The lights are on
What new ideas the game brings to the table and how well old ideas are presented.
How good a game looks, taking into account any flaws such as bad collision or pop-up.
Does the game’s music and sound effects get you involved or do they make you resolve to always play with the volume down?
Basically, the controller to human interface. The less you think about the hunk of plastic in your hands, the better the playability.
Flat out, just how fun the game is to play. The most important factor in rating a game.
Amy is the story of a woman named Lana and the little girl she
rescues from a mysterious research facility, and the fallout from a
horrific outbreak. It’s also a cautionary tale of how poor game design
can murder fun, and how easily the truly desperate can be separated from
Expect a typical survival-horror scenario with spooky tunnels,
moaning creeps, and easily broken melee items. The twist comes with
8-year-old Amy. When broken down to her key functionality, Amy is a
pretty handy item to have around. She fetches stuff, casts a variety of
psychic spell things, and flips a mean switch. Unfortunately, Amy is
also a tremendous annoyance.
Amy follows simple commands such as “come,” “stay,” and “pick up
those syringes.” She also has an immunity to the outbreak that’s
plaguing Silver City, which comes in handy. Stray too far from Amy, and
Lana will rapidly become infected. When she does have to leave the
little girl behind (crates don’t push themselves, after all), Lana can
mitigate the effects by jamming a needle into her neck. As her condition
worsens, her gait changes to a limp, her vision takes on a red tinge,
and she hears creepy whispers. In the final stages of the infection,
Lana can amble past the hostiles without fear of being attacked – a boon
considering how awful she is at staying alive. Without any accurate way
for players to gauge her condition, however, the bigger danger is that
she’ll simply fall down without warning and die.
When this happens – and it will – you’ll have to start over at the
last checkpoint. This usually means that about 10 minutes of preparation
is instantly gone and will have to be repeated. There’s not much
tension to be had in the game to begin with, and it’s completely drained
when you’re forced to do the same menial tasks over and over again to
try to determine where exactly a plan fell apart.
This is exacerbated in later levels, when simply being spotted by an
enemy automatically means failure. Here’s a sample sequence: Push a
crate. Hit a guy in the back of the head with a crowbar, breaking the
weapon in the process. Leave Amy. Wait 40 seconds to get contaminated
enough to walk past a pair of infected. Push two more crates. Get Amy.
Walk past infected. Shove Amy into a concrete pipe. Wait 40 seconds to
get contaminated. Push a car. Rejoin Amy. Watch as Amy decides to walk
over broken glass, alerting everyone in Silver City. Restart. Even when
Amy doesn’t act like an idiot, the game becomes a tedious series of
trial and error sequences, with little feedback as to what went wrong.
As a downloadable title, I wasn’t expecting Amy to measure up against
the triple-A juggernauts of the survival horror genre. However, I was
expecting a game that was at least playable and contained some kind of
entertainment. Make no mistake: Whether Amy is delivered to you via
download, retail SKU, direct brain wave, or retinal implant, it is
terrible and should be avoided.
Email the author Jeff Cork, or follow on Twitter, Google+, Facebook, and Game Informer.