Review by Shadow_of_Ninja

Reviewed: 09/18/13

Left in the Shadow of Creativity.

“Amnesia: A Machine for Pigs” the sequel to a game that would go on to strike fear into the hearts of many gamers throughout the world! “A Machine for Pigs” as an indirect sequel to the smash hit indie Horror “Amnesia: The Dark Descent”, being developed by “The Chinese Room” who may be known for their work on games such as “Dear Esther” but this seems like a dramatic change from an art video game to a horror video game like “Amnesia”. The game was produced by “Frictional Games” the developers and publishers of the first “Amnesia” and was released on the 10th of September 2013 to the hands of the many Horror fans waiting for a good scare. The game is set at the end of the 19th century and features that character by the name of Oswald Mandus and his quest to find his children, and finally become the hider instead of the seeker. But also receiving mysterious phone calls telling Mandus that his children are trapped down below in a machine that he has frequently been having nightmares about. I won’t go any further with the story for spoiler’s sake as people may have not completed or played this game yet.

The controls for “A Machine for Pigs” is almost the same as “The Dark Decent”, being that you can slowly open doors by holding the left mouse button and pulling back or pushing forward, you can throw things by using the right click, including slamming doors shut. Mandus can lean left and right to peak around corners to check for any danger that he me run into. He can also sprint from danger and crouch to hide or go under things excreta. One thing I noticed the first time I was playing this game was that they also included the ability to use a controller to play this game, something that couldn't be done with the first “Amnesia” game. The gameplay for “A Machine for Pigs” is much like “The Dark Decent” in that they are both first person, survival horror games, but also differs in mechanics, one of the biggest changes that I noticed was you do not have an inventory at all. Nope, gone, no more carrying and mixing items that would be required for puzzles, instead you must carry them by hand, the removal of the inventory system to me isn't the biggest change with the mechanics, . The removal of the sanity mechanic was also a big change, however, this could be because of the I never really enjoyed it that could be because throughout most of the first game I just pained through the darkness and would more than usually just collapse into what I originally thought was my character trying to hide in plain sight. I was stunned when I realized that you didn't need to fill your lantern with oil or light candles with tinderboxes, this seems like a dramatic change from what the made the gameplay of “The Dark Decent” unique and well known for, the constant need to watch your Oil levels as well as trying to conserve it so that it can be used just at the right moment with the use of the tinderboxes on randomly placed candles added to the survival horror tone of the game much like the soundtrack, always keeping you tense, ready for the next scare to just walk around the corner. Another change is that health regenerates, reducing the need of Laudanum, these could have been implemented to make the game more accessible to others outside of the hardcore gaming crowd, although it’s took away features that made “Amnesia” special in the first place. “A Machine for Pigs” enemies are also different, instead of the Monsters that were in “The Dark Decent” the monsters in this one are pig-men or man-pigs, yes, half pig, and half human which is very fitting with the name and theme of the game that both mention pigs. They are faster than Mandus and will attack you while running away much like the monsters in “The Dark Decent” forcing the player to focus more on stealth and less about running through and trying to complete the game as quickly as possible.

While “A Machine for Pigs” does things right I just don’t think what it’s doing is innovative, they have taken “Amnesia: The Dark Decent”, increased the graphics, changed the story and took away gameplay features that made the game easier and reduced the survival horror aspect compared to the first “Amnesia”. In no way am I saying that this is a bad game, because that’s not true, the gameplay is fun, although lacking, the story is interesting yet not completely engaging to the player, the puzzles are still intact and the scare factor is still there. One thing that seemed to be constant throughout both “Amnesia” games was the atmosphere, during both the games I was always hearing things from the side, behind and in front of me, making me want to explore and also keeping my legs tensed just in case I had to Tae Kwan Do out of the game. I believe that while not being as innovative as the first “Amnesia” this game is still a very solid game and delivers on the things that are important to the Survival Horror genre, atmosphere, soundtrack, and enemy design.

Rating:   3.5 - Good

Product Release: Amnesia: A Machine for Pigs (US, 09/10/13)

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