Wot I Think: Amnesia – A Machine For Pigs

Fear is the event of the season. We shouldn’t be surprised. As Ol’ Grandfather Gillen pointed out so long ago, it’s something that games are good at. It might be the thing that they are best at. Amnesia: The Dark Descent was one of the highlights in that regard: a world where vulnerability and atmospherics smothered you like the pillow in the hands of a maniac. Its sequel, A Machine For Pigs, wants to pull off the same tricks. Only more. Only worse.

The horror? The horror? Here’s wot I feel.

A Machine For Pigs is set in Victorian London, initially in a fabulous (and deeply sinister) mansion, and then in the works of some large industrial complex, adjacent to and beneath the mansion itself. The protagonist, the person in the “first-person” of this horror, is Oswald Mandus, who has woken to find he cannot remember the intervening months. Immediately he sets out to find his children, muttering about his worries for them. You begin to find things amiss: cages on the beds, a house full of disturbing objects, and the darkness of the situation rapidly escalates. Mandus’ is an unreliable first-person narrator, and it’s not clear whether some of what he sees is “real” in the context of the game. Some of it is real, however, and what he sees means the horror of what has happens spirals out into unfathomable ghastliness.

It is a game space filled with moments of dread. Even static things have a capacity to worry, because they are imbued with terrible implication. Someone had been trying to bury something in the graveyard. It was the corpse of a pig, and something else that looked like a pig.

But it wasn’t a pig.

A Machine For Pigs is deeply faithful to Dark Descent, and it probably suffices to say that those who enjoyed the previous game are already – rightfully – on board with this sequel. It has the same sense of looming threat, but it is larger, and filled with far more impressive environments. It’s certainly as frightening as its predecessor, at least in individual moments, if not as a sum. Dark Descent simply left a strong residue of fright. There’s no sanity meter, either. Which is understandable, but a big loss to the overall experience.

As Mandus’ search for his children becomes more frantic, so the narrative begins to creep its way in. Recording devices, telephone calls, visions and hallucinations, recollected conversations, and Mandus’ own mutterings all feature. These elements are handled well in parts, and not in others. I was put off by the frequent telephone calls from “the engineer”, even though that presence in the game was so of sensibly delirious, and urgent. It nevertheless felt unnecessary. The structure and atmosphere of the game carries you along without such narration tricks, and I am not sure the engineer’s added urgency really helped other than to point out that this is, of course, an elaborate haunted house/ghost train. Which is something developers need to avoid doing.

I mean no disrespect in this. Some people will never get on with this sort of design, admittedly, but it’s a linear horror game, so of course it’s going to be based around scares, dangers, puzzles, and set-piece spooks, but it’s the times when you are take away from the total absorption in the game’s atmosphere that you begin to become aware of its tricks. Horror design is about concealing that, and constantly maintaining the sense of threat. Some aspects of A Machine For Pigs’ story-telling seem to meddle with that too much.

One point at which this breaks down for A Machine For Pigs, is that it overdoes the “glimpse of something” spookiness towards the start, so that when I did eventually encounter one of the true, physical abominations that stalk the game, I expected it to disappear. Rather than being horrified when it did attack me, I was just surprised and annoyed. I suppose that surprise could have been the intention, but it didn’t quite play out in a way that informed horror.

Another aspect which grated was the children-as-apparitions aspect, which time and again haunts horror games and films. There is, frankly, nothing scary about the distant spectral laughter of children, at least not when you’ve heard it a thousand times before. It’s something I would like to have seen given as much thought and imagination as the rest of the game, which is, well, brilliant.

I could probably recommend A Machine For Pigs purely on the basis of its sound design. Few games pay as much attention to piling tension and startling you with sonics in the way that this does. It staggers violently between throbbing threat and violent, shuddering screams: sometimes of pigs, sometimes of tortured metal and failing machines, always of something that puts needles into that bit of your phrenology marked RUN AWAY. Going to open a door and having it BANGBANGBANGHOWL in your face is enough of a jump scare, but when the sound goes on and implies some vast machine starting up in the Earth beneath you, and architecture is buckling and coming down around you, and then pigs are screaming on the other side of the walls.

Oh god.

It escalates, too. The initial game is tense, and disturbing, but as you descend into the machine, things become almost unbearable. I had to take my headphones off and go and stand in the sun at one point in the midst of the game, before sitting down and forcing myself to stop being a wuss. Power through, Rossignol.

As before, this is a game without weaponry – there’s a rifle on the wall in the mansion, which the devs knew everyone who played the game would go up and click on – and so Machine For Pigs has a focus on puzzles and physicality which is wholly admirable. Few games remember that we’re in an age where physics manipulations of all kinds of objects are now not only possible, but also wholly understood by players. That bit at the start of Half-Life 2 where we have to put the can in the bin to proceed? That taught a generation that first-person physics was going to be a thing. Amnesia is one of the few games that remembers that lesson. If only it remembered it consistently throughout the game. If only all the design had been based upon that ideal, as it had in Dark Descent.

The puzzles range from obtuse and frustrating to completely brilliant. I won’t spoil any, but there are a couple that made me smile with joy – they made me feel smart for getting them – and some others which made me sigh. The sighs were never enough to put me off, however, even though they were frequent. Too often found myself pulling levers at random. The AI, too, provides us with some things to worry about. You can usually escape just by legging it, but there are times when the randomness of the creatures wrongfoots you, and ugh.

I don’t know if A Machine For Pigs is the scariest game that we’ll see this year, and I haven’t played Outlast, which made precisely that claim. What I do know is that – my listed reservations aside – this is a marvellous, revolting, disturbing sequel to Dark Descent. I am certain that it will be loved and feared. It coils atmosphere around the player, and the central metaphor of the pigs is one that you will be repulsed to explore. Its aim was to create horror. And from the moment I exited the mansion and began to find my way into the dark interior of the game, I knew they’d succeeded.

Amnesia: A Machine For Pigs is available September 10th 2013.


  1. Carbonated Dan says:

    Please give Outlast a shot Jim.

  2. Jake says:

    Can’t wait. It’s the intrigue that makes this more appealing to me than Outlast, my mind is already racing with ideas just from the title of the game alone.

    • LennyLeonardo says:

      Some people enjoy ghost trains.

      • BROWNY09 says:

        “You can’t trust people to like the right things”. Just because you don’t like it doesn’t mean other people are wrong. Maybe they feel the same way about you. Does that mean you’re both not liking the right things? Or maybe You both are liking the right things because it’s you think its right…If that made anysense.

    • Jake says:

      Just finished it – great story, very Lovecraftian prose. Not especially scary and with no real puzzles, but engrossing to play through. I like it more than Amnesia – definitely less stressful to play – but less than Penumbra.

      • Ruffian says:

        Penumbra and it’s sequel are my favorites of the bunch as well. though I suppose that could just be kind of a bias brought on by the fact that it/they were the first games of their kind I had played.

  3. rei says:

    It’s a relief to hear this isn’t a disappointment. I’m generally very bad with horror, so I’m a little proud of the fact that I actually played and finished the first game. Once more unto the breach!

    • Anguy says:

      Haven’t started the first game yet since I’m also pretty bad when it comes to horror games but it gives me confidence to finish it someday that you seem to be too scared to finish horror games as well and completed it :)

      The only real horror game I finished was Silent Hill 3 but I never played alone. SH2 I started as well but since I had to play alone stopped after a while because it was just too damn creepy and scary

      • dmastri says:

        Silent Hill was quite spooky, but also nonsensical in that Japanese way. I think that really helped in keeping it from scaring me away.

        Amnesia on the other hand was terrifying. I am a grown adult male. I am not afraid of the dark. I am afraid of taking one more step in the world of Amnesia.

        • Anguy says:

          Furthermore third person perspective tends to be a little less spooky than being fully imersed because of first person gameplay like in Amnesia.

          Well I at least have to try to play a bit of Amnesia sometime in the future…

          • Jake says:

            I disagree, 3rd person is great so long as you are able to empathise with the character. First person can sometimes backfire if you are irked by the person you are meant to be – the voice acting in Amnesia pulled me out of the game somewhat.

            Also I think the scariest thing about Silent Hill (2 in particular) was that it actually did make sense. Years after the jump scares are forgotten I still think back about that story. It ranks alongside the film Martyrs as ‘things that have cost me the most sleep’. Fantastic.

        • mr.black says:

          “I am a grown adult male. I am not afraid of the dark. I am afraid of taking one more step in the world of Amnesia.” Back of the box pullquote as one can dream of!

      • Turkey says:

        I can pretty much play any third-person survival horror game without any trouble. The buffer between you and the main character helps a lot.

  4. gunny1993 says:

    ‘I had to take my headphones off and go and stand in the sun at one point in the midst of the game, before sitting down and forcing myself to stop being a wuss. Power through, Rossignol.’


    Quite frankly if I don”t hear the sound of children laughing in a horror game I feel uneasy. I blame Stephen King.

    • mangrove says:

      Stand in the sun? Horror during the day is for the WEAK.

      Me? I’ll be playing this properly. At night. With headphones full volume. Naked and smothered in lard, the ashes of my late grandmother spread around my feet. Perched at the top of a folly in a lighting storm while my butler, Pissquims, randomly tasers a pig and rubs it over my haunted ashen FACE.

    • belgand says:

      Children in general are deeply unsettling little parasites that emerge from people’s bodies in a terrifying fashion. I cannot understand how people are not inherently frightened and apalled by them.

      Blame the Victorians though for the whole “innocence of children” nonsense that inspires the trope.

  5. Gap Gen says:

    Tangentially related, I have a Malaysian friend whose family keeps pigs, and he says that they can tell when one of them has been marked out to be slaughtered, and the whole herd cries through the night. They’re smart animals, and I imagine that future more civilised societies will be horrified that we bred them for meat (in the way that people now are horrified by making bears dance or dogs fight, say – deliberately keeping away from parallels with cruelty to humans because the ethical comparisons there are a whole can of internet-debate-worms probably not worth opening up).

    • gunny1993 says:

      Not smart enough to stop tasting so damn good.

    • drewski says:

      Future more civilised society: “…what are pigs?”

      • Gap Gen says:

        Yes, it’s true that a lot of meat animals will probably become virtually extinct in the event that eating meat dies out (which won’t happen for ages, I guess). I’m unsure I get the argument that, say, a cow particularly cares about the survival of its species on an abstract level, but eh.

        • gunny1993 says:

          link to youtube.com


        • kael13 says:

          I think more like, we’ll be growing it, rather than slaughtering animals.

        • Jeremy says:

          I have a few questions in regards to this, and they’re legitimate questions, with no intention for snark/sarcasm/douchbaggery.

          1) What is your stance on population control? Deer hunting, yearly alligator thinning, etc.
          2) In the event that we stopped using cattle and pigs for meat, are these animals going to be euthanized, released into the wild? Euthanization seems unnecessary, and releasing cattle will create plenty of extra problems (at which point we would have to start using population control methods)
          3) Would you be okay with an entire species disappearing because we no longer eat their meat?

          I don’t see meat eating as a carry over from a more primitive era, but it does seem that the quantity which we consume has increased to an unsustainable level.

      • noerartnoe says:

        The company/product is called Long Pig, haven’t you read Transmetropolitan? :p

        (Long Pig == cloned human meat/body parts. Two examples from transmet would be: foot/calf-onna-stick and eating eyeballs instead of popcorn.)

        • gunny1993 says:


        • Nick says:

          long pig is an old term for human meat.

        • thebigJ_A says:

          Yeah, sorry. ‘Long pig’ is just a term for human meat, one that’s been around for forever. It’s not from that comic, and doesn’t mean cloned anything.

        • Muzman says:

          It’s specifically a Polynesian expression for White People

        • thebigJ_A says:

          It’s specifically a Polynesian/Maori expression for human flesh, not white people. It was reported by European explorers in the 1850s, who were often the first white people seen by those being reported about.

        • Muzman says:

          Well when some Fijian calls you that, it doesn’t mean they’re going to eat you. Just that you’re tall and pink.
          (surely earlier than that as well)

        • belgand says:

          Rudy Rucker’s “Freeware” also had cloned human meat… but with a better eye to marketing. The meat in question was from the clone of an attractive human woman (and significant tertiary character in the series) cheekily named Wendy who posed for the ads nude on a giant bun with the slogan “Eat Me”.

          The first three books in the series are excellent and are now available for free online.

    • Bull0 says:

      I think it’s specifically the “condemn it to death and leave it overnight with the others, so they can all freak out about it together” bit that’s barbaric there

      • Gap Gen says:

        Well, it’s interesting that they can tell (unless the only time a human comes and points at one of them is when they’re going to kill it). But I don’t know if abattoirs are particularly more civilised places, if you’re going to compare small rural farmers to the Western meat industry (and granted, I’m sure the EU is a lot better than the US, regulating animal welfare more heavily in general).

        • Bull0 says:

          Yeah, I’m not saying abattoirs are civilised places, clearly, but “My friend is employing nazi-style death camp tactics with his pigs, therefore raising cattle is barbaric” is a bit of a funny one

    • bstard says:

      I hope to think so. The trends are certainly going that direction: organic meat production is a big step in civilization over the lowbrow meat caveman we’re mostly are today. We still have people like gunny1993 who aint smart enough to understand this, but well, Rome wasnt build in a day.

      • gunny1993 says:

        And you clearly don’t understand the economical and ecological implications of organic meat in terms of: Land use, Food use, medicine use and the cost implications of said.

        Or grammar.

    • TsunamiWombat says:

      People are permitted their beliefs and lifestyle choices but I swear to god if one of you bleeding hearts tries to take my pork It will be war. I will duel any man to the death for my GOD GIVEN RIGHT to consume bacon.

      I don’t care if we force the condemned pigs to wear black sashes, marking their deaths for the world to see and spend the night taunting them with the pre-recorded sounds of their weeping families, their suffering will only make the meat that much more delicious.


      • Jeremy says:

        Well, that escalated quickly.

      • Finjy says:


      • mr.black says:

        Actually it would be best to assassinate them Splinter Cell-style, cause stress reduces the quality of meat. I love me some pork, but if we want the best of.. them.., they mustn’t know we’re coming!

    • realitysconcierge says:

      Man and seeing what sort of conditions they live in is really appalling… Especially the pregnant ones

    • Premium User Badge

      Phasma Felis says:

      Conversely, I’ve read an American small-farm pig breeder who says that the pigs don’t even react as they’re led to the slaughterhouse and he takes out the knife. (Or…whatever it is you kill pigs with. Captive bolt gun?) He said they fear pain and fear itself, but not death; as long as the kill is quick and clean and there’s no time for the pig to panic and sweat fear-smell everywhere, the rest of them don’t give a damn.

      How does your friend’s family slaughter their pigs? I’d suspect they’re not very humane.

      • airmikee99 says:

        They probably don’t react because they’ve been gassed with CO2 first.

        Doesn’t matter how smart or dumb a creature is, it can’t react when it’s unconscious.

        • Premium User Badge

          Phasma Felis says:

          Sounds humane, then, doesn’t it?

          But no, I don’t think this guy gasses them. Here’s the link.

          “The pigs simply don’t care. They will stand around and watch you slaughter all day long without showing any signs of stress or upsetness. Death doesn’t bother them in the slightest. You can slaughter a pig in front of other pigs and they just go about their business, socializing, grazing and even wonder if perhaps they can get some of that delicious meat.”

  6. Bull0 says:

    You either put the can in the bin, or you rebelliously bounced it off the metro-cop’s head, and skipped away, giggling uncontrollably, until he caught up with you and bashed your head in.

    • mwoody says:

      Weird little aside: That whole scene in the Oculus Rift is taken to an entirely new level. I actually caught myself yelling at the guards and getting in their faces.

      That was, of course, before the nausea overwhelmed me, unfortunately. I wish Source could inherit height/IPD settings from Unity’s profile system.

  7. thegammaray says:

    Does the game allow the user to turn off the wooziness effect? I enjoyed the atmosphere of Dark Descent, but I got motion sickness every time I tried to play it.

  8. stahlwerk says:

    Are there “Run away from the wall-busting Monster through a narrow / flooded passage with slow opening handle-operated gates”-sequences?

    I have to know.

    • Ovno says:

      In the bit like that from the potato sack dlc I was shaking so much I couldn’t open the door and got horribly murdered….

  9. Kaen says:

    You missed an e.

  10. Hunchback says:

    I am too scared to play that.
    The first game made me shitmyself a billion times in 15 minutes, at which point i had to delete it or die of a heart attack in my chair.

    Which is sad, i like the story, looks interesting and all. I am just too much of a pussy to play horror games. Especially ones like that, which won’t allow you to plow through them to avoid the scare factor, one such as F.E.A.R for example…

  11. Drake Sigar says:

    So go forth RPS readers! Love it, buy it, never actually play it.

  12. The Random One says:

    Thank you for powering through this, Jim. I haven’t even played the first Amnesia out of SHEER TERROR. If I had to play this like you did my review would probably be a single, continuous, garbled, Homsar-like scream-moan.

  13. ZyloMarkIII says:

    I guess I’ll be squealing like a wee lass when I play this game.

  14. airtekh says:

    Awesome. I loved The Dark Descent, and can’t wait to get stuck into this, have it pre-loaded and ready to go.

    Gotta finish Outlast first though – I’m having a bit of a mini-horror marathon.

  15. tellrov says:

    I liked Amnesia very much and got pretty scared first time playing it. I shouldn’t have played it again however, because I then realised how many of the tense situations and sounds and such were fabricated without being of any real threat to the player. And that’s probably gonna stem my enjoyment of this game since I’ll be expecting the same thing. Basically Jim’s “glimpse of something” part but throughout the whole game, at every loud sound or surging piece of music. “Eh, it’s nothing”

    • gunny1993 says:

      Take the reverse of that situation and you get a game where you expect to be jumped on all the time, loosing any semblance of tension *cough* dead space *cough*

      Only way to really beat that is

      1: Never play the game again
      2: Randomly generate the scary sounds and actual attacks (which let’s face it, is impossible under current tech)

      • gunny1993 says:

        That word there is: Current

        Maybe it can be done, but i seriously doubt it can be done and still maintain the reaction quality that games like amnesia achieve. And unless you were to put a hell of a lot of work into an engine that could randomly generate all the complex sounds at the correct moments along with visual effects to accompany them at the right times, it would still generate from the same algorithm resulting in events that can be seen to repeat.

        Even random number generators aren’t truly random

        • thebigJ_A says:

          Much of the first Amnesia *was* randomly generated, actually.

          It’s one thing you realize the second time through. Oh, there are still set-pieces, like the water sequence, but much of what happened to you didn’t have to, at least not in that way.

          I spent an hour tensely creeping through a part of the game, my second time thru, that had had me running and hiding for dear life from beasties and noises the first time. It was only at the end, when nothing had happened at all, that I made the connection. (That was probably the only bit that was better on the 2nd run, actually. The self-inflicted tension of it was excellent.)

    • Baboonanza says:

      You’re correct that the scariness of Amnesia is an illusion and as soon as you stop believing in it the magic is gone, but that’s inescapable in a computer game without any meaningful consequences. For me the first crack appears when you die. By resurrecting the player the lack of consequences becomes immediately obvious, so finding the right difficulty balance must be pretty important.

      But all escapist media requires a suspension of disbelief by the player and the Amnesia devs are so good at creating the horrific atmosphere that it can get away it imo.

    • Vandelay says:

      I had this experience too. I didn’t complete the game on my first playthrough (not through wimpy-ness, I must quickly add, I just got distracted by other games,) and I felt rather lukewarm to it on my return. I’m normally fine replaying even the most linear games, but I really did feel as if I was just walking about a creaky house. Atmospheric certainly, but lacking the tension my first visit had. I think I only played for an hour or two end, not getting anywhere the section I reached originally.

      I really should go back and play it properly, as I am sure the dread will return once I reach the pieces I hadn’t played. Perhaps I’ll just get hold of a save game.

      • Bull0 says:

        A good tactic is to not run away, but go and look the beastie in the face, and even let it kill you and reload, then it’s no longer unknown and no longer scary. That’s the only way I think I’d ever be able to complete an Amnesia game. Which is sort of cheating really and I respect the craftsmanship at work :D

  16. Baboonanza says:

    This needs Occulus Rift support. Just the thought of it makes me want to soil myself (although I have had a stomach bug all weekend so that may be coincidental)

    • gunny1993 says:

      Que the hundreds of reports of people getting whiplash trying to look behind them.

      But hell yeah that would be good, not sure how much of your vision the occuls screen fills but if it goes as far as the prefieres you could open a new door in horror using it.

  17. strangeloup says:

    The first screenshot appears to have a pig in a luchadore mask, which I am entirely on board with.

    I’m not sure about this, though. While I really enjoyed Dear Esther, the fact that this hews so closely to The Dark Descent makes me reluctant to purchase, given that I found that game to be primarily an exercise in tedium and frustration rather than horror.

    • Jalan says:

      That decorative pig head pops up everywhere throughout the game. It’s not a pig carcass wearing a luchador mask though, which now that you’ve said it, makes me somewhat disappointed by the fact that it isn’t and now I kinda wish there were an option for custom stories with this one so such a story could be crafted.

  18. mbp says:

    Are they using the same graphics engine as Amnesia? For some reason I could not play that game without getting motion sickness and I am pretty sure the graphics were at fault. I used to get similar nausea from old first person shooters back in the 1990’s but modern games rarely cause it.

  19. stoolek says:

    I recently discovered and completed Amnesia: The Dark Decent and it* is the scariest experince I’ve had, from memory and I’m very much looking forward to the “sequel” (I’ve pre-ordered it and have been counting down the days for its release :D ).

    That said, the AI for the original were a bit silly, for the most part, and very forgetful so much so that towards the second half of the game I normally wasn’t too scared of the common mosnster lurking through the mansion. The invisible one was still terrifying, but I think was only a real danger once through out the game (possibly for risk of repitition). The other guy was a pleasant surprise and really had my heart pounding when we first met, but, if I recall, didn’t make many appearances.

    I’m ranting a bit now. Basically, I know this game will terrify me to the point of sleeplessness but I do
    hope the AI has improved a bit. I’ve seen some play-throughs of Outlast and the AI there is generally much smarter and far more relentless but I think there’s a much bigger team behind that game.

    Also Rift support (Not that anyone could ever survive it :P ) .

    • thebigJ_A says:

      The AI in Outlast is not smarter. Not by a long shot.

      Nor is it more relentless. They just made it so it can pull you out of a hiding spot if you hide right in front of it, and that it randomly looks in hiding spots when it’s ‘activated’.

  20. LennyLeonardo says:

    Excellent. Oh dear.

  21. Talesdreamer says:

    I didn’t like Amnesia, even if I really wanted to.
    It wasn’t really scary, because it’s easy to realize that most of the monsters are scripted events, and nothing is actually roaming through the corridors and chasing you (with some good exceptions towards the end of the game). I liked the puzzles, I liked the graphics, I liked the story and the soundtrack, but in the end, it was just a game. A really nice one, yes, but IMHO scary games doesn’t have to feel like games. They have to make you forget you’re in front of a screen, and Amnesia just didn’t do the trick for me.
    The sequel seems to suffer from the same problem, so I think I’ll pass. Sadly, but I’ll pass.

    • thebigJ_A says:

      Mmm, nope. Very few of the monsters were scripted events. Where and whether they appeared, especially the most common ones, was randomized.

      • Zaraf says:

        (Spoilers on the first amnesia ahead) Well, on a second playthrough it seemed to me that they all appeared/disappeared in a similar fashion (apart from one meeting with a monster in the water-room which is triggered is you visit the morgue first).

  22. Baldanders says:

    I want Penumbra back

    • dufake says:

      This. That’s the original masterpiece from Frictional games.
      Amnesia reminds me a lot of Cthulhu DCOE, but it doesn’t make a real breakthrough.

  23. stele says:

    I’m waiting for this to unlock.

    I’ve played a half hour or so of Outlast, but can’t bring myself to go back yet. I even made my wife sit in the room with me for awhile. She really couldn’t care less – hates games, hates horror, etc, and was pointing out things to me. “Look, there’s a severed arm.” “That looks like entrails.” “That’s a lot of heads”. “Can I leave now?” I had to turn it off.

  24. fenriz says:

    so are puzzles physical nonsense or “take a lightbulb, unscrew it, pick filament, shortcut wires with it to open door” ?

    • fenriz says:

      yes yes, getting scared and freaked is cool and so on but i’m an old coot, i’d love some food for my brain with real cranky puzzles. You know, Sierra and Lucas style.

      Or Alone in the Dark (yes the first game) style.

      • reghz says:

        yay ! I’d like to see a sequel to Darkseed 1&2 or a “I Have No Mouth, and I Must Scream” 2 , there was really disturbing (and disturbed ) Machines (and characters ;) ) in those at their time…

  25. MultiVaC says:

    Glad to hear this turned out well. I was torn by deciding between this and Outlast, so this kind of makes up my mind because a) the first Amnesia was great b) the setting and story seems way more intriguing than Outlast’s kind of Hollywood-ish “mental hospital, oooOOOooo” and c) maybe I’m alone in this, but I really liked the puzzle aspect of Frictional’s games. I actually thought that they were a little too easy and infrequent and Amnesia when compared to Penumbra, but I still appreciated them.

    I’m sure I’ll play both of them eventually since they both sound pretty cool, but honestly, playing more than one game of this type in a short time frame is just overkill for me.

    • Amun says:

      Outlast is fun enough, but the story is questionable. Pick it up on super-sale.

    • dufake says:

      Outlast gets the action right in a horror game, but the plot is weak.

    • grrrz says:

      well the puzzles in this one (as far as as I’ve gone) are just devices to keep busy, not really what you could call “puzzles”. So the puzzles got even more straightforward than in the first amnesia.
      I actually liked the Penumbra serie (specially the second one) better, partly because the puzzles were not an excuse and were really well crafted.
      The only challenge in the game is to avoid the piggies, and it’s not that difficult. But it really IS scary though, and some settings are amazingly beautiful, feels like surreal and “baroque” paintings, I spend my time turning off the lantern to admire the background and the work with lights. To me that’s the stronger point of the game. I need to get to the end now.

  26. E_FD says:

    Do you still have to dither around with finding oil for your lantern? Because that was the worst part of Dark Descent, IMO. Never once during the game did I think “Oh no, I’m almost out of light, now I can’t see the monsters coming”, which is presumably what I was supposed to be thinking, but a heck of a lot of times I thought “oh great, now I’ll have to crank up the gamma so that I can see what I’m doing to stumble through this latest puzzle”.

    • Jalan says:

      In all the “first xx minute(s)” plays of the game, I’d not seen anyone pick up or go near an oil jar so I’m assuming the lantern in this game is either powered by something else or simply never runs out. Since they removed the inventory system from the game it’d make sense for either scenario (maybe it’s powered by some battery of sorts), though the last one seems a little on the immersion breaking side.

    • terry says:

      You’ll be pleased to learn that there is no lamp oil this time around, thanks to the wonders of clockwork science. That’s not to say you’ll always have light though >:)

  27. neckro23 says:

    So here’s the deal, guys.

    My gaming PC isn’t at home. Because I live in an apartment, and because I like my Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound in my shooty wargames, it lives at a workshop/garage I rent with a few buddies instead.

    The garage is in an ancient (by Midwestern standards) ex-factory. In the middle of the night, there isn’t a soul around. My desk is facing the back wall, my back to all the entrances.

    I’m pretty much obligated to go there in the middle of the night, turn off all the lights, load up Amnesia to finally finish it, and probably have a heart attack doing so, by this point…

    • DellyWelly says:

      I really, really fear for you.

    • Big Murray says:

      I would so sneak in to that factory with a tape recording of a pig to screw with you.

  28. soopytwist says:

    Well, I’m sure the sound is pretty awesome in this game but I wouldn’t know because I’ve got none…at all. No sound whatsoever. Doesn’t seem to matter what Audio settings I choose either. Also…Trilinear? Is that all? The graphics options are shit. Beginning to think this was a bad purchase.

  29. Todor Pichurov says:

    To all those too terrified of Amnesia 1 to actually properly play it – I am one of you. Yet, I must report that while Amnesia 2 is a foreboding and deeply unsettling experience, due to the far lower constant-sheer-terror element I actually made it to what I think is almost halfway into the game. I expect things to get worse from here on but I just wanted to say that people who nope-nope-nope’d out of Amnesia 1 should probably give this game a shot as it’s more bearable, even if still very disturbing.

  30. hthief says:

    the loss of the sanity depletion system was a serious blow, I thought the game was a slow burner but, damn it, not neutered

  31. GameCat says:

    Amnesia: A Mehshine for Pigs.
    Played it for 20-30 minutes.
    Things I like here:
    1) First note you find have very lovecraftish feel.
    2) Sound effects.

    Things I dislike:
    1) Notes scattered everywhere cliche.
    2) Toy pig head laying somewhere is nice, but not where you can see them in 1/3 rooms you visit.
    3) Creepy kids running in background cliche.
    4) Jumpscares cliche.
    5) It’s horror, therefore you must add blood and mutilated corpses (rats in the attic for example) cliche.

  32. whoCares says:

    I thought this games was terribly boring. Stripped from the resources management and the interactivity and with always only 1 open door to walk through you basically just hold w and move the mouse to center the current rail/corridor and try to avoid all the invisible walls. If you see something you can grab or interact with you take it with you because if you can move it, it’s part of a puzzle. While the first scare was pretty good, the rest of the scares are just the exact same thing. Loud noises and Structures moving. The enemies are ridicules (*SPOILER* Always reminded me of Al Gores PigMenBears in South Park) *SPOILER END* and just annoying.
    Maybe the story has some secret thing I did not understand, but for me this was just Call of Duty for Scary Games and a dissapointing chore to play throug to the end.
    Sound and Music are pretty good nonetheless.

    • clumsyandshy says:

      I agree fully. Having finished it a week ago I am not sure I played the same game as Jim. Where were those completely brilliant puzzles? I must have missed them all. And all that dread? Must have missed that, too. This should rather be compared to Dear Esther than Amnesia: TDD as this is also more a “on rails interactive story” but with very little actual interactivity.

      It tells a cool story but is very disappointing as an Amnesia game.

      Sounds and music is still awesome.

  33. drslimi says:

    Very good review. I absolutely loved The Dark Descent and A Machine For Pigs but the latter was much more fun in my opinion. It was nice not to have to worry about the sanity meter and finding “tinder boxes” every second; I felt like the story and gameplay were much less interrupted because of this. This game was truly scary but after realizing that all you must do to hide from the monsters was crouch in the dark I became desensitized.
    I REALLY hope there will be another game in the Amnesia series soon.
    That said, I just finished playing OUTLAST and it was absolutely the most terrifying game I have ever played. The graphics were amazing, the story was sickeningly violent, the scares just kept coming, and the ending was epic. I started it on PC and moved to PS4 halfway through and when I re-played through the stuff I already saw I was still just as scared. It’s much more non-stop tension and action than the Amnesia series.