Infernal is something of an oddity. As a third-person shooter on the PC it's got many of the qualities you'd want: great visuals, a large arsenal of weapons, special powers and diverse locations. It also happens to suffer from a rather terrible story complete with poor voice acting and a complete lack of excitement. It's by no means a terrible game; it's just not a game that's easy to jump up and down in joy about.
The somewhat bizarre story is as good a place to start as any. You play as Jason 'The Transporter' Statham sound-alike Ryan Lennox, who just happens to be a renegade angel. After a rather fancy looking opening shoot-out, Lennox is recruited by Hell in an attempt to restore the balance between Good and Evil. The Etherlight soldiers (Heaven's crack team of agents) have been wiping out the majority of Hell's agents so it's up to Lennox to even the score a little.
At its core Infernal is a pretty standard third-person shooter but seeing as you now work for Hell, you've got a few new powers. The most important is the ability to drain human life energy from their corpses, in turn replenishing your health and mana. Because of this mechanic, things rarely get too tricky but it's still worth clearing a room before attempting to stock up. As well as this ability to drain vital resources, Lennox can temporarily teleport and see things that are invisible to the normal human eye.
While these abilities initially sound cool they end up being rather gimmicky and are ONLY used in specific situations. For example, there might be some laser beams blocking an entrance, so you'll need to teleport to the other side and disable the security system. Lennox's vision powers generally come in handy when you need a key code (why these are written on walls I don't know), but it also doubles as a way to hunt down hidden mana and health pick-ups. The only ability that you'll use frequently is your charged attack, but you can usually get by just fine without it.
Boss battles tend to throw a little more originality at you, but they often require you to use the game's cover system - a system that is incredibly awkward to use. We've been spoilt by some great cover systems in games like Rainbow Six Vegas, so Infernal's multiple-button system causes more than a few problems, especially as any slight slip-up opens you up to a barrage of fire.
To give credit where credit's due, Infernal can look extremely impressive; sadly the choice of environments don't help too much, with the second major location being a particularly uninspired setting. Ignoring the drab, sterile look of certain locations, most PC gamers will appreciate what the game looks like on a powerful gaming rig. We're not talking Crysis levels of wonderment, but the lighting is impressive, the textures are sharp and special effects often look great. Unfortunately, things go rather downhill during the badly animated in-game cutscenes, and the overacting by the leading characters doesn't help matters.
As I stated right at the start of the review, Infernal isn't a bad game. If you want a competent third-person shooter that looks pretty smart you could do a lot worse, but there's nothing about Infernal that stands out. In its own battle between Good and Evil, Infernal's evil side shines through a little too often.
VideoGamer.com Score5 Score out of 10
- Impressive visuals
- Bizarre story
- Uninspired locations
- Dreadful voice acting