Horror games are a lot like Marmite. Some people fall head over heels for them, whereas others prefer to keep them at an arm’s length. And while there are horror centric franchises such as Resident Evil and Alien, which always have been, and still are widely successful, then their level of success doesn’t stem from the genre, but the level of quality which they held throughout the years. And the reason while the genre as a whole isn’t on the level of shooters, or sports games, is because horror games, often tend to lack the quality necessary to be a big hit. And titles such as Close to The Sun, and most importantly, the just released Infliction, are the best example of that.

Infliction, just like the aforementioned Tesla centric thriller, is a first-person perspective, exploration driven horror game. And due to that it heavily relies on visual feedback, as said visuals, are quite literally, right in your face. However, just like Close to the Sun, Infliction isn’t exactly a looker. It has this clay like visuals, which make the environments, as well as the character models look lifeless, and rather unattractive. And similarly, to the now colossal flop of Agony, it struggles immensely with reflective surfaces. As every object, even with minute level of shine and glimmer to it, is riddled with jagged edges, and sludgy textures.

The developer, has tried its hardest to compensate for the lack of visual quality, with environmental design, but as a whole, the setting, and the overall design of Infliction, is rather generic, and full of clichés. And the second you fire Infliction up, you get the feeling like you’ve seen it all before. It features the genre classic suburban house where a gruesome act has taken place, a hostile spirit, and sprinkles it all, with a hint of the occult. And I would say that Infliction fails as far as the design goes, but thankfully, the developer behind the title, adds ever newer environments, into the mix, which add a lot to the narrative, but also prevent one from getting bored to easily.

The studio behind the title has clearly tried its hardest, to make Infliction feel fresh and innovative, as throughout the three hour or so runtime, new mechanics are constantly being introduced, to give the player a semblance of variety. And while all the mechanics such as the warping house, stealth, and ‘the third eye’, neither of them is complex, nor fleshed out enough to make any considerable difference to the general proceedings of Infliction. And this may sound harsh, but ultimately, everything that Infliction does, feels very surface level, and simplistic.

The core gameplay of Infliction may be nothing to write home about, but the presentation of the narrative on the other hand, ironically enough, is a whole other story. Sure, the general plot and premise of Infliction isn’t exactly profound or ground-breaking, but the way in which it is presented to the player, is simply superb. Sure, it does offer a lot of closure through excellently narrated sound-bites, attached to numerous in-game objects, but it also feeds one with even more information via its environmental design. Numerous pictures, paintings, foreign objects, and even trash, allow you to paint a picture, which you otherwise couldn’t from just listening to the audio-logs. And the use of environment for narrative purposes, gives this otherwise simply title another dimension.

Once you come to realise, that the story of Infliction is not told just via the audio clues, your level of appreciation for the title will skyrocket. As the once drab exploration, will turn into an exciting scavenger hunt, and the otherwise meaningless environments, will turn into a vault full of riches. And once you’ll indulge yourself completely within the world of Infliction, you will most likely fall in love with this particular release., which at one point you might have perceived as drab and mundane.

As mentioned above, Infliction is truly all about exploration. While horror plays a big part in the proceedings, then ultimately, Infliction is all about unearthing the truth. And while you are bound to uncover more than half of all of Infliction secrets in one go, then no matter how diligent you are, you will definitely miss out on some of the things, which Infliction holds within its darkest corners. But worry not, as the PlayStation 4 version of infliction, which has been titled Infliction: Extended Cut, comes with an array of new features such as additional endings, previously unseen content, and most importantly New Game Plus. And the latter, allows you to experience Infliction all over again, while keeping track of your previous progress. And while New Game Plus will not explicitly tell you where to look for things you missed out on, on the previous run. The ultimately, it will give you an indication on what it is, and where it possibly might be.

Overall, Infliction: Extended Cut, is a pretty neat package, which offers just enough to warrant your interest, and most importantly your hard-earned money. But as I have mentioned at the very beginning of this review, Infliction isn’t the high-end horror game like Outlast 2, or Resident Evil 7. So, while it might be a perfectly fine game, it is ultimately not for everybody, as its flaws can be incredibly jarring, and overwhelming to those who don’t usually submerge themselves within the abundance of indie games which can be found on PlayStation 4, and for that very reason, I cannot recommend Infliction unconditionally.



Author

Kamil

My name is Kamil, and I'm the 'Feature Man'. I write news, and reviews just like everybody else, however, feature articles are my true forte. And this is not because I'm another self-centered, pseudo-intellectual games journalist, but because there are many discussion worthy matters which go unnoticed in the flurry of other video-game related articles. If you want to read more of my #HotTakes and #Opinions, or if you simply want to fight me over the internet, you can follow me on Twitter @Kama_Kamilia.