A machine for pigs: Piedmont student reviews new “Amnesia” game


by AUGUSTA GAILEY, Contributing Writer

My main thought when I played through “Amnesia: A Machine For Pigs” was simply “no.” No, I don’t want to follow that voice. No, I don’t want to go through that door. No, I don’t want to finish this puzzle. In true “Amnesia” fashion, “A Machine For Pigs” is a terrifying and psychological horror game with twists and turns that make you question your own sanity.

You play as Mandus, a man living during the Industrial Revolution in England trying to find his two sons who have been lost in the underbelly of a sinister machine that haunts his dreams. As you progress through the game, you begin to discover more and more about the machine and Mandus’ past that will shock you to the core.

Who do you trust? What do you believe? Just like in other Frictional and Chinese Room titles, it’s hard to tell.

After everything has seemingly spiraled downward and you think that you have an idea of what is going on, the ending of the game throws everything up in the air. It’s done in an elegant way that  leaves you seriously considering what has just happened and wondering if you have truly done the right and sane thing.

However, despite the amazing plot, terrifying atmosphere and more open world setting, “A Machine For Pigs” does not stand up to its predecessor. Gone are the days of scrambling to survive by finding lantern oil and tinder boxes. The new lantern runs on electricity and does not go out. The health and sanity systems have also been removed from the game, deleting an element of survival play that made “Dark Descent” so horrifying.

“A Machine For Pigs” is also very linear in game play. You are specifically directed where to go despite the growing difficulty of the puzzles as the game progresses.

“A Machine For Pigs” is more like the earlier “Penumbra series” by Frictional Games than “Dark Descent.” You see every enemy before you are forced to encounter them and there are few, if no, jump scares and sudden monster encounters like in “Dark Descent.”

That said, the monster encounters are still absolutely terrifying. You are now forced to either quickly hide in one of very few hiding places or strategically find away around them. If you are caught in an encounter, you will most certainly die after pausing the game, crying, and forcing yourself to start up again.

However, the main issue with “A Machine For Pigs” is how short it is. I was able to finish the entire game in about five to six hours. It feels like someone created a wonderful “Amnesia” mod and decided to charge for it. This does not detract from the atmosphere or plot though.

In my opinion, “A Machine For Pigs” just doesn’t stand up to its predecessor in the aspect of horror. However, it is still a thrilling and mechanically sound game that offers intense play for its duration. I highly recommend it and I know I will be replaying it again and again. It is currently available on Steam for Microsoft Windows, Mac OS X, and Linux.