Infinity is a long way off
Infinity is correct. It took me so long to get into the actual playing of the game after a number of introductory cut scenes – that I must admit made no sense to me – that at one point I thought I’d downloaded an animated adventure rather than a game. After my character teleported into a barren city and woke up in the toilet of a pizzeria, I knew this wasn’t going to be any ordinary first person shooter. I’ve woken up in a Pizza Hut bathroom once. It wasn’t pretty.
At first glace, Infinity Project 2 is a first person shooter. At second glance , it’s a first person shooter with adventure and free-roam elements. At third glance, I’d advise you to stop taking so many glances and just play the game.
So it’s kind of a shooter/adventure/RPG/sandbox hybrid with an involved story for you to digest. It’s a little generic on the face of it: an evil alien race (is there any other type?) called the Talons have upped sticks from the year 2243, invaded earth and changed it’s history. It’s up to you, playing as Mr Space Marine McGruff, to find out what happened using that most persuasive of techniques – big ass weapons.
I must also add that this is a sequel to a game I’ve never played called Infinity Project. Let’s move on now.
As soon as you start, you’ll feel like you’re back in 1999. Not because you’re a skinny 18 year old about to enter some obscure University at the other end of the country (yes, this was my 1999 experience), but or better or worse because Infinity Project 2 looks and plays a lot like a PC game from that era.
You conduct your investigations throughout a series of wide open locales, which are impressive in their 3D scope. They’re well detailed and great to look at, with touches such as torn posters hanging from walls giving the impression that people lived there once for the levels that take place on a barren earth, and other high details in some of the space levels. You can even clearly read one of the menus on the wall of the aforementioned Pizzeria., although at those prices, I’d consider eating somewhere else. The 50’s tinged adverts that make up the loading screens complete the ‘Fallout Lite’ effect.
Inhabiting the levels are a range of NPC’s with which riveting conversations can be had about the weather, stock markets and probably more important to earth’s survival, info about exactly what’s going on. I said inhabit, but they mostly just stand around in awkward locations, with awkward expressionless faces (the character models aren’t the most sophisticated), waiting to have awkward exposition-filled conversations so you can find out where to go next. Even when entering a building with multiple NPC’s, you can only speak to the one the game deems necessary in order to progress. Everyone else spouts the classic rebuff ‘I’m busy right now’, even though they are –and I mean this quite literally – walking round the building in circles. They exist solely to point you in the right direction. I love 90’s gaming.
Adding to the dated feel is the sound, which is frequently overblown and inadequately mixed. Gusts of wind permanently blow throughout the initial levels, but they seem too loud, and the loops can clearly be heard, ruining the immersion. Once I entered a church and was subjected to the sound of six NPC’s walking round the building with every footstep echoing through my headphones, I thought I was in hell.
Going from the windy-footsteps-I’m busy mashup into battle abruptly triggers a melodramatic score that screams THIS IS AN ACTION SCENE. It doesn’t sound particularly organic and stops as suddenly as it starts. Fights are made worse by odd enemy AI. Witness – and once again, I’m not lying here – foes who suddenly run away from attacking you, only to be found crouching in a corner across the room.
The variety of weapons are very cool to look at, and in a personal favourite of mine, some of the bigger guns fill one half of the screen. I love it when that happens. Like I said, big ass. Controls work with no problem, although your character has the unsettling style of movement associated with first person shooters from 15 years ago where they move almost too smoothly, with none of the slight bobbing up and down you’d expect from a regular human-type guy. It’s almost as if you’re a specter floating around each stage.
As many sins as the game commits, there’s still something mighty endearing about the whole package. Clearly a lot of effort has been put into it, especially the story which is actually quite intriguing once you get into the meat of it. And as dated as it seems, you’ll never want to switch off. Quite the opposite, you might find yourself continuing to play even if you don’t know why. The biggest compliment I can give it is that despite it’s flaws, I always enjoyed playing and wanted to find out where the story was going. The mixture of game styles keeps things interesting, even if the execution is left wanting.
It’s much too rough around the edges to be The Best Game Ever™, but it’s still worth some choice moments of your time due to it’s scale, ambition and the fact you know it was made with a whole lot of love. Just don’t expect to be playing it to infinity. Or for that matter, beyond.
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The Infinity Project 2 is available for £1.99 iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch. Get it now on the