Google+   Facebook button  Twitter button 
3DS | DS | PS3 | PS4 | PSP | VITA | WII | WIIU | X360 | XB1 | All

AMY (Xbox 360) artwork

AMY (Xbox 360) review


"Tragically, though the poor presentation is the first thing you’ll notice, it’s not the worst. Not by a long shot. In fact, an argument could be made that the presentation is the best thing the game has going for it."



You are Lana. Lana’s an attractive blonde, wearing an outfit that is decidedly inappropriate for what she’s about to get herself into. She’s absconded with a mute, mushroom-coiffed little girl with mysterious powers that we’re not yet privy to, and with special needs that are never made clear. Her name is Amy. Lana and a group with whom she’s affiliated have decided that Amy did not belong at the medical facility where she was staying, that she’d be better served attending at a hospital which you find out, is not at all nearby.

The two of you board a train for wherever, and never get there. Things of note: the black train conductor who stops by to make small talk is remarkably creepy. When he leaves, the train derails. When you wake, Amy is gone.

A Silent Hill-esque beginning, is an auspicious beginning, I say. And really, the idea of Amy was always promising. It was to be a throwback to times when popular survival horror titles were actually scary--if slightly clunky--rather than oily smooth Michael Bay-inspired shoot-em-ups (Resident Evil 5, I’m looking at you) or iterations so poor it’s clear the developers forgot what it was the series used to do so well (you too, Silent Hill: Homecoming).

Yes, a return to past glory is a romantic notion fans of the genre can’t resist. And the good news is that Amy really does remind one of Resident Evil 2, or the original Silent Hill. The bad news is… that’s not fucking good news. It’s 2012, and Amy made my mind race back to the very best graphics on the PlayStation console--you know, the grey one. (Granted, it looks better than that, but the flashbacks were unexpected and unwelcome.)

I realize that this is a download-only title, but the colours are washed out, the backgrounds are dull, the characters have a severe case of the jaggies, and any movement of the protagonist threatens with screen tearing. The camera too, gives you a headache, and playing for any period of time will uncover a host of glitches that shouldn’t have made it past testing.

Tragically, though the poor presentation is the first thing you’ll notice, it’s not the worst. Not by a long shot. In fact, an argument could be made that the presentation is the best thing the game has going for it. There’s a long list of things that make Amy’s questionable looks absolutely shine in comparison: The voice acting is so offensive you’ll actually want to turn the volume off. Lana isn’t bad, but there’s an NPC you meet at the start of the adventure who is so bad it becomes laughable, before ultimately arriving at irritating. That the controls work only sometimes is understandably problematic (the clunky camera often tag-teams with the clunky controls for fantastic effect). Collision detection too, is temperamental. Your dodging almost always works, but even when you aim your attacks correctly, and the arc of your weapon passes through an enemy, there’s no guarantee of inflicting damage.

Of even greater concern is puzzle consistency, or lack thereof. Sometimes you’ll hide in a closet, and an enemy will run right past and stare at a wall at the dead end just past your hidey-hole. Like, forever. (Somewhat amusingly, you, in all your wisdom, would have solved this sticking point sooner, but you didn’t consider that a viable hiding spot, because you gave the enemy AI more credit than it was due.) And yet other times, you’ll hide in a closet and enemies will surround it, and you’ll be screwed.

That’s a small example. Though this train wreck (LOL) is beyond needing a coup de grace, I’ll give you a game-killing example of inconsistency now anyway: after chapters of being able to take enemies head-on with varying results, chapter five decides to change the rules completely. At this point, if an enemy even sees you, it’s game over. Really? Really. It’s like the game designers are saying to you, “Okay, check this out. Yes, we know--don’t interrupt. So, remember how the bad guys would have to kill you before? That’s out now. From now on they’ll just look at you. Yeah. And then you’re dead. Just go with it.”

Any of these flaws on their own could sink a project. And yet, unbelievably, in Amy, none of the above constitutes the most crippling flaw of all (which, ironically would have been the easiest to correct, to improve the game instantly). Because that distinction goes to the game’s checkpoint system.

It’s absolute, utter garbage.

To wit: there are only six chapters, and they don’t add up to a very long game. But the game manufactures false challenge and false longevity by furnishing checkpoints which are set in the most counter-intuitive and sparse way imaginable--and worse still--by not allowing player saves of any kind. If you manage to get to a new chapter, when you come back to the game, you’ll have access to it; however, if you make it near the end of a chapter, and don’t finish it at that particular sitting, all progress is lost upon your return.

If Amy were a more typical survival horror (whether of the old-school ilk, or the new), this inexcusable limitation could conceivably be suffered through. But it’s not. Amy is an escort mission with horror window dressing. Many enemies can kill you instantly. And the radiation that hangs in the air following the train crash will kill you over time unless you’re with Amy. Add these facts together, and consider that to solve most of the game’s puzzles requires you to direct Amy to enter a crawl space or otherwise be apart from you in order to push a button or collect a key card, and you’ll realize quickly that progress comes on the back of countless deaths.

At its core, the Amy experience is about trial-and-error, co-operative problem solving, with terrible combat sequences interspersed for good measure. Had the developers allowed a ‘save anywhere/anytime’ function, it would be playable, for all of its other faults. It would still be ugly, and combat would still be literally hit or miss, and the story would still be poorly told, but those of us with patience (or nothing else to play) would soldier on for completion’s sake.

But alas--‘twas not to be! Playing Amy is singularly stressful because you know you have to beat chapters in single sittings. Because bad controls and instakill-capable enemies conspire to send you who knows how far back if you place a foot wrong. Because it’s difficult to stay the course after countless retries in Amy’s dark, uninteresting and unsightly environs.

After spending several valuable hours of my free time squinting in the low-res gloom that I might bash crudely drawn monsters with sticks I found lying about, and ridiculously scan corpses for DNA in order to assist child-savant Amy in hacking doors to gain access to new areas… that I might cower in closets and under desks for fear not of enemies, but of repeating the same mind-numbingly boring and broken sequences above--I am glad to be through with Amy. Let my misfortune serve also as a cautionary tale.

Rating: 2/10

Masters's avatar
Staff review by Marc Golding (January 18, 2012)

A bio for this contributor is currently unavailable, but check back soon to see if that changes. If you are the author of this review, you can update your bio from the Settings page.

More Reviews by Marc Golding
My Hero (Sega Master System) artwork
My Hero (Sega Master System)

You play the role of The Hero, but you look like Edward Carnby, specifically from Alone in the Dark 2, right down to the blue leisure suit and pitiful death sequences. You are the strapping, golden-domed captain of the football team, enjoying a sunset with your prudish girlfriend on the beach, besotting her with...
Silent Hill HD Collection (Xbox 360) artwork
Silent Hill HD Collection (Xbox 360)

I am not enamoured of any two old games slapped together (just Silent Hill 2 and 3 in this case) being called a “collection” in the first place, especially given how easily Silent Hill 4: The Room (of the same ‘era’) could have been included for more value if not quality. Moreover, the third instal...
Silent Hill: Downpour (Xbox 360) artwork
Silent Hill: Downpour (Xbox 360)

Some might argue that the canon was lost once it left the hands of its original developers; since that time it has been passed from studio to studio, each with ingenuous intentions of making the first ‘next gen’ standout. Regrettably, that still hasn’t happened.

Feedback

If you enjoyed this AMY review, you're encouraged to discuss it with the author and with other members of the site's community. If you don't already have an HonestGamers account, you can sign up for one in a snap. Thank you for reading!

board icon
SamildanachEmrys posted January 18, 2012:

Bitterly disappointing. I was quite excited when I originally heard about Amy. The idea of a new, slightly traditional, survival horror appealed. But the way you describe it, it sounds horrific in entirely the wrong way. Maybe fifteen years ago it might have been acceptable...
board icon
honestgamer posted January 18, 2012:

I can't imagine there ever being a time where I would have relished the thought of playing a game like this. Great job with the review! You picked some examples that really let me imagine what it might feel like to play this game. I am relieved that I didn't put myself through that torture. I'm betting this one shows up on some "worst of 2012" lists at the end of the year...
board icon
zippdementia posted January 18, 2012:

Good good good review. Need more Marc reviews.
board icon
jerec posted January 18, 2012:

This game looked interesting, but the average score of reviews seems to be about a 2/10 so I'm glad I checked reviews first.
board icon
pickhut posted January 18, 2012:

I played the demo yesterday with interest of reviewing it. I quickly changed my mind in the middle of the demo after quitting. The game got way too repetitive and boring QUICK. And irritating. I knew this was going to be an escort-mission game, but I was at my wits end when I not only had to escort a little girl that wandered away a lot, but also this creepy old guy that wouldn't shut the hell up about stories.

Based on reading your review, it sounds like absolutely nothing changes throughout the game from what I've played of this demo, except for that really stupid game-changing mechanic about being spotted. I'm now really glad I spent those ms points on another title. Good review.
board icon
Masters posted January 18, 2012:

Thanks.

Pick: that's the guy with the stupid 'accent' I mentioned in the review. As soon as I heard him talking for the first time, it was a total WTF moment, like, is this guy for real? "...all deez monstuhs..."
board icon
JoeTheDestroyer posted January 19, 2012:

Thanks, Marc! You saved me even more money. I was actually interested in this title, but your marvelous review has dashed any hope that I would purchase it.
board icon
jerec posted January 19, 2012:

http://www.gamerankings.com/ps3/623148-amy/index.html
http://www.gamerankings.com/xbox360/640660-amy/index.html

The PS3 version seems marginally better.
board icon
JoeTheDestroyer posted January 19, 2012:

I have to say that this picture:

AMY asset

...is creepier than this one:

AMY asset
board icon
forweg posted January 19, 2012:

"or iterations so poor it’s clear the developers forgot what they used to do right (you too, Silent Hill: Homecoming)."

That have something to do with the fact that the SH: Homecoming developers had never previously developed a Silent Hill title...
board icon
bloomer posted January 19, 2012:

In spite of the super drubbing, I predict I'll play and review this about 4 years from now on my then newish PS3 console.
board icon
zippdementia posted January 19, 2012:

Those pictures do bring up one point. The only thing I disagree with in the review is the graphical assessment. I really don't think it's PS1 quality graphics. I mean, I remember Resident Evil 2. That looked like this:



Not this

clicky
board icon
Masters posted January 19, 2012:

Thanks Joe and Bloomer.

The screenshot comparison is interesting. My version of Amy did not look anywhere near this good. And I've got full HD going on a 50 inch Samsung LCD. Could it be that the PSN version is sharper? Or do they just dress up the screenshots that they release? Strange.
board icon
Masters posted January 19, 2012:

"or iterations so poor it’s clear the developers forgot what they used to do right (you too, Silent Hill: Homecoming)."

That have something to do with the fact that the SH: Homecoming developers had never previously developed a Silent Hill title...



This seems a bit nitpicky and misses the point. Yes, I'm aware different teams made different games in the series. But to say that 'Team C' have forgotten what it was that used to work, or what it was that 'Team A' did well, isn't incorrect.


EDIT: That being said, I changed it anyway. =)
board icon
Masters posted January 19, 2012:

Put aside the hilarious commentary and look at the corpse followed by the ugly monster at about the 9:50 mark onward.

Here.
board icon
zippdementia posted January 20, 2012:

The video proves at least that your description of all the graphical glitches and hang ups are very accurate. I still think PS1 graphics are a stretch. Parasite Eve 2 probably had the best graphics on the PS1 and they were pretty bad. There definitely wasn't texture to the moving characters like they have here. Even PS2 games never really achieved this level of texturing or lighting. Even going back and playing Metal Gear Solid 3, which in my mind had the best graphics of the entire PS2 system, the difference between it and the PS3 Metal Gear graphics are quite apparent.

Again, it's all that lighting and texturing. Lighting maybe even more than the texturing. You can do some beautiful light effects on the PS3. I think the variations in soft and hard lighting have made most PS3 games look as good as they do (and sometimes better than they really are). Playing ICO and Shadow of the Collosus HD has also really pointed this out to me, how that lighting just wasn't there.

Anyway, I'm not nitpicking, really, I'm just getting nostalgic.
board icon
Lewis posted January 27, 2012:

Amy is one of the worst games I've ever played, for many of the reasons discussed.
board icon
Masters posted January 27, 2012:

2 out of 10 is appropriate.

You must be signed into an HonestGamers user account to leave feedback on this review.

Info | Help | Privacy Policy | Contact | Advertise | Links

eXTReMe Tracker
© 1998-2014 HonestGamers
None of the material contained within this site may be reproduced in any conceivable fashion without permission from the author(s) of said material. This site is not sponsored or endorsed by Nintendo, Sega, Sony, Microsoft, or any other such party. AMY is a registered trademark of its copyright holder. This site makes no claim to AMY, its characters, screenshots, artwork, music, or any intellectual property contained within. Opinions expressed on this site do not necessarily represent the opinion of site staff or sponsors.