By Cameron M. Bray ’16
8 out of 10
The house rattles and shakes, the telephone rings, grotesque monsters roam the eerie darkness, an infernal machine roars beneath the floor.
Only the calls of children beckon the player forward.
Enter “Amnesia: A Machine for Pigs,” by Frictional Games for the PC and Mac.
The year is 1899 (60 years after “Amnesia: The Dark Descent”): Players take the role of wealthy industrialist, Oswald Mandus months after being struck by fever from a disastrous expedition in Mexico.
During his slumber, he dreams of a thundering hellish machine somewhere in the murky gloom.
Now, Mandus wakes in the gloomy darkness that is his home. His children creepily call him forward, beckoning him to find and rescue them.
To progress in the game, players, similar to “Amnesia: The Dark Descent,” have to sneak past monsters in the darkness and solve brain teasing puzzles.
However, players no longer have a sanity meter that drains while in darkness. Nor do players have a visible health meter and an accessible inventory screen.
Despite these changes, players can still pick up physical objects and will often have to interact with the environment to progress in the game.
The puzzles, however, can be a bit obscure in terms of what the player is supposed to do.
This can often lead to several frustrating moments when the player is clueless about the objective, thus killing the tension as you wander aimlessly down the empty hallways looking for clues.
In terms of physiological horror, “Amnesia” still reins as king.
The horror from the game comes from its polishing and little touches.
The house is enveloped in darkness with only a few dim electric lights.
It creaks, moans and groans, which startles the player who is accustomed to silence.
Certain doors slam shut when being opened as if by some opposing force.
The house is riddled with secret passages leading to the many nooks, crannies and crawlspaces.
From these passages the player can peer into the hall through the “paintings,” which disguise one-way glass.
From the many noises and polishes the game has to offer, the player’s mind begins to wander.
When will the next scare come? What horrors await farther down?
The player’s imagination does the work for them.
In the darkness, the player hears screeches and screams, and begins to imagine what lies ahead, making “Amnesia’s” horror most powerful.
“Amnesia” does not come in full force immediately.
It paces itself, throwing only so much terror at the player at a time, creating a frightening sense of woe and despair for the player.
As a whole, “Amnesia” hits the mark.
The stealth and puzzles work well enough. They are the game’s weakest point, but they don’t ruin it.
The horror and the story are the game’s strongest points. They are both well done and are gripping enough to immerse the player in the experience.
“Amnesia: A Machine for Pigs” still remains unmatched in terms of horror and as a catalyst for insomnia, and for that reason it gets an 8 out of 10.