Click for Gameplay Trailer - Review
+ detailed scenes
+ nice but not realistic light atmosphere
- simple architecture
- blurred textures
+ fair checkpoints
- ridiculous tasks/puzzles
+ good surround effects
+ impressive voice acting
+ disturbing music and unsettling sound effects
+ tense situations
+ panic and helplessness
+ some shock moments
+ different rooms
+ brilliantly written script
- not replayable
- short playtime
- drags over the last hour or so with repetition and story padding
Part of the reason why Amnesia: The Dark Descent is scary is because it often leaves you feeling vulnerable and lost in a foreboding world.
Its twisted narrative, creepy visuals, and disturbing enemies intensify these feelings and turn it into an enjoyable and intriguing journey into darkness. The sequel of Amnesia: The Dark Descent takes horror-movie tropes and stirs them into a meditation on the meaning of life, love, war, religion, madness, and the impact of industrialism on 19th-century England.
Put all of this into an incredibly creepy adventure that takes place almost entirely in the pitch dark, toss in some pig-men, and you have one supremely unnerving adventure that is impossible to put down.
Machine for Pigs follows the hazy journey of a wealthy industrialist named Oswald Mandus, who wakes up suffering from amnesia wondering where his children are.
Following in the original’s footsteps, you uncover more about his memories and past actions listening in on conversations he remembers throughout the game and finding diary entries that help build a mysterious backstory.
The story here is by far the strongest aspect of the game, in so much as it stands above everything else like an Olympic weight lifter competing with a classroom of eight year old children without hands (the latter of which sounds like something The Chinese Room would work into one of their games if they could).
It is so well written and genuinely interesting that it kept pulling me along through the game, despite all the nervous flutterings in my stomach that were telling me to turn the game off and go play something more fitting to my bravery level.
Gone is your item inventory and resource management, replaced with a newfound emphasis on environment exploration. Your trusty lantern no longer requires a constant supply of oil, though having it lit will still attract the various beasts which roam the world.
And I’m saddened by the absence of the signature sanity meter, one of the original Amnesia's most memorable elements. A Machine for Pigs delivers a tighter and arguably more interesting horror experience than its predecessor. Honestly, stripping down A Machine for Pigs to its bare essentials makes it a much less physically taxing game. You won't be hiding in closets, flicking your light on and off to regain your sanity, or scouring the environment for extra oil and tinderboxes.
But while it demands less of you through its mechanics, in return it asks much more in terms of unraveling its macabre, savagely poignant story.
The gameplay itself isn't quite as fraught with tension as the plot that you follow, although it comes close. There are no logic puzzles, no inventories full of junk to accumulate, no combat, or anything else that would get between you and the story.
You mostly follow a linear path through the game's many levels, figuring out how to open locked doors, spin various dials and wheels, and so forth.
There isn't a single problem to be solved that requires more than a little bit of exploration and observation.
Through the use of enigmatic diaries, wonderfully creepy audio logs, and a great sense of environmental storytelling, A Machine for Pigs makes Mandus' narrative arc a fantastic trip that culminates in one of the most satisfying final acts of 2013. It marries a deeply tragic and personal story with a terrifying look back at the dark side of the rise of technology. I'm being vague for a reason, because much of Amnesia's power lies in a series of great story reveals. Sadly, you'll have to trudge through a lot of underwhelming puzzles to extract it.
Amnesia: A Machine for Pigs may be a different kind of horror than fans are expecting, but it's an interesting and welcome experiment in gaming terror. Between the obligatory puzzles is a game that delivers a painfully personal story and some superb psychological horror.
Score: 73 / 100
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