Game Review- Amnesia: A Machine For Pigs

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When you start Amnesia: A Machine For Pigs, the sequel to Amensia: The Dark Descent, you know you’re in for a wild ride. From the graphics, to the plot, to the gameplay, this sequel lives up to Amnesia: The Dark Descent in every way.

There are many similarities between A Machine for Pigs and The Dark Descent. First of all, the gameplay is virtually the same. So if you’re a fan of having to actually turn wheels and open doors (as opposed to clicking on them and having them automatically move), this is all the same. This is a good way to set up the atmosphere in the Amnesia games because it forces you to have to open doors while a monster is chasing after you.

The puzzles are just as difficult in A Machine For Pigs as they are in The Dark Descent. They involve finding hidden levers and moving objects into different areas in order to advance in the game. Like the first game, some of these puzzles can be hard to figure out initially, so if you’re an impatient gamer, you may want to consult a walkthrough.

The main character, Oswald Mandus, has similar flashback sequences to Daniel. As you’re walking through the game, you will suddenly be slowed down as the screen goes fuzzy and you hear disembodied voices talking.

There is one big difference between the two games. People have complained that A Machine For Pigs doesn’t have a sanity meter. This may take some explaining because it actually makes sense that Mandus does not have a sanity meter. Daniel is insane in a different way than Mandus. Daniel has the shadow chasing him. Mandus is not being chased by the shadow and there is no reason why he would be driven more insane by darkness or the monsters he encounters. These reasons are made obvious as the plot unfolds. Mandus is able to see the pigs clearly. Basically, this is not what you’re getting:

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This being said, when you see the monsters in A Machine For Pigs, it isn’t as hard to get away from them because you’re not being driven further into madness by looking at them. In spite of this, the third type of monster in the game is still very difficult.

The Bad Stuff:

1)   One thing that is disappointing is the lack of inventory system. When you pick up a piece of a puzzle in one room and carry it into another room, you have to carry it in front of you the whole time. This can be a bit of a pain.

2)   A Machine For Pigs was slightly easier than The Dark Descent. Your lantern in the former doesn’t go out. This is one aspect that they should not have changed. This eliminates the challenge of having the lantern go out when you really need it the most.

3)   Unfortunately, there are not as many enemy encounters as in the first game. This results in the game feeling like more of a scary puzzle game than a survival horror game.

4)   The monsters are easy to outsmart. You’re not going insane when you face them so it is easy to get away from the monsters by hiding from them.

5)   The game has a way of warning you when you are about to encounter an enemy. This is not as bad as it sounds because the game doesn’t actually say: “MONSTER NEARBY.” It’s an in-game cue that you pick up after playing for a while. This is disappointing because it takes away from the surprise of being suddenly killed or turning the corner and having one waiting there for you.

6)   One small design problem: somehow all the desks in this universe are exactly the same. All the desks in Brennenburg Castle in 1839 had three small drawers on the left and one big drawer on the right. Somehow, all the desks in London in 1899 look exactly the same.

Good stuff:

1)   This game is absolutely beautiful. From the graphics to the concept designs—the Chinese Room has developed a completely stunning game, that’s fun to look at if you can’t appreciate anything else about it.

-110413 WC (6)2)   As opposed to The Dark Descent, A Machine For Pigs has many variations in scenery. This makes the wonderful graphics even more enjoyable. The first game took place only in Brennenburg Castle. The second game starts in Mandus’ home, then moves to his courtyard, the nearby church, the streets of London, oh yes, and the depths of the piggy machine.

3)   If you’re a big horror fan, then you’ll appreciate the amount of wonderfully disturbing, graphically violent, metaphoric imagery in this game. You’ll see a rotten pig carcass on a cross in the church, thick trails of blood in claustrophobic hallways, and walls and floors covered in rotten flesh, bones, and feces.  Oh yes, there will be poop—a lot of poop. What do you expect? It’s a game about pigs.-110413 WC (2)

4)   There is a new medium of fear used in the sequel that was not used in the first game. The Gatherers in Brennenburg Castle don’t have any distinct sounds. However, while you wander through the depths of the machine, you’ll hear squeals and snorts that will make you want to immediately run away and hide. Sometimes you can’t, though. Sometimes you’ll be in the middle of solving a puzzle when the squeals draw nearer and you can only hope that you’ll be done in time to get out alive.

5)   Mandus’ personality is very interesting. PewdiePie spends a long time in his walkthrough complaining about how little of a personality Mandus has. This is because PewdiePie didn’t read any of the notes nor did he listen to any of the flashback conversations that Mandus had. Mandus is an interesting fellow because he seemed to have somewhat of a hero complex. He wanted so badly to help people and to save the world, but he ultimately and violently failed everybody he loved. In the end, he finds out that he is more of a monster than a hero.

6)   This is not a completely new world with a similar concept to the first game.  A Machine For Pigs is a true sequel with continuity, even if it doesn’t seem like it at first.

7)   Unlike Daniel, Mandus wasn’t stupid. Daniel bought his memory loss upon himself. Mandus lost his memory through circumstantial problems.

8)   They decided to bring back one monster from the first game, which seems kind of cheap at first. You’re not quite sure what to do with it when you first encounter it. Then you read an explanation of what it is, which is nice because no explanation was given in the first game. Once you get into the next area, the game takes a surprise turn and you must face this monster in a way you never had to in the first game.

9)   In both games, the cursor signifies what can and cannot be picked up. Almost everything in The Dark Descent can be picked up and thrown about. This can get annoying because it is hard to tell what is an important item and what is not. This problem is fixed in A Machine For Pigs. There are not as many items that can be picked up. However, you can throw around random rotten pig carcasses, which is quite fun when you’re scared and want to procrastinate.

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10)   As explained above, the ever-lit lantern was a little bit of a disappointment. However, A Machine For Pigs does not permit you to use the lantern at all times. When a monster is chasing you, you must turn off your lantern and make your way through the area in the dark. If you keep it on, you attract the monsters to you. Depending on your brightness settings, you may find yourself wondering in almost total darkness, using silhouettes to guide you, as you listen to the thumping, squealing, and snorting get nearer.

This game deserves a 5 out of 5 stars. A lot of people are going to argue about that. This game has been met with a lot of controversy amongst fans. This is because these fans just wanted it to be the first game. The people who were disappointed in A Machine For Pigs felt this way because of the gameplay. They wanted the game to be harder. They wanted the sanity meter and the old lantern back. However, A Machine For Pigs clearly isn’t The Dark Descent and it wouldn’t have been as good if it was. Machine For Pigs isn’t about the gameplay. If you want to play The Dark Descent, go play The Dark Descent. If you want to immerse yourself in a work of art, play A Machine For Pigs.