Firstly, let me start off by saying I know this game has been out for a good few months (since February 23rd in fact). I’ve only just recently gotten a gaming-capable computer, so a lot of games are new to me. Right, onto the game.
Your character in Infernal is Ryan Lennox, a fallen angel who is trying to enjoy the good life on Earth when the agents of Etherlight, the heavenly corporation, come after him. After a shootout at a nightclub, Lennox meets up with the head of the Abyss, hell’s corporation, who makes him an offer that he can’t refuse. And just like that, the fallen angel is working for his former enemy, and that means you’ll have to go to locations around the world to figure out what Etherlight is up to. And you know that the “good guys” are up to no good, mainly through the game’s cryptic, conspiracy-laden introductory cutscene that shows Etherlight monks working on some type of strange weapon.
The Infernal demo is different to most demos I’ve played. That is, it doesn’t tell you anything about the story, or even the game itself. I know the story isn’t essential when playing a demo but it would have been nice to know why I’m shooting monks and why I’m using shuriken. At first you’re presented with a menu that looks like it would be at home in a skateboarding game (minus the guy with the gun). Click “New Game” and after a short loading screen you’re thrust into what looks like a monastery. Walk forward for about two seconds and you’re presented with your first cut-scene.
In this cut-scene there is a monk drinking tea or coffee. He seems to be checking a barrel when his radio rings (I didn’t know radios could ring), he get it out of his pocket and answers with “Over!”. Now, I’m no expert on radios but I always thought “Over!” was said at the end of whatever you’re saying, not the beginning. This brings me onto my first complaint. The voice acting in this game is downright terrible, at times things are said with no feeling and a lot of the time it’s obvious that it’s been translated from a language other than English. I’m guessing Polish, seeing as the developers are a Polish company. Also, voices don’t tend to be matched up to the models very well. For example, a balding monk about half way through the demo has the voice of a 16-18 year old despite the fact that he looks to be at least 40. The animation during cut-scenes isn’t particularly great either, it’s full of jerky stops instead of fluid movement. When not in a cut-scene the animation improves a little, when you roll (double tapping W, A, S or D) the animation is somewhat realistic. Another thing that annoys me slightly is the way that Lennox holds his gun when pointing it at someone. His right hand holds it perfectly but his left hand looks a little awkward, like his hand is too big for the gun. After the cut-scene, the demo seems to be a case of “enter room, kill the occupants, absorb their souls, run to the next room, repeat”. It changes it up every now and then by throwing you a locked door but someone you’ve just killed will have the key-card so it’s not an especially confusing change. When going though the demo, you get to hear some strange radio transmissions. Not strange in the sense that you shouldn’t be hearing them, just either strangely worded or something that sounds like it’s being said at the wrong time. Some examples…
“Shoot anyone that looks strange!”
“We’re losing!” – This one cropped up after I fired one shot at three guys and missed.
“First platoon, set up the formation. Second platoon, get the ammo clip.”
“Hurt him at all costs!”
“We have intruder alert!”
These seem to crop up even when there is no radio in the room and after you’ve absorbed the souls of the enemy and they’ve disappeared. Another complaint I have is everyone seems to take the same amount of hits to kill. That is, 3 to 4 shots with the pistol/shuriken or one flame-blast. This would be fine if the models were the same, but in the demo you have two model types. These being, a monk wearing a hi-tech version of a monk robe and a monk wearing the same robe and what looks like a flak jacket. You would expect that the monks with the flak jackets would be even slightly harder to kill but they take exactly the same amount of shots to kill as the basic monks. The only guy that takes more shots to kill is the end boss, who is damn hard to kill as he has a blue shield thing shielding him and he seems to be able to shoot you wherever you are. This is especially annoying because in the cut-scene that shows as you go into the same room as the boss, Lennox takes cover behind a cardboard box (as you do). In this cut-scene he is behind it with none of his body sticking out but once the cut-scene finishes half of Lennox’s head is poking out behind the top of the box. Which means that the boss can (and does) unload his machine gun into the back of your head.
As you can see from the screen-shots at the beginning and end of this post, the graphics are very nice to look at with graphics settings set to maximum. But this seems to be the only thing going for it. Infernal is a very pretty game, the lighting is amazing and the textures are very detailed. The fire effects are great, not the best mind you, but great nonetheless. I’d heard stories of the fire effects killing people’s frames per second but the only slowdown I experienced was when I flamed (for use of a better word) someone or something very close up. But then, if you have a system that can handle it, you probably won’t have that problem.
Infernal really seems like the kind of game that you would play for about an hour to waste some time but it doesn’t seem like the kind of game you could sit down and spend hours on.
Anyone reading this, keep in mind that I am writing this only after playing the demo. Problems I have noted may or may not be fixed in the retail version.