Platform: Windows, Mac, Linux
Reviewed on: Windows
Genre: Adventure, Horror, Puzzle
Players: Single Player
Written by Whistler 28th October 2013
To this day Frictional games, being a fairly small group of developers, have proven to be one of the heaviest hitters of suspense and horror. As of 2007 they with the Penumbra series they have gone strength to strength learning and improving where upon Amnesia: The Dark Descent taking the gaming world by storm in 2010 and is raved on about to this day. So when news of a sequel was announced we were all more than eager to cry ourselves to sleep once again; interestingly though, Amnesia: A Machine for Pigs has been developed by Dear Esther devs, The Chinese Room.
Amnesia: A Machine for Pigs actually started out as a 'small' experimental mod that Frictional didn't have the time to commit to thus was placed in the loving hands of The Chinese Room known for their ability to make atmospheric games and mods and was originally slated for Halloween 2012.
However due to a much larger vision in mind the game was set back.
Was it worth the wait, honestly, no.
Now before you start sending the local angry mob with flaming torches and pitchforks in hand, let me explain.
The sequel is by no means a bad game but nor is it a shining success we all hoped it to be.
Considering how p**s your pants scary Amnesia and it's catalogue of well made custom stories (mods) were, Amnesia 2 was so hyped that every scrap of information given was devoured within an instant; however it seems The Chinese Room had a different angle with the saviour of horror gaming.
The visuals of Amnesia: A Machine for Pigs are good to look at but felt fairly average to me, considering the gap between the two it feels like there wasn't as much of a graphical jump as I would've liked. This doesn't harm the game of course as many of the greatest horror titles have never been known for their graphical prowess and in fact were great thanks to this. While not a visual leap the environments have been well made and ooze atmosphere out of every nook and cranny, given what the devs showed in Dear Esther, it's no surprise that I found myself taking forever to progress through the game as I examined every little detail they had put into the world of Amnesia 2 from the lighting to the textures and so forth where atmosphere as been expertly executed throughout as you move from comfy yet scary mansion to dark and gritty industrial complexes.
Gameplay is much the same as it was in the previous game where the player takes control of a lone character who must solve puzzles and avoid creatures as they progress through the levels using lights and manipulating the environment (kinetically opening doors, moving objects and such). Although a change of gameplay that I noticed was the removal of the sanity system and an inventory, the sanity system was essentially a mental health bar that would decrease in dark areas or when your character got scared from the many gruesome sights in the game. While it doesn't bother me much that it wasn't present in the sequel it removes a certain fear aspect that was well received where upon you couldn't just run around like a mental case or just heal your wounds as dropping to the floor and crying while in the path of a blood thirsty creature is not a scenario you want to be in and was a great muscle clenching moment that gave a true horror experience where the player truly felt immersed in the world of Amnesia.
I couldn't help but feel that the main horror element of the game has been dropped in favour of a slow chilling atmospheric puzzle adventure experience. I found myself definitely cautious and I'd be lying if I didn't jump or feel my hairs raise on the occasion, however it was nowhere near the true horrifying emotions I felt during it's predecessor.
While Amnesia: A Machine for Pigs hosts an excellent atmosphere it really lacks in scaring and I feel this really did hurt the overall quality of it, even after meeting the games creatures I slowly but surely felt less scared and felt more like I was just playing an adventure title with puzzles.
The story however is a nice step up, of course you start with amnesia once again, but are given a more crucial goal to save your children (I suspect they're not real), which is serves as the driving force of the story seeing as in Dark Descent you were really just wandering around looking for a way out of the castle, which is not bad but the story was definitely thin.
The story has more emotion to it, not a lot, but enough so you feel more attached to the hero as we can all relate to wanting to save our loved ones (we can all relate to wanting to escape a spooky castle too but you get the idea).
In the end Amnesia: A Machine for Pigs is a well done dark adventure puzzle game yet hasn't lived up to the hype nor has it managed to stand high with it's predecessor and sadly lacks length with roughly 5 -
Well crafted game world,
Good strong themes,
Barely scary for the majority of the game,
Puzzles made rather easy,
Lacks length compared to predecessor.
Final verdict ,
Amnesia: A Machine for Pigs manages a 6.5 out of 10, (a 8 if not compared to the original).