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.
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 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.