The first Amnesia was,
paradoxically, unforgettable. The fraidy cat quotient was turned up to
11, and hiding became an art. Thief (perhaps) first extolled the virtue
of staying in the shadows; The Dark Descent insisted upon it.
A Machine for Pigs takes the
Amnesia formula and some would say dumbs it down. I say what it does is
make it more accessible to adventure gamers. The insanity system is
gone, so too the drug restorative, and the 60 years of progress means
electric lighting replaces tinderboxes and related paraphernalia. Wander
around the industrial complex (and we adventure types love to wander)
until the monstrosities make their presence known.
There are puzzles too, of the
somewhat more complicated than they need to be variety that we adventure
types also enjoy. The type where you need coal, and there is so much
coal, but you have to find the extra special bit of coal because not
just any old piece will do to make a fire.
It isnít nearly as scary as the
first game, but its differently scary. Unsettling is a better
description of the mood. Every door you open, expecting the worst but
resulting in nothing, makes the next door more foreboding. And of course
itís dark, as factories underneath old mansions invariably are, and
everyone knows the dark is scary because of what you canít see.
And then you see the first
pig-thing. Snorting and snuffling to sniff you out.
I did lots of running and hiding
in Dark Descent, whereas here I avoided. Most of the time I knew where
the things to avoid were, and better still, they didnít know where I
was. Nor did they seem terribly interested in me. Except when they were,
which was usually the result of something I did, and then I was dead.
Itís a much less frenetic game
than the first, a little too passive maybe and perhaps a bit unbalanced.
A little less wandering and a little more pigginess would have been in
It isnít long either, six or so
hours seeing you through. Which would be disappointing except the story
is excellent. Phone calls and notes and recorded messages help turn what
starts as a man looking for his missing children into something much
Then there is the end. Enough
As a horror survival game
Machine for Pigs doesnít really hit the mark, especially when compared
to its predecessor, a comparison it canít avoid. The elements that made
the first game such a scary proposition are those things that have been
removed here; the dwindling resources, the things in pursuit, the
encroaching darkness, the ever present threat of insanity.
As an edgy, unnerving adventure
though, it really is rather good. The story is the thing, with the other
elements providing the dark canvas through which it is experienced. Play
it from that perspective, and your hackles will rise sufficiently often
to make it a creep to remember.
I played on:
OS: Windows 7
Processor: Intel i7-3820 4GHz
RAM: 12GB Ripjaw DDR3 2133 Mhz
Video card: AMD Radeon HD 7800 2048MB