Inner Chains – Review
Follow Genre: Tactical shooter, action
Developer: Telepaths Tree
Publisher: IMGN.PRO
Platform: PC
Tested on: PC

Inner Chains – Review

Site Score
3.7
Good: Fills the niche of 'unneccessarily dark, gritty and edgy' game
Bad: Very walking simulator-esque for a non walking simulator game
User Score
2.0
(2 votes)
Click to vote
VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 2.0/10 (2 votes cast)

Inner Chains is a game by Telepaths Tree. It’s a team that consists of gaming developer veterans with all sorts of experience under their collective belt. The developers have splintered off of development teams like Epic Games, People Can Fly and even CD Project RED, the latter being the people behind the massively successful ‘The Witcher Series’. Inner Chains is currently only available on PC. With their first priority to build the game for Linux – a goal they had to set back to cater to the first real hurdle: the first patch – Inner Chains might make it to consoles, but no word on that so far.

Inner-Chains-logo

Story

Inner Chains could have been a very nicely story driven walking simulator or even a story driven action game if the writing was actually present in the game itself and not only in the cut scenes. It’s so tortuous that when you start you can’t even begin to understand what’s at stake and where the conflict that drives the narrative of the game lies. Let’s try and make some sense of the opening cutscene.

The world has gone to shit. It’s one of those games, not our world, no not planet Earth that’s gone to shit, just some vague rock in space which could sustain human life has gone to shit. Not entirely really, it’s just that human technology and the environment of the rock turned planet have fused in surreal ways and mankind is left to its devices to figure out its place in all of this. Like bacteria in a primordial soup. Even amoeboids fight for their right of survival and soon humankind is divided in castes. You have to find out the secrets of the planet and keep your wits and limbs about as you explore the environment while the teachings of the Ruling of the caste are etched into your mind.

In life, in writing code, in writing, in nearly anything there’s something you should keep in mind. K.I.S.S.: Keep It Simple, Stupid. You have to make the media accessible, your story can be deep and extremely dark and twisted, but if you throw people off by confusing them from the very first sentence of the game it really isn’t going to keep people coming back or talk about it. You might think that opening cinematics can be convoluted and densely written if throughout the game the opening act is fleshed out with narrative and explanations, but that’s where Inner Chains falls flat. It doesn’t do anything to explain the whole conflict. Something is amiss, but there’s not a single NPC that’s willing to part with any kind of info on the who, what, why and when of it all. It’s not that the NPC’s are spouting random nonsense. Nothing like that at all, they aren’t given any kind of dialogue, which is an enormous oversight or a very big missed opportunity.

Inner_Chains_03

Graphics

Inner Chains goes for the dark aesthetic. It works with mostly earthen tones and as such tries to evoke a very depressing mood, which mostly works. What the game isn’t, is optimized. The game stutters like crazy and the loading times are horrendous. Add onto it an awful framerate and you have a gaming experience that becomes very frustrating, very fast. The enemies, at least the non humanoids, are usually very distinct, making it easy for you to understand what to look out for, with telltale signs like barbs sticking out from the ground to warn trespassers from getting shanked by the flora, or the acid pools that mark the places where you’ll be devoured whole. There are however moments where Inner Chains fails as the surroundings are so dark you’ll be damaged by the dangers even if you try your best to avoid them.

Sound

Soundwise, the music changing up between combat situations and you exploring is really nicely done. The music when you are in combat is more bombastic. The background noises when you are walking to your next destination on the other hand, are really creepy and disturbing. It matches the aesthetics and the tone they are setting for the world you are traversing.

Inner_Chains_02The only voice acting is in the opening cinematic, and the accent is so dense it becomes hard to listen to. Other than that the developers haven’t given the friendly NPCs any kind of voice so most of them just wave their hands around and make over the top gestures.

Gameplay

Inner Chains is an action/adventure FPS horror game. Totally not a walking simulator with guns, honest. Even the trailer says it isn’t. It’s like the developers noticed their trailer was hinting at the more slow paced nature of the game and put a disclaimer in said trailer assuring the player that they are in fact NOT playing a walking simulator. If they didn’t want players to doubt the genre of their game and didn’t want them to think it’s something it’s not, then it might have been better to put the action setpieces in the limelight, instead of the slowpaced opening of the game.

Inner_Chains_05Inner Chains is rather short, and the framerate drops make whatever shooting parts there are in the game rather unenjoyable. Aiming is just horrible when there’s no precision and the melee combat in first person is a horrible experience, not just in this game, in general, so adding that into the mix really cripples the experience. That’s probably the reason the developers didn’t put it in the trailer, because taking down the enemies with melee is just pure luck. If you stun lock them and they are backed into a corner, you win, if they somehow manage to get to your side, that’s when you are bound to lose some health which means you might die.

Inner_Chains_04The gunplay isn’t something that solidifies the game, it’s definetly something that hampers the experience, as it uses your health as ammunition. There’s no warning for when it happens, the ammunition runs out really fast and you can’t control it. A simple fix would be a way for you to toggle it. Then it’d be great because then you’d have a choice. Another option would be to make it so the health shots take enemies down faster. Then it’d be risk versus reward, but right now you don’t even have a choice.

Movement is the standard w,a,s,d with control to crouch and tab to run, so don’t be afraid that they’ve added new buttons into the mix. F for melee doesn’t always work out, Right mouse button would have worked out better.

Conclusion

Inner Chains needs a lot of polish to work out the kinks in the game, from the framerate drops, to the non existent story, to the combat that feels awful and wonky. The game feels like a badly optimized alpha build. The price they are asking for it is actually quite preposterous, maybe with a lot of fixes and a price cut, it will be worth it to put it in your shooter/walking simulator collection.

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Rating: 2.0/10 (2 votes cast)
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Inner Chains - Review, 2.0 out of 10 based on 2 ratings

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