With the horror genre seeing a resurgence over the last few years, I have played my fair share of great games and bad games. Infliction, originally released on October 17, 2018 for PC through Steam, was met with good reviews from fans. So when Blowfish Studios and Caustic Reality announced that the Infliction: Extended Cut was finally getting a port to the Nintendo Switch, you had better believe that I was excited to finally see what all the hype was about. While the story has its high points and the gameplay can be investing, it really does fall flat on the Nintendo Switch.
The following will contain spoilers for Infliction: Extended Cut.
A Story We All Know
The first thing that really struck me during my Infliction: Extended Cut playthrough was how many times I have heard this story. Not this exact one, of course, but it holds enough similarities to other horror games that it was easy to see where it was going. Gary Prout, the main protagonist, returns home to find his wife’s missing airplane ticket. In, a very obvious turn, I learned that the house itself was not what it appeared to be as it changed throughout the story.
The first twist comes very early in the game as Prout heads upstairs to grab the tickets and dies. This death is scripted and Prout awakens in the house at 3:00 a.m. This loop continues until it is eventually broken, like a terrifying Groundhog Day nightmare. This also serves as the game’s way of creating levels for the player to traverse. I found that breaking the levels up in this unique way, but still keeping roughly the same environment added to the unsettling feeling during my playthrough.
While the story features several cliche horror elements, it does present them in an unique way that makes it worth playing. Nearly everything within Infliction: Extended Cut is intractable. I never felt like it was a waste to check every nook and cranny. Even if an object was unusable it still shared a bit of exposition. However, the house itself is small, and after my third death and reawakening it left me little to explore. Instead, I was forced to run from a monster until I completed an objective and died again. It wouldn’t have been so bad if the monster didn’t come with its own problems.
The real horror of Infliction: Extended Cut comes in the form of the monster that stalked me throughout my playthrough. This vengeful spirit was faster than me and always seemed to know where I was. The idea of running and hiding is always welcomed. I feel more scared when I am given a supernatural enemy that I can’t beat with weapons (which is a good thing). The flashlight and room lights appeared to keep the ghost away so I knew I was relatively safe. It took me a bit of time to realize that if I left all the lights on in the house, she would destroy them.
Unfortunately, this ghost was unrelenting in the worst ways, which eventually led to frustration. I spent so many times thinking I was so close to obtaining my objective only to have her come running across the map straight at me, and I had no way to get away. The fear eventually faded as I expected her around every corner and breathing down my neck. The frustration was made worse by the clunky Nintendo Switch controls. When I finally cleared a level I wasn’t met with the satisfaction of a job well done, but with the idea that I would be met with the same frustration all over again.
Not Made for the Nintendo Switch
Infliction was originally released for PC while the port to PlayStation 4 and Xbox One came later on. With a keyboard and mouse along with the size of a typical computer monitor, this game is perfect. I would even say that playing with a controller on a console and TV would work well, too. But when it comes to the Nintendo Switch, it was a struggle. I kicked off my playthrough undocked and realized immediately that the screen was too small and the Joy-Cons were a bit too out of place. Docking the unit and playing on the TV helped alleviate the struggles, but it didn’t help with the overall clunky feel.
The port comes with its own set of issues as well. I found that my camera was constantly getting stuck and forcing me to look down or in a certain direction. To fix it, I had to restart the entire game. I also found issues when trying to exit out of inspecting an object and not being able to. This didn’t happen nearly as often, but I eventually didn’t restart the game until my next session. I highly suggest that if Infliction: Extended Cut is on your list of games to check out, skip over the Nintendo Switch version.
As Infliction: Extended Cut drew to a close, I didn’t feel the same sense of accomplishment or excitement that I normally do with video games. I felt more like I was finally out of a never-ending nightmare with no intention of ever going back. The chilling atmosphere does a bit to save the title, always adding in a level of fear that many horror games struggle to set. The story works to help carry the weight of the game by leaving little bits of information that I needed to know more about. But, with the constant issues that come with the Nintendo Switch it really makes it hard to want to continue forward. I would suggest that if you feel the urge to check out this title, opt for another platform instead.
Infliction: Extended Cut is available now on PC through Steam, PlayStation 4, Xbox One and Nintendo Switch.
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