Amnesia: A Machine for Pigs (Survival Horror)

Amnesia: A Machine for Pigs is a unique and terrible horror game experience. It’s the “sequel” (Not really) to Amnesia: A Dark Descent and is by far one of the least horrifying experiences in terms of horror games. This game is available on Steam for $20.00 USD and it has mixed reviews. Instead of this game being developed by Frictional Games it was instead developed by The Chinese Room and published by Frictional Games.

This review will be similarly formatted to my one about The Convenience Store except that this review is more negative than mixed and will be giving somewhat of a comparison to the previous game in the franchise.

Things that I hated about this game:

  1. Motion Blur:
    -This game is terrible when it comes to motion blur. Every single cutscene, flashback, and “chase” by a monster is followed by ridiculously bad motion blur. There is a setting within the game to turn it off, but that does nothing for the flashbacks and cutscenes. If you are someone who gets nausea because of motion blur, absolutely do not recommend this game. There were points within the game where even I, someone who doesn’t get sick from motion blur, felt like my eyes were being cauterized.
  2. Story:
    -This game’s story makes about as much sense as the last game. Here is a basic summary of the story (Yes, it does contain spoilers for the entire game. If you don’t want spoilers, don’t read this section): This game is set 60 years after the events of Amnesia: The Dark Descent and is an indirect sequel to the game, hence as to why I said “Sequel” earlier. You play as the character Oswald who is a wealthy industrial man who recently returned from a trip from Mexico. Oswald becomes sick, he has terrible weird dreams about his children and a machine and apparently he’s asleep for months (forget food, water, basic hygiene and other essential things). Oswald wakes up and hears his children call for him, so he explores his mansion looking for clues to where they are. He receives phone calls that are supposed to be cryptic but end up making the game look stupid and memories of his house that kill your eyes with motion blur (Actual quote from the first phone call you get: “Precious Eagle Cactus Fruit … Help us”). Anyway, Oswald goes down further into the “basement” of his house and finds this big machine with a bunch of pig slaves(?) operating it. He realizes that the machine tricked him into coming down there to release pig murderers onto the city to brutally murder all of the town. And, he realizes that the machine is part of himself and that his children were brutally murdered by his own hands. So, Oswald being the righteous man that he is, goes and destroys the machine once for all. The end. If that story sounds stupid, congratulations! You’re not the only one. Going through this game and realizing what the story is unfolding around me, is one of the funniest experiences I’ve ever witnessed in a game. Not funny in a good way either.
  3. Environment:
    -The actual environment of this game is so confusing. The mansion that he lives in is relatively small from the outside but enormous on the inside. Oswald owns a factory as well and based just off of what you play in the game, not only should it extend hundreds of kilometers across but also downward (bit of an exaggeration, but you get my point). Then, we have what decorates the inside of all these rooms. For some reason this mansion has so many doors but only a few of them open, this man has a huge factory but we only ever explore underneath and just a smidge above. There are pig statues everywhere you go and it just feels really out of place seeing them all. The beds are cages rather than beds, the rooms are designed for massive amounts of people but from what we know only a few lived there, and supposedly we have actual real neighbors around us but apparently they can’t smell the rotting corpses of hundreds of pigs that we have just laying around. Everything feels so out of place and I could go on and on but that would be wasting your time.
  4. Darkness:
    -Every horror game has some form of darkness that surrounds the player that makes them have to use a flashlight, lantern, glowsticks, the power of god, etc. This game makes you use a lantern that doesn’t run out of fuel. This would have been great because I hated having to search for fuel in The Dark Descent. However, the lantern does nothing to light up the always present darkness. When choosing images to use for this review, I had to choose the one that was illuminated the most because the game is so fucking bad. When playing I had to turn up the brightness to the maximum setting. Now, you as a self respecting gamer would think that turning up the brightness means turning up the brightness in game. You are completely wrong because it turns up the brightness of your computer instead! Why does it do this? I have no idea but after exiting this game I had to restart my computer because the brightness setting didn’t go away after closing the game. I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to be blind.
  5. Monsters:
    -Pigmen. Giant pigs. Done properly this could probably have been a somewhat scary enemy if it weren’t for the fact they look ridiculously out of place, the story wasn’t so bad, and that they didn’t run as fast as a diabetic turtle. It hurt me to put this review as “Survival Horror” because you survive nothing in game. The only thing you are attempting to survive is blindness, sickness, and depression while playing this game. I will give the first game credit where credit is due and say that the monsters in that game, while they did not impress me too much, were light years ahead of the monsters in this game.
  6. Puzzles:
    -I didn’t like the puzzles in Amnesia: The Dark Descent but I at least acknowledge that some thought and time was put into a few of them. There was none of that in this game. This game decided that puzzles should be there to waste your time. Here is an example: You’re going through the game and you see a giant door you need to open. This door can only be opened by two batteries that are powering… something. These two batteries are down very long corridors where there is the possibility of being chased by diabetic turtles. You grab them, you bring them to a giant spinning thing, you put them in the giant spinning thing, it spins, you get another liquid/battery thing and you put it in a slot to open the door. Puzzle solved. That is what you have to look forward to (if you choose to play this game).
  7. Sounds:
    -Why is there random out of place music in seemingly unimportant areas? Why is there people yelling underground? Why is there action music mixed with somber music when you see people get hilariously slaughtered by pig people? Why is there loud unimportant noises that happen when you are just walking around? Why is there bad sound? These are only a few of the questions you’ll ask when you play this game.
  8. “Jumpscares”:
    -I am using this term lightly. There is a way to do proper cheap jumpscares and a way to do proper good jumpscares. But neither of these were apparently noticed by The Chinese Room who just decided to make things move with irreparable ear damage to create a “Jumpscare”. This is common throughout the game, don’t expect much horror than this. I won’t even make a section for the atmospheric horror, because there is none.
  9. Notes:
    -While I didn’t really enjoy the fact that the story was being told through notes that were left around in The Dark Descent, I at least appreciated that they had someone voice over the notes so you didn’t have to read long paragraphs of text. This game says fuck that and just makes you read. Reading paragraphs of story is lots of fun, especially in horror games. Also, just like The Dark Descent, I hate having to read story through the notes because of the possibility of missing some (which I did and have no desire to go back and find) as well as stopping every few minutes to read your journal entries.
  10. Boss Rooms?:
    -Another aspect about this game that took me completely out of it is the boss rooms. For some reason near the end of the game you have to go against an electro pig as he shocks his way towards you. You’re in a giant open room with plenty of maneuverability or in giant corridors with ways just to easily go around him. It doesn’t make much sense as to why this is in the game, except to extend time or maybe add some sort of terrible gameplay.

Now, I could have said more but I think after this point it would just be nitpicking and that’s not too interesting. We’ll go onto what I liked about the game.

  1. Lantern:
    -I like how you don’t need fuel for it.
  2. Sanity:
    -I wasn’t big fan of the sanity system, now it’s gone.
  3. Pigs:
    -You can pick up dead pigs which is funny.
  4. Paintings:
    -This isn’t something I liked about the game, but I thought it was funny that there were so many paintings of nude women around the house as well as actual photographs of real life women nude. It feels like the developers had too much alone time.
  5. Concept Art:
    -Concept art for this game looks really cool, if you haven’t seen it before I recommend looking it up.

I couldn’t think of anything else I liked about the game. Overall I would give this game a 2/10. There are so many negative things I could say about this game and so little I could say that I genuinely enjoyed about the game. However that being said, there is a portion of people who did enjoy this game for it’s story much more than The Dark Descent. So, if you are one of those people who loved the story/lore of the first game, then you might like this game. If you loved the gameplay of the first, you most likely will hate this games gameplay. If this game hadn’t been connected to the Amnesia franchise and if the story and gameplay was more horror like, then this would be a decent horror game.

Game on Steam if you would like to check it out:
https://store.steampowered.com/app/239200/Amnesia_A_Machine_for_Pigs/

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