Amnesia: A Machine for Pigs is a dumbed down version of Amnesia: The Dark Descent (which was a dumbed down version of the Penumbra games itself).
TDD was still a good game and some of its changes were improvements over Penumbra (less clunky controls to name just one).
The same CAN NOT be said about AMfP: The developers managed to remove everything from the game that made its predecessors fun without adding anything new in return, leaving behind only an empty husk of a game.
There is no exploration in AMfP because it's extremely linear with virtually no alternative routes whatsoever.
The hand lamp burns on forever and the inventory has been removed completely, so there's no resource management throughout the game either.
The very few puzzles in the game are barely worth that name; they are almost insultingly easy and rarely more than using a picked up item at the end of linear corridor #134.
On top of the game's linearity the monster encounters are, for the most part, heavily scripted and mostly consist of monsters moving in the shadows far away from the player - there are less than a handful ares in the game with free-roaming enemies where the player can actually get hurt.
The following paragraph is about game mechanics, not AMfP's story. It can still potentially spoil the game's beginning to some degree, I guess. Therefore I put it in spoiler tags; you might want to skip it if you're planning to play the game sometime.
Monster encounters are not only rare, the lamp also begins to flicker everytime a monster is near - usually long before it can even be seen. After noticing this the game entirely lost the little tension it had to begin with for me: I always knew when a monster would appear beforehand, when they appeared they rarely posed a danger because of their scripted nature and for whatever reason the effects directly looking at a monster had in Penumbra and TDD are gone as well (or at least toned done a lot), so the horrors that were quiet effectively left to the player's imagination in the predecessors are now shown directly, thus making the game less scary in the end.
So, to sum it up: there is not much actual gameplay in Amnesia: A Machine for Pigs, it is hardly a game at all.
That doesn't necessarily
has to be a bad thing. The same thing can probably be said about Telltale's The Walking Dead, but TWD makes up its lack of gameplay with a very well told story.
However AMfP isn't very good storywise either: It's full of horror-pulp stereotypes, making it very predictable, and towards the end the story gets completely lost in a pile of pretentious symbolism.
Not much is missed by skipping AMfP completely. If you liked TDD and haven't played the Penumbra games, better go for them instead - they are a lot better than this new game.
Also note that AMfP was not developed by Frictional Games (who made Penumbra and TDD) but by The Chinese Room who apparently moved towards making console games by now (figures). So waiting for Frictional's game SOMA, which is currently in devolpment, could still be worthwile if it turns out closer to the games they made themselves.
Posted: November 25th, 2013