Amnesia: A Machine For Pigs Review - Squeals and Fury

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Amnesia: A Machine For Pigs Review - Squeals and Fury

This little piggy doesn't really go anywhere.

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Definitely a different conclusion than most other reviews of the game I've read. Even those that found the gameplay changes troubling at least praised the story.

Ah well. I'll have to wait until tomorrow night and see for myself. Hope my family doesn't stay up late. >_>

I've been worrying about this actually. While I have no problem with the Chinese Room, I wasn't entirely sold when they were announced as the developers. I'll play it, by all means, but as it says in the review, more likely in a sale at the moment. I'm currently more interested in Outlast for my horror fix.

After reading this, I'm glad I went ahead and got my hands on Outlast first. Slightly flawed here and there, but it more than makes up for it with its unnerving atmosphere and unforgettable moments of panic. A little heavy on the jump scares, but they were pretty effective in their execution.

As for the new Amnesia...the gameplay and character reaction changes seem like a big let down. Oh well, I'll wait for a sale.

Oh disappointing! Especially since I just prepurchased it.... I hope I didn't waste my money entirely.

I'm kinda glad the sanity mechanic is gone. I never ran out of sanity, so the little noises and screen blur it would make when I was in the dark were more annoying than anything else. I guess I'll find out tomorrow if it's as good as it seems.

I'd probably be okay if it was a little less scary... I wouldn't mind playing for longer than 15 minute intervals.

Great idea, Frictional. Let's give this to the development team whose claim to fame is a 25 minute walking simulator.

This could have been avoided if Frictional had just developed this themselves. I'm certain of it.

The first step to getting survival horror back on track is to stop pandering to the lowest common denominator, but given how popular these shovelware games are, it's unlikely that will ever happen.

Mcoffey:
I'm kinda glad the sanity mechanic is gone. I never ran out of sanity, so the little noises and screen blur it would make when I was in the dark were more annoying than anything else. I guess I'll find out tomorrow if it's as good as it seems.

I don't want to be "that guy", but personally, the little touches of the character reacting to frightening things within the game world really helped build up the whole bleak, tense atmosphere. I never really ran out of sanity either, but it was still a nice bit of extra character and world-building that you generally don't tend to find in games. Removing it almost seems like you're removing a third of what made Amnesia so gripping in the first place.

OT: I've been skeptical of it since I heard that the Dear Esther guys were the ones developing it... certainly would've preferred Frictional to do it themselves. I might still check it out, but the changes certainly don't sound for the better to me and what I liked about Amnesia.

Though, like Mcoffey, I can live with it being "less scary". It's not terribly difficult to frighten me.

So it's just like The Dark Descend, all smoke and mirrors... I called it by the time it was announced, no surprises.

Now Outlast was one that did't seem interesting in the very least from the trailers, but turned out quite nice. Didn't play it yet but I'll be sure getting it this month.

Well, this is a disappointment. ;___;

Another critic (Eurogamer Germany) compared it to a haunted house ride that just blew a fuse, with the carnies trying to scare you from behind walls, tossing twisted letters over the walls, and making scary noises, but you just want someone to turn the ride on again.

I did have twinges of doubt after I heard thechineseroom was doing it, but I thought their performance with Dear Esther was just constricted by the source material (a Source mod), but it looks like it wasn't.

I think some LPers are going to be saddish.

Well, I'll probably wait until the game is on sale before getting it if it's really not that great. I was sort of on the fence on this title anyway so hearing it isn't as good as it's predecessor tips me in favour of waiting.

LuisGuimaraes:
So it's just like The Dark Descend, all smoke and mirrors... I called it by the time it was announced, no surprises.

Now Outlast was one that did't seem interesting in the very least from the trailers, but turned out quite nice. Didn't play it yet but I'll be sure getting it this month.

It's mediocre. Worth your time, but I wouldn't pay more than 5 bucks for it.

To everyone complaining that the lack of sanity makes it not scary, I'll remind you that Penumbra had no sanity penalty for sitting in the dark, and it was still tense as hell.

Penumbra and TDD (and AMFP will be too, I'm sure) are all Lovecraft-inspired stories, and Lovecraft is all about confusion, revulsion, and fear of the unknown. It's not about being chased by a creepy monster or a psycho with a chainsaw, it's about the notion that there are forces at work that you can't even hope to name, much less understand. It's about being in an environment that is oppressive and terrifying and revolting, without even needing another living being in it.

Am I alone in this? Does anyone else still value tension and atmosphere over rubber-masked men going "Boo?"

shrekfan246:

Mcoffey:
I'm kinda glad the sanity mechanic is gone. I never ran out of sanity, so the little noises and screen blur it would make when I was in the dark were more annoying than anything else. I guess I'll find out tomorrow if it's as good as it seems.

I don't want to be "that guy", but personally, the little touches of the character reacting to frightening things within the game world really helped build up the whole bleak, tense atmosphere. I never really ran out of sanity either, but it was still a nice bit of extra character and world-building that you generally don't tend to find in games. Removing it almost seems like you're removing a third of what made Amnesia so gripping in the first place.

OT: I've been skeptical of it since I heard that the Dear Esther guys were the ones developing it... certainly would've preferred Frictional to do it themselves. I might still check it out, but the changes certainly don't sound for the better to me and what I liked about Amnesia.

Though, like Mcoffey, I can live with it being "less scary". It's not terribly difficult to frighten me.

Oh, I was fine with Daniel gasping and breathing heavier (It's one of my favorite little touches in Outlast). It was the grating, crackly sound that I didn't like. With as much time as you spend in the dark in that game the noise got old pretty quick for me. And the vision blurring, while minor, didn't really make sense anyway. I'm going insane, so my vision gets worse?

rolandoftheeld:
Am I alone in this? Does anyone else still value tension and atmosphere over rubber-masked men going "Boo?"

Tension can only be maintained for so long without some kind of payoff. That's one of the reasons the sanity mechanic in TDD was so effective despite being such an obvious and sometimes awkward contrivance: The simple act of witnessing the horror around you carried a price. If that's not present, and the monsters you encounter are largely unfrightening and ineffective, and the game world is mostly empty and makes very little sense, what's left to drive that tension? Sooner or later, walking through foreboding corridors and reading about strange, grotesque things afoot starts to lose its zip if there's not something more to back it up.

You know, thechineseroom's involvement in this game really made me worry, and I really hope that this review is one of a kind.

Whereas Frictional's first Amnesia was a GREAT example of a scary "story driven game"...I can't help but feel thechineseroom just tried and failed to create a scary "game driven story".

I hope this fear is unfounded and I hope the Amnesia series continues strongly.

Really? Aww... Hopefully it's not that bad or i'm gonna look stupid for pre-ordering it. The moment I saw the title I assumed there would be screaming manpigs coming at you with rusty cheese graters and you say they ain't that scary? How could they fuck that up? It's an Amnesia game, forgive me for thinking it would be super scary and good >.>

Who knows maybe this is a one of a kind quirky "DA2 5/5" Escapist reviews and i'm pleasantly surprised.

Though I did see bits of Dear Esther and I did get a bit iffy over the fact that those guys are developing the new Amnesia. I guess TDD was a linear-ish scary castle so it's not too much of a stretch for thechineseroom to handle a sequel least somewhat well? My optimism knows no bounds.

When the devs said they got rid of tinder boxes and oil because "people didn't use them". I knew it was going to be a disappointment. They don't even know players were rationing them out of fear.

They have no clue what made Descent a great game.

Also: Is there a way to block/filter users and their videos? I can't stand PewDiePie and he keeps cropping up way too much on some video searches.

Andy Chalk:
Sooner or later, walking through foreboding corridors and reading about strange, grotesque things afoot starts to lose its zip if there's not something more to back it up.

I think that's a matter of preference. I'd rather a game make me uneasy for 5 hours than terrified for 5 minutes. Again (at the risk of gushing) I'll hearken to Lovecraft - many of his stories have no real scare moment, no time of mortal peril. "The Picture in the House" and "The Outsider" come to mind, being almost exclusively descriptions of a single environment and one character's thoughts.

The climax of "The Dunwich Horror" is told from the perspective of onlookers a great distance away, who can barely see what's happening. The climax of "The Call of Cthulhu," almost certainly his most famous work, is told as a recounting to the protagonist; nothing ever directly happens to him, yet we can still empathize with him and feel his horror even at the tenebrous connection he has.

I can appreciate a good payoff after successful buildup, but I also don't think it's absolutely necessary in order to tell an engaging horror tale.

Of course, this is all from the perspective of someone who hasn't played the game yet. (Only an hour to go...) For all I know, I'll end up agreeing with you wholeheartedly after I do - but for now, I hold to my optimism.

Didn't actually finish the first one, I didn't find it scary. Which is weird because I'm usually a total wuss, but hey.
I didn't hate it, in fact I thought it was very well made. I just didn't see a reason to keep playing since it's main selling point wasn't doing anything for me for whatever reason.

Too bad about this game though if this turns out to be the general opinion.
This is why I don't preorder any more unless there are plenty of reviews out, and even then I'm hesitant.

well, dint feel scared with the first game and wasnt really impressed either. well made but dint do anything for me. so good to see i can give this one a miss.
busy anyway with other games at the moment.

Just watched a playthrough of this online and I gotta agree with the review. I'm not saying it's a bad game just that I really don't think ChineseRoom really understood what made TDD really great. Or maybe they just didn't care and wanted to do things their way to get their story out and fuck the scary or tension.

Not to mention the ending it's....well...

It was an interesting game and maybe if it wasn't under the Amnesia title I wouldn't be so disappointed but...it was and I couldn't help but expect a little more because of it. The story was kind of jumbled and didn't seem to quite gel together, and the protagonist...Mandus just never seemed to actually CARE. Nothing seemed to bother him. He didn't really seem upset by anything. His actions of not seeming scared or bothered by any of the goings on, didn't really seem to match up with his supposed desperation to find his children. Just the character himself didn't add up whenever you combined all the elements together.

Nurb:
Also: Is there a way to block/filter users and their videos? I can't stand PewDiePie and he keeps cropping up way too much on some video searches.

Yeah, there's a Greasemonkey app that allows you to block popular Youtubers from appearing in searches and related videos.

http://userscripts.org/scripts/show/156278

Haven't played the game yet, but those changes do worry me.

I think that punishing the player for looking at the monsters and disturbing imagery was a stroke of genius in Amnesia.
It kept the monsters as just a noise and a silhouette, allowing players to fill the gaps with their own phobias. Putting monsters in the limelight is only frightening for people with whatever fear the monster represents, for everyone else it will either look 'cool' or just plain silly because they will get to analyse the monster in great detail.
Amnesia's monsters are proof of that. Frightening in the shadows, ridiculous looking in the light (imho at least).
Removing that roadblock between the players and monsters seems like a very bad move by The Chinese Room.

But who knows, maybe I will find Machine For Pigs scary despite this. The trailer freaked me out after all, but then again, you never see the pig creatures in that either.

Nurb:

They have no clue what made Descent a great game.

Yeah it does seem that way. It kinda baffles me that they would take away the few things that made the first game so original and scarey (the oil, tender boxes, and sanity mechanic) in order to better tell the story.

To be perfectly honest, the story of the Dark Decent was the least interesting thing about the game to me and I'm sure I'm not alone on this.

I just finished the game and I can tell you that it wasn't all that scary, but it did make up for that by being one of the most disturbing and tragic stories ever told by a video game. I am a gamer that can forgive somewhat lacking gameplay if the story is good at least. And I know that this game will get a lot of hate solely because it was made by the Chinese Room and they made Dear Esther, a game that is apparently ripping the very fabric of the gaming community apart by trying to experiment with atmosphere in an interactive environment. I liked this game. Loved the story, loved the atmosphere, but I feel that the gameplay could have been at least a little more invovled. An 8 out of 10 for me.

I might still get this down the road, as for everyone mentioning Outlast.
I watched the trailers for Outlast before it came out, it scared the crap out of me and really interested me and when I got the game on release date, so when I first played it, it scared me but then as I was going through it, I realized it's not that scary, you know when something is going to chase you, the "monsters" can't really hurt you at all and parts that should have been scary just weren't, like when something runs past you down a hall but that's the only way you have to go.

The only time I had a really bad jump was when I was out in the court yard and Fat Man was RIGHT behind me as I turned around.

Am sorry but as someone who pre-ordered this dud, it really really is not surprising. I didn't know that the people involved in Dear Esther were involved otherwise I would have saved my money because Dear Esther was a "Hold W" simulator while a pretentious bastard narrates a really dull story without interactions.

Werewolfkid:
Chinese Room and they made Dear Esther, a game that is apparently ripping the very fabric of the gaming community apart by trying to experiment with atmosphere in an interactive environment. .

That is not true. There was NO interaction of ANY kind whatsoever, if you didn't play it just watch it in youtube its 20 mins long at best. NOTHING can be done in that "game", you just walk and hear a narrator being vague and pretentious. I'm still bitter that I was told to buy it because it was a horror game.

3 stars is too high for the tone of the review. 2 would be more inline.

You know... Back to almost a full year ago when it was announced that Thechineseroom, the guys who made Dear Esther, were making the next Amnesia title I thought "Hm. This will either be 'decent' or they will promptly fuck it up".

While I held out hope that they would at least not fuck it up, I knew that if they did fuck up it would be like this: A game produced where the game-play and mechanics are neglected and completely uninteresting as sacrifice for a "m'kay" story.

I'm not even hopping on a bandwagon here - I've always thought Thechineseroom were pretentious chumps. Dear Esther did not impress me, it was a dry, boring walking simulator where TCR gambled everything on the player seeing the purty scenery, the grey skies, and depressing monologue and reacting with "Oh, this game is SO DEEP! The atmosphere built totally distracts me from the fact that all I'm doing is walking while some emo tool goes on about loss or some shit for 20 minutes!".

Oh, look at that - it turns out TCR doesn't get horror and apparently just made a walking simulator with some jump-scares and creepy post-it notes. Of course, I have to admit that this sounds like an improvement over their last "game" (I don't care, it was NOT a game. It was literally just a long fucking cutscene!), as I remember wishing while "playing" that self-hating geriatric-simulator that they added the much-desired element of manbearpig butchering the shit out of you to free you from the monotony of the protagonist shuffling his feet for 20 minutes lamenting his existence.

But by the end of this, I wonder if TCR is truly to blame, or Frictional for being suckered in by TCR's "Oh-look-at-me-I'm-so-intellectual-and-deep" pretentious bullshit claim on narrative to give them the go-ahead in the first place.

[On another note, you don't really need a sanity mechanic, as I was a big fan of Frictional's earlier works, the Penumbra series which didn't have one and was still scary and tense. However, it was a really ingenious way to keep players from seeing too much of the monsters as well as just adding some neat things like fake monsters, roaches, and warped paintings - real mindscrews that added to the unpredictable nature of the first playthroughs.]

I hope that we've all learned a lesson in that just because the devs from TCR claim to be the smartest, most mature and artistically-talented in the works of literary atmosphere - it does NOT translate to a game that delivers narrative as successfully. Hopefully, it means they'll be doing less games in the future too, but I'll settle for tarnished rep.

I liked Dear Esther a lot, but in the sequel to one of the best horror games ever made, I expect horror, you know? Not a disjointed narrative about a guy who did stuff for reasons. I might be more forgiving if the narrative was more coherent, but even that's a wash - A Machine For Pigs makes Dear Esther look downright pedantic. It's not a bad game, really - hence the score - it's just not scary and fails to serve up a satisfying (or even rational) conclusion.

That was my last preorder EVER and I put Chinese Room on my blacklist.
Esther was fine for what it was but preseting THIS as follow up to Amnesia, is a blow in the face for Frictional.
Dissapointing.

Voren:
Am sorry but as someone who pre-ordered this dud, it really really is not surprising. I didn't know that the people involved in Dear Esther were involved otherwise I would have saved my money because Dear Esther was a "Hold W" simulator while a pretentious bastard narrates a really dull story without interactions.

Thank Christ, I'm not alone here. The second I saw the Fibonacci spiral on the beach, I knew exactly what they were getting at with Dear Esther: throwing in superficially deep imagery in the hopes that someone too ignorant to know what it means will confuse it as being captivating and compelling. This, along with tons of other imagery, has no bearing whatsoever - thrown in just because it looks cool and intelligent, and is never reinforced later on down the line.

I'm not even going to start with the script. That's as hollow as the "gameplay." But, I guess as long as the 2deep4u crowd keeps buying them, they'll keep making them.

I should have known that TheChineseRoom would stick with what they know and make a walking-simulator with this but I was just too hyped for it back when it was first released. Also, what happened to the imagery of the concept art:

I've watched about 30 minutes of the game and from what I've seen none of it actually looks as creepy and strange as that art. They made it way too dark, and didn't cash in on the awesome concept at all. Old Victorian machinery were a lot of the times deathtraps, yet there's barely anything in the game that shows they wanted to do that concept.

Fuck, this is so dissapointing. I was expecting something great, something that would surpass the original with an awesome setting, creepy-ass original monster designs and harder and more intense gameplay. Except now we've got Dear Esther with monsters put in a few times.

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