Machine for pigs, anyone?

Due to the shortage of good horror games, I tried the recently published Amnesia 2: Machine for pigs,the bizarre name of which hinted at some promise of cosmic horror.

The good:
Unlike the first Amnesia, this game is not that boring; it has an actual story and interesting environment to go with it (a big Victorian(?) house and a steampunk machine/factory).

The bad:
The game still retains some of the Amnesia feel: Most of it entails walking about in a monotonous environment. This is certainly not an ‘adventure game’ - there is no inventory,the puzzles are scarce and very easy, there is no ‘book research’,no real character interaction etc. The focus is on ‘telling the story’; the game is more like an ‘interactive movie’ than a game; you go forward, getting the story piece by piece, sometimes getting killed in the process.

While the plot itself is quite interesting, I believe a lot more could have been made from it.

Then there is the usual fare of this genre of games: boo-moments(sudden noises, figures moving in the dark, environment destruction etc.), frustrating avoiding of grunting monsters, darkness. If you like that, you will probably like Amnesia II.

If you do not…well, there is still the story.

For a horror fan, Machine for pigs is certainly more interesting than the first Amnesia, or similar games. But a full-fledged horror adventure it isn’t.

PS: There will be probably much talk of ‘atmosphere’. Now while Machine for pigs has an atmosphere, it certainly itsn’t my kind of horror atmosphere. I like to slowly move about a game, examining things, searching for hidden details,the sense of fear and desolation slowly filling my mind. On the contrary, the main ingredient of the atmosphere of Amnesia is panic. Which of course some people might like, as evidenced by the countless videos on youtube where silly people record themselves screaming while playing similar games, but it just isn’t my cup of tea.

That’s not to say there are no memorable moments in Amnesia2. For example, the scene of ‘invasion’ is great. I think that maybe the game should have ended right there for the greatest impact,instead of dissolving in the anticlimatic ending.

I’m actually playing The Dark Descent at the moment, it’s been sitting in my steam library since 2010! I’ve just fixed the elevator and am about to go down to the Prison (I know the Prison is next because I’ve been consulting the wiki from time to time).

The funny thing is the first hour is the scariest. Once you get used to the game’s atmosphere it’s quite easy to progress. Unlike Scratches which pretty much had me a nervous wreck…even though there was no “action” whatsoever. Although I expect Amensia probably ramps up from the Prison onwards.

Anyway I’m really enjoying it. First-person works well in adventure games. I loved Dear Esther so I’ll definitely try A Machine for Pigs at some stage.

Dear Esther is a favorite of mine, not because it is a mod/remake of a mod for HL2, because it had a good story that actually took some time getting adjusted to. People whine so much about how it is not a game when it obviously is.

AMfP is a touchy thing for some people due to the ‘Amnesia’ at the front of the game name. That immediately makes us compare the two games which is a shame because AMfP does not really live up to much that TDD left us. The only real thing that AMfP did better then TDD was tell a darn good story. I loved the story of it, it was really nice and it took some thinking after you were done. The problem is that the ending of the game sort of makes you feel confused because it did not really tie all the knots together. The horror in this game is almost pure atmospheric. The enemies are pretty few and scarce and when they do show up it is either to chase you down a hallway or to patrol an area you are in. The puzzles are also very bland compared to TDD, because the only puzzles there seem to be are replace objects or move things or break things. The lack of an inventory space/lack of sanity/health was also something that bothered me when I first played the game. Sadly the lantern was also a disappoint; mainly because it did not have a recharge mechanic thus you can have that turned on your whole way through the game.

If they removed the ‘Amnesia’ and kept it ‘A Machine for Pigs’ then I believe people would not be so critical about this title but, sadly, it does have the title and thus they are really critical.

[quote=“Tommy, post:2, topic:620”]I’m actually playing The Dark Descent at the moment, it’s been sitting in my steam library since 2010! I’ve just fixed the elevator and am about to go down to the Prison (I know the Prison is next because I’ve been consulting the wiki from time to time).

The funny thing is the first hour is the scariest. Once you get used to the game’s atmosphere it’s quite easy to progress. Unlike Scratches which pretty much had me a nervous wreck…even though there was no “action” whatsoever. Although I expect Amensia probably ramps up from the Prison onwards.[/quote]

I wouldn’t hold my breath :wink: From what I remember, Amnesia is a one trick pony, the mechanics of the scares remain the same for the whole game. I remember waiting for something exciting to happen , and never really getting it.

But perhaps your experience will be different. Mine might be influenced by being familiar with various torture instruments, perhaps somebody who sees them for the first time will be shocked :wink:

Reviews mentioning the linearity of this game have me more willing to wait on it. I loved the exploration in Amnesia, going from one environment to the next. Some people have described this game as railroaded, which isn’t a bad thing but takes away what I enjoyed most about The Dark Descent.

I have yet to play Dark Descent, although I do own it on Steam. I’ll probably get to it after I finish up Cognition. Haven’t gotten Machine for Pigs, though it’s on my wishlist for now. Gonna wait to pick it up on sale.

The way I’ve described it elsewhere is that AMFP is to TDD as Silent Hill 2 is to Silent Hill 1. AMFP isn’t scary, or even mechanically that good of a game. However, the story is fantastic, and there is plenty of stuff to think about and analyze. The story is as explicit as can be, but figuring out what is happening to Mandus, and what has happened in the past, is only hinted at. I personally love games I can spend hours trying to wrap my head around, so AMFP is a favorite of mine. I have quite a few theories regarding different things, but I’m constantly revising. I’d love to do another playthrough and see what new things I can find.

In response to DMC’s post where he explained his preference for an adventure game with lots of exploration and lore-reading, the recently released “1953: KGB Unleashed” is a very competent Myst-style bunker exploration mystery which I am currently enjoy playing. Its available on Steam for $9 and is well worth the try. Check it out!

P.S. The environments are beautifully rendered but it is fixed screen resolution but that shouldn’t be an issue for most indy-game players.

I agree with Tommy about The Dark Decent…once you are used to the game it really doesn’t scare you anymore. I was at one point afraid to even go near the outlines of enemies in the distance…now I just run passed them. I don’t think I’m going to get Machine For Pigs, not very interested after playing the original.