It dissolves the blood in the veins

Who I am
Alejandra Rangel
@alejandrarangel
Author and references

Available from June 6 in retail format, Inner Chains made its debut a few days ago on Steam. This is the debut title of Telepaths' Tree, an indie team formed by former members of CD Projekt RED, Epic Games, People Can Fly, Flying Wild Hog and Techland: people with a certain resume, who however have not realized the amount of problems and defects that plague the game.

In fact, beyond the numerous crashes reported by users, which fortunately we have not encountered, this peculiar horror FPS suffers from mediocre artificial intelligence, practically absent technical optimization, basic options and, above all, the complete lack of references. narratives beyond the cinematic introduction, which for a product of this genre is no small defect. The only way to get an idea of ​​the plot behind Inner Chains is to read the synopsis on its Steam page, currently studded with negative reviews: in a mysterious world, dominated by gruesome biomechanical technology, a Ruling Caste has reduced the people to slavery by imposing the worship of dark gods. As an ordinary person, we are offered as a sacrifice to the gods but survive the ritual and find ourselves wandering underground, looking for a way out of the nightmare.



Quote

Inner Chains guess the scenery design, but everything else leaves a lot to be desired

Monster world

Let's imagine that the main objective of an independent production, even more so considering the refund policies offered by Steam, is to look for a start with a bang, a preliminary phase that immediately drops the player into the action after communicating some simple rules of base.



Inner Chains does none of this, wasting the entire first chapter of a campaign that lasts about four hours making us wander around the scenario in a tediously slow way, with no possibility of interaction., let alone engage in fights. After the sequence of the "sacrifice" and some disappointing bare-hand clashes, undermined by a rather approximate collision detection, we finally get hold of our first weapon, a sort of electric gun. We can use it, taking care to avoid its rapid overheating, to eliminate human beings reduced to slow and pathetic zombies, who drag themselves in our direction waiting, and perhaps in the hope, to be freed from their sufferings. Soon the experience reveals its own puzzle soul, with gruesome switches with a human face that must be activated to make certain electrical barriers turn off or on, allowing us to pass and proceed to the next area, possibly indicated by the flutter of pollen coming. from plants scattered along the way, sometimes alongside monstrous living checkpoints. In short, there is no doubt that the artistic direction signed by Tomasz Strzalkowski makes good use of the "bestiary" deriving from the very evident inspiration of Giger's works, but this goal unfortunately remains an end in itself, since everything else leaves much to be desired.

Weapons and luggage

The world of Inner Chains is as dangerous as it is horrifying: around the levels there are plants that attack those who pass by, sewers on the ceilings that release poisonous bombs, huge molluscs that grab from above those who are foolish enough to walk where they fall their drool and large eggs that contain creatures capable of launching deadly fireballs.



We therefore proceed slowly, although our character can run for some stretches, trying to reach in every scenario some stone tablets that unlock letters of the alphabet and allow, at a certain point, to decipher the code that characterizes all the engravings on the walls. To find them, it is often necessary to interface with devices, which are also biomechanical and disgusting, which envelop our faces, providing us with the vision of an area that we must reach. Then there are the enemies: not only the pathetic zombies we have already talked about, but also guards belonging to the Ruling Caste, mutants, hellhounds and the most lethal type of all, the "tanks", which must be eliminated by exploding the cylinders that carry on their back or trying to inflict a lot of hits. The approach to combat is very different from that of shooters like DOOM or the classic Painkiller, to stay on the horror theme: opponents are generally few and should be feared, as they are capable of killing us with a few well-aimed shots. To recover the vital energy, reported on a bracelet welded to the wrist of the protagonist, we will have to stop at special devices (yes, even these gruesome) that can be exploited once and which replenish our health, as well as the ammunition of a among the three weapons that we will be able to use during the campaign. In addition to the electric gun, we will in fact have the opportunity to hold a flamethrower and a dart shooter: the first is absolutely the most effective tool against enemies, who roast where exposed for a few moments to the heat jet, while the second is useful. for precision shots (for example to hit the backpack of the tanks), even if the almost invisible reticle and the impossibility of aiming makes this operation really complicated. For each weapon we will also find an alternative single-shot fire device, respectively an electromagnetic sphere, a real fireball and a sort of projectile that releases poison on impact.



Cross above

As mentioned at the beginning, Inner Chains suffers from very evident problems regarding the artificial intelligence of the enemies. Beyond their poor ability to identify us, if not a few meters away, the opponents are themselves subject to the attack of the "plants" that we have described, so much so that in certain situations it becomes absurd: just wait a few seconds for the guards to be automatically eliminated from their own traps, triggered during the inevitable patrol.

As for the attack patterns, only that of the "zombies" is credible, as creatures devoid of intellect and moved solely by instinct, while for the rest there are only simplistic charges with their heads down. Whether due to the presence of a good number of checkpoints, or to the limitations of artificial intelligence, the degree of challenge of the game is absolutely banal and only in the final stages do we incur a minimum of tension, when perhaps our vital energy has been tested and ammunition is scarce. Fortunately, however, the possibility of resorting to the horrible melee of the very early stages is averted by the possibility of opening fire even when the indicators are at zero, sacrificing some health. To give the final blow to the general design of Inner Chains, however, we think the last fight, a boss fight that we suspect is afflicted by some sort of bug: after destroying the first "hot spot" of the enemy, it was absolutely not clear to us what had to be done to do him further damage, and so we tried for several minutes to experiment in vain ... until, hopping, we managed to end up on the wall that separated us from the final sequence of the campaign. Yes, even that rather disappointing. The technical framework is added to all the problems listed so far: although the game world has its own reason and offers at certain times some suggestive glimpses, the assets seemed generic to us, the polygonal models dated and the direction also very approximate. There are very few options available for the graphics, practically none for the controls (the sensitivity cannot be adjusted, nor on the controller it is possible to invert the Y axis), but it is the optimization that is really missing: on our configuration we had to settle for play at 30 frames per second at 1440p, where titles like Gears of War 4 score exactly double with more complex graphics to say the least.

PC System Requirements

Test Setup

  • Processor: Intel Core i5 6600K
  • Scheda video: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070 Jetstream
  • Memory: 16 GB of RAM
  • Operating system: Windows 10

Minimum requirements

  • Processore: AMD Phenom II X4, Intel Pentium dual core serie G600
  • Video card: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 700 series, AMD Radeon HD 7700 series
  • Memory: 4 GB of RAM
  • Hard disk: 15 GB of space required
  • Sistema operativo: Windows 7 SP1, Windows 8.1, Windows 10 a 64 bit

Recommended Requirements

  • Processor: AMD FX 8000 series, Intel Core i3 6000 series
  • Video card: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 970, AMD Radeon R9 380
  • Memory: 8 GB of RAM
  • Hard disk: 15 GB of space required
  • Sistema operativo: Windows 7 SP1, Windows 8.1, Windows 10 a 64 bit

Comment

Tested version PC Windows Digital Delivery Steam, PlayStation Store, Xbox Store Price 19,99 € Resources4Gaming.com

4.0

Readers (5)

5.1

Your vote

Inner Chains is a title that you would expect to find in Early Access, given the many problems that afflict it and an overall picture full of shortcomings and flaws, which maybe the developers could have partially corrected with the contribution of the community. The game world manages to be disturbing as scheduled, given the obvious references to the works of HR Giger, but everything else does not work: the artificial intelligence is minimal and gives life to pathetic sequences of self-elimination by the enemies, collision detection is rough to say the least, there are several glitches, there is no storyline to back up the experience, and the direction seems entirely unfinished. Added to this is the very limited amount of graphics and control options, as well as virtually no technical optimization. What a pity.

PRO

  • Creepy game world
  • Good atmosphere
  • Some suggestive glimpses
AGAINST
  • Poor artificial intelligence
  • Approximate in every respect
  • Graphically generic and poorly optimized
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