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Agony (PC) artwork

Agony (PC) review

"Agonizingly bad"

Agony sucks. Even giving the game the widest berth possible for being low budget and swinging for the fences with a singular emotion it's trying to convey, it's not a good game. Technical issues aside, questionable puzzle designs, taking away almost any subjectivity you conceivably can when reviewing a video game... Agony is a bad game.

In broad strokes, the concept of Agony sounds right up my alley: it's a first person horror game that draws inspiration from the works of H.P. Lovecraft, attempting to visualize the “unspeakable horrors” and non-Euclidean geometry through a mind-bending journey through Hell itself. There's very little in the form of concrete story other than to find some Red Priestess and see where it goes from there. Everything about Agony is supposed to disorient, discombobulate, and disturb you. There's a small hint of that here and there, but it's usually not the way the designers intended and it's more likely to just piss you off because it's crap.

Agony (PC) image

Every now and then the game looks good. Certain areas stand out with multi-colored lights painting an interesting, twisted environment made up of flesh, bone, blood, and teeth. After slogging through the majority of the overly dark and muddy visuals, it's impressive to come across a section that looks like someone took the time to properly make into some kind of artistic display. Otherwise it seems as if Lovecraft's “indescribable” adjectives were interpreted to mean, “Drag a bunch of crap around in a map making tool.” The assets are repeated ad nauseam, each level using them more poorly than the last. By the end of the game it's random crap thrown together, and textures you're not sure are even loaded in properly. And some of those textures will instantly kill you if you touch them. Again, definitely NOT as intended.

The early levels show some promise: you're using a torch to burn away obstacles, hiding from indestructible monsters that are attracted to noise and light. Common sense would dictate this dynamic would make for some decent puzzles, but no. By stage two you're wandering around a maze being hunted by multiple Vagina Head creatures that seem to have no rhyme or reason to when they spot you. There are supposed hiding spots to take refuge, but there is also no distinguishing feature to indicate which cracks in the walls or piles of bodies can be used for that or not. You also have no clue what you're supposed to be doing in the maze: where the end goal is, what the body parts you're picking up are, or even how the basic mechanics of the game work. And this isn't a speed bump, it gets worse from there on out. The rest of the game is a poorly designed maze where you have no fucking clue what you're aiming for, and you're forced to do the worst kind of trial-and-error nonsense.

Agony (PC) image

At first you may feel like it's you're fault for dying because you're “bad” at the game. That assertion of incompetence fades quickly, after the fifth or six time you get caught up in the geometry or instantly die for no discernible reason. There is a possession mechanic to help you out, though... but SURPRISE- it's broken and it sucks. Once you are dead, you're allowed the luxury of floating around the map in search of another body to inhabit. At first it's restricted to other humans, but as you progress you can take over bigger and supposedly stronger forms of the demons that were previously hunting you. They suck, too. Somehow they managed to screw up controlling demons. Vagina demons, no less. Not only are the monsters you control slow and not too different from the standard, useless grunt, you can't solve “puzzles”, pick up collectibles, or activate checkpoints while you are in their heads. The only difference is you can punch lesser demons or break down an odd wall. Yeah... They are also on some kind of arbitrary timer, which will kick you out and leave you floating in debug mode after a couple minutes. There's no real reason for this. You can just repossess them immediately, but you'll have to endure the long, arduous possession animation again. The penalty is annoyance.

Fuck Agony. I never thought a game was capable of making me sick of looking at vaginas, but they found a way. The title is not ironic or clever. Take it at face value.

Project Horror 2018
Project Horror saw one (1) horror review submitted every day through the month of October. This review was part of that effort.


AbsoluteDeicide's avatar
Community review by AbsoluteDeicide (October 06, 2018)

Reviews, rants, and more: Grunt Free Press

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