Release Date: Q4 2006
As far as original plots go, a battle raging between good and evil with one man stuck in the middle is not terribly unique or interesting, but fortunately, Infernal is better than the plot might suggest.. Infernal has an interesting stand on the typically stark, concrete concept of good versus evil. The main character, Ryan Lennox, was once a member in the army of good, fighting for those above, until he was deemed a liability, struck from the ranks and left to roam the earth. Shortly thereafter, the heavenly powers came to the conclusion that Lennox was too dangerous to continue to roam unchecked, and so they sought to kill him. Being hunted by the forces of "good" drove him to seek the safest refuge he could find (the enemy of my enemy is my friend and all that), so he joined with the forces of darkness.
The gameplay felt like it belonged on a console action game, which is a good thing, as it means that the play felt as natural to me on a keyboard as it might have on a gamepad. Like most action titles, the majority of the time will be spent shooting, running and otherwise fighting your way through the world around you. The twist here is that Lennox, as a soldier in the army of darkness, has some supernormal powers. Utilizing these powers, the player can fire charges of "demonic power" through any weapon and cause more damage than normal; some of these shots can even be charged so that they explode upon impact.
Another power that was usable during E3 was an intensely interesting implementation of teleportation. The player could activate the power and then target an area using the left mouse button; clicking the right mouse button would activate the teleport and place the player there. However (and this is where things get unique), the player can queue up to three different locations to teleport to by simply right-clicking each spot before activating the power. Doing so will send the player to each position in the queue, thus creating some fascinating tactical possibilities. For example, some enemies can only be killed by a shot to a canister strapped to their backs; in these cases, the player would want to teleport behind them to place a couple of quick shots at the canister. I also expect to see a number of puzzles that make use of the teleportation.
Yet another interesting available power was telekinesis. Using it, the player could "grab" onto an object from a distance, move it around and even force it to explode. This power has some creative and entertaining uses, as it can be applied to opponents just as easily as boxes, but blowing up an annoying monk with the power of your mind is just too damn cool. This is yet another power that looks to be applicable in any puzzles that might require object manipulation.
All of these supernormal powers can be used at the expense of the devil-style mana bar. Using Ryan's devil vision powers, the player can locate bodies that are full of either vitality or mana, allowing one to absorb their essences for a touch of healing or to replenish some mana.
Graphically, Infernal was extremely impressive, offering much better presentation than shooters usually do, with the optional use of a physics card to further enhance the graphics and effects. Explosions from the devilish charged guns send explosion shrapnel spinning through the air, and brown-robed clergymen fall to the ground in a ragdoll heap – ready for the picking.
One thing that was very pronounced about Infernal was just how "cool" the main character was. Most often, when a character in a game is designed to be cool, it is blatantly obvious and, more often than not, annoying. In this case, Lennox came off as an undeniably cool character from concept to execution, and that coolness factor seemed to be present throughout the game.
With a story that promises a large number of secrets, interesting mythos references and gameplay that focuses on fast-paced action with some appealing innovations, Infernal looks to be a great game. It should be arriving towards the end of the year on the PC, but I am hopeful it will grace one of the next-gen consoles as well.
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