Game Review: ‘Amnesia: A Machine For Pigs’ Has a Slow Burn

By September 12, 2013
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It’s New Year’s Eve 1899 in London, where wealthy industrialist Oswald Mandus has just returned from a “disastrous expedition to Mexico where tragedy struck.” Overcome by fever, Mandus has a reoccurring dream about a dark machine. Once he regains consciousness, he has NO clue that months have flown by and the first thing he hears is the roar of an engine and a machine starts up…and the only thing he knows is he has to save his children.

This is Amnesia: A Machine For Pigs.

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The indirect sequel to 2010’s Amnesia: The Dark Descent has some GREAT (and not so great elements) that when put together, seem to work.

Let’s begin…

Unlike The Dark Descent, gamers will find themselves traversing not only bigger areas (the house is friggin HUGE) but also venturing outdoors as well. And if you think you’ll be able to check your inventory or pick up oil and tinderboxes again this time around, think again…those elements have gone bye-bye.

While I get the reason of not having a map to consult to really get into the mind of Mandus and be just as confused and constantly searching for clues, it can be quite annoying when you’re – and I heard this a BUNCH – “stuck in this area for SO long,” because other rooms, stairwells and ladders won’t appear or open up UNTIL you do whatever unknown thing it is you’re supposed to do.

CHECK YOUR JOURNAL/FOUND DOCUMENTS OFTEN, as they contain the clues you need to be on your way…and that’s pretty much ALL the help the game gives you.

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Guaranteed you will find yourself at times walking around in circles trying and retrying locked doors and tunnels over and over again while trying to figure out just what the frick’s going on and what they’re supposed to do or go next. Couple the frustration and confusion of the gamer with growling, roaring, doors you begin to open forcefully slam shut, and Shakycam 3000 movements? You’re liable to scare the hell out of yourself.

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That said, the time you spend running around in circles is also dotted with secret rooms with double-sided secrets, creepy kids running by, pig head mask markers that disappear and reappear in different places (sometimes when you leave a room, the head could be on a nightstand; leave that room and come back, it may now just be sitting on the radiator), predators skittering by (and at times, attacking), being forced at times to run in the dark from said predators AND repeating creepy as frak paintings that will haunt your very soul…

Amnesia Painting edited

“Hi, have fun sleeping!”

See this crazy-eyed lady with the baby leg in the pot? You will see this painting in nearly EVERY room and it will creep you right the frak out EVERY time. Another creepy fave painting was the crazy-eyed dude coming out of a pine box…*shudder*

If you’re not into reading, you’re gonna be fairly annoyed as every journal entry or found document is wordy as frak and unlike TDD (where a voice read it for you), you gotta read it yourself…which isn’t bad but I’ve read Chaucer stories with less doublespeak.

Another mild annoyance is that to get to the mindfrak that is Amnesia: AMP is you gotta go through a WHOLE lot of foreplay…I found myself at times getting bored with the roaring because most of the time, that’s all you heard.

The other thing I could completely do without is the amount of puzzles in this game…just because you turn a valve doesn’t mean you’re going anywhere; sometimes you gotta turn a valve, then go replace fuses THEN turn another frigging valve and at that point, I’d rather be playing Left 4 Dead.

At times you WILL have to run around in the dark and you’ll scream like a, well, however it is you scream…but it’ll be loud and you should probably warn your roommates or whatevs before you start that screaming may be imminent. I won’t tell you how the game ends but what I WILL tell you is it rivals the likes of an ending to a Tim Burton or Peter Jackson film…and THIS is why I stuck it out.

And before I forget, HUGE props to the voice actors for their superb work. It was almost like a reward hearing their voices once you’ve reached your “checkpoint”, because it was also how you knew you were heading in the “right” direction.

If you’re into slow-burn survival horror, then Amnesia: A Machine For Pigs is for you (DEFINITELY with lights out and headphones on)…

…but if you’re looking for something a little more “in your face,” I suggest the recently released Outlast instead.

Overall: 7.5 out of 10

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Cricket Lee
Star Wars fangirl. Named Best Kisser by Time Magazine. CEO/Host: Girl Gamer; host of Gecken: GeekNation; writer: Dread Central. You'll have a crush on me soon. Vote Quimby. Twitter: @crixlee http://www.imdb.me/crixlee