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Ad Infinitum Review – Terror in the Trenches

What a year 2023 has been for horror fans so far. And it’s set to continue, what with the likes of Stray Souls, Alan Wake 2 and more still to come. But before all of those there’s Ad Infinitum. This World War 1 themed story-driven adventure isn’t original in any way, but it does provide some effective chills as well as enjoyable puzzles.

With a story spread across four chapters, Ad Infinitum puts you in the shoes of a young German soldier. Straight away, you’re placed on the front lines, receiving an order to go ‘over the top’. Needless to say, what follows is harrowing. And it’s only the beginning. The very real horrors of war on display here soon turn into a psychological nightmare. What is real, and what’s a symptom of the trauma you’ve suffered? That’s for you to find out.

You’ll start each chapter in your family home, and this is perhaps where Ad Infinitum is at its best. Getting out of your bed to explore, whispers draw your attention to corridors, and ghostly figures guide you into rooms. You’re safe here, though you might not feel so. Discovering notes that give you an insight into your family, you’ll begin to piece together the game’s narrative. Though you’ll frequently also be left with questions. Ad Infinitum isn’t a game that lays all of its cards out on the table.

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After gaining access to set areas of the house, generally by overcoming a puzzle or two, Ad Infinitum cranks up the horror. You’ll find yourself thrown back into the past, reliving the war that has caused you so much trouble. Crossing the ruins of a town, for example, you’ll have to employ stealth to sneak past strange, malnutritioned enemies, hungry for a morsel of food. But there’s an even greater threat on the horizon, and from that you can only run.

Related: The Best, and Scariest, Horror Games on PS5

Other harrowing locations you’ll find yourself exploring throughout the game include trenches, a hospital, and even no man’s land. Sometimes you’ll need to put on a gas mask to survive poison clouds, other times make use of a wind-up torch to stop amputees modified with blades in their tracks. There’s a variety of gameplay on offer, but despite being a soldier there’s surprisingly no combat. You’re sometimes teased, with a gun being placed in your hands, but all you can really do is run, hide, or outwit your enemies.

Some may feel that Ad Infinitum doesn’t present them with enough danger, however. It’s understandable in your home, but when exploring trenches and the like, there are sometimes long periods of time where nothing all that interesting happens. It’s in these moments that your interest can lapse. Things always pick up eventually though, with most chapters ending with what could be considered a tense boss fight. It’s here where your actions affect the game’s story, too. Do you defeat a large winged horror by making it crash into spikes and barbed wire, or subdue it instead? Whichever your choose, the outcome of the game will be affected in some way.

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Aside from its pacing being off at times, Ad Infinitum also has some other issues. We’ve encountered some audio and visual irregularities, for example, while a late game cutscene had dialogue which was awfully out of sync. With no graphical options, there are some noticeable dips in performance, too. Thankfully they’re not bad enough to really hamper your enjoyment of the game. All in all, it feels a bit rough around the edges, although this could be solved with a patch or two.

Overall, Ad Infinitum doesn’t really offer anything new to the genre. Narratively, it simply drives home once again that war is hell and that families are complicated. On the gameplay front, there’s the usual mix of exploration, stealth and puzzles, and a lack of conventional combat. But while it lacks originality and innovation, there’s something somewhat compelling about it. It has some great creature designs, too. While it won’t blow you away, if you’re after a creepy game to waste eight or so hours with, you could do worse. Whether you’ll play through it again to reach another ending, however, is questionable.

Ad Infinitum Review – GameSpew’s Score

GameSpew Our Score 6
This review of Ad Infinitum is based on the PS5 version, with a code provided by the game’s publisher. It’s available on PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S and PC.

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