Games of the Year

Inner Chains

Inner Chains Screenshot 1
Inner Chains Screenshot 2
Inner Chains Screenshot 3
Inner Chains Screenshot 4
Inner Chains Screenshot 5
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An FPS horror game set in a surreal, dark and deadly biomechanical world never seen before. One does not get to set the rules in the world of Inner Chains. Humankind is just a small part of a hostile universe. Want to survive? Discover its secrets. A planet in the distant future. A rock floating in space that is no longer what it had once been. Without human interference, nature has been adapting to the new conditions, reclaiming what was once taken away. In its pursuit of perfection, it began to assimilate with the abandoned technology giving life to biomechanical beings. Left to its own devices, man-made technology has also changed as it tried to adjust to the new environment. A strong symbiosis soon developed between technology and nature. It became difficult to determine what is alive and what is mechanical in the world of Inner Chains.
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Game Discussion

Review by Anonymous
Review from Steam

I'm compelled to write this review by the "Mixed" overall rating.
It's baffling for me how low the ratings are for this title, on Steam and even on Metacritic, where the 40/100 score is an average of the so-called "critic" reviews.
Inner Chains is a slow paced FPS focused on exploration: the gunplay is limited, the levels huge and astonishingly detailed, the enemies carefully placed.
The game unravels through four chapters (plus a fifth, introductory, chapter), each played in the course of a single, enormous, level; this is both beneficial and a serious problem. The obvious benefit is giving the player the possibility of having different perspectives on the locations, going through certain areas then seeing them again, several minutes later, from the distance; the downside is a severe impact on the performances. I decided to test this game on a rig that could have been realistic during 2017-18: an i7 7700k equipped with 16Gb of RAM and an Aorus 2070 Xtreme; the game was running on an SSD. The graphic options are minimalistic, as we can choose only Low to High details, the window mode, the resolution, and a few other options such as Anti-Aliasing (on or off), V-Sync, Motion Blur, Film Grain and Chromatic Aberration. I was running Inner Chains in 1920x1080, turning off only Film Grain had the effect of making the game struggling to keep stable above 30fps, averaging 40, with peaks in the low 20's it was rare to hit 60fps. When you get into the game and explore a level, you realise that this has probably little to do with poor optimisation, rather with the size of the levels.
The visual aspect of the game is the most interesting thing, curated by the art directory Sebastian Strzałkowski, it reminds of the work of Hans Giger; as previously stated the attention to the detail is maniacal, every little bit of the world the player goes through has been carefully crafted. From the 3D objects to the textures, the lightning effect, the sounds and the placement of enemies and items. The only thing breaking the immersion is the music that plays during a fight: it's always the same track, ends too much after the last enemy around has died, and doesn't really add much to the game, but breaks the mood with the rest of the soundtrack, which isn't bad per se but lacks a more harmonious blend with the fighting sequences.
Regarding the items, Inner Chains features a total of three weapons plus a melee attack (which will keep us company from start to finish, considered how weapons tend to overheat rather quickly), each weapon has an upgrade that unlocks a secondary fire mode, that is more powerful at the cost of requiring more ammunition; the upgrades, as the weapons, will be found laying around, but it will require a careful exploration to make sure not to miss any of the upgrades. Instead of ammunition, these strange-looking weapons work with energy, which the player can absorb from altars scattered around; this energy serves both the purpose of refilling the related weapon and to heal the player.
Although there are no difficulties where to choose from, the game feels fairly balanced, being not excessively easy while still offering a challenge due to how clunky the movements are: our hero moves slowly and has a short breath, as after every few seconds spent sprinting he will start panting and will need a few moments to regain his breath.
What is most striking is how the artists managed to blend the UI for the health and ammunition left on the character and the weapons, so that during the game we always have both on sight, while avoiding an ugly (for how well designed) hud, that breaks our immersion.
The movements feel slow to the point of being tedious sometimes, however this is still part of the design and of a carefully balanced equilibrium. The game isn't long, most people will take 4-5 hours to finish it, perhaps 6-7 exploring every bit of it, which is an activity that pays back with beautifully crafted views, definitely worth the extra time spent exploring.
The artificial intelligence is rather remarkable for its low quality but this is something we shouldn't pay too much attention, as the game focuses on exploration rather than gunfights. The latter are there only to keep the player busy and give a bit of a challenge between exploration sessions. Whoever jumps into this game expecting a classic (or even console style) FPS, has the wrong kind of expectation and will be left disappointed. However, Inner Chains is, still, a remarkable FPS.
If you need ratings:
Graphic: 9/10
Sound: 8/10
Longevity: 5/10
Gameplay: 6/10
Overall 7/10
Inner Chains a game that still tries to be original and to be a breath of fresh air in the FPS scene, with a peculiar art style and many other niche ideas that contribute to make this game a small gem. It is by no means perfect but it's worth a ride through.

Review from Steam

Opening my eyes, I clearly understood - SHE is calling me! Like many others, I slowly walked to the temple to be stabbed in the name of GOD! No one wanted to repeat the fate of the past generation - whose greed, godlessness and commitment to technology - destroyed the entire planet, reducing it to the state of coal. On which we now live.. But the Goddess promised to bring Us out of the Darkness! And lead us to the Light, through Chaos!
The crowd of living meat was endless. We walked in a constant stream to the temples - like cows to the slaughterhouse.
But suddenly, someone in front was overcome with fear at the sight of his brother's throat being cut in cold blood, and he rushed to run back. Pushing and screaming - he tried to run against the current, which did not even slow down - and to my regret, I met Me on his way. Raising my head, I only managed to see his frightened eyes when the guard fired a dart at his head - and he was dead he fell on me like a load and... Together with him we fell off the platform into the darkness...
Waking up after the fall - I realized that the voice of the Goddess had left me. Now I am a renunciate. Now I am a Heretic. And the only thing that awaits me is death.
Pros:
+ Graphics
+ Great environment
+ Small logic tasks
+ Achievements
+ Optimization
Minuses:
- Action. Shooting, as well as opponents, are entered just so that they are.
- AI opponents. They are rather dumb, but because of this, they can seem unpredictable.
- Search for tablets - to learn the language.
- And following from the previous one: Lack of plot. Since you do not know how to read the hieroglyphs of this world, you will not understand its history for the first passage. Therefore, in order to read the frescoes, you need to play the game twice. There is also no character backstory or purpose. You just move forward, destroying everyone in your path.
- Enemies have the ability to walk through walls
- Boring BOSS.
- Weak ending
- 90% of the time passes in the corridors and catacombs, where everything is uniform.
Total:
A game in which you will spit, stare blankly at the monitor screen - but still reach the final.
A beautiful world, strange creatures and buildings, well-designed levels - they look great for... a walking simulator, or a quest. But to my great regret, we have a shooter - which, according to the idea of ​​the developer, should capture more audience. But here it is done disgustingly! Opponents are stupid, they can strike when they are far from you. Close combat not only uses the keyboard, not the mouse - in addition, a missed blow from the enemy can turn you in the opposite direction. This is especially terrible when you are attacked by a whole horde of opponents.
Also, the opponents have rather small hit boxes and a strange, sometimes random amount of damage received. So you can blow off the head of one enemy - with a shotgun shot, and the second one will have to land a few dozen before he decides to fall to the ground.
I note the terrible idea with the study of the alphabet. Since from the very beginning of the game we meet frescoes on our way that tell us the story of both the world and God. But due to ignorance of the language, the player simply does not understand anything and wanders in a world without a plot. After several such frescoes, I simply stopped being interested in them.
In this connection, we can safely say that the game has no plot. We do not know who we are playing for, for what reason all the inhabitants are sent to the Temples for suicide, why is a woman considered the most important villain in the world? Why, having become a Heretic, do we oppose voluntary death?
As you can see - the players have thousands of questions - but so few answers...
The game will appeal to players who like games in the style of "Agony", "Void" and "Succubus" - here they will find a similar world and about the same gameplay.
If you are seduced by beautiful screenshots and think that you are buying a cool shooter, then I will disappoint you. This is not true.

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