Inner Chains is a first-person horror adventure title developed by Telepaths Tree. The game hit PC just a couple of days ago, but I was waiting for it impatiently since I first laid my eyes on it.
I was attracted to Inner Chains simply because the art work looked irresistible and the story was a very charming sci-fi book material. And, I must regrettably say that only these two kept me going.
Nature is taking itself back.
When we say ‘nature is taking itself back’ the following image is usually a flower between some rocks or even a tree eating a signboard. Going further, a road collapsed by flood or a building covered with ivy. These all look beautiful, because beyond any doubt destruction by nature is beautiful. Even though we call this destruction, we never imagine it to be hostile.
This is where Inner Chains steps into the spotlight. The game is set in a very hostile universe in the distant future. Without any human interference, nature is taking itself back. But, imagine that while nature is doing this, it finds a way to use the abandoned technology by humans.
This is how biomechanical beings came to life. In the world of Inner Chains, you can’t decide what is natural, mechanical or biomechanical. The only thing you must do is to protect yourself against nature’s weird creations since you are just a mere human being.
If H. R. Giger and Zdzislaw Beksinski had a baby.
Inner Chains is created with Unreal Engine 4 and I am forced to believe that if you create something with Unreal Engine 4, it will look beautiful regardless. But, when it comes to Inner Chains, I must say that the game was one of the best looking things that my eyes have seen.
The detailed art work kept me around much more longer than I expected. If you let me, I can look at one detailed stone for an hour in a game. Anyway, Inner Chains indeed offers a delicious and dark atmosphere with stunning art design. It resembles Giger’s art style combined with Beksinski’s holy touch. Gigerish art style and Beksinski’s dark dream works create a perfect atmosphere for a game like Inner Chains and that was what I saw when I woke up in a catacomb-like room.
Here are some screenshots of Inner Chains:
As I walk I came across a stone tablet with a hand mark on one side and some writings on the other side. The writings meant nothing to me since they were in some forgotten language but after a few trial, I finally understood that when you press your hand on the stone, you will unlock a letter which helps you translate the language. But, I walked pass so many writings and I was unable to read them even though I unlocked every letter through the way. I felt like the story of the game slipping away from my hands.
This is where you must prepare yourself for some difficulties, because the cinematic trailer in the very beginning is mostly the only thing which tells the story of the game. Inner Chains gives little clues here and there, but the game doesn’t really clear itself during the gameplay. It is not like you are playing for nothing, the game follows a story yet it feels like you can not fully comprehend it.
When I went outside, I found the most mesmerizing world filled with people like me. But, clearly I was bound by some hierarchical rules since some of them was carrying guns and walking around like security guards. While I made my way through some highly realistic and creepy sculptures, I realized that the way leads me to an area where a speech is going on. From the looks of it, while the nature is at the top of this hierarchical order, I was beneath everything and everyone.
Inner Chains makes it clear that while playing this game, you will get no help from the game. You need to understand how it works and you need to use it on your behalf. The first chapter of the game only features hostile weapons of nature which are trying to kill you. If you slow down and watch what it is going around, you may understand how to avoid some traps which you will encounter later. The first chapter in a nutshell; a walking simulator which helps you understand how the game mechanics work and a glimpse of what is coming. Honestly, I really enjoyed this part of the game.
From the point I stepped out to open weather, my eyes were having the best party ever, but my ears were crying, if you can imagine that. These visuals deserve a matching voice acting, but clearly Inner Chains doesn’t have that. Even after you find yourself a gun, you may not hear the firing noise which is frustrating. Soundtracks, on the other hand, were satisfying enough.
This is where everything went down.
After the first chapter, it is clear that you are trying to escape from this dark and unfair world. The game gives you that but there is no sign of the deep story we’ve witnessed while watching the opening cinematic. The second chapter is where the game shows itself at full, I believe. This is where not only nature but everything turns against you. You must use the fierce weapons of nature to avoid or kill enemies. This is also where you get a chance to see that Inner Chains has a poor AI with clumsy enemies who clearly have no idea what are they doing.
These poor enemies may stop chasing you or fall like a sack of potatoes with an ‘uh’ noise. I like the idea of using the nature’s biomechanical creations to survive, yet killing those clumsy things didn’t give any satisfaction. Finally after you possess a gun, you may come to realize that it won’t work on enemies time to time since bugs are everywhere. And when you get frustrated with that bug and turn around with anger, you may find yourself seeing the other side of a wall which is not a super power but a common bug.
Even tough every bits and pieces of Inner Chains look splendid, it gets tiring after a while since you encounter bugs and FPS drops scattered all around the game. Using your brain to create ways to encounter your enemies can create a fun gameplay, but with a poor AI and bugs like this it becomes painful.
The more you play, the more interesting events you will witness. Some sudden visions will hit you like a mushroom trip with bending walls and bright colors, the most beautifully designed saving feature will welcome you here and there, after the first chapter it will even give you some hardcore action with three different guns. But even though these and painfully gorgeous art design, Inner Chains needs lots of fixes and improvements in order to become enjoyable.
The other downer is the options and settings menu of the game. There are only a few options you can choose between. There are only two graphic settings which are high and low. There is no chance to change the mouse sensitivity, no FOV slider and such.
I really wanted to enjoy Inner Chains. I can do nothing but admire the environmental art, level designs and art work of the game. With all my heart I can say that I would chop off my leg to create such beauty. But, the rest of the Inner Chains remains problematic and feels like something is always missing.
Inner Chains deserves much more than that. This magnificent art work and promised narrative deserves a proper gameplay, voice acting, AI, graphic settings, a closure and less bugs. Some of them may be fixed with updates and patches and the rest may be sufferable for the sake of the visuals. I highly recommend you to sit tight and wait for the patches before trying to play Inner Chains since in its current stage, it won’t be able to meet the expectations created by trailers and screenshots which we’ve all seen before the launch.
Inner Chins was reviewed using a Steam key provided by the publisher.
Inner Chains Review
Inner Chains has the most impressive dark and surreal environmental art design, but the rest of the game feels incomplete. Inner Chains is a long shot with potential. I highly recommend you to sit tight and wait for fixes, patches and updates which will make the game enjoyable and most importantly playable, hopefully. In its current stage, it won't be able to meet the expectations created by trailers and screenshots which we've all seen before the launch.
- Pleasing opening cinematic
- Jaw-dropping and surreal art design
- Weapons and usage of weapons
- The idea of using the environment and creepy biomechanical creatures in order to move on
- Performance and optimization issues
- Graphic settings are ridiculously poor, weak options menu
- Poor AI
- Bugs. Bugs everywhere
- Sounds and voice acting can be improved
- Gameplay can’t reflect the story which was mentioned in the cinematic trailer