Infliction: Extended Cut is a survival horror game heavily influenced by titles like P.T. and Gone Home while borrowing some components from Layers of Fear. Crafted by independent Australian game studio, Caustic Reality, the one person team behind the game, and produced by Blowfish Studios, this indie title that racked up a few awards is already an amazing feat in itself. Though this fragrant blend of different horror elements presented a uniquely harrowing experience, it fell short on rising above the ever-expanding genre.
The game relies on its gripping tension as you walk through the white halls of a once-loving household, slowly descending into madness as you tread deeper on its haunting story. The intriguing narrative deals with domestic abuse and alcoholism and leads you running away from vengeful spirits and demons from a satanic cult. You need to solve puzzles and collect journals to further unfold its chilling story, an aspect which I consider to be one of its strong points
Hair Raising Visuals
Right off the bat, Infliction: Extended Cut shows off its realistic environments seemingly transporting you to the game itself. The realism is at its best on the PC and the PS4, while only being fairly decent on the Switch, in exchange for a smooth gameplay.
An Ever-Expanding Labyrinth of Terror
Infliction: Extended Cut boasts great world building in its three-hour playthrough. The game starts with a single task; find the plane tickets your wife forgot before heading to her flight. You’ll be scrambling around your eerily dark home trying to find the ticket and everything will suddenly go haywire as you pick up the key item. The next thing you know, you’ll wake up to an even darker house, distorted with blood stained walls and ghastly paintings.
You will be interacting with an environment that is constantly shifting as you progress through the story, from battered and forgotten hospitals to small cabins inside a painting. It’s amazing world building will never make you feel safe as it transports you from one place to another at almost every turn.
Cold Sweat and Trembling Hands
Infliction managed to keep its high tension throughout the game. its hard to stop and catch a breath due to its heavy atmosphere, the looming feeling that something will jump out to get you and the camera building up of tension. There will be times that you will take a photo on an empty interrogation room only to see a bloody spirit on the film.
Another aspect is the amazing sound design that amplifies the fear exponentially; from the creaks of the floor each time you take a step, to the stomach-churning cries of a haunting spirit. At the moments where you’d least expect it, the overwhelming tension given off by the game knocks you senseless with a coup de grâce which comes in many forms and animations. May it be the ghost ripping your heart out your chest, or a blood curdling scream and a horrendous image flashing as you move from one room to another.
Where Did It Fail?
Even Infliction has its flaws, and some of it takes away the overall quality. While hitting its mark in terms of its atmosphere, the jumpscares quickly gets old. For instance, picking up a certain object will result in a scare, something that will lose its charm towards as the game goes on. Another notable flaw is its clunky controls. While it may add to the tension, for instance scrambling away from the ghost only to be hindered by an animation, it proves to be equally annoying. The character models, at times can be more comedic than horrifying.
Sarah, one of the enemies who will chase you throughout the game, can certainly look bad up close, spoiling the experience. Setting their design aside, the awkward movements kills the the hide-and-seek segments of the game. Lastly, one of Infliction‘s themes, a satanic cult, is now considered somewhat cliche, as it is frequently used in horror games and films. Having such an overused cliche in a horror game somewhat takes away from its charm, and Infliction is no different. Despite its intriguing storyline, it could have been an even more horrifying game if it took a more original direction.
Infliction: Extended Cut adds more content to an already good title. Aside from its original ending, four other alternate routes have been added, which gives a nod to classic horror titles. Two other game modes will be unlocked once you finish the game, Bonus mode and New Game Plus . The bonus mode is a love letter to all the players. Its a museum on an alternate reality that contains all the ghastly paintings hung up on the walls on story mode, alongside some deleted scenes and concept art. It will truly make you feel appreciated for playing the game. You get to enjoy the scenery without the fear of someone jumping on your face.
Once you finish exploring the bonus mode, you can start over again with New Game Plus, which features harder puzzles, and a spirit hunting you from the get go. Though, playing through your second run while being chased down by enemies will get boring very quickly.
Infliction: Extended Cut does an exemplary job in keeping you on the edge of your seat. Though unfortunately, its flaws really impact the overall experience, the repeated jumpscares will make you feel that Infliction has overstayed its welcome, dragging its feet towards the end. The clunky controls may lead you to your death. But despite its shortcomings, Infliction: Extended Cut in its entirety, is a really good game, and it will surely provide more than just a scream during its 3-hour playthrough.
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A master photographer, writer, and artist…. well.. he would’ve been, if he stopped procrastinating all the time.
Also a gamer in his free time.