of the people who have sinned against me such as the Enron Executives for taking part of my 401k away. The reason is simple. No sin seemed as dark as wasting valuable disk space over this title. Trust me, Moses had this game listed as a deadly sin on another tablet, it just did not make it back with the other two. If you really want to experience what darkness has to offer, play Doom 3 - all of the elements are there and have been handled much better which may serve to save your eternal soul.
Overall, I give this damnation a solid 666 because you will have received the mark of the beast and should be thrown into the pits of hell should you purchase this sinful shooter. Shame on you….sinner.
1. Easy to pick up and play
2. Ambient sound is very realistic
3. Early excitement and action
4. Some nice renderings and environments along the way
1. Repetitive killing
2. Music is annoying
3. Voice over grates on your nerves
4. Maps often look too much alike
Score 2 of 5