Also on: PS5, Xbox Series X
Here’s the key thing to know about Ad Infinitum: it’s essentially the passion project of developers Hekate, who have been working on the game for about a decade.
The reason why this lengthy development is key to understanding the game it tells you both what inspired Ad Infinitum’s creation – as the developers explained in a Reddit AMA, they were big fans of Amnesia: The Dark Descent – and what came along in the interim that clearly steered the game’s development, particularly games like SOMA and Layers of Fear.
In other words, Ad Infinitum very much feels like the kind of horror game that would’ve come out five or ten years ago: lots of slow-moving stealth and light puzzles, with a heavy dose of walking simulator-style exploration on the side.
Since it’s such a well-worn formula, it should be no surprise that Ad Infinitum uses it to good effect and does a stellar job of creating creepy settings. Whether you’re walking through a very dimly lit mansion, looking for clues and solving some light puzzles, or stumbling through the quiet dead zones of No Man’s Land, you always feel like there are monsters lurking just around the corner. And, when you catch a glimpse of them, they always feel like the stuff of nightmares.
Unfortunately, the rest of the game is a little bit of a letdown. For starters, the story doesn’t make a whole lot of sense. It’s set during (and after, sort of) World War I, as a German soldier trapped in No Man’s Land tries to escape certain death while also reliving the parts of his life that led him to that point and flashing forward to the aftermath of the Great War. Reality is hazy as the past, present and future all blend together, and it’s sometimes hard to tell where the story is going and where it’s been, since it kind of loops all over the place.
More annoyingly, even if the story is a little difficult to follow, the game still feels awfully linear. While there’s the odd moment where you’ll want to branch off the obvious main path and explore a little, for the most part the game funnels you where it wants you to go. Even if it’s funneling you through some frightening scenes, it still all feels a little rote.
Would Ad Infinitum have been better off if it had come out a little closer in time to its influences (rather than a few months after Frictional Games also explored the trenches of World War I with Amnesia: The Bunker, which has to be the ultimate irony)? It’s hard not to feel that way, since as it stands, the game feels kind of anachronistic. It’s a solid enough horror game, don’t get me wrong, but it still feels a little too indebted to the past to really stand on its own.
Nacon provided us with an Ad Infinitum PC code for review purposes.