This Game Is Pure Agony
Another dark fantasy survival horror game coming to battle it out for the most difficult game to survive. Agony comes from newish development team MadMind Studio. Published by, also fairly new, PlayWay and powered by the Unreal Engine, Agony sets its sites on being gory twisted horror. Released on May 29, 2018, does Agony have what it takes to occupy that part of your heart that desires immense levels of fear?
There is no way to explain what is going on. It’s typical for horror games to invest themselves in creating a sense of terror by primarily shutting off the lights. Agony takes things a few steps further. Everything is the same color, with the same gradients, and same awkward crystal glossy shine. It doesn’t make any sense and almost nothing is distinguishable. After spending way too much time adjusting the visual settings, the line had to be drawn. This game looks bad. On every screen it was played on it suffered from the same problems. You can but this on a CRT or a 4K monitor and it’s dreadful. Over and over and over. Final note, the fonts in this game are absolutely awful. Just awful. And unreadable, but mostly awful. Here, install this font and reread everything I just wrote.
There seems to be an amazing story lost somewhere in the lack of fun gameplay provided. There is a strong possibility this game would be tons of fun to watch. Then again, there is no way of knowing for sure because getting past the beginning is crazy. The introduction to the story in Agony is probably the best of the starting experience. If only there weren’t so many bad parts to prevent you from wanting to keep playing.
The best part of the game is the sound. The sound of the environment in the game is stellar. The atmospheric noise of howling and conversation nearby with the source unrecognizable make this game haunting. Never ending calls for help from invisible people in need increase the tension tenfold. Every step of the way the feeling that something is about to attack is created by the sound effects. In a surround sound gaming space, you’ll be turning your head far more often than not. The voice acting is pretty interesting as far as the first, 15 to 30 minutes go. Everyone who spoke held a very captivating aura in their voice that forces the player to be fully invested in what is being said. Kudos to them for making me nervous about what was to come versus making me regret playing to see what’s next.
At some point during the concept phase, this game probably had a great thing going. The final product doesn’t. At all. Every gameplay mechanic the development team tried to implement fell short of being interesting. The coolest mechanic it had going for it was the ability to transfer the player’s soul to another being upon death. Even that became cumbersome, mostly due to the poor visual design decisions. The mechanic was most tolerable after flipping the “easy possessions” switch in the settings on. Don’t get too excited though, that really didn’t help the experience all that much. Considering how much time you’ll spend in the settings menu trying to get the game to be playable, just accept that as the gameplay experience. Agony is Outlast: Settings Menu Edition.
This is a tough question to answer. The immediate thought is absolutely not. There is nothing fun about starring at a poorly lit cave. Some people might be the type to find this “challenge” incredibly fun and if that’s the case go buy this game now. Otherwise, avoid it with all the power in your heart. Agony is Outlast meets Dark Souls if both of those game were awful and had a terrible font.
Agony is the type of game that is great for the gamer’s who love to be abused in games. Or rather would have been great if it were good. It’s not, at all. There have been some bad games recently but this one is really bad. It’s bad mostly because of poor design, poor lighting, and uncomfortable gameplay. At some point, this game was going to be great. Where things went wrong, who knows. This game should have stayed in the oven a lot longer. Maybe even get rid of some of the yes men who said this was ready.