Amnesia: A Machine for Pigs Review

Amnesia: A Machine for Pigs Featured

Amnesia: A Machine for Pigs Boxart

Developer: The Chinese Room
Publisher: Frictional Games
Platform: PC – GOG*, Steam

In my opinion, Amnesia: The Dark Descent spurred a resurgence in horror games when it launched in 2010. There had been games where you were weaponless and pursued by monstrous beings before, but this one hit it big. Frictional Games became far more well known than they had been with their entire Penumbra series and we still see the results of Amnesia’s popularity today.

However, the horror genre has already shifted in the years since its “relaunch”. Slenderman-focused games are the new hotness. In this environment, developer The Chinese Room partnered with Frictional Games and finally released Amnesia: A Machine for Pigs. How is this game, not compared to the previous Amnesia, but as its own horrific experience?

Amnesia: A Machine for Pigs Featured

There’s a lot to like about the game. For one, it has a strong atmosphere. From the initial mansion you trek through, to sewers, to everything else, it definitely looks the part of a very scary game. Even though there is often nothing to fear at the moment, the environment makes you feel that you should always be on your toes – ready to flee at the first strange sound or sighting. The music is also well placed, although some of the operatic tunes feel like they are trying too hard to create an emotional scene.

Monsters are plentiful in A Machine for Pigs but you won’t actually come across too many during play. At least, there are only minimal opportunities to actually be slain by one. This was a good decision because it allows more time to soak up the environment, instead of running in fear through it. Many letters are hidden around which prove interesting reads if you wander upon them. Primarily, they set up the back story and sometimes are quite creepy.

Amnesia: A Machine for Pigs Screenshot

The main issue to be found with the game is that the narrative just isn’t that incredible. It is an interesting concept, but is pursued in the most typical of fashions. We so regularly see men seeking to save someone else using violence or promising said violence. This is the case here. It would be more interesting to see grief or redemption pursued by different means. Even the creepy considerations of the titular “machine for pigs” are obfuscated by some really cheesy moments that drag down an otherwise scary experience.

Of course, there are already many out there who consider this the superior game to The Dark Descent. I am one of those people, although there are many places it could have been improved. There are a handful of moments that should have probably been clipped. At the very least, they could have stopped hammering on the whole pig terminology – it becomes plain silly! Even still, Amnesia: A Machine for Pigs is well-crafted and short enough (3-6 hours) game for horror fans to experience.

Score: 3.5

3 1/2 out of 5 alpacas

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