Infliction – The Love and Hate of Horror
“This is the place between places. Here there can be only sadness and resolution. This is where the lost are found and vengeance rears its ugly head. Vengeful souls are born of violent death”
I hate scary games. I hate them so much. They make me so tense, and fill me with dread and anxiety. But for some reason, as much as I hate them, I also love them. I love the feeling of being scared, I love the terror and the fear. So when I got told the rest of the Player 2 crew were too chicken shit to play Infliction, I jumped at the chance to review this title. Because I am brave and tough and I can handle anything.
Except I am none of those things and this game scared the shit out of me and I can handle nothing.
Infliction tells the sad tale of a family wrought by violence and tragedy. It begins with you entering the home in the midst of a storm looking for some plane tickets for your wife. Sounds innocent enough right? And it is, until you find the tickets and all hell breaks loose.
Unable to leave this once happy family home until you vanquish the evil that resides within, you stumble through this fractured and tragic tale searching for clues whilst a malevolent spirit hounds your every step. And lemme tell you, it’s goddamn terrifying.
Horror isn’t an easy genre to get right, with many modern day horror games relying on jump scares and dim lighting to create their terror. Caustic Reality goes back to what makes horror games fantastic, which is why Infliction is such a gem of a game. Yes, it utilises jump scares, but these appear rarely and each one is heart attack inducing.
What really ramps up the tension in this game is the ingenious use of sound and lighting. All the audio that plays throughout the game, be it from the radio or the television or the creepy music box in the bedroom always sounds disjointed, like it’s being messed with. In order to try and soothe my fraying nerves, I went around the house putting the television and radio on for background noise. Lemme tell you; it did not help.
Another thing Infliction does incredibly well is creating a sense of home. What makes this tale so tragic is that as you walk through this house, you can so clearly see that once upon a time, a family lived here happily. From the post-it notes left around the house reminding you about dinner in the oven, to the family photos, to your teenage daughter’s clothes strewn all around her room- it’s easy to close your eyes and picture the happiness once experienced here. Which makes it all the more depressing when you watch it all slowly decay in front of you.
Graphically, Infliction is beautiful. Mostly. The house and the items in it are photorealistic, which help to create a real sense of house and home. However, graphically, the ghost looks kind of blocky and very ‘year 2000’. It’s a stark contrast between how incredible the rest of the game looks, but honestly, if the ghost looked as sharp and beautiful as everything else, I think I’d still be in a corner rocking back and forth.
I played Infliction on the Steam Link with a controller instead of the traditional keyboard and mouse, and I feel like this was a really good (or really bad?) decision. Every time something horrible happened, the controller would pulse with the heartbeat of my character which really set me on edge. It also made for easy cowering, as I could pause the game easily and dive into my nest of blankets every time I got too scared. Which, if I’m being realistic, was probably about every five minutes.
For someone like me who equally hates and loves horror games, Infliction was horrible in all the right ways. The game does not boast a huge playtime, but it doesn’t really have to. It tells the story it needs to in a cryptic, haunting way, without the need for cheap jump scares or an overt use of gore. Infliction is tense, terrifying and magnificent; a truly horrifying experience for fans of the genre.
Jenn’s talents lie in her ability to drink her weight in alcohol, break the sound barrier with her voice and fall down on an almost daily basis. Clumsy, loud, and scared of nothing except moths and zombies, Jenn is Player 2’s resident crazy cat lady who pretends to be a journalist in real life. Between drinking wine and forcing her cats to dance with her, Jenn can be seen lusting over fictional Bioware characters and trying to hide from adulthood.