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Amnesia: A Machine For Pigs (PC) Review

 
Amnesia-AMachineOfPigs logos
Amnesia-AMachineOfPigs logos
Amnesia-AMachineOfPigs logos

 
At a Glance...
 

Formats: PC
 
Year:
 
Publisher:
 
Developer:
 
Final Score
8.0
8/ 10


User Rating
no ratings yet

 

We liked?


  • Thought provoking, chilling, macabre and disturbing story that will linger with you
  • Womderfully realised world that is rich and well lived in
  • Great music, good voice work and exception environmental audio

Not so much?


  • Minor technical issues
  • Very simple game - basically a walk through
  • At times you see behind the horror curtain and it pulls you out of the moment


Final Fiendish Findings?

Fans of the original will have this in their Steam library already and I’m sure they’ll be just about satisfied with the outcome. Those new to the genre and the game will have a solid place to start from. Amnesia: A Machine For Pigs tells a mature, horrific and at times engrossing tale via a simple set of game mechanics – whether this is at a detriment is purely down to what you want out of the game. It’s a chilling house of horrors ride nonetheless!

0
Posted September 13, 2013 by

 
Full Fiendish Findings...
 
 

Amnesia: A Machine For Pigs attempts to following in the footsteps of two massively popular indie titles.  First there is the fact that it follows in the series as an Amnesia title, picking up the mantle from Amnesia: The Dark Descent.  An interesting and sometimes frightening title that introduced new game play styles (for instance it was non-combative) and reworked some older ones (the insanity meter) in a gripping and terrify manner.

Then we have Dear Esther.  You see, Amnesia: A Machine For Pigs is a collaboration between the original Amnesia developers Frictional Games and the developers of storybook walking experience Dear Esther.

Amnesia: A Machine For Pigs takes place in Victoria times.  You start in a spectacular and sinister mansion house.  Brief exploration as main character Oswald Mandus will lead you through this massively creepy mansion and reveal that is backs on to a massive factory structure.  Mandus is haunted by the voices of his children and prodded ever onward by the sinister caller know as The Engineer.

As you descend further and further in to the machines bowls things get steadily more macabre and unsettling.  The story slowly unfolds as you wander, small lantern in hand, through masses of twisted machinery and bloodied remains.

Amnesia: A Machine for Pigs 1

As with both Amnesia: The Dark Descent and Dear Esther the game features no combat at all.  There are, unlike Dear Esther, foes to be avoided here.  The twisted creatures that stalk the corridors are not to be trifled with.  Although they don’t seem to appear as much as perhaps you’d like.  That said when they do appear it’s chilling, tense and kinda like a stealth title.

Gone are the tinderboxes and insanity meter from the original Amnesia title.  With this so to goes a lot of what made the original Amnesia so tense an experience.  What you’re left with in Amnesia: A Machine For Pigs is more akin to a ghost train or haunted house ride.  You slowly push forward, meet an obstacle (usually a puzzle), resolve that and move to the next part.  No real challenge, other than overcoming some of the frustrating puzzles, is present.

The overall world design though has improved over the original Amnesia.  Taking onboard the world building skills from the Chinese Room, the team behind Dear Esther, the initial levels are lavish and well entwined offering a believable and rich tapestry for the story to unfold on.

The story is a good one, if a little slow starting.  The mechanisms with which the developers choose to relay the story can be a little jarring at times.  Narrative is relayed to the player as mumbled flashback memories spoken by Mandus, from notes located around the game world and via phone calls from the mysterious Engineer character.  Each works well and as the story ramps up the further you descend it all ties together well.  The only sticky point is the constant phone calls from The Engineer.  It was novel at the start, then it was just too jarring and frequent which brings you out of the game and lets you notice the mechanics of the games horror tropes.

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Despite a well realised and designed world the game never really peaks above average to good in the graphical department.  Some textures look fuzzy and low-res in places, the water effects and looks are not nice and the handling of darkness in places can leave large patches of poorly dithered light filling the screen.

Audio wise though the game is spot on.  From the wonderfully sinister soundtrack from Jessica Curry to the small snippets of songs and tunes laced through various areas of the game.  The environmental soundscape is also well managed, perhaps more so than any other game in recent memory.  Things creak and scuttle.  Footsteps come and go in the distance with no owner to claim them.  Pigs can be heard squealing in the distance.  Things slither, clunk, grind and shift around you.  Nothing is ever seen, only heard and it can ratchet up those fight or flight senses a treat.

I did run in to a handful of technical issues whilst playing the game.  Some were pre-release issues that appear to have been resolved, others are still evident.   For instance I would have a crash or two every hour or so sending me out to the desktop with some library call issues.  I also played some of the game on a gaming laptop which uses a Intel HD 4000 card for desktop stuff and an Nvidia card for the heavy lifting.  This really seemed to upset the game and cause it to crash more frequently and every single time a level was completed.  The workaround for this was to  force the use of the Nvidia card for all actions from the Nvidia driver – it still had the odd issue though meaning it took me nearer 7 hours of amassed game time to complete the 4 or so hours of game.

Amnesia: A Machine For Pigs - 3

Final Thoughts

Amnesia: A Machine For Pigs is a solid horror title.  I didn’t find it as compelling or as sinister as the original Amnesia, but it was still suitably creepy and frightening thanks to its superb use of sound.

The relatively short length might put some off, with the game running at maybe around 4′ish hours to complete.  That said there are more notes and nooks to explore if you wanted multiple play throughs.

A handful of annoying technical issues, frustrating puzzles and a lack of focus at times all detract from what is a great entry in to the seemingly exploding horror genre.

Fans of the original will have this in their Steam library already and I’m sure they’ll be just about satisfied with the outcome.  Those new to the genre and the game will have a solid place to start from.  Amnesia: A Machine For Pigs tells a mature, horrific and at times engrossing tale via a simple set of game mechanics – whether this is at a detriment is purely down to what you want out of the game.  It’s a chilling house of horrors ride nonetheless!


Zeth

 
Zeth is our EU ninja and Editor in Chief. He's been writing about video games since 2008 when he started on BrutalGamer. He's pretty old and has been a gamer since he played Space Invaders as a young boy in the 80's. His genre tastes lean towards platformers, point-and-click adventure, action-adventure and shooters but he'll turn his hand to anything.