AMNESIA: A MACHINE FOR PIGS

Genre:   Adventure

Developer:   The Chinese Room

Publisher:  Frictional Games

Released:  September 2013

PC Requirements:  

Windows, Vista

Intel Core i5 @ 2.00 GHz Processor

GeForce GT 3xx / Radeon HD 5xxx Video card

2 GB RAM

DirectX 9.0c

5 GB Free space

Additional screenshots

 

 

by flotsam

  

Amnesia: A Machine for Pigs

Really, who can ignore horror with a side of bacon? Or a tag line that proclaims  that it will bury its snout into your ribs and eat out your heart? Poetic justice really, for Homerís [1] wonderful, magical animal.

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 order.

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 more.

Then there is the end. Enough (good) said.

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.

B+

I played on:

OS: Windows 7

Processor: Intel i7-3820 4GHz

RAM: 12GB Ripjaw DDR3 2133 Mhz

Video card: AMD Radeon HD 7800 2048MB


 

[1] Simpson not the epic Greek poet

 

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