Infliction: Extended Cut is a first person, horror, adventure game. In it you play as Greg or is it George… meh it doesn’t really matter, no one talks to you, but you do find out via journal entries and the like throughout the game. You lived in this house with your wife Sarah, your teenage daughter Maggie, and your newborn Michael. You’ve come back home in the middle of the night to collect some plane tickets because your wife forgot them. However, not everything is as it seems as the moment you collect them things spiral out of control and the house won’t let you go, nor will the spirit that resides within.
The controls are pretty simple, you have a flashlight you can turn on and off because most of the lights in the house don’t work, though there is absolutely no reason to ever turn it off. As such the moment you collect it and turn it on you can then forget there’s a way to turn it off because you will never turn it off. You also have a crouch button which has to be held, something I don’t like, I prefer a toggle for things like that, however thankfully you will rarely need it and the few times you do you only hold it for a few seconds each time so it’s not a real issue. There’s a button to interact with things, another one to zoom in with your vision which is nice, I like that in games. Eventually you find a camera you can pull out with yet another button. So five buttons total, only four you have to deal with, well other than moving obviously.
This game is more of a first person, horror, escape the room type game than anything. You are tasked with figuring out what went down in the house, and to exorcise the spirit that keeps killing you, and some of those deaths are both unavoidable and cannon in-game, often you get killed and wake up alive later on in the same or a different area which is weird. There’s not a lot of things to collect in order to solve puzzles in the game and there’s only a couple puzzles even, which are all extremely basic, usually just finding the right door or a key which is next to a door, etc. Thankfully, it’s mostly just avoiding the ghost and learning the story if you care to learn it. You can hide from the ghost though in the main game there’s not really a need to do so; you can banish it by turning on a light when it’s under the light. I say in the main game there’s no reason to hide from the ghost, after you finish the game once, it unlocks a New Game Plus mode which was Hard mode of the original version of the game, in this you get the camera from the get go, none of the lights in the game work, the ghost spawns and respawns much faster, and the ghost is always around instead of only in select levels of the game. In this mode, because you can’t banish it, you have to hide from it. New Game Plus mode also adds new areas to explore, changes up the puzzles in the game, and gives more story than the main game.
The story pieces revolves around the family and explains everything that’s happened, you get this story through collectables you can interact with. Some of these collectables are journals and letters, others are physical items like cans, watches, pamphlets, etc. They, for the most part, all glow so they’re not usually too hard to find if you’re looking for them, there’s twenty-eight of them in the main game, I have no idea how many were added to new game plus because… well, I was bad at it and didn’t get far *shrugs*, as is life. When you find one of these collectables one of the characters talk giving you the story behind the item, or read off the item if it’s a written thing like the journals and the letters, in the main game almost all of them are voiced by the wife, Sarah. It gives you chunks of information about their lives and the goings on that caused this spirit to come into existence. It becomes… distressing story wise because of the things you learn, from the things you start to see that weren’t originally as they seemed from the opening of the game.
Graphically the game is so-so, this is an indie horror game, we all know the general graphical quality of those games. however that being said, they aren’t terrible either, it’s dated but that’s fine. When the ghost catches you, I think it’s supposed to scare you, but it’s mostly just loud noise, when it’s going to catch you, you know it so it’s not much of a jump scare thankfully. With that in mind though I was pleasantly surprised that the ghost when it catches you, it doesn’t just grab you and you die and restart. The ghost actually has a few different ways of killing you from biting through your neck, snapping it, ripping your head off, to knocking you over and crushing your skull with its foot. There’s a bit of change up going with kills, not a ton, but there is SOME and that was cool. Usually in games like this the ghost grabs you screams in your face and it’s just a game over so this little bit of added different death animations was a nice little surprise. In the main game you’re more likely to just get the scripted deaths which are unique and you don’t see them but in that specific point. However in New Game Plus, you’ll be seeing these randomly selected death animations more often cause you gonna get killed dead more, because things die when they are killed. Yes if you know that saying you also know that anime has ruined me, that’s fine.
The one really interesting concept the game had was the camera, you can take pictures of the surrounding environment and sometimes see things that weren’t there like blood splatters that lead to objectives, to taking pictures that even change the environment to a degree which is cool too. It can also be used to get rid of the ghost for a VERY short period of time so you can hopefully get to a light switch and flick it or to a hide spot and hide. However, I’m serious when I say short, it’s for like a few seconds, whereas when you banish it with a light properly it’s gone for a while. The cool thing about the ghost is it spawns at certain times, every time you wake up it’s at like three forty-one and the ghost comes out in four minutes, I assume when you get rid of it, it’ll come back in another four minutes, as the time on the clocks don’t change from three forty-one. I don’t know how long it takes for the ghost to respawn because I wasn’t in any area longer than one spawn for her. The nice thing about the game, if you die you respawn immediately where you started the level from or the closest checkpoint otherwise, which rarely is far from where you died, any collectable you obtained is still collected, all the doors you’ve opened or shut are still open or shut, and you get a brand new four minute timer before the ghost shows up.
I don’t want to give away the story but I also feel I need to mention that it deals with some heavy subject matter, and I kind of feel I need to mention some of them, so here’s a list of some of the stuff it deals with: depression, thoughts of suicide, anxiety, drug use, alcoholism, death, murder, children running away, death of children, domestic abuse, emotional abuse, physical abuse, torture. You know, just to name a few of the issues it deals with, and it deals with them all very matter-of-factly. There’s no fanfare to these subjects, it’s just that they exist, and they affect people in a bad way. There’s no glory to this shit, it’s all bad and the game does show that it’s bad, but it doesn’t try to hit you over the head with it, it just shows the lives of a small group of people that had to deal with these issues. This stuff made me feel bad a few times in the game, mainly because I’ve been affected by these things going on in my own family before, not all of them thankfully, but a few of them and they aren’t fun, clearly.
The game, if you like these kinds of games you’ll like this, if you don’t, you probably won’t like it. I will say if you’re just trying to beat it as fast as you can you’re not going to get much out of it since you’ll get next to no story whatsoever, however if instead you go collect all the collectables you’ll get a really good story to go with this game. And to me, that was the important part. If it didn’t have this story, the game would have been very meh at best, the story is what did it for me. If it didn’t have the story this game wouldn’t have gotten the seal, it would have been just below the threshold, BUT because I liked the story so much it just pushes it to getting the seal fairly easily.
A review copy of the game was provided by the publisher Blowfish Studios.
darkmikasonfire awards Infliction: Extended Cut the Indie Gamer Team Seal of Approval.