Amnesia: A Machine For Pigs Review - Squeals and Fury

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Aposthebest:

But the game cost 15 bucks/euros, what did people expected for that price anyway? A triple A game? It's cheaper than the original. I'm quite certain that's enough a hint to show that someone should be expecting less from it when it comes to content and work being done into it.

It's 1/4 cheaper than the original. That doesn't ring far less.

If I had been one to price AMFP it would be two dollars, MAXIMUM. I got more enjoyment from a few of the free custom-stories (though 80% of them are shit).

Aposthebest:

neither did they advertise that they would bring everything hardcore amnesia fans wanted.

They did. In interviews and even on the Steam page:

Fresh and new approach to the Amnesia world while staying true to its origins.

As for me, I knew what to expect as soon as I saw that chineseroom was developing it. Yet I decided to try it anyway because I small sliver of me wanted to hope that the final product would resemble the Amnesia that I loved.

What's new? Ok they removed the inventory, fine, surely the puzzles are different then? Nope. The puzzles that aren't "press these 2 buttons" are flat out taken from Amnesia and Penumbra, they are literally copy/pastes.

Taking away health and sanity? Ok, do they have new mechanics to replace them? No.

And "staying true to its origins" does not include over 10 pointless jump scares that build up to nothing.

Aposthebest:

In short, they don't deserve to be crucified over consumers having false expectations. Most people have played Dear Esther and are aware of the artistic orientations of the developer. It's silly to say that someone would expect something different because "Amnesia".

They put the Amnesia name on it. People were willing to trust that they would stick to it's roots, not just get a few references to the previous game along with the protagonist having Amnesia. They waited 2 years for something that would expand on Amnesia.

Instead they got Dear Esther 2.0, if people wanted Dear Esther 2.0 they would have bought it instead.

Aposthebest:

Seriously, this approach to games is the reason why the industry has stagnated to bringing out generic sequels to everything. Any change is simply sacrificed in the altar of nostalgia.

It's the opposite. A Machine For Pigs took out everything that made Amnesia an engaging experience. REMOVING features is not something to be praised, people criticize Bioware and Bethesda for it all the time.

It's been casualized, people who disliked the puzzles and resource management in the previous game are happy that they have an experience where they can walk to point A and point B without any other worry in the world.

Remember when adventure games were graded on the quality of their puzzles?

Lovely Mixture:

They put the Amnesia name on it. People were willing to trust that they would stick to it's roots, not just get a few references to the previous game along with the protagonist having Amnesia. They waited 2 years for something that would expand on Amnesia.

And Blizzard put the Diablo name in Diablo 3, yet I think I'm one of the very few who actually boycotted the company completely from that point on.

The only problem is, that in this case, we are talking about a whole different studio. You and everyone else KNEW that The Chinese Room were responsible for the development. You KNEW how they approach horror games. You KNEW it from the very first moment it was announced.

You said that Bioware and Bethesda do it all the time. Well, they do it ON THEIR OWN GAMES. When a different studio takes control, then things will change by nature. Fallout:NV changed many things compared to Fallout 3 and it got hated and loved for it.(apart from the bug-fest it was at release)

The problem here is that you guys expected The Chinese Room to be Frictional Games.

Aposthebest:

And Blizzard put the Diablo name in Diablo 3, yet I think I'm one of the very few who actually boycotted the company completely from that point on.

Not sure how this is relevant. I boycotted Blizzard for their online shit and anti-mod things.

Aposthebest:

The only problem is, that in this case, we are talking about a whole different studio. You and everyone else KNEW that The Chinese Room were responsible for the development. You KNEW how they approach horror games. You KNEW it from the very first moment it was announced.

And yet, they said they were going to try and appeal to fans of the original game. Cause I'm not a sheep, I opted to believe that they were full of shit, others got suckered in.

Aposthebest:

You said that Bioware and Bethesda do it all the time. Well, they do it ON THEIR OWN GAMES. When a different studio takes control, then things will change by nature. Fallout:NV changed many things compared to Fallout 3 and it got hated and loved for it.(apart from the bug-fest it was at release)

Which studio is irrelevant, the design choices are what matter in the end. If you must argue the analogy, Fallout: NV made changes and added content, it did not flat out remove anything.

Aposthebest:

The problem here is that you guys expected The Chinese Room to be Frictional Games.

No.

They expected Amnesia cause it has the Amnesia name on it, imagine that eh?

When you take up the name of a beloved series, by all means, you can make your own thing. But "we're a different studio with a different vision" is not an adequate defense when you make unpopular changes.

If I bought the the Big Mac trademark and sold grapes instead:
"can I have a Big Mac?"
"sure thing, here you go!"
"these are grapes."
"no it's a Big Mac."
"but this isn't like the Big Mac they sell at McDonald's"
"Well that was THEIR vision of the Big Mac, not mine."

It's not that different from Dark Descent actually. Go around a corner, hear a noise, monster is there. Doesn't quite sound scary by itself does it? AAMFP has build up, for sure, so that isnt the issue either. So what's missing? Actually something very simple, Mikko Termia's soundtrack. The Dark Descent's soundtrack bombared you with creep and noises the whole way through the game, not a quiet moment ever. AAMFP tried to use silence in place of this, but it doesn't work as well, not to mention Jessica Curry is a little bit minimal when it comes to using music in the game.

Ah, yes. Because it's the chinese room, there's walking, and metaphors it's automatically Dear Esther BECAUSE REASONS -.-

BleedingPride:
Ah, yes. Because it's the chinese room, there's walking, and metaphors it's automatically Dear Esther BECAUSE REASONS -.-

The omission of:

-the inventory
-the sanity system
-the health system
-the lantern requiring oil
-a great chunk of the physics props

Don't mean anything?

Amnesia without those is just an interactive story, hence the comparison to Dear Esther, Gone Home, and other Walking Simulators.

Amnesia is not just avoiding monsters.

Lovely Mixture:

BleedingPride:
Ah, yes. Because it's the chinese room, there's walking, and metaphors it's automatically Dear Esther BECAUSE REASONS -.-

The omission of:

-the inventory
-the sanity system
-the health system
-the lantern requiring oil
-a great chunk of the physics props

Don't mean anything?

Amnesia without those is just an interactive story, hence the comparison to Dear Esther, Gone Home, and other Walking Simulators.

Amnesia is not just avoiding monsters.

It's not enough to make it Dear Esther, they've streamlined it immensely, which isn't good, but that doesn't automatically make it anywhere close to Dear Esther apart from the developers.

Story:

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 agree with you on how the Dark Descent's story was the least interesting part of the game, however I don't think the sanity elements were as central to the scares as you think they were. Perhaps you spent the game worrying about when the camera was going to go fuzzy and eventually mess up your balance, and that's reasonable, but I was more worried about what could be around the next corner, the feelings of dread.

BleedingPride:

It's not enough to make it Dear Esther, they've streamlined it immensely, which isn't good, but that doesn't automatically make it anywhere close to Dear Esther apart from the developers.

Would you concede that it is indeed a walking simulator?

Lovely Mixture:

BleedingPride:

It's not enough to make it Dear Esther, they've streamlined it immensely, which isn't good, but that doesn't automatically make it anywhere close to Dear Esther apart from the developers.

Would you concede that it is indeed a walking simulator?

No, because like it or not, there are puzzles, there are dangers you hide from, you can die, and you need to balance between attracting the Nearly-Men, or being able to see. So no, hardly like my everyday walks down my street.

BleedingPride:

Story:

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 agree with you on how the Dark Descent's story was the least interesting part of the game, however I don't think the sanity elements were as central to the scares as you think they were. Perhaps you spent the game worrying about when the camera was going to go fuzzy and eventually mess up your balance, and that's reasonable, but I was more worried about what could be around the next corner, the feelings of dread.

Yeah fair enough, the sanity mechanic did make Amnesia a pain to play through most of the time. But I would argue that it made the monsters rather frightening because not only where you most of the time unable to see them clearly, the game actively discouraged looking at them for too long because of the sanity mechanic which I though was very clever. To me, in any scarey medium, it's better that the monsters chasing you remained mysterious. Because once you have a good look at the monsters they kinda loose their fright factor you know?

If anything I thought the sanity mechanic was the most 'unique' feature in Amnesia at the very least.

BleedingPride:

Lovely Mixture:

BleedingPride:

It's not enough to make it Dear Esther, they've streamlined it immensely, which isn't good, but that doesn't automatically make it anywhere close to Dear Esther apart from the developers.

Would you concede that it is indeed a walking simulator?

No, because like it or not, there are puzzles, there are dangers you hide from, you can die, and you need to balance between attracting the Nearly-Men, or being able to see. So no, hardly like my everyday walks down my street.

I guess if throwing switches counts as puzzles, and three-four survival sequences count as survival horror. You can't really argue with that.

Hmmm, I'm browsing The Escapist while I download this game. To be honest I've been hoping for the development of some good horror games for a while. I buy bunches of them and donate to kickstarters when I can in hope that the genere has the chance for some decent development. For the most part it seems to be moving along in baby steps but will get there.

To be honest I was not a fan of the original Amnesia for a lot of the reasons that they removed from this game. I for one thought the whole "sanity" mechanic was more of an annoyance than anything and seemed like a contrived mechanism to remove enjoyment from the game. Having a cool environment I have to struggle to explore because of limited light, and cool monsters I can't even look at. This on some levels is the same problem I had with the recent "Outlast" which while it had enough light still strove to put pressure on you to not really explore the environments the developers carefully constructed.

The stumbling block I get from most "Machine For Pigs" reviews seems to be that they removed a lot of the annoyance mechanics, but in doing so wound up making it hard to create a sense of jeopardy especially seeing as they wanted to stay away from combat at all.

"Outlast" tried to blend itself with "Mirror's Edge" by making chases a big part of the game along with the stealth mechanics where at a few points you need to run from the bad guys, block doors, slam doors, and other things while trying to get enough distance to hide, in order to create a bit of active jeopardy along with the standard stealth elements and "find the interactive thingy or needed items" puzzles.

It occurs to me that right now we have a lot of different horror games coming out, and between them we have the right building blocks for something truly epic to be created. It seems everyone has the right idea on how to create creepy enviroments, and use the environment to tell parts of a story, but as far as making the game actually a game it gets tricky.

Right now I personally think the right solution is going to be when people finally realize that removing combat mechanics was the wrong approach to take. What people should be looking towards oddly enough is an old game called "Condemned" (not the sequel for reasons that should be obvious to those who played it) for how combat should work in this kind of environment. That way you encourage stealth without requiring it at all times, can add resource management (a staple of survival horror) and in the process create some things to do and a sense of jeopardy without turning it into an exercise in doing nothing but watching patrol patterns. I'll also say that Outlast had some cool bits with the running and avoidance even it wasn't totally intuitive, one sequence reminded me a bit of the Innsmouth section of "Call Of Cthulhu: Dark Corners Of The Earth" without being as annoyingly touchy.

Whether you agree with my overall comments or not, I will say that even with the mixed reviews, "A Machine For Pigs" is a game I suggest genere fans support (like I did, as I said DLing it now despite everything said) as opposed to waiting for sales where it will mean less, although we should be vocal with the problems. The more games like this succeed the more love the genere will get, and the more we'll see the formula perfected. We've got a big bubble of effort being made (Huntsman: The Orphanage is due out in two days, and I plan to pick that up too), we need to support the efforts while remaining critical of where these things go wrong. Everyone points out the problems with "A Machine For Pigs" so hopefully that will be being noted for the next wave of similar games. :)

Lovely Mixture:

BleedingPride:

Lovely Mixture:

Would you concede that it is indeed a walking simulator?

No, because like it or not, there are puzzles, there are dangers you hide from, you can die, and you need to balance between attracting the Nearly-Men, or being able to see. So no, hardly like my everyday walks down my street.

I guess if throwing switches counts as puzzles, and three-four survival sequences count as survival horror. You can't really argue with that.

A Machine for Pigs isn't survival horror, it's psychological horror. I wonder, did you ever play silent hill 2? Same type of horror. Silent Hill 2 wasn't scary, but it was disturbing, similar to this. Now, please don't get into a rant about how Silent Hill had better puzzles than this, because that's not what I'm referring to.

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.

I am the same way. Sadly I have to still beat TDD because I'm a wuss and it takes me forever but maybe by the time I finish I will have forgotten how mediocre the sequel is and how frustrated I am that I didn't know that Dear Ester devs made it.

Nice to see a small studio pull a fast one after receiving so much good will from the gaming community. That will teach us to support horror games.

Andy Chalk:

Torque2100:
Well, maybe I was wrong that you didn't actually play the game but your review does read remarkably like a summary of a movie by someone who slept through half of it. I'm going to have to spoiler this explanation but here it goes.

Interesting! Based largely on some pretty big assumptions and it still leaves questions unanswered, but I like what you've come up with.

The trouble with your conclusions is that they rely on information that's either well-hidden, extremely vague or just not there at all. Dark Descent botched the ending but at least it pulled everything together into a proper conclusion as the end approached; Machine For Pigs just wanders around with flowery prose and imagery that leads nowhere. If a game is going to rely on a creepy, convoluted story for its punch, then it needs to tell that story in a coherent manner, and this one does not. And even if it did, it fails to generate anything near the terror that Dark Descent did; Uru: Ages Beyond Myst is a great game, but I'd be pretty pissed if I bought it as a sequel to Quake.

I think Torque does have a point, but on the other hand I think that your points are perfectly valid as well. I just finished the game and I do think a lot of the answers are in there if you put some thought behind it but I don't think that Torque has the story quite right. I agree with Torque in that the game is much more story-driven, where the "fear" comes from revealing the story that happened before you had amnesia, much less from figuring out how you're going to prevent a shambling monstrosity from chewing your face off. Yet your criticism is perfectly valid in that it's much less a survival-horror "game" than it is a psychological-horror "experience". The thing plays like a movie, and considering it's length, it really might as well have been a movie. It's definitely a different flavor than the first game, and just like how some people can't stand chocolate ice-cream, not everyone is going to like this "flavor" for their Amnesia games.

Mechanically: the game is flawed in its simplicity. But I think the real question is "did you like the story?" If yes then you're going to like the game, if no - or, as in your case, you didn't get it - then you're not going to like the game. I do appreciate that you gave the game a 3/5 because that's really about what I'd give it. I'm a person who loves a good story so for me I might even bump it up to a 4/5 with the only thing holding it back from the perfect score being that fact that it indeed plays like a movie.

Now since I hate using the phrase "you didn't get it" without offering an explanation on what there is to get, allow me to try to answer the questions posed in your review and offer up my own interpretation as to what was going on in this story.

Incoming Wall-o-Text, though I'd say worth the read if you're REALLY interested in the answers you pose in your review.

So there we have it. Like I said, I enjoy a good story and I thought this was a good one. Is it VERY different than Dark Decent? Definitely. Are all your criticisms about the mechanics perfectly valid? Certainly. But I'd argue that the story IS coherent once you gather all the pieces and put them together. Just as a jig-saw puzzle starts out as absolutely nothing but a blank table (like waking up with amnesia), once you put all the pieces together you get the full picture. Whether or not you found that picture to be scary, however, is an entirely different subject and I'd argue that boils down completely to taste. As Torque mentioned in a previous post, this game is much more about a scary/oppressive environment. If you find dark brick hallways with pipes and confined spaces that induce claustrophobia to be creepy, then this game will keep you trembling. If that's not your bag, then yeah, you'll just be strolling around trying not to disturb the Manbearpigs.

Just want to drop my thoughts into the bucket, so to speak. I have played the game for only two hours, and I am BORED. It is decently scary at times, but not nearly as scary as TDD. Also, I have only seen the monster a few times, but the scariness of said monster is already dwindling. The removal of the sanity meter makes the game less annoying at times, but it has the unfortunate impact of letting you stare directly at the monster, revealing how goofy it actually looks. The monsters in TDD were even more goofy, but the game knew that, and so it refused to let you stare at them, which made them more terrifying.

I do like the removal of oil and tinderboxes. Those were pointless in my opinion, since your character's eyes could adjust to the dark somewhat in TDD, giving you a decent level of vision even without the lantern. In AMFP they removed the aspect of dark-vision, so when the lantern is off, it is almost impossible to see. This is a good idea in theory. You have to turn the lantern on to navigate, but the light reveals your position, leading to tension. However, even with the lantern on the environments are WAY too dark, so many times I couldn't navigate properly even with the lantern on. This is exacerbated by truly awful visual design in some areas. Everything ends up looking like identical rusty metal machinery, leaving you with no way to navigate. Certain zones, such as the church, are interesting, but then you go through long stretches of boring, repetitive, dark industrial areas. Everything just looks so dark and muddy and boring. There are also few bright areas to offer a change of pace. Even areas that have a lot of stationary lights only seem bright in the area directly adjacent to the light. They do not give off nearly the amount of ambient light throughout the room that they should, making even the "well lit" areas drearily dark. In addition, the monster can see you very easily when the light is on, but wont spot you even if you are 5 feet away when the light is off, so you basically HAVE to leave the lantern off in a lot of areas, leading to tedious and frustrating blundering about until you find the exit.

I can't comment too much on the story, since I am not that far in, but what I have seen is not very engaging. TDD opened with an interesting hook and a clear sense of purpose. In AMFP I couldn't even figure out who the main character was for a good while. The character has amnesia, but the game never tells you this or even alludes to it. He clearly remembers his kids and who and where he is, but then he starts talking about not knowing what lies ahead when he goes into the factory attached to his own damn house. Also, the notes left lying around are not voice acted anymore and do not convey the personality of the writer very much. This leaves us with a bland, empty shell of a main character. His journal entries should flesh out his character, but they don't. So far, they all follow the formula of 'comment on something that just happened or give a hint about a puzzle, then say how he doesn't know what lies ahead but he will continue for the sake of his children'. All of them but one or two have been like that so far. I REALLY liked the story of Dear Esther, so this is a real disappointment. Dear Esther's story was intriguingly mysterious and I hoped that that writing style would work really well with a story about amnesia, but they don't make use of that element very well.

All in all, this is really disappointing. I was excited when I found out that TheChineseRoom were developing this game, but they messed with the gameplay far too much and failed to deliver on the level of writing quality I expected. If they had left in the sanity drain, but removed the resource management aspect, the gameplay would have been better. If they made the environments have more ambient light, color, and variety, the art would have been better. If they had a stronger main character and some extra exposition early on the story would have been better. This is such a shame. This collaboration between two interesting developers could have been wondrous, but instead it is a dud.

I feel a bit guilty responding to your wall of text with what is going to be a much shorter message, but such is life. Anyway, your thoughts do seem to run largely parallel to Torque's, and I think in terms of "what happened" you're both probably as close to "right" as anyone's going to be, at least with regards to the pre-amnesiac portion of the game. But it still relies too heavily on "he did crazy shit because he's crazy," which is actually an explanation someone else - Kirk Hamilton from Kotaku, I think - brought up on Twitter. It's valid, but I think it's kind of a lazy way to justify elements of the game that look cool but don't really make a hell of a lot of sense.

Again, story notwithstanding, AAMFP fails to generate anywhere near the fright factor of TDD, and on that point alone it fails as a horror game. It's kinda creepy, and maybe it puts up an interesting narrative (although that's obviously very subjective) but as a horror game - which is what any reasonable person would expect from a sequel to Amnesia - it just doesn't work.

I do think it's pretty cool that it has sparked so much conversation, though. It's certainly arguable that even if you didn't care for the game, the post-game discussions are worth the price of admission.

Dear God, it's exactly what I thought! This game was not scary, I did not feel weak at any moment, unlike as Daniel I could stare at these monsters and get a close look at them if I wanted (which I so very much did), which took a lot of the "I don't know where it is" scare-factor away.

I won't lie, I regret my pre-order. I expected the feeling I felt with the first game, that was not what I got. Not even close. While the area design and lighting were splendid and the encounters were very intense, I found the game very predictable story-wise, which led to a very dull let's play in which I thought of playing the game through again, alone, confused as to why I was not feeling fear.

Here's another plus, though, the Kaernk made a brief reappearance! Seriously, I stepped around every corner, walked through every corridor hoping to hear a gasp in reaction to a deep growl signalling the arrival of a deformed monstrosity, ready to patrol, it's skin rubbing upon itself, as it moves its mangled body, with intent to embed its claws in my FPV. Of course I'm talking about a Servant Grunt!

Contort my vision, piggies! I want to hear the terror meter, that voice from the void! Give me THE DARK DESCENT!

All this said, it certainly wasn't a terrible game.

Aposthebest:
Noone said that you can't have expectations, it's part of being a free consumer on a free market.

This is a strawman -- I never said that *you* said that we couldn't have any expectations. I responded, specifically, to your terminology.

Aposthebest:
But saying that you expected more on this product is like going to McDonalds and complaining why their super-cheap, super-small hamburger is too small and not that tasty.

No, that's not true. At all. Why would you say that? What does McDonalds have to do with a sequel?

I pointed out that sequels create expectations that their producers market in order to generate sales. Your counteranalogy was completely irrelevant. I mean, completely. I responded to your terms accurately; please pay me the same courtesy.

Aposthebest:
But the game cost 15 bucks/euros, what did people expected for that price anyway? A triple A game?

Totally and completely irrelevant. You've moved the goalposts so far that they're in the parking lot. No one said that this game had to be as good as a triple-A game or that its price tag was at variance with its quality. It is criticized for being marketed as a particular type of horror game but failing to be that type of horror game and, as a direct result of that failure, failing to be a good horror game.

Stop strawmanning, please. If your point doesn't tackle the "failed horror game" point, you're not talking to anyone but yourself, and masturbation should be done in private. Or on paysites. Either way, definitely not here.

Aposthebest:
Look, I'll blame the producer when the producer is wrong and the consumer when the consumer is wrong. Setting the standards too high was the consumer's fault, not the producer's. Failing to deliver on some levels is the producer's fault. But hey, at least they didn't charge 50-60 freaking dollars for it, neither did they advertise that they would bring everything hardcore amnesia fans wanted.

This is all complete B.S. and is directly addressed in my first post. How much they charged is irrelevant and they DID market the game as a sequel.

Aposthebest:
Seriously, this approach to games is the reason why the industry has stagnated to bringing out generic sequels to everything. Any change is simply sacrificed in the altar of nostalgia.

Totally false. Game buyers wanted a quality horror game, not nostalgia. Amnesia isn't even _old_enough_ to generate nostalgia. The game is criticized for being of poor quality -- you are deliberately avoiding addressing that point.

Look, if you liked the game, you liked the game, but that doesn't make criticisms of the game somehow mystically invalid.

BleedingPride:

A Machine for Pigs isn't survival horror,

I know it's not. That was my point, it has the bare minimum incluson of mechanics for "survival-horror gameplay" but it's such a small part of the game that it can't even be considered a survival horror game. Dark Descent was survival horror, it made surviving monster encounters a core aspect of its gameplay.

I'll amend my walking simulator statement: "It's a walking simulator with a tiny bit of gameplay added."

Andy Chalk:
I feel a bit guilty responding to your wall of text with what is going to be a much shorter message, but such is life. Anyway, your thoughts do seem to run largely parallel to Torque's, and I think in terms of "what happened" you're both probably as close to "right" as anyone's going to be, at least with regards to the pre-amnesiac portion of the game. But it still relies too heavily on "he did crazy shit because he's crazy," which is actually an explanation someone else - Kirk Hamilton from Kotaku, I think - brought up on Twitter. It's valid, but I think it's kind of a lazy way to justify elements of the game that look cool but don't really make a hell of a lot of sense.

Again, story notwithstanding, AAMFP fails to generate anywhere near the fright factor of TDD, and on that point alone it fails as a horror game. It's kinda creepy, and maybe it puts up an interesting narrative (although that's obviously very subjective) but as a horror game - which is what any reasonable person would expect from a sequel to Amnesia - it just doesn't work.

I do think it's pretty cool that it has sparked so much conversation, though. It's certainly arguable that even if you didn't care for the game, the post-game discussions are worth the price of admission.

No worries about having a short response to my "essay", after all it was just meant to be an attempt at answering the questions you raised and I hoped that it did well. As I said before the "horror" of the game is an entirely different flavor of horror from the first game and clearly you - and a lot of others - didn't find it particularly appealing. Again, it's just like Torque said: it's much more of an environmental horror than a more substantial horror. You're supposed to feel creeped out by the place you're in, by the atrocities committed there, about the implications of what's going on rather than being scared for your life as you run and hide from some shambling horror. I'm not trying to get you to find the game scarier than you did when you played it since what works for some doesn't work for others. As I said, your complaints about the game are all perfectly valid and justified.

Personally I found the place to be creepy, but that's just me. I was never really terrified or even "scared", but I had a continuing sense of unease throughout the game. I think that's what they were going for, a more subtle form of fear that just lingers in the back of your mind rather than taking a firm grip of your senses. I could be wrong. Perhaps they were trying to be as scary as possible. If that's the case then yeah, they really fell short of the mark.

One last note about the church:


I fully agree that the post-game discussion has been very enjoyable. In reality this has probably been my favorite part about the game because I really like such discussions. Again, I'm not trying to change your mind about the game, but rather just fill in the blanks of the story that you seemed to miss out on. I did something similar a long while back with Dragon Age 2. I fully agreed with the fact that the game was horribly designed, the mechanics were all wrong, the fights were obscenely repetitive wave-based nonsense, and the copy-pasted dungeons got REALLY old REALLY fast. The story, however, was something people took a real issue with and I thought that it was the one thing about DA2 that was defendable, so I defended it. Same goes with this game. I agree with all your criticisms excluding the one about the story being an incoherent mess. You can say that you just didn't like the story that was being told and that's fair enough, but all I've been arguing is that all the pieces are there for a complete and solid story.

I haven't finished it yet, and yeah, it's not as scary as the first one, but it still freaks me out and makes me extremely uncomfortable. I don't like the exclusion of the inventory, sanity, and the lantern oil/tinderbox thing, but I don't think it suffers because they're gone, necessarily. Well...maybe the sanity meter. But the other two not so much. I mean, I hardly used the lantern in the first one anyway, and I'm only using it in this one because my computers graphics can't handle it on the highest setting so everything's dark as shit and full of pixel-y mostly-opaque steam. -_-

I don't like to hear that there's no real conclusion/wrap-up/explanation though. I have a good theory for what's going on; if it's not what happened or isn't implied, I might have to make a story out of it...

abominableangel:
I haven't finished it yet, and yeah, it's not as scary as the first one, but it still freaks me out and makes me extremely uncomfortable. I don't like the exclusion of the inventory, sanity, and the lantern oil/tinderbox thing, but I don't think it suffers because they're gone, necessarily. Well...maybe the sanity meter. But the other two not so much. I mean, I hardly used the lantern in the first one anyway, and I'm only using it in this one because my computers graphics can't handle it on the highest setting so everything's dark as shit and full of pixel-y mostly-opaque steam. -_-

I don't like to hear that there's no real conclusion/wrap-up/explanation though. I have a good theory for what's going on; if it's not what happened or isn't implied, I might have to make a story out of it...

Well you're in luck there is a pretty damn good conclusion waiting for you. You might have to replay the game once more, or visit the forums to get the full gist of it.

abominableangel:
I haven't finished it yet, and yeah, it's not as scary as the first one, but it still freaks me out and makes me extremely uncomfortable. I don't like the exclusion of the inventory, sanity, and the lantern oil/tinderbox thing, but I don't think it suffers because they're gone, necessarily. Well...maybe the sanity meter. But the other two not so much. I mean, I hardly used the lantern in the first one anyway, and I'm only using it in this one because my computers graphics can't handle it on the highest setting so everything's dark as shit and full of pixel-y mostly-opaque steam. -_-

I don't like to hear that there's no real conclusion/wrap-up/explanation though. I have a good theory for what's going on; if it's not what happened or isn't implied, I might have to make a story out of it...

I just beat it tonight. I think it was a fun game, and had a very interesting story, or premise, but it was not scary at all. Like others said, most of the tension comes not from the monsters, but from the environment, as well as the history behind everything. The problem with that is that it doesn't make the game scary, just unnerving. If you look at this thread, you will see RJ 17 summed up the story quite well, and challenged the notion that it was incomplete(dont check it out if you do not want spoilers). The problem is that you have to read a lot of the letters scattered about to fully understand what is happening, as well as the implications of your characters decisions in the game.

All in all, I would say that it was a good game with a very interesting story; just not a good Amnesia game. The removal of tinderboxes and lantern oil kind of killed a lot of potential tension the game could have had. The first game had small bits of survival horror in it(do I save my tinderboxes, or use them now? Should I have my lantern on so I can see, as well as avoid insanity effects, or should I have it off to avoid monsters and preserve oil?) There was very little consequences for using the lantern in A Machine for Pigs, as

. It almost seemed pointless having it, aside from just being able to see. That is just my general thoughts on the game though. Feel free to hit the thread back up to share yours as well.

Lovely Mixture:

BleedingPride:

A Machine for Pigs isn't survival horror,

I know it's not. That was my point, it has the bare minimum incluson of mechanics for "survival-horror gameplay" but it's such a small part of the game that it can't even be considered a survival horror game. Dark Descent was survival horror, it made surviving monster encounters a core aspect of its gameplay.

I'll amend my walking simulator statement: "It's a walking simulator with a tiny bit of gameplay added."

Why should Amnesia be shackled to one type of horror? Why not explore other genres to see what they come up with? They did state this was an experiment that got bigger as the development went on, and as far as experiments go, they had mixed results. Gameplay was less scary, but the story, atmosphere, and sound design were great! The next game frictional makes will probably take notes from both predecessors. I guess we'll agree to disagree, because you seem more bitter about this argument than objective, but that's fine. It wasn't what you were expecting.

BleedingPride:

Why should Amnesia be shackled to one type of horror?

I never said it should. In fact, I consider the first game to be both psychological horror and survival horror.

BleedingPride:

Why not explore other genres to see what they come up with? They did state this was an experiment that got bigger as the development went on, and as far as experiments go, they had mixed results.

It was an experiment that they've done several times. They did Dear Esther, they did Korsakovia. They have done nothing new. Gameplay driven stories can not use the "they're experimental" defense, especially if they're by the same developer.

For Korsakovia and Dear Esther they had leeway, they were stand-alone projects, they could do whatever they wanted. For Amnesia they were doing an official sequel.

BleedingPride:

I guess we'll agree to disagree, because you seem more bitter about this argument than objective, but that's fine. It wasn't what you were expecting.

I only come off as bitter because every argument I've had with people defending this game seem to think that TCR can do no wrong.

I've backed up what's wrong with the game several times, but most arguments have been "your expectations were off."

It's not just that people's expectations were "off." They (as well as I) found the game to be bad, as both an Amnesia sequel or a stand-alone game.

It's not that hard to improve on the original Amnesia, some custom stories have done it well others have done it horrible. If you charge 15 dollars, people expect quality above the level of a mod that someone can make NOT below that level.

So far TCR has failed to deliver anything above that level. At this point, calling them a developer is generous.

There's a couple of typos in the review:

Paragraph one: "but ultimate succumbs to incomprehensibility."

Page 2, paragraph two: "like pulling the occasional level,"

Gosh this game is bad.

I didn't really mind removing the inventory. Tinder boxes and the oil were never an issue in TDD. I did mind, when it was obvious that the puzzle had been dumbed down to accomodate it. In one case there is even an pneumatic delivery system acting as an inventory so you can be chased by monsters without a floating cylinder in view. This really helped the narrative experience...

Graphics are too dark. London streets look like they were taken from Thief 1. The truck model is a joke.

The enemies are awfully animated. Yeah I know the nurses of Silent Hill had choppy movement too. But here it makes the pigmen unpredictable. You can't know when they will turn because they are doing these 180 degree instant turns and have no wind up animation. Their movement looks worse when they are running. Like a movie on fast forward.

The enemy encounters are somewhat improved, since most of the times you can't just die to make them disappear (the most glaring issue TDD had), but have to replay the encounter. I think Frictional did itself a disservice when they removed combat altogether in Penumbra: Black Plague. I might be the only one, but I like the botched combat system in the first Penumbra. Nothing like standing on a box trying to hit two undead dogs with a browstick to feel helpless and weak ;-)

The music is more annoying than mood building. Nothing like the piano music in the main menu in Penumbra: Overture.

If you like the predecessor or horror games in general avoid this at all cost. The chinese room clearly had not enough experience to develop a game of this scope.

Not surprised at all to see people not enjoying this game as much as the original. The Chinese Room should stick to what they know best, pretentious interactive fiction, instead of barging in on well beloved horror games.

I'll likely still end up playing this eventually, when it goes on sale, but it's disheartening to see such an awesome series not reach it's potential.

fromthepoisonwell:
Not surprised at all to see people not enjoying this game as much as the original. The Chinese Room should stick to what they know best, pretentious interactive fiction, instead of barging in on well beloved horror games.

I'll likely still end up playing this eventually, when it goes on sale, but it's disheartening to see such an awesome series not reach it's potential.

You really don't have to right to dictate, as a consumer, what the Amnesia series is and isn't, let alone call The Chinese Room's work pretentious when you obviously haven't played most of it.

TomWiley:

fromthepoisonwell:
Not surprised at all to see people not enjoying this game as much as the original. The Chinese Room should stick to what they know best, pretentious interactive fiction, instead of barging in on well beloved horror games.

I'll likely still end up playing this eventually, when it goes on sale, but it's disheartening to see such an awesome series not reach it's potential.

You really don't have to right to dictate, as a consumer, what the Amnesia series is and isn't, let alone call The Chinese Room's work pretentious when you obviously haven't played most of it.

I have played Dear Esther and watched at least partial play throughs of two of their horror games. So no, I have seen enough of it to judge their work. You're not required to play through a company's whole catalogue to judge them.

Also, lol wut? I absolutely have the right as a consumer to make and call the Amnesia series whatever I want. I honestly have no idea where you're coming from here. That's how capitalism works. We vote with our money to dictate products and companies. I don't like the looks of this game, so I'm not buying it and urging others not to buy it (at least till it's cheaper). That's not 'dictating' what the Amnesia series is any more than it should be. I'm not stealing any of the creator's artistic license by telling them and others that I don't like their game.

Screamarie:
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.

os the ending of Dd any other? either you throw a thing or you klick a few times against a few objects.

also- I like d that more because story matters to me. in amnesia, you get things on a silver plate, you know everything, there are no questions which you have to find out with sincere observation and brainwork.

ans one difference-amnesia is about terror. AMFP is about horror. about what we can become, about what we are capable of doing for love, or our twisted idea. its about real psychological illness and its intertwined with the first amnesia.

also, I found the plot not that hard to understand-its very important that you not only read all notes but also your journal.

why he got amnesia is speculation-he might have tried suicide after he woke up and saw what happened. what he tried to put out, why he split, what happened in Mexico, why he wanted the machine...

really its more about the story. the story of the firs is real old trope and overused.I knew just from the beginning what would happen and that is not helpful...in amfp I did knew it. it tool a bit, you have to puzzle out, remember and combine..

a story where some black goo chases you and you search for an asshole that lied to you and let you do shit..eh,is okay...

a story about not only the mind of mandus but about all our minds and what dwells in the dark corners of our soul, about the deathwish, about hate and despair and about the question, how much you would do to stop such atrocities. and how capable we´re are in lying to ourselves.
amnesia is about the outside and terror.

a machine for pig is about the horror, that is us.

amfp is more psychological, its more suspense and less terror.
so i like it more.

also-after 2 games its hard to call it a series and demand that the 2nd is like the 1st. These are 2 games in the same World but with a different story and a different mindset-but both are about madness, about the role of humans in our environment etc

also another thing-adding tinderboxes and oil would rather hurt immersion-because its the 19,century.. this is a facory, there are no candles and oil lamps--well maybe oil lamps, but no candles. its the time futurism is born, where poverty through industroalization takes place, where machines condemn a whole part of society into poverty and illness-I liked that, amfp took society with in and not only 2 or 3 people in a creepy old castle.
i do like both, but i like the 2nd more-i am not so into scares and terror and the predictability of the spawning monsters was annoying. solve this hear growl, wait in dark, get blurry, hear the crunchy sound. eh.

also-mandus has no nyctophobia-so there need for sanity-loss in dark. its just not logical.

Amnesia DD and amnesia amfp are just 2 different things-as said, the first is about terror, the second about horror. the first is about survival-terror, the second is about psychological horror. i like both, the 2nd more because of the great story and forcus (btw, the stone egg is NO orb-its a seashell. ;) but an orb is there. or shards. who bled madness.

fromthepoisonwell:

Also, lol wut? I absolutely have the right as a consumer to make and call the Amnesia series whatever I want. I honestly have no idea where you're coming from here.

Neither do I since I didn't say anything of the like.

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