Tuesday, 2 February 2016

Amnesia: A Machine For Pigs

Despite coming out in 2013, I've only managed to get around to playing Amnesia: A Machine for Pigs recently and quite frankly I wish that I had put it off longer.  This disappointment of a game available on PC via Steam isn't worth your time or money and I'm about to tell you why.

Amnesia: A Machine for Pigs is developed by a British indie studio called The Chinese Room and published by Frictional Games.  Frictional Games both developed AND published the first Amnesia game but for the second instalment they didn't have all that much of a hand in it and The Chinese Room did most of the work.  This doesn't sound like a bad thing but it's what should be setting off your alarm bells because they are responsible for Dear Esther, a shitty non game where you walk around and don't do anything.  If like me you are playing this game in 2016 then another thing that should set your alarm bells off is that these same people are also responsible for shitty non-game Everybody's Gone To The Rapture so obviously these people aren't good at making games but are rather proficient at making steaming turds for stuck up ponces.

Plot wise the game is shit.  You play as a bloke looking for his children who are stuck in the giant machine under your house but with this being a horror game nothing is quite that simple.  Everything is falling apart, there's a prick on a phone who may or may not be helping you, strange pig creatures stalk the hallways and without spoiling anything shit starts to get all kinds of fucked up near the end.  The problem is that the story is so far up its own arse that it's just frustrating.  There's a tenuous link to the first game but the writing in Pigs is so piss poor that it barely even matters.  Without playing it for yourself it's hard to see where I'm coming from with this but the games plot could be compared to Final Fantasy X's and as much as I love that game the story is fucking stupid.  At least FFX had fun game play though, this title on the other hand has some issues in that department.

The game play is where this title really falls down because there is exactly no game play to be found.  This is the big problem I have with A Machine For Pigs and it's that The Chinese Room has gone and turned it into one of their fucking plot-driven walking simulators rather than an actual fucking game.  I loved the original Amnesia because it had everything this game had and some actual game play elements that made it challenging.  It had objects you needed to collect and store in an inventory to use elsewhere, it had oil and tinderboxes that turned the idea of just seeing clearly into a fucking challenge, it had a sanity meter that would deplete when looking at the monster which made it scarier because you could never quite see what was chasing you as well as some other elements.  In this game all those things are GONE and replaced with........well nothing really.  While I never got caught by a pig creature I've heard that even that doesn't kill you, it just warps you to some point on the map so there is literally ZERO ways to die in this game and that just kills some of the horror really.  All you do in this game is walk around some dark rooms and solve "puzzles" that involve picking up some kind of object and putting it in, taking it out of or pushing it into something.  All the solutions are situated basically next to the thing you need to activate or go through and you would have to be some kind of brain dead chimp in order to get stuck.

Whatever you think about The Chinese Room's other games (I think they're shit and barely qualify as games) it's clear that they are not game developers.  They are trying to pioneer some kind of new interactive fiction and while I don't like it personally I kind of think the concept is cool.  However, letting them loose on a sequel to a really strong horror game was a BIG mistake because now we are left with an initially mildly interesting title that's neither horror nor a game but just ends up being a big fat waste of time.

If you really enjoyed the first one like I did then MAYBE you can salvage some kind of enjoyment from this but it'll be like trying to suck the water from an old dishcloth.  If you have played neither of the Amnesia games then pretend like this one doesn't exist and just play The Dark Descent and then if you want more of that go and play Frictional Games' other quality titles called Penumbra.  This "game" is a waste of your money.

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