Amnesia: A Machine for Pigs

Amnesia: A Machine for Pigs

Are you ready to descend into nightmare? That's the offer that Amnesia: A Machine For Pigs is giving you.

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This is a dark journey, revealing plenty of scares and a well-crafted narrative on the way. It's not a game to be rushed. It's not about kill streaks or high-scores. Instead it's a chillingly scary story best enjoyed at a comfortable pace on a dark evening. Progression is less about mastery of the mechanics, more about how far the player pushes themselves to confront the horror they're enveloped in.

When the game opens there's not much to suggest what's happening. The only thing known for sure is that your children are missing and you need to find them. Something is very wrong in this empty mansion - blood smears adorn the walls, lights flicker and unseen forces crash off-screen. Occasionally you hear your children playing, or catch glimpses of them, but you never catch up to them.

Mysterious phone calls from an unseen ally encourage you to find a way out of the mansion and into the increasingly terrifying depths of a morbid factory. Confusing dialogue suggest the children have been playing where they're not supposed to. Locked doors mean the only way to progress is to steel your nerve and head further into the ghastly underbelly of the factory. The further you plunge, the more disturbing your surroundings are. Objects are covered in dirt, pools of excrement bubble in the industrial factory's bowels. It all makes for an impressively sickening setting.

Amnesia: A Machine for Pigs
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Visuals are suitably grim throughout A Machine For Pigs. The uninviting metal-work environments constantly threaten. Lighting serves its purpose well. Much of the game takes place in the darkness of claustrophobic corridors and dank industrial basements. Any light catches the eye, but heading towards it means leaving the safety of the shadows.

Unfortunately, in more open environments, disappointing draw distance and poorly textured assets are noticeable, but those barely impact lasting impressions of the game.

In-game audio is a masterclass of eerie sounds. As tension ramps up, the constant industrial humming meshes with a nerve shattering clamour of unmelodious piano chords and sharp violin strings. Listening for strange sounds can be essential to survival. Distant screams occasionally emanate from somewhere unseen. Every blind corner can lead to something startling.

Characters feel weighted and meaningful thanks to the impressive voice-acting. Player-character Oswald Mandus and the mysterious man on the telephone deliver some well acted (and written) dialogue throughout.

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Core gameplay is about exploration and environmental puzzles. The challenges vary significantly throughout. Some seem straightforward, while others have you searching every accessible area. Sometimes objects that need interacting with have been walked past several times. Sometimes what needs to be done is obvious, but how to do it is a mystery. Every shadowy corner needs to be searched, which leaves players vulnerable to the beasts that shuffle in the darkness.

You'll encounter some very dangerous monsters. You're only armed with wits and a lantern, so they can't be fought. Instead the objective is to sneak past them. Turn off the lantern, stick to the shadows and remain as quiet as possible. Being careless with the lantern or bumping into something can give you away. When this happens the only chance for survival is to run, hide and hope you weren't followed.

Amnesia: A Machine for Pigs

Unlike Amnesia: The Dark Descent, there's no inventory in A Machine for Pigs. Items are carried from one place to another, one at a time. This time there's no tinder boxes to collect because the lantern never burns out.

Survive long enough and the story falls into place. Initially it's hard to understand who you are, and why you're in this situation. Perseverance unearths audio and written records that fill in the blanks. The elegantly crafted macabre story engages, frightens and entertains. It demands, and deserves, attention. As the game accelerates towards its ending new twists and turns keep things interesting.

Overall, Amnesia: A Machine For Pigs achieves all it intends to. While sneaking, hiding, running away and solving environmental puzzles isn't everyone's idea of fun, players looking for a nail-biting horror experience could do worse.

It's an uncomfortable and haunting experience, packed with atmosphere and framed by a very strong narrative. Horror fans should definitely take a closer look.

08 Gamereactor UK
8 / 10
+ Excellent atmosphere + Well delivered story + Plenty of creepiness
- Not everyone's idea of fun -Minor graphics issues in open areas -May cause nightmares
overall score
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Amnesia: A Machine for PigsScore

Amnesia: A Machine for Pigs

REVIEW. Written by Jon Newcombe

"While sneaking, hiding, running away and solving environmental puzzles isn't everyone's idea of fun, players looking for a nail-biting horror experience could do worse."

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