The authors of Agony, the developers of Madmind Studio, have found a third way — to make the game with the most challenging and provocative visuals. The first screenshots and trailers have caused quite a mixed feeling: something like disgust and morbid curiosity. Blood, meat, pieces of bodies, half-naked (and completely naked) people writhing in pain, unknown and aggressive creatures… Whatever it was, to attract the attention of the developers turned out — the campaign on Kickstarter allowed to collect donations almost three times more than originally requested (66 666 dollars — estimate the amount).
It’s a small matter — to make an interesting game. Got it? Let’s see.
Welcome to Hell
As we all know, hell is a very inhospitable place and it is better not to get there. It turns out not at all-the main character of Agony that did not work. Who is he, what sins were in hell — no one to explain not in a hurry. There are no memories of his former life. What to do next, too, is unclear-the game is very reluctant to reveal the plot, doing it with the help of small notes scattered on the locations (and they do not clarify much), and short conversations with other inhabitants of this cursed place.
Ruled by a Certain red Goddess, which is rumored to give salvation to someone who can get to her and make a proper impression. It is not easy to do this — in hell it is easy to get lost and on the way to fall into the clutches of many local residents who are just waiting for the opportunity to get a new victim.
The main character has a little more chances to cope with this task thanks to one feature that distinguishes him from the rest of the same poor, doomed to eternal torment — after death (Yes, even in hell, you can die again — which everyone is very afraid), the soul of our unfortunate sinner for some time can move freely around the neighborhood. If on the way there is the same bag of bones, you will have a chance to take a new body shell. Further — more, over time, control can be taken not only of the defenseless and weak people, but strong and agile demons, which will allow you to reach those places where ordinary people it was impossible to enter.
Leave out the question about where the developers (especially designers) Adapatable inspiration, but hell they did that is necessary. There are levels of a more or less traditional kind-like ice caves or fire desert. But there are also more exotic options that are not easy to describe in words. Sometimes locations created from something living or once living. In order of things, a tunnel in the form of giant jaws or a cave entrance, similar to… well, similar.
In General, every kind of sexually colored subtext in the game is enough-Rust and Conan Exiles (physics of individual parts of the body in Agony is not worse than in “Conan”) is not dreamed of. Demons and demons like to flaunt naked (and they have something to show), scraps of clothing of ordinary people practically do not hide anything, and the love of designers of locations to naturalism and “nudity” is worthy of a separate article — in a medical magazine.
Hell would not be hell if it were not for the constant torment of sinners. With this, there is also a complete order — at every corner someone is impaled on a stake, cut into pieces, set on fire, tear apart and scoff at the victims of dozens of other, no less interesting ways. Everywhere parts of half-decayed bodies and fresh, still oozing blood limbs. The sound corresponds to-the cries of the tortured do not stop for a minute, heard strange sounds, catching up with horror, and even the manner of communication of those few who wish to talk with the main character, vividly remind stories about patients of mental hospitals.
But, oddly enough, the game does not scare very. Whether the authors set themselves a goal — a typical cheap tricks, like jumping right in the face of terrible creature, almost did not find — that if not managed properly can create stress. Perhaps the reason banal the abundance of all the wealth of the horrors of the underworld. It is disgusting only the first minutes, then you get used to, but it does not become scary at all, although at first you are looking forward to when you have already begun to scare.
From point A to point B at the same time came the succubus and sinner…
Yes, and the gameplay, unfortunately, quite a strong hit on immersion in the atmosphere of the underworld. Before us is not a slasher, not a fighter, and dull (as soon as you get used to the blood, meat and other nasty things) simulator walk, interspersed with small puzzles from the series “How do I open the door?” As a rule, there are only two ways to solve it — either to find the parts of the body (heart, hands, legs or skull) and place them on the altar, or to draw a special symbol on the door (which one-will be prompted by the pictures nearby).
Level design leaves much to be desired — often do not understand where to go and what to do, even though there is a special pointer. Often it turns out that the passage of the location is almost random — especially if you run away from all sorts of bad creatures. By the way, escape is the best strategy in almost any situation. While in the guise of an ordinary person, the protagonist is almost helpless, so a kind of “speedrun” through the whole level is justified. Of course, it is tempting to take control of the demon, moving into his body, but in this case will not work to interact with the environment (for example, open the door or activate the save point), and the migration is limited in time.
The save system, which is especially annoying during the final level, is worth a separate mention. It is made very stupid. Control points that the player activates (and during this action you can kill any demon), are very rare. But after the death of progress is not reset — open doors remain open, and destroyed enemies do not respawn. Sometimes it helps a little, because most often the main problem will not be the enemies, but the actual level — through the intricate mazes to find a way out is not immediately possible. Remember where you ran five minutes earlier, given the extraordinary design-that’s still a problem.
It is noticeable that the developers wanted to increase the variability of the passage — locations branched, you can pass them in different ways. But in practice, this leads to the fact that the player does not understand whether he is moving there. The study of the world? Well, if the information about this world is not limited to obscure notes and conversations with five or six laconic interlocutors (the whole story!) then it would make sense. But there are a few endings.
After completion of the campaign mode opens the succubus that adds the ability to play nice for a demoness with sharp fangs and claws. The idea of the gameplay should change-now we are no longer a defenseless piece of meat, but a fully capable subject who feels quite comfortable in hell. Unfortunately, the essence remains the same-running from one “checkpoint” to another and simple puzzles. Unless the opportunity to visit previously inaccessible places is added.
Another mode, “Agony”, is open at once. It is necessary to perform tasks in a procedurally generated environment. Statistics and global rating are present, but such fun much more suitable full-fledged cooperative, which is not brought. Alone wander through hell quickly bored, especially that nothing radically new to pamper here will not.
Agony managed to cause a reaction from the public – the game predicted the glory of the most disgusting and most challenging project of the year. There was a well-founded fear that this scandal will stop. In fact, even this did not happen — all these bloody Tits do not shock at all. Yeah, too bad the scene was cut before release, but Agony does not look better. Discarding all the bloody tinsel, we get a banal “Walker” with a bunch of bugs and flaws.
Games-they are still about the gameplay, action, sometimes-about a beautiful picture and an interesting story. In “Agony” we are dealing only with naked shock at the mediocre performance of everything else. Suitable for a maximum of a line in the portfolio of authors of the crazy visual style.