I consider myself a big fan of horror games, but with such a rich selection of horror titles already available on the PlayStation 4, new releases really have to do something special to grab my attention. Infliction: Extended Cut did just that, with its take on the narrative-driven first-person horror genre that was popularised by titles such as Amnesia and Layers of Fear not only looking the part with its impressive visuals but also reminding me a little off the ill-fated PT. I mean, that alone should be enough for it to send the chills up anyone’s spine, so I had to try it out.
I’m glad I did too; whilst Infliction: Extended Cut does have a few technical issues that hold it back, its countless frights and chilling narrative ensure that it’ll have horror fans on the edge of their seats right until the very end.
I don’t really want to dive into too much detail as far as Infliction: Extended Cut’s narrative is concerned, with the unveiling of its many horrors and dark themes one of the core elements of the experience. It explores the tragic relationship shared between a man and a woman, which you’re able to learn more about by uncovering items and documents in the environment and re-living the memories of the house. To some extent it’s all typical horror-story stuff, but it actually did more than enough to keep me hooked in and there were plenty of little details included to flesh the tale out.
The main gameplay of Infliction: Extended Cut revolves around exploring the environment around you to unravel the mystery… nothing too scary about that, right? Well, we’ve all played games like Layers of Fear and PT so we know JUST how frightening even the most normal of corridors and rooms can be, especially when they’re constantly changing and throwing countless scares your way as you work through them. Remember that door you just walked through? Well, it’ll be gone the next time you turn around… spooky.
It helps instil a real sense of fear into the player as they explore, with even the simplest of things such as hearing a phone ring or a door open catching you off guard in Infliction: Extended Cut – of course, it has its share of genuinely creepy sights to be seen too, but I’ll leave them for the player to discover. There are also some small puzzles thrown in the mix along the way to keep your brain at work… and also a ghostly figure of a woman that’ll kill you if she touches you.
So Infliction: Extended Cut isn’t always subtle with its scares, which is something that’s particularly obvious when you first encounter this vicious apparition who’ll continually stalk you. Fortunately, you’ve got a couple of tricks up your sleeve: you can hide like a coward, or you can stop the ghost in its tracks with a quick shot from your trusty camera. It’s kind of like Project Zero in that sense (or Fatal Frame as it’s more commonly known outside of Europe), with your camera protecting you from the ghostly threat if you catch her in your lens.
Your camera can also be used to solve puzzles in the game, with it revealing items that are hidden in the environment that you’re not able to see with the naked eye. It’s a neat mechanic that’s straightforward enough to understand, but also has players work to ensure they uncover everything that they need – don’t get me wrong, you’ll never find yourself stumped by any of the game’s puzzles, but there is an extra layer of suspense to them given that you can’t always see what you need to use.
It all makes for a simple setup, but one that manages to feel fresh throughout with the introduction of new environments and additional threats. It’ll only take around three-hours or so to beat Infliction: Extended Cut, but it never feels like it really runs out of ideas or has filler content in place to flesh things out – it’s a constant stream of frights and story progression, which is something I really appreciated. It’s also worth noting that this is the ‘Extended Cut’ which brings with it a ‘New Game Plus’ mode post-completion with new puzzles and an additional ending, so there’s something extra for anyone who played the original release on PC or who fancy another playthrough.
So Infliction: Extended Cut is impressive for the most part but it does have some issues, with both visual and audio glitches plaguing the experience. Admittedly, I didn’t come across anything too game breaking on the visual side and it was more of a case of things such as animations or objects in the environment looking a little off.
The audio on the other hand would just cut out in places and require a restart of the game to fix, which was a hell of an annoyance. It occurred on a regular basis too, so it wasn’t as if it was a one off glitch. (EDITOR NOTE: This audio issues have been fixed with a patch that came ahead of release. Our reviewer noted that it being fixed wouldn’t have changed his initial score for the game.)
Infliction: Extended Cut is an enjoyable horror experience that offers an intriguing narrative and plenty of scares for the player to uncover as they unravel the game’s dark mystery. It does has a few technical issues that could be a little distracting, but they don’t stop Infliction: Extended Cut from being an easy title to recommend to horror fans.
Developer: Caustic Reality
Publisher: Blowfish Studios
Platform(s): PlayStation 4 (Reviewed), Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, PC