Infliction (Ghost Story of RL Proportions)

 

Yo I can't get enough of that survival horror spooking. But I can get enough of the bad variety and I've received a few recently I don't have the heart to complain about because they're that bad. If you forgot or are new, I love destroying things that suck and making people cry, but the fact is that's only applicable to games if I can complete them and I had no heart to go on with some of my inbox trash as of late. Plus I was too busy playing Infliction, which made the rest just look like garbage anyway so what's the point of even giving them a chance? Life, or in this case death, is about prioritizing what needs to be done first.

 
 

Infliction needed my full attention. Developed by Caustic Reality, an indie company from out of Australia (all one guy), brief glimpses of the spookery sold me. I like ghosts. I pretended the house I grew up in was haunted, because it supposedly was and there's nothing more enjoyable than actually believing that bunk and experiencing something unusual in the dark that is in reality something benign. So give me that kind of spooking and I'll at least play for a little while. In this case, the whole while.

 
 

Infliction has the "dead by dawn" zeitgeist going on, but thankfully such aspects are never elucidated. The player is left with troubling questions when it's all over. Don't you know? Better horror is the type that doesn't explain itself fully and sticks to the nerves. Without that you're in for repetitive jump scares and dark rooms where the music spoils the fear. In Infliction you play the role of an unnamed chap whose family life is destroyed. The essential story you piece together, and this isn't a spoiler, is that your happiness was broken when a faulty crib killed your infant, which led the wife to descend into mental illness, you to resort to drinking, abuse, and the occult, and your daughter to turn Hot Topic Goth (very spooky). During the game you're actually navigating memories and through these go through time as the house and other environments merge together and separate. Infliction does rely on darkness for its spook quite a bit, but there's a big difference.

 
 

The difference is that the play moves through broken memories that read like a newspaper. Nothing is more disturbing than reality, right? It's never fully explained how everything descended into your wife becoming an angst-ridden ghost assaulting you, but the memories you accumulate allow the player to fill in the gaps and pop a ton of pills after. Caustic Reality smartly took real tragedy, laced it with amorphous occult references, and made a ghost story out of it. Even though it may have that Japanese wall-crawl and Silent Hill grotesque bestiary we've all seen before, its story, which is really its essence, is the undercurrent of play, and it paints a beautifully tragic tale where you might actually be dead, or damned, or something else entirely. Maybe I've just been pulling your shit the entire time and it's aliens. But the score below does not reflect that kind of stupidity. In spite of details that are close to cliche at points, Infliction does not disappoint in the writing and it will leave you with a void for a heart by the end. Always good.

 

Infliction Official Steam Page

Written Stanley, Devourer of Souls

Infliction
Caustic Reality (developer, publisher)
4.1 / 5