Thursday, September 12, 2013

Back to work

I don't want to talk about A Machine for Pigs as I expected the world and got significantly less. But I need to vent because this marks my final retreat from PC gaming outside of digital card games (note: this has happened before, I'll be back eventually). It would have been a different, superior experience on better hardware or, dare I say it, a console, but I am forced to draw my conclusions from what I actually saw, not what I imagine might be there. What I experience was so average that it was depressing. It was kind of scary. Not the mind numbing terror of the first game or even the general ickiness of Dead Space, just a general feeling of unease, the same kind of unease you get from eating sushi that may have sat out a bit too long.

In the same way the puzzles were sort of interesting. Not the intricate physics based puzzles of the first game or even the key based fetch quests of Resident Evil games. There are puzzles more fit for an adventure game intent on showing the players all the sites and offering little resistance along the way. If there were more to show I wouldn't mind but the game tips its hand early with pigmen and ominous machines, never managing to ratchet up the tension even when the (obvious) twist hits with a (not so) shocking reveal.

A Machine for Pigs one shining feature is its sound. The giant machinery not only looks angry but it sounds angry. There are almost constant aural red herrings that kept me looking around the room. They would work better if, every once in awhile, the threat was real, but as a way to build ambiance they almost made up for the boring level design. They are the only aspect of the game that stuck with me once I shut it off: on the first night I took off my headphones and swore I could still hear something. Just as I was about to get worried I realized that coyotes in the distance on top of a fire engine siren is a very off combination of sounds.

I was prepared for, nay, I expected nightmares. I wanted to regret playing A Machine for Pigs just before bed. Instead I regret building it up as much as I have and I hope that Frictional keeps their next game a little closer to the chest.

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