Welcome Stranger to OCC!Login | Register

Agony Review

   -   
» Discuss this article (1)

Gameplay:

While it is without question Agony is a horror game, I do want to state it felt to me as something quite different from some other horror games. The difference is that you are not hunted in Agony, there is not some specific monster stalking around the maps looking for you. There are monsters coming for you, but it is more like you are simply prey, the weakest thing in the world, while they are the stronger predators, more than able and willing to attack and kill you. They are not any kind of specific monster stalking you, but just the demons also existing in the world with you. For me, I find this to be less stressful and also less terrifying, almost like the danger is only present when I screw up and am seen, but otherwise I am safe.

To be fair, I have played a number of horror games over the past two years, so I might be more tolerant to this gameplay than other players. Still, my impression is that the horror is more from the content than the threat to you.

Something that occurred to me some time ago about horror games is that they can be described as realized nightmares. The monsters are free to defy physics and logic, and you are terminally weakened and very often unable to defend yourself as well. This inability to defend yourself is present in Agony as you have almost no capacity to attack, needing to rely more on running away and finding a hiding spot. When you have a torch, it is possible to attack with it, igniting wood to burn through, and for at least one boss, it is also how you deal damage to it. (Little tip for that boss: throwing the torch at it does nothing, you have to actually attack it with the torch.) The actual purpose of the torch is to illuminate but also to distract demons, as they will go to investigate it, if thrown. The fire of the torch also attracts them to you, but honestly, illuminating the map or having the ability to burn down barriers often far outweighed the increased danger.

I mentioned finding a hiding spot, but I rarely did this because they are not very easy to find. Early on the hiding spots are easy enough to see, even being illuminated or having particles emanating from them, but later on these markers are gone, leaving you to either manually search for them or just ignore them entirely. Perhaps surprisingly, just running from the demons works rather well and they will stop coming for you, if you can run far enough.

If you are caught by a demon, and they kill you, you actually do not lose or fail then, but instead enter a spirit form. In this form you are able to find another body to possess to continue moving forward. At first it is only other human bodies you can claim this way, if they are not hooded, but as you complete levels, you become more powerful and can possess the demons of increasing level.

 

 

When a demon you are free to attack other demons and threats, clearing out the area, but they are not able to interact with anything like you can as a martyr. This includes the special walls that allow you to defy gravity, so you can become trapped until you leave the body. This balance I feel makes it odd that there is a timer to how long you can possess a demon, especially as you can re-possess it after a moment. There is no way to exit a body and enter the spirit form at will, so to that extent this timer is necessary, but I would be in favor of a change here. It is not as though being able to exit your body at will is going to make it easier to possess demons because you can just let them kill you, which they already want to do, to achieve the same end. There is also a time limit to how long you can be in spirit form, but that makes sense, so you cannot just run the level in this practically invincible form. There are creatures that will attack and devour you in this form, and they are very annoying, but a time limit is a good idea.

Those locations I mentioned for exiting your body are pretty neat where they are first introduced, but they are not common in the campaign and the particle effect marking them is used as just a special effect elsewhere too. Basically they are a missed opportunity and then the visual is misused.

There is one frustrating issue with entering spirit form and that is your placement upon entering it. Sometimes it turns you around, making it very easy to lose your bearings, especially as the world is rendering differently. It also places you outside your body and in one case I actually was placed and stuck inside of the map's geometry, making it impossible to move. Another related issue is that there is no protection after possessing a body, and on at least one occasion I was killed, possessed a nearby martyr only to be killed immediately by the same demon that had left, but returned. It does not help that possessing a body takes some time, so it is possible for a demon to arrive between starting the possession and when you actually do acquire the new body.

I have one more issue with possession and then I will move on to something else, I promise. If you look at the control mapping you will see both a weak and strong attack are listed. Only one body actually has both a weak and strong attack, and that is the basic demon. Every other body I possessed, including human martyrs, have just a weak attack or just a strong attack. I know that might seem like a silly criticism but it does bother me. The martyr only has a strong attack with a torch (RMB) while the chort demons only seemed to have a weak attack (LMB), though its weak attack is still enough to break apart walls. The basic demon I do not remember the name of has two attacks, so between the three most common bodies you can possess you have three different attack controls.

 

 

Moving on I definitely want to talk about the Tobii tracking which needs tweaking and/or greater depth in the options. The game supports both eye and head tracking with the Tobii Tracker 4C I have, with head tracking being used for Extended View while eye tracking was used for interaction. While the extended view is nice, turning the view to follow your head, the eye tracking interaction was often more a problem than it was worth, though I kept it enabled.

I think the eye tracking was supposed to work like this: when you are looking near an object you can interact with, the prompt for doing so appears; and staring at something can initiate this interaction for you. In practice, the prompts to interact did not always appear, making it frustrating to then find the correct placement and alignment to interact with an object. This is something I have run into in other games, but the initiating of interaction I experienced is unique to Agony and I hope it remains unique. These kinds of interactions involve the character studying whatever it is, like a painting, and when this happens, your movement slows or stops and the camera zooms in. When you are running from a demon it is very inconvenient for the game to think you are staring at something, so it should start this interaction process. Also, if you look away while interacting with one of these objects, it ceases the interaction. If this could be disabled but the extended view remain, I would be happy, but the option is only to enable or disable as a whole.

Moving on, I should mention the Destiny Lines, how checkpoints work, some of the secrets, and puzzles. Destiny Lines are essentially the game's bread crumbs, so you can hit a button and a line will trace out your path. You have a limited number of these lines, but I think checkpoints and possibly picking up collectibles replenishes them. You can also make them unlimited as an option, but where is the fun in that? Actually I found they were not necessary in many cases, so being limited was not a big problem. (Curiously at times the lines seemed to appear on their own, and I do not know why.)

The checkpoints only grant you a limited number of respawns at them (that is respawn from a spirit form death or from a death that skips spirit form, like falling out of the world) but once you use them up, it just deactivates the checkpoint and puts you to the last one. This happened once for me and was not that bad actually, because they were close to each other. I actually like this though, because while it is a punishment, the implementation I feel is fair. Also you can reactivate the checkpoint when you return to it.

Some of the secrets involve hunting down golden limbs and returning them to a broken statue. Doing so then causes a path to a Golden Chamber to open. It appears death resets your collection of these limbs, so you need to find them and return them all in one life.

A number of the puzzles you encounter are really just searching for something, like those golden limbs, to return them somewhere or searching for a sigil so you can draw it onto a locked door. I cannot recall any puzzle being more complicated than that, and it does not help when there are a number of sigils around, so you just need to hunt them down, try them, then hunt for another until you find the right one. There was one time the sigil was actually hidden like a puzzle, requiring you to consider looking for more than just a pattern painted on a wall, but I do not remember this being repeated with another sigil.

There are skills you can earn and invest points into, but it is not impressive. The skills are to reduce the noise you make, increase your stamina, and allow you to survive weak attacks. I am honestly unsure about that last one as only one enemy was not killing me in one hit to begin with. I mostly invested points into the noise reduction, but I do not know how valuable this was because it can become fairly easy to just watch for and avoid enemies. The increased stamina I do not think is too helpful, except for swimming under water. You should also get to run for longer, but even without points in it, you can still run away from demons. Plus death is not necessarily that punishing, so being caught is not the worst thing.

 

 

My review playthrough lasted 9 hours, 40 minutes, and 43 seconds, but some of that includes me repeating the ending because I thought I missed something (and then started a hunt to open a Golden Chamber). I think it is still fair to say that is a representative time for one campaign playthrough. As far as replayability, Agony definitely offers some and the funny thing is I feel more like playing it more as I have been writing this review. I want to try to get everything so I know the story better, get the other endings, and also just try some of the earlier levels again with the benefit of my unlocked skills, especially the ability to possess demons. Then of course there is the Succubus Mode to try.

At least for me, there is definitely some replayability here, and it is funny because after I finished playing the game I was not so interested in returning, but I am now. While there are definitely flaws, I still enjoyed the gameplay overall. The gameplay could be more stressful, with demons hunting me, but then that could pull your attention away from the world around you, focusing you just on that demon. Do not doubt that the exploration of Hell is a significant portion of the Agony experience, and I did have fun doing that.




  1. Agony Review - Introduction
  2. Agony Review - Graphics
  3. Agony Review - Story
  4. Agony Review - Gameplay
  5. Agony Review - Heart Rate Data and Playlist
  6. Agony Review - Conclusion
Related Products
Random Pic
© 2001-2018 Overclockers Club ® Privacy Policy
Elapsed: 0.1741149426   (xlweb1)