Operation Backlog Completion 2024
Oct 032018

I loved Amnesia: The Dark Descent.

It was terrifying, atmospheric, and Lovecraftian, and it told a delightfully disturbing story.

Despite loving it so much, it took me until this year to finally get around to playing its sequel, Amnesia: A Machine for Pigs. This is mainly because A Machine for Pigs was made by the developers of Dear Esther, which I didn’t enjoy at all.

But this year, I decided to kick off the Halloween season by finally playing A Machine for Pigs.

A Machine for Pigs is very different from The Dark Descent. The Dark Descent focused a lot on survival, with the constant danger of darkness and your limited supply of light, the sanity effects, and the general sense that a monster could force you to flee at any moment.

Its sequel is more linear and focused on storytelling. You still play a character with amnesia exploring a mysterious location, but the exploration is more of a straightforward journey from one area to the next as the story unfolds through notes and flashbacks.

I felt like I’d played this style of game before, which unfortunately made some of the story elements predictable.

Click for A Machine for Pigs spoilers
The protagonist wakes up wondering where his children are, while their ghostly voices beckon him into the depths. I would have considered it a surprise twist if they weren’t dead.

And the nature of the machine / the protagonist doing terrible things in the past felt pretty routine for this sort of story.

However, the storytelling itself was pretty solid. It built up a grim, disturbing atmosphere and it didn’t shy away from the gruesome details. And while some aspects were predictable, other parts went in unusual directions. I enjoyed the slight links to The Dark Descent.

I also liked the industrial, steampunk-esque setting. It worked well for the game’s story.

The weakest part of the narrative was probably the children. You start the game looking for your missing children, and the reason the protagonist keeps pressing on into the depths of the facility despite all the horror is to find them. But they’re barely featured in the flashbacks, so I didn’t feel the compelling emotional pull to search for them.

Click for A Machine for Pigs spoilers
Them being obviously dead didn’t help. It just made it sadder to read every journal update from Mandus about how he had to keep moving forward to find them.

But I did enjoy the horror as it unfolded.

In terms of gameplay, A Machine for Pigs wasn’t as scary as its predecessor, although it did have a few good scares and some intense moments. I also missed the level of interactivity the original had. Everything fits together into this game’s more linear focus on telling its story.

I’m glad I finally played Amnesia: A Machine for Pigs, but I don’t think it will leave the same lasting impression on me that The Dark Descent did.

If you want posts like this delivered straight to your inbox, enter your email in the box below to subscribe!

  3 Responses to “Celebrating All Things Spooky – Amnesia: A Machine for Pigs”

  1. I had no idea it was made by different developers. Dark Descent was much better, that explains part of why at least.

    • Yeah. It sounds like Frictional Games knew fans would be interested in an Amnesia sequel, but they didn’t have ideas for one or time to make it (most likely because of Soma), so they met with The Chinese Room to discuss ideas for a small expansion that turned into A Machine for Pigs.

  2. […] far, everything sounds great. I didn’t enjoy Amnesia: A Machine for Pigs a lot, but since Rebirth is being handled by Frictional Games themselves and the announcement […]

 Leave a Reply

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>