Review: Amnesia: A Machine for Pigs
The original Amnesia hit like a Mack Truck a few years back as it quietly but forcely entered the gaming scene with insane effects, difficult puzzles and dripping with atmosphere that left many screaming and others who could never even finish the title due to the amount of soiled drawers. I remember dimming the lights and cranking the sound, then regretting to do so, then doing it again and again just because the game was so darn good! Enter 2013 and developers The Chinese Room have taken over the reins and done so wonderfully. Although some of the tougher elements of the game, such as limited lamp oil seems to take the tension away a little bit, the core gameplay is still intact. This isn't for the Call of Duty crowd as it is more about story, exploration and trying not to Poop Your Drawers (PYD) throughout the process. Whether you are playing with a controller or mouse and keyboard, the game flows nicely and the onscreen help is actually.. helpful. This is a stunning title in a recent crop of stellar games, especially in the horror genre. Despite a few light hearted pieces of content, this is for only the strong willed gamer.. Enjoy!
You will PYD right here.
Graphics and Sound
The original Amnesia featured a strong engine full of creepy trailing effects, subtle lighting and plenty o' graphics options for us PC tweakers. Pigs continues that tradition and with a few texture resolution bumps, this title looks stunning. Although you are slugging around and running from creepy things or.. just sounds, the effects are handled nicely and the lighting in particular is effective in portraying a mood of dread and anxiety. Feel free to max out your settings on a beefy PC but don't even think about maxing out your SSAO samples because the game will slog, I promise. Otherwise, this is a solid package from Frictional and The Chinese Room. Just, don't say I didn't warn you about being in the dark most of the time, you will get scared, that I promise as well.
While the gameplay and graphics are excellent, the audio design of Pigs is nothing short of.. pick your description. Creepy? Stunning? Wonderfully terrifying? None of those descriptors really do it much justice but instead, you must crank this on a 5.1 surround sound system, a pair of above average headphones or whatever you can handle without PYDing. Kids giggle. Kids scream. Music boxes chime and then suddenly stop. Machine roar to life and then putter out. Things shuffle behind you. You get the point and you must experience it. Limited voice acting is also effective but the music stands out as both haunting and effective. Crank it kids, crank it loud.
You will also PYD here. And you won't even make it to the comode.
Do you like quality stories smothered in dread and exploration? 'Course ya do. Do you like having the s%@! scared out of you? Well then, Pigs is definitely a title that you can embrace. Even though the horror genre is not really my thing, the title drew me in due to its solid design in both level layout and most of all, audio pieces that are head and shoudlers above anything out there on the market. Although you won't be laughing, giggling or maybe even smiling during the game, you will have fun like a slower paced, slow burning funhouse filled with creepiness. Play it in the dark. Play it alone. Play it with the sound cranked and you will enjoy regardless of the small flaws is this game. Check our small gameplay clip below and you'll get a taste of what you are in for..
A fantastic (if you like being freaked out) albeit slightly less creepy outing than the first, Pigs still satisfies with a solid story and incredible audio design.