Amnesia: A machine for pigs developed by The Chinese Room and published by Frictional Games, sets out on the glorious quest to win the crown of horror in this non direct sequel to Amnesia: The Dark Descent. Does it surpass the original game? Find out below!
It's hard to talk about the story of this game without giving away mayor spoilers, so here's a short non spoiler summarize. You take the roll of Manuds, a rich man who awakes deliriously from high fever in his bed. Haunted by visions of a powerful and evil machine that has taken your two children as hostages. Manuds has no choice but to walk deeply inside the machine and hopefully return his precious Children to their home. The story is quiet intriguing as you push forward, it got lots of twists and turns that'll make you question your perspective through the entire game. Some twists and turns might also entangle with some other twists leaving a big question mark behind. But for some, a second play through might come in handy to see details unfold in the beginning of the game.
Now to the most important part of all, how does it play? The game still have the same 'push and pull' mechanic from Amnesia(also in Frictional Games earlier series, Penumbra) where you grab a door with the mouse button and then either, push and pull to open it. The same also goes to other object like drawers, levers and valves. This mechanic feel very good and if you are being chased by a monster it's crucial that you know how to close a door behind you in a fast manner to avoid getting eaten.
Speaking of running away it's the only defense you have against the monsters (the few times you encounter them). There are no shotguns to blast the piggies away, just you, your lantern and any crawl space you can find. The game removes a lot of things from it's predecessor, things like;
Lantern Oil management
Picking up random objects (bottles, books etc)
Madness when standing in dark places
By removing these things, objectives like solving puzzles are way simpler. When you encounter a zone where a puzzle is, all you have to do is to either, look around for a valve or look for the only object that can be picked up. This is not a good thing. It's too easy and it takes away the immersion the first game had.
They've also took the time to lock almost everything up, many doors, drawers, wardrobes can't be explored at all. When you do find a drawer that can be opened there's only one thing that'll be in that drawer, a note. Yes the only things you pick up in Amnesia: A Machine for Pigs is notes and puzzle pieces. This sucks, in the original Amnesia you could tear down an entire room, it was great pulling out every book from a drawer -
or a shelf, maybe there would be something there much more important than a note, oil perhaps? Like I mentioned above the oil management has been removed. You are using an infinite electric lantern that you never have to worry about. This is also a very bad thing. You are not scared when using it, another recent horror game knew that it's important to limit the player 'Safe Object'. Outlast had batteries to it's 'Safe Object' which was a camera. Then you got more things to worry about then just monsters when walking into the darkness.
The monsters in this new Amnesia really lack the true horror that the first game had. It's pigs, with some human modifications, like an arm. Most of the times they will just run past the screen, down on all fours, like a pig. The game always gives away when a pig is approaching too. Like in Silent Hill when your radio came on you knew that monsters where around, in this game your lantern and surrounding lights will start to flicker giving away any potential scare of it. "Why?" you might ask, well it's creepy the first six times it happens but after that it gets repetitive and boring. The very first time you encounter a monster in this game, there's no music and no stinger sound of any kind. It's just a pig, walking around, down on all fours.
Remember the water part in the original Amnesia? Well it returns but with invisible pig ghosts instead! It's not great and I will not go into detail why as it could take me several pages to explain how it doesn't fit in into this game or why it's not scary. So all in all the gameplay is about you pushing forward the entire game, turning valves and reading notes.
Now the presentation of this game is where it really shines. The game is filled with very interesting machinery that will make you awe in some spots. Almost every asset in this game is new (sure some assets from the original Amnesia will show up in some spots). The dark descent into the machine is intriguing, almost every section of the machine will be something new to look at, which is really nice. The games soundtrack / sound design is also very good.
Amnesia: A Machine For Pigs don't take the crown of horror. It is fun to descend into the machine and discover all the sick and twisted things that is taking place / took place in there. You will get nervous and jump in a few spots but it's not really enough of what it could have been. I would recommend this game for those who already played Amnesia but tell you "Keep your hype level to a minimum" and I would not recommend this game to newcomers. Either you go to the original or something else that is very similar to this.
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