This game is largely unimpressive and an absolute disappointment compared to its predecessor.
Admittedly, the removal of the HUD, that is, the inventory menu, and all indications of just about anything, including loss of health and sanity (the latter of which was removed entirely), had a positive effect on immersion compared to Amnesia: The Dark Descent. However, this was quite possibly the ONLY potentially positive difference made between the games, and I use the word 'potentially' very hesitantly. Why? Because, and you can ask ANYONE who has played both games all the way through at least once, a lack of information and indication on your status in the game also causes a bigger lack of things to worry and stress about. And let's face it, what good is immersion if the gameplay itself is tedious and incites no feelings or emotions in the player other than absolute boredom, especially if you made the transition from the first to the second Amnesia video game? In the first Amnesia game, you were always constantly made aware of your health, sanity, objective, and situations/surroundings. The more you let your loss of health, sanity, and light sources get to you, the more you focused on your objective in the forms of memo and journal notes, and the more time you spent being chased by monsters or traversing through eerie environments, the more you'd have genuine feelings of fear, stress, and even despair the more you 'got into' the game.
Amnesia: A Machine For Pigs has a huge problem with all of the above. Health is no longer indicated in any clear or visible form, which honestly has more of a penalty on immersion to begin with. Let's face it, if you're physically hurt, you're aware of it, because of the feelings of pain. In this game, all you can do is 'make your best guess' on your current physical well being based on your memory of how often you were hurt before and how long it had been since then. Sanity has been removed completely, further decreasing the levels of difficulty and immersion while playing, making the game itself even easier than it already is. All that's left is lore and exploration, and a video game composed of nothing but lore is NOT a video game, it's a walking simulator. Objectives are generally more confusing at first glance compared to the first game, but at the same time, they're very easy and tedious due to the fact that they are all marginally you having to walk around to specific points and interact with specific things. That's it. Goals and objectives in this game are basically normal everyday tasks in a slightly creepy environment. Speaking of environment, the next topic, the overall 'feel' of the game simply doesn't seem to fit within fear or horror anymore, and is closer to that of a creepy, almost surrealistic cliché. I mean, come on; someone wakes up in a dark room, and they have to go to laboratory full of failed and murderous genetic experiments?
Oh, the enemies, that's one of the biggest issues with the game. There is literally only one type of enemy which actively endangers you through the game
, and only one other actual monster which is only found in the sewers
, which is also there purely for cintematic effect; it's impossible to even see it up close and make contact with it. Compare this to the two enemies constantly hounding you in the first game, as well as two more found at specific points (the Kaernk or 'water monster' and the Shadow, or the bloody, goopy substance which constantly makes itself known in the form of restricting paths, adding scenery, and even actively hunting you down
). More unique enemies essentially means more threat to the player. It adds a hopeless feeling of being outnumbered as well as constant paranoia that you can be watched and/or chased down more often and possibly even by more than one entity at once. Amnesia: A Machine for Pigs' enemy itself isn't even anything too exraordinary, especially when compared to the first game. The way it looks and sounds, and even its background isn't frightening, it isn't scary, it isn't even eerie or creepy. In fact, it's nothing short of silly, amusing, and cliché. It essentially look like a pig on a more-than-lethal dosage of steroids
Even the lantern isn't left untouched by the transition between both Amnesia games. Yes, there is a lantern once again, but, and I personally find this to be the worst out of all other changes and features in the game, the lantern has unlimited oil
and it constantly flickers on and off
whenever you are close to or looking at enemies and while witnessing 'disturbing or unsettling events. In addition to the factors of this being unrealistic (which further breaks immersion) and making EVERY scary event in the game incredibly predictable and generic, it has an effect on the player which makes it easier to proceed without caution while simultaneously making it unnecessary to explore thoroughly (since you don't need to find new, unique areas to find more lantern fuel).
Amnesia: A Machine for Pigs as a whole game feels like it was rushed and lazily made.
Unlike in the first game, there is not, nor will there ever be any possibility of custom stories
. The developers themselves have made claims that it would be 'too difficult' to add custom story support due to the new engine, and that they will instead add new content to Amnesia: The Dark Descent instead, including but not limited to: new textures, monsters, and maps. Over a year later, we haven't even heard a single word about it yet. Even assuming this would ever be true, it almost makes it pointless to even buy the sequel in the first place. The first Amnesia game would be the obvious choice out of the two for any gamer to make since A Machine for Pigs is doomed to be a single adventure with absolutely nothing different or new put into the game while The Dark Descent supposedly gets even more playability and support than it already has.
Another problem lies within the fact that the playtime of one single story playthrough, whether you're playing for enjoyement and story or simply rushing through it, is significantly
less in A Machine for Pigs' story than in the first Amnesia game. Having not even 5 hours into the game myself and getting close to the ending (I couldn't finish it even once because I got so BORED with it, I'm sorry), while my first playthrough in the first Amnesia took me nearly 20 hours, I can confidently say that this game isn't even worth buying. I actually enjoyed the main story in The Dark Descent so much that I played it all the way through four times
, simply because it was absolutely massive by comparison and plenty of 'optional' exploration possibilities. Combine this with the fact that there's a bonus of an additional mode called 'Justine' and a collection of short stories for even more curiosity-invoking lore in the 'Remember' option of the game's startup menu, as well as TONS of custom stories all for free, and it's easy to see that this Amnesia game is nothing short of an embarassment
to the first.