Preview: Inferno: Deathfield – A Classic Hack ‘n’ Slash That Needs Some Balancing

For players who want a challenge there are several virtual reality (VR) titles that VRFocus can point you in the direction of. Recent editions include Solfar Studios’ second title In Death, which has just launched on early access or there’s Framing Inc.’s Inferno: Deathfield, a hack ‘n’ slash that doesn’t pull any punches when it comes to surviving and killing the legions of Hell.

Inferno: Deathfield

Inferno: Deathfield has the classic storyline of Lucifer escaping from Hell, bringing with him a bounty of evil nasties that want to destroy the world and naturally it’s up to you to save it. Currently, in its Early Access form Inferno: Deathfield has two modes to play through, this storyline campaign and an infinite mode with global rankings for those that enjoy a bit of competition.

The main videogame is quite basic at present, offering a choice of two weapons, a sword or a crossbow, enabling you to mix and match either depending on the situation or your playing preference. Both hands can hold weapons but only one can carry the sword as the other offers both a shield and slow-time capabilities. This does mean you can dual wield the crossbows for maximum ranged damage – it does leave you open to unseen melee attacks however. While the crossbows do have unlimited ammo they can only hold ten shots at a time, automatically recharging once you stop firing. What’s noticeable is the damage discrepancy between the sword and crossbows. Enemies do seem to take forever to kill with the sword, so much so that the shield – which is magic and runs down the stamina bar – tends to disappear before even the most basic enemies are dead. Whereas the crossbows do become the weapon of choice due to the extra damage they seem to inflict.

Another issue that presented itself was for the shield hand to have a tendency to not swap options when needed. As Inferno: Deathfield is a HTC Vive title only at present, to swap weapons you hold the controller next to your hip and press the grip buttons. Trying to get the second crossbow proved to be very finicky and inconsistent, and the same with trying to swap back to the shield. Not ideal when you’ve got demons and wraiths hunting you down.

Inferno: Deathfield

You may also want to avoid using the time slow feature if you can. Next to the health bar is a white hand. Once that has turned red you can bring the shield hand to the centre of the screen to slow everything down. Unfortunately, this feature did seem to activate at random times. More concerning is what the effect has on your vision, effectively blinding you for a few seconds. Not exactly helpful in a pinch.

Like most of these videogames VRFocus finds it important to talk about movement. It can be key to the whole experience depending on how well attuned you are to VR. What’s surprising to find in Inferno: Deathfield is the complete lack of teleportation – a bold move by Framing Inc. All that’s available is free locomotion, a light press on the touchpad to walk or clicking it down to speed up slightly. There’s no snap rotation, merely a smooth spin, plus a dash is available for getting out the way of attacks quickly. Walking and running around Inferno: Deathfield was perfectly comfortable but for those more sensitive to movement in VR this could be a deal breaker.

As a Steam Early Access title Inferno: Deathfield still needs some work. Whilst fun to play through there are similar experiences that currently offer more options and tighter controls. The title certainly has potential with decent looking enemies and landscapes. Hopefully as development continues Framing Inc. can iron out those bugs.