This is going to sound like an odd thing to say about a game that only costs $15 to begin with, but you might want to wait for a sale before picking up the space dogfighting game Subdivision Infinity DX, which has just come to PlayStation 5 after being available for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC, and Switch for years. Which is not to say it’s bad — it’s not — more that it’s a little thin.
In Subdivision Infinity DX,
you’re an independent spaceship fighter pilot in the far future who’s been hired to investigate a distress signal sent from control center M-t12 in the Alpha Tyche asteroid field. Which is how you got caught in a conflict that, over the course of the game, has you getting into numerous spacial dogfights as well as missions of mass destruction.
In other words, it’s like Star Wars: Squadrons but without the Wookiees…and a lot more. But we’ll get into that later.
What Subdivision Infinity DX does have is arcade-style space dogfighting; simple and direct. Armed with both regular guns (which have unlimited ammo) and special secondary weapons (which are limited but can be resupplied mid-mission by grabbing boxes your dispatched enemies drop), you have to take out enemy fighters as well as stationary targets.
Now, in some respects, Subdivision Infinity DX has a good amount of variety. There are ten ships to unlock, and a dozen weapons, all of which have their own strengths and weaknesses. Of the guns, for instance, they range from energy weapons and incendiary miniguns to rail guns and micro nuke rocket launchers.
Similarly, your objectives in Subdivision Infinity DX can also be somewhat varied, and in combination. During the mission “Far From Abandoned,” which is the first sortie of the second location (of which there are five), you start by taking out a convoy, then have to destroy some mines so you can pull in close to a station and download what I can only assume is Rush’s album Signals, all while fighting off enemy squadrons.
Though things get even more interesting…
when you get to the boss battles. In the first one, for instance, you take on a battle ship that not only tries to ram you, but will also call in fighters to protect it while it uses shield-generation satellites (albeit ones that, oddly, aren’t shielded themselves). As a result, this skirmish feels oddly like a bull fight…if bulls could call in hawks to come help them out.
It also helps that the enemy fighters, both in boss fights and regular missions, are persistent and rather wily, while the locations make for some interesting environmental hazards, especially in the initial missions, which take place in the aforementioned Alpha Tyche asteroid field.
But from the beginning, you can’t help but notice what Subdivision Infinity DX is lacking. For starters, it only has one viewpoint: third-person, behind-the-ship. Which, admittedly, is the one I’d play with anyway, but after having the opening sequence use a cockpit view, it’s hard not to think that shouldn’t have been an option for people who prefer that perspective.
It also has no online multiplayer, which would seem to work well for this game, nor an arcade-like score attack kind of mode, which would’ve also be fun.
Oh, and for those wondering if this PS5 version is worth the upgrade from any of the previous versions, no, no it is not, as it doesn’t add anything, new or improved.
Then there are the odd design choices that don’t necessarily ruin Subdivision Infinity DX, but might annoy some pilots. For starters, your ship doesn’t obey the laws of physics, and doesn’t keep moving forward until you tell it not to. Instead, it kind of drives like an Earth-bound vehicle, one that’s subject to gravity, and thus stops when you lay off the gas. Which is not always a bad thing — it was actually rather helpful when I was pulling up close to the aforementioned minefield — but it does take some getting used to if you’re a veteran of this kind of game.
Subdivision Infinity DX also…
requires you to reload your main weapons. Yeah, like you do when using a gun that shoots projectiles in a first-person shooter. Which, again, is neither good nor bad — especially since, as I mentioned, your main weapons have an unlimited amount of ammo — but it is a strange design choice.
Sadly, not every error in Subdivision Infinity DX is a matter of opinion. For instance, there are optional missions during which you can go back to previous locations and do some mining. Except that the game does a terrible job explaining how they work, and will let you start one even if you don’t have the necessary equipment.
Then there’s how stingy Subdivision Infinity DX can be with the checkpoints. Getting destroyed mid-mission means starting said mission over from the beginning. And while, admittedly, most of the missions aren’t that long, some can be, such as the aforementioned one with the convoy and the minefield and illegal music download.
Subdivision Infinity DX also has a decidedly low rent feel in how it tells its story and gives you context for your missions. Instead of cutscenes, you get boxes of dialog and static images of you and your coworker. Though it also doesn’t help that the story is just kind of whatever.
The missions in Subdivision Infinity DX can also feel a bit redundant, even with the aforementioned variety. The first four, for instance, are all rather similar. Which isn’t to say they weren’t fun, more that this isn’t the kind of game you play for hours on end. (If anything, it works best as a palette cleanser; hence why I played it whenever I needed a break from the very different third-person stealth action hack & slash game Ghost Of Tsushima).
But while that it is enough complaints to qualify as a litany,
maybe even a plethora, what Subdivision Infinity DX does offer, thin as it may be, is an opportunity to fly into space and shoot people. And mines. And drones. And do a little digging, if you can figure out how. When engaged in combat, this can get as frantic and challenging as any spacial dogfighting game, including ones that have Wookiees. Which doesn’t justify its $15 price tag, but it’s not off by much.