Friday, 24 May 2024

Amnesia: A Machine For Pigs Review

Two years after the release of the renowned first-person horror game, Amnesia: The Dark Descent, Frictional Games brings us its sequel, Amnesia: A Machine For Pigs. Developed by The Chinese Room (known for their work on Dear Esther), this game follows the trend set by its predecessor of combat-free, atmospheric horror experiences. While the game succeeds in creating a chilling environment and telling a captivating story, it falls a bit short in terms of gameplay and scares.

A Disturbing Tale Unveiled

The story of A Machine For Pigs is unraveled through both the environment and scattered files, along with well-crafted voiceover work. Set during the industrial revolution, players explore the depths of a horrifying factory that showcases inhumane practices. As players delve deeper into the mansion and the underground factory, they uncover the dark secrets hidden within. The Chinese Room’s unique flair shines through in the stylishly written journal entries and haunting voiceovers, adding depth and meaning to the blood-splattered hallways and creaking processing lines. However, it feels like the narrative is prioritized over player immersion, leaving players less room to explore and get lost in the darkness.

A Lack of Tension

In horror games, the best scares often come from what is left to the imagination. Unfortunately, A Machine For Pigs falls short in this aspect. While the game introduces a variety of monsters, encounters with them are few and far between. The Chinese Room opts for showcasing the monsters from behind barriers, rather than creating genuinely dangerous encounters. The tense moments of fleeing into the shadows or hiding from pursuing enemies, which were prominent in The Dark Descent, are disappointingly rare here. This lack of tension, combined with predictable monster designs, detracts from the fear factor and diminishes the overall impact of the game.

Diminished Gameplay Elements

Lighting played a crucial role in the original game, with players needing to collect oil for their lantern and tinder boxes to light lamps along the way. In A Machine For Pigs, these resource management mechanics have been simplified, as players now have an infinite supply of oil for their lantern. While this enables more freedom in exploring the environment, it removes the motivation to thoroughly search every nook and cranny. The tension and sense of urgency created by carefully managing resources in the original game are sorely missed in this sequel. Furthermore, attempts to compensate with a flickering lantern in the presence of enemies only serve to further dampen the scares.

An Artistic Journey That Lacks Interactivity

A Machine For Pigs presents itself as a haunting tour through an understaffed haunted house, with artists aiming to shed light on the dark history of industrial progress. The game features a linear path interrupted by simple puzzle-solving tasks related to repairing or sabotaging machinery. However, without the constant threat of running out of light, these tasks often feel like distractions. While there are a few moments that manage to surprise players, most of the scares feel carefully scripted and lack the impact of true interactivity.

Conclusion

It’s undeniable that The Chinese Room has once again crafted a game with a captivating story and a chilling atmosphere. However, A Machine For Pigs falls short in terms of gameplay and scares, especially when compared to its predecessor. While it may still manage to unsettle those who are easily frightened, those who have experienced the horror of The Dark Descent may find this sequel to be less thrilling. Despite its flaws, A Machine For Pigs offers a unique narrative experience for fans of atmospheric horror games.

FAQs

Q: Is A Machine For Pigs a direct sequel to Amnesia: The Dark Descent?
A: Yes, A Machine For Pigs is a sequel to the beloved horror game, Amnesia: The Dark Descent. However, it was developed by The Chinese Room, resulting in some differences in gameplay and overall experience.

Q: Does A Machine For Pigs rely more on storytelling or gameplay?
A: A Machine For Pigs places a strong emphasis on storytelling, with atmospheric environments and well-written journal entries. Gameplay takes a backseat, which may disappoint players looking for more interactivity and scares.

Q: Are there jump scares in A Machine For Pigs?
A: While A Machine For Pigs does feature some jump scares, they are not as prevalent as in other horror games. The focus is more on creating a chilling atmosphere and telling a haunting story.

Q: Can I play A Machine For Pigs without playing The Dark Descent?
A: While playing The Dark Descent is not a prerequisite, it does provide valuable context and background information. However, A Machine For Pigs can still be enjoyed as a standalone experience.