Bite Sized Previews: Ad Infernum

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Bite Sized Previews: Ad Infernum

Oh man, immersive sims. They’ve been enjoying a resurgence of sorts over the last few years, and Ad Infernum adds more to the mix. While the AAA scene sticks to its open-world guns and loves shoving the usual ‘crafting and big collectable open world down its pants, the indie scene continues to explore.

I’m back with a new impressions review! Some of my favourite games released in the past couple of years are immersive sims. Gloomwood, Weird West, Cruelty Squad, the System Shock remake, Amnesia: The Bunker, and Deadeye Deepfake Siralicum are all fantastic in their own way, while Ctrl Alt Ego smashed its way to my Game of the Year award in 2022. There are several promising immersive sims due to release in 2024, including Corpus Edax, Fallen Aces, and Star Trucker. How to define an immersive sim is always a hot topic, and trying to wade into that fight is as dangerous as wandering into a lion’s den naked. In other words, I’m going nowhere near that. Plenty of great people in that community know the scene better than I do.

Ahem, onto today’s episode. Ad Infernum is the game of choice: a horror survival sim that explores player freedom. It launched on Steam on 29th February, so it should be out by the time this goes live. I decided to make this a preview for now, as I haven’t had time to really delve into the game’s narrative. I’ve also run into several problems on the Steam Deck, with more crashes than I would like. Technical quirks aside, Ad Infernum is a promising immersive sim with some great mechanics. I’ve yet to run into major horror elements, but that’s largely down to me avoiding it like a scaredy cat! Amnesia the Bunker is slowly bringing me around to horror, so I’ll probably do a follow-up review later.

It kicks off with one hell of a bang. Starting off in the back of the car, listening to the annoying dude driving me to my destination, I had fun inspecting the photos in the backseat while wishing my little driver would shut up. Seriously, I wished he would stop talking so I could get some sleep! Naturally, as we were driving down this long, empty road, something was going to go down. Imagine my surprise when the annoying driver gets killed by flying debris and the car spirals out of control. Okay, maybe some good things happen to people who wish for it! Either way, the cutscene ends, leading me to an abandoned gas station that packs some insanely high-tech security.

Roll credits and the game begins. While Ad Infernum wins no prizes for graphics, I felt immersed nonetheless. The way lighting interacts with the environment left me scrambling for answers, and it only adds to the unsettling nature of the game. Things turn into shit really fast, leaving the player with plenty of options but short on time. This gas station holds dark secrets and cults that do not belong in the world. It’s a race against time: find out all you can and stop this cult from carrying out their plans, but the cost might be too great.

This brings me to the mechanics and oh boy, this is an emergent gameplay fan’s fantasy. Interactive environments galore with item physics blend well with the game’s solid movement and combat. Like with many of these immersive sims, it’s better to sneak and hide from danger than go full Rambo. That is still an option, however, and Ad Infernum provides players with a solid combat system. There are plenty of weapons on offer too, from guns to clubs. Player options are all the rage, and I’m having fun exploring. If you run into a roadblock like a locked door, just look around. Like

Onto the technical side, Ad Infernum requires some beefy hardware, although most modern PCs should be fine. My poor GTX 1060 laptop managed stable framerates on normal settings, but it sounded like a jet engine taking off. While I had no crashes on my laptop, the Steam Deck was another story. It’s possibly because this is a prerelease build and it has not been optimized for the Steam Deck. While my controls worked out of the box as well as a solid performance, I crashed five times over an hour of testing. After the fifth crash which forced me to hard reset the Deck, I gave up. Still, this is just my personal experience and hopefully, by the time this goes live, there will be more testing. Who knows?

In the meantime, I hope everyone enjoyed this little preview. I wasn’t able to play as much as I wanted, but Ad Infernum represents what I want to see more in my games. Player choice, freedom to explore and experiment to find solutions, and demonic rituals. What’s not to like?

You can buy Ad Infernum on Steam by clicking on the link here:

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TheThousandScarAuthor/Blogger/Cartographer/Streamer/Narrative Game Writer/I play far too many games. |

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