Ad Infinitum is a survival horror game that offers a fresh and chilling perspective on the genre. With its unique setting in the trenches of World War I and a haunting blend of psychological horror and atmospheric suspense, the game manages to captivate players with its sense of unease and tension. However, despite its commendable strengths, Ad Infinitum falls short in certain areas, failing to fully explore its promising premise and delivering a narrative that lacks depth and impactful commentary on war.
The Cruelty of War
One of Ad Infinitum’s standout features is its decision to delve into the brutal reality of World War I, shedding light on the horrors experienced not only by soldiers but also by the families left behind. The game effectively portrays the war’s impact on a German family through various collectibles, notes, and meticulously designed environments. These details offer glimpses into the individual struggles and strained relationships within the family.
Furthermore, the game’s depiction of the war itself is unnerving. The desolate and claustrophobic trenches of No Man’s Land are brought to life through exceptional sound design and disturbing creature designs. Ad Infinitum understands that the absence of human characters intensifies the horror, with grotesque amalgamations serving as the main antagonists. The creature design is truly remarkable, evoking a sense of dread and revulsion with each encounter.
Atmosphere and Sound Design
Ad Infinitum successfully builds an atmosphere of psychological terror and suspense. The game employs various techniques, such as dim lighting, eerie music, and strategic use of silence, to create a sense of unease that permeates every corner of its haunting environments. The misty trenches, dark rooms, and flooded tunnels effectively contribute to an oppressive feeling, amplifying the disquiet that accompanies players as they explore.
One aspect that stands out is the game’s exceptional sound design. In moments that require you to traverse No Man’s Land, Ad Infinitum adopts a haunting stillness, perfectly capturing the disturbing nature of the war-torn landscape. The music, cleverly blending war-inspired sounds with horror stings, adds a unique layer to the game’s audio experience.
The Mansion: A Missed Opportunity
While the war segments of Ad Infinitum are where its strengths lie, the other half of the game set in the family mansion falls short of expectations. Compared to the gripping and immersive war sequences, the mansion sections come across as derivative, resembling similar titles like Layers of Fear without bringing anything truly innovative to the table.
This disappointment also extends to the game’s narrative. Ad Infinitum briefly touches on various thought-provoking themes through collectibles, such as the moral dilemma of using mustard gas or the implications of waging a war when the population does not support it. However, the game fails to delve deeper into these concepts, leaving players with a vague sense of gestured profundity rather than delivering any meaningful commentary. The potential to explore the psychological toll of war on both soldiers and civilians remains largely untapped.
Gameplay: Tension and Frustration
Ad Infinitum’s gameplay mechanics largely revolve around stealth and evasion. Players must navigate dark and perilous environments, utilizing tools and their surroundings to outmaneuver and avoid the grotesque creatures that lurk in the shadows. The game excels in creating tense and stressful situations, but sometimes falls short due to design choices that can be frustrating.
Certain tools, which work well during slower-paced sections, prove impractical and unwieldy in intense encounters. Interactions like smashing walls or wooden boards with an axe often lack precision, leading to moments of frustration and hindering the overall experience. Similarly, the wire clippers’ requirement for precise movements, frequently trapping players in unwanted animations, can detract from the intended panic-inducing moments. Additionally, opening doors requires a multi-step process that is meant to build tension but can sometimes result in irritation.
Missed Opportunities and Performance Issues
Ad Infinitum suffers from missed opportunities and performance issues that become increasingly apparent as players progress. Enemies and players alike can become trapped on pieces of scenery, while cutscenes and jumpscares occasionally lack sound, disrupting immersion. Flickering lights, present even in pitch-black areas, undermine the tension the game so effectively builds, further detracting from the overall experience.
Ad Infinitum presents an intriguing and chilling survival horror experience that offers a fresh take on the genre. The game showcases the horrors of World War I and explores the impact on a German family with commendable attention to detail. The atmospheric tension and sound design are exceptional, enveloping players in a palpable sense of unease. However, the game falls short in fully exploring its powerful setting and fails to deliver a profound and impactful narrative. Gameplay mechanics can be frustrating, and performance issues detract from the immersive experience.
Despite its shortcomings, Ad Infinitum remains an engaging horror title that will undoubtedly captivate genre enthusiasts. For those seeking a thought-provoking exploration of the psychological toll of war, however, the game may leave them longing for more depth and substance. Ad Infinitum’s potential is tantalizing, but its execution ultimately falls short of greatness.
Disclosure: I received a free review copy of this product from https://www.keymailer.co