Review: Infernal: Hell's Vengeance

When it comes to first-person shooters, third-person shooters, schizophrenic astral projection shooters, you name it…I’m interested. I could care less about in-depth storylines, jaw-dropping graphics, or big-name developers, unless they all happen to be present. and then they’re added bonuses. As long as the game is fairly playable and allows me to put some well-deserved bullet holes in some random baddies, then chances are I will enjoy it. In the case of Infernal: Hell’s Vengeance, I wasn’t expecting the most polished or fantastic adventure I’ve ever experienced, though I was pleasantly surprised despite the amount of negative press heaped upon it by mainstream gaming press. What I discovered was a wholly enjoyable, albeit quite familiar shooter that combines some unintentional humor, fast-paced action, and interesting dark powers for an interesting (but quite short) romp through a world of devils and fallen angels. It’s not without its problems, but this game is all about sin, so you should be able to overlook them, right?
Infernal: Hell’s Vengeance tells the tale of one Ryan Lennox, once an agent of the light turned agent of the dark. After being burned for the final time by his previous agency working on the more…heavenly side of things,, he makes the swift decision to play for the opposing team. As a brand new member of the organization working under quite the malevolent leader, Ryan must keep himself from getting killed, all while doing his best to decipher the secrets of his previous organization.
Infernal employs a fairly rudimentary control scheme that you have no doubt used before at one point or another. It’s a very typical third-person shooter that allows you to take cover, pop off some enemies with the trigger, and even manipulate objects – yes, even steal the very souls of a downed enemy. The entire game consists of very basic objectives that are absolutely cake to get through. Each and every level is comprised of simple exploration, taking out enemies, and using the powers bestowed upon you either to solve simple puzzles or to incapacitate enemies. There is very little variety, and you will discover this only minutes after beginning the game. You’ll be given your objectives and sent off to complete them, ho-hum.
As you charge forth throughout different locations, nothing ever changes. Soldiers, monks, and what-have-you will rush at you guns blazing. Bang, bang, they’re dead. The biggest flaw here is the fact that no matter which gun you choose you hardly feel as if you’re making any significant change in damage when switching between guns. It felt to me as if busting a cap in someone’s you-know-what felt all too similar to doing so with a machine gun, which was (as you can imagine) very clumsy.
Ryan’s powers are the real meat of the game, though we have seen much better renditions of the same abilities over the course of video game history. He can transport himself from place to place in order to get past pesky lasers and security systems via simple manipulation of time. In order to make use of these powers, he is entirely dependent on the power of darkness. When entering an area that is governed by anything remotely resembling a holy place such as a church or sanctuary, his dark powers will cease to regenerate and he will be considerably weaker. It’s best to seek out darker locations where you can max out his power gauge rather than trying to shoot out lights to have a makeshift dark place much like you will in a very annoying boss fight near the beginning of the game. Moments where you will need to improvise in order to fuel your powers do change up the pace a bit, and it is quite inventive for a shooter that could have always gone ahead and took the straightforward shooter path. Ryan can also suck the souls right out of fallen enemies for an instant booth of power and health. The visual is quite hilarious, as the corpse raises up like a limp ragdoll so that Ryan can utilize their lifeblood. Sick, and I mean that in a good way.
Gameplay isn’t this game’s biggest flaw, though. It has quite a few graphical issues such as a chugging frame rate and even tearing as well. Mouth movement in many of the characters do not match the dialogue being spoken, and models’ eyes are cold, dark, and lifeless to the point of being too creepy. It most certainly will not win you over in the aesthetics department, aside from the fact that it looks as if it could pass for an original Xbox game, but you can overlook this if you are in dire need of a shooter. The dialogue has some occasional hilarious one-liners, and Ryan’s voice actor has a rather accented dialect that makes some of his speech unintentionally funny. When you take a step back and look at how dire the game makes the battle between good and evil, the written dialogue begins to become quite funny in itself.
You can very easily complete this game in a couple hours if you feel like powering through it, but be forewarned. The game rarely saves on its own. You will need to remember to go through the menu and manually make a save at your own discretion if you don’t want to end up replaying some of the same sections over and over. I made this mistake a few times, as I succumbed to a few well-timed shots once too often.
Yes, Infernal is a very simple, straightforward shooter that you’ve seen elements of many times over. It is certainly not going to garner much positive press from the gaming media, but it’s not as terrible as other games on the market. It’s an interesting little diversion if you have some spare cash and a few hours open to do a lot of nothing, but one would hope there would be a little more effort poured into a shooter that’s going to be ported to the 360 from poor sales previously on the PC. Here’s to hoping the devs learn from their mistakes, as this game had a bit of glimmering potential had it been handled correctly.

Comments are closed.