Tuesday, December 4

Amnesia: A Machine For Pigs Review

I played on: PS4
Available on: PC, PS4
Notes: I have heard a lot about the first game but I’ve never played it, just a heads up of my experience with the series.
The price I paid: £0 (free with PS+ Oct 2017)

To put it bluntly a Machine for Pigs is not a good horror game, hell it’s not even a good game. I do like horror as a genre but I tend to avoid most horror games outside of classic Silent Hill and Resident Evil only playing the odd game like SOMA now and again. I do watch a lot of horror films however as well as TV shows such as Stranger Things and American Horror Story. The reason I watch more horror than I play is that in my experience the people making horror films understand their medium better than horror game devs do. What do I mean by this? Well, when you’re watching horror you are not in control of the situation, the characters in the story are. This means they can do stupid things or even make choices we as the audience know to be wrong without it breaking the immersion. Gaming, on the other hand, is all about putting you as the player in control of a situation and then it becomes much harder to make us continue to do stupid things. Silent Hill 2 does this really well by setting James up as a character looking for his dead wife in the town of Silent Hill. When the game asks us to jump down into an endless abyss or reach into a hole in the wall with green goo dripping from it we do it. This works because it makes about as much sense as looking for a woman we know is already dead. We’ve gone this far into the impossible and nonsensical so why not go just a little further?

During a Machine for Pigs, your character wakes up and gets a call from a man claiming that your children are in danger and that you need to reactivate some machine to save them. Why not just go to the police, you have a phone right there, we know it works so why not? It makes no sense why you would put yourself through all this games nightmarish scenarios when we haven’t even tried the most logical options first. This nonsense continues throughout the game as we find gramophones littered throughout the levels with no rhyme or reason for them being where they are. The reason became obvious however when I found one of these smaller interactive gramophones sat right next to a full-sized static one. They are the game assets that play audio tapes containing traces of a background story. The devs just lazily scattered them around the levels putting seemingly very little thought into their whereabouts. This lazy design can be seen throughout the game with identical teddy bears, green lamps and the same pig monster just dotted about the place. This level design and lazy asset use make the whole experience feel amateur and cheap. Honestly, the whole game feels like a number of mazes that just have a horror theme with the odd jump scare here and there. Very little around you can be interacted with and overall this feels like such a waste of what gaming is able to do. Normally I would talk about the story but I really didn’t care about any plot because I felt so disconnected from the world and events taking place in it.

Graphically the game is ugly and not just in the rundown cliché horror setting kinda way. It feels like it belongs on the PS3 instead of the PS4 with the only passable texture work and uninspired animations being the reason. The art style does nothing to push the game beyond this with everything looking so pedestrian. You will see nothing new or interesting here and it’s a shame because when done well horror can deliver some of the best and most enjoyable concepts and ideas.

All in all, I played this game to see what the hype was about but got nothing from it other than maybe one or two mediocre puzzles. I would avoid this game as it does nothing new and everything it does do has been done much better elsewhere.

Recommendation Rating: 2 out of 10

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