Tuesday, 10 July 2018 14:31

REVIEW: Agony (PC)

Written by Kevin Lal
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It is hard to imagine that a game with this much depth and beauty graphically was created by only a small development team.

Mad Mind Studios was created by Tomasz Dutkiewicz in 2016 and compromises of nine developers with plenty of experience in the industry. Working on AAA games such as Alien Rage, Sniper: Ghost Warrior 2, The Division and Witcher 3 you cannot help but excited to see what Agony will bring and has to offer.

I have been following this game since it was first announced and was excited to see a horror game with such a dark undertone. The horror genre has always been an interest of mine and I always get excited for a new title to be released but feel sometimes let down. They do not always deliver in the way I remember from the old Silent Hill days or Resident Evil. But strangely can not always put my finger on the reason, maybe it is just as I grow, and games evolve.

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Agony has had its fair few problems in development with delays, which in my opinion is not always a bad thing. As you would expect a lot less problems will arise on launch, seeing as we live in an industry that now fix broken titles during launch. Another of the problems they faced at Mad Mind Studio was Censorship. Originally, they console editions would be censored with an Adult Patch for PC allowing the gamer to see the full creation of the game. But within days before release they had to release a statement stating that they will all be censored in fears of legal action. Though they state that it is only seconds of edits made on two endings out of the possible seven you can encounter. With future videos to be released showing the deleted scenes, this can be forgiven.

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As you can tell, this game is not for the faint of heart, I am very open minded to the darkness people can create. But even I found some parts to be shocking, I fear even writing about one of the scenes I encountered. Do not get me wrong, this is not a negative statement. I appreciate what people create and develop, I will always appreciate the reasoning behind the scenes, but you can not help but be stunned at times.

You are a twisted soul, sent to the depths of hell on a journey to find the Red Goddess. You are not given to much information or back story to the game or your character. This adds to the mystery of Agony. It is a first-person style horror with nods to Outlast, in that you do not attack or receive weapons. You must avoid detection and hide within cracks in walls or under piles of bones to stay safe. Some demons have sensitive hearing, so the option to hold your breath is available to you too.

When entering the game, I could not help but be amazed by the detail and high quality of the audio within. This all helps add to the atmosphere and create the illusion of hell. The landscapes are mazes of bloody covered walls, with other souls being tortured or left for dead and hearing the helpless screams and sounds of other twisted souls. You are faced with puzzles you have to complete, this can be from finding hearts on the ground to place on a sacrificial alter or finding the correct signs to write on the walls in your own blood. The respawn system is an unusual one, you come across mirrors that have arms reaching through you need to activate. These are only a limited spawn checkpoint, if you are low you become a spirit and must possess another soul you have passed. If you fail at this, you begin from the beginning.

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The AI is very unforgiven at times, as it uses the same type of system as in Alien: Isolation so they can become very unpredictable at time. You can creep up to some demons at times and push them off ledges, but some will claw onto the walls and climb back to chase you. Other than this, hiding is going to be the main objective. With the darkness of Agony, it can be hard at times to find your way around the mazes, even with a torch. This feels like it has purposely been done, to make you squint and focus a lot more than normal. Adding to the tension of close by footsteps and the other lost souls hiding in locations whispering among themselves.

As you progress through you discover collectibles, used to unlock extras in the gallery menu and give some insight into the story. From statues, letters and notes. These are placed within the game to make you got to those dark and hidden areas, help build that fear and tension.

Other than story mode it offers another called Agony mode. Which offers the story with a challenging high score system with the levels randomly generated offering a different game experience each time.

This is a title for people to investigate, yes it can offend and make people contemplate the darkness that is out there at times. But it shows so much dedication from such a small team. Offering mystery and some emotions you never normally find within a game.


Additional Info

  • Review Score: 4.0 / 5.0
  • Platform: PC, PS4, XBOX ONE
  • Developer: Mad Mind Studio
  • Publisher: Mad Mind Studio
  • Genre: Action / Adventure