Infernal: Hell's VengenceESRB:
Platform: Xbox 360
Category: 3rd Person: Action
Developer: Metropolis Software House
- Single player
- 20MB to save game
- 720p, 1080i, 1080p
- Game-content download
- 3rd person shooter
- Modern weaponry + supernatural powers
- 30 Achievements based on story and skill
Normally a game with a lot of guns and some cool magical abilities would be a recipe for a decent game. Unfortunately, even with these elements, Playlogic’s recent release, Infernal: Hell’s Vengence, doesn’t fall within the realm of decent.
You play as Ryan Lennox, a former agent for the EtherLight who are the armed hands of Heaven on Earth. You have not only been stripped of any powers, but you are also marked for death for reasons unbeknownst to you. EtherLight has developed a new technology that they intend to use to remove man’s free will. You are hired by EtherLight’s enemy, the Abyss, as they need to stop the eternal balance between good and evil from being destroyed. While the story is not super original, the premise of the game is interesting in that it has many indirect spiritual and supernatural references. The story spans four chapters which I would translate to 8- 12 hours of gameplay. Unfortunately, the execution is painful and you may not want to endure playing through the whole game.
Infernal is pretty much a third-person run and gun type of game. You run around, you shoot, you run around some more, and shoot again. Environments are relatively linear and you progress through each one while fighting varying waves of bad guys and the occasional boss character. Alongside the standard suite of weaponry, Lennox also has certain mana powers such as powered up attacks, teleportation and an enhanced vision mode which allows you to find health and mana boosts which are not visible to the naked eye. The teleportation in particular is a cool power in that it is only temporary. When you use it, you have only seconds to do what you need to do (e.g. access a computer terminal to turn off a security camera) before you revert back to your original location. Downed enemies disappear after a given time but if you can get to them fast enough you can “harvest” health, equipment, and the occasional key card for doors from them.
The controls are standard enough but I found aiming to be far more difficult that it needed to be. This was a combination of it just not being smooth and the fact that bad guys ran around like chickens. I’d talk about AI but there is literally none to speak of. Enemies see you and pursue you regardless of the threat that you might present to them. They also spout some really bad dialogue. These enemy AI also seem to spawn from anywhere so rooms that you have already cleared are fair game for Infernal. Suddenly realizing that you’re getting shot from behind when a bad guy has randomly spawned behind you is ludicrous. Infernal does employ a cover system which actually stands up quite well though. Double tap the thumb stick towards a wall and Lennox attaches to it and is free to move side to side along its length. Being in cover presents you with a decent view of what’s beyond but not too much so allowing you to aim your firing cursor before actually coming out of cover and shooting. Double tapping the thumb stick in any direction while away from cover makes Lennox dive or roll. While this can be used for evasion the trick is that doing this also makes Lennox invisible to enemies while in motion. This can be used to move from cover point to cover point without being seen or hit. It doesn’t always work as well as you think it should but it got the job for the most part during my playtime.
One thing that I have to note, and something that I was not too impressed with, was that there is a seemingly lack of auto save points. You can save anywhere but lest you forget, you will find yourself back at the start of each level and not at the end of the last section or not at the most recent cut scene. You go right back to the start of the freakin’ level, boss fights included. In today’s day and age this is inexcusable in that it only serves to add to the game’s frustration. I don’t spend a lot of time saving as I am too focused on what is happening on screen.
The graphics in Infernal are very primitive, almost last gen-like. This game has a hard time standing up against launch titles for the Xbox 360. Heck, some original Xbox games even look better. While things move smoothly enough, animations seem jointed, characters models are stiff, and textures are lacking in the detail that one would expect for a Xbox 360 title. Credit where is due though, character faces are decent, but that’s about the only thing that I can note positively. Lighting and special effects seem pretty second rate. The most credit-worthy area of the game’s visual presentation comes during its cut scenes. While the graphics are no better, cut scenes use the in-game engine, there are several interesting camera angles that approach cinematic quality. This offers nothing in terms of gameplay, and it does little to enhance the story telling, but I thought it was a bright spot among so many poor ones.
As bad as the graphics are, the sound is worse, more specifically the sound effects. The sound for the machine gun, for example, is only about a second long and very, very poorly looped. It is actually laughable. Even worse is the voice acting. Not does it lack any real emotion the actual dialogue is laughable. Seriously, did that bad guy just tell me to put my hands up? Yup. Brutal. The one positive thing about the sound is the musical score. Not that it is great by any means but I think it is worth noting that the score at least wasn’t that bad.
Even achievement junkies might be hard pressed to see this one through to completion. While achievement points are relatively easy to come by (450 points for finishing the game on the most difficult setting), it will be a decision whether you really want to endure it. My gaming time is limited as it is and I am sure there are many gamers out there that are just like me. In the end I think there’s better value for your time elsewhere, achievement points or not.
At the end of the day it is very easy to sit and slag a game that you don’t like. I tried very hard to give this game the benefit of the doubt but it was just one bad thing after another. The near full-price tag ($54.99) does the game no favors either. Developer PlayLogic’s first outing for the 360 contains a few good ideas but ultimately can’t come anywhere near even the most standard games out there today.