Review: Amnesia: A Machine for Pigs

Amnesia: A Machine for Pigs: a church altar draped with dead pigs
Before you start being offended, think of how the pigs must have felt!

Those days – when you wake up without a memory and then are stalked by a pig-man, who tries to kill you in a vast labyrinthian underground meat processing plant at the turn of the last century.

‘Amnesia: A Machine for Pigs’ was a fantastic, creepy ride. It took all that stopped me from finishing its predecessor and threw it over board or at least reduced it to a minimum. While ‘The Dark Descent‘ was closer to a classic adventure game, with more elaborate (and annoying) puzzles, an inventory and a lot of backtracking, ‘A Machine For Pigs’ is closer to a walking simulator and therefore a much tighter experience. Freed from boring gameplay mechanics like going-insane-because-I-can’t-find-a-match, and cleverly guided through the levels, I was able to concentrate exclusively on the things I enjoyed about the game. The writing is absolutely great, as is the voice acting. I really enjoyed discovering the gruesome story, which, while pretty over-the-top, stayed mostly interesting throughout the entire game and even managed to give a satisfying ending – a thing that is seldom witnessed in video games or life in general.

Amnesia: A Machine for Pigs: a dimly lit corridor
Sometimes it’s like walking in a painting.

It’s not just the inner values that count. ‘A Machine for Pigs’ is beautiful. Regardless wether you wade knee deep in blood or fecal matter or both, I often paused just to take a look at the scenery. Sometimes the art design reminded me of the Bio Shocks, but I prefer that it has a more realistic feel to it. The sound design also is great. The developers made a better use of agonized pig squeals than most Death Metal bands. I also appreciated the restrained use of the very good music (no Death Metal, though).

Yes, there were still things, that I could have done without. Too much running away from pig-men for example, or that short part in the middle, where the story lost me for a moment, but those are minor complaints.

I really enjoyed my three and a half hours with ‘Amnesia: A Machine for Pigs’. That may sound like a rather short experience, but I prefer a tight compact game, that keeps me excited end-to-end, to a artificially drawn out Alan Wake-like experience – at least as far as story driven games are concerned. What have I learned? There are horror games out there that I can actually enjoy and kids are great for cleaning clogged up steam vents, when they manage to get out in time.

Amnesia: A Machine for Pigs: a view from inside a box
Yes, I had to restart the game because I got myself stuck in a box permanently.

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