Agony [official site] is an upcoming survival horror game, currently being developed by Madmind Studio and published by PlayWay S.A., which takes place in a much grittier, more harrowing version of hell than often interpreted.
Get rid of this ‘war is hell’ nonsense. Let’s take a look at the real hell, or what many believe it is. Agony puts the player in the shoes of a tormented soul, with no recollection of their past life. What are you being punished for? You’ll never know. You probably ate some bacon or worked on a Saturday. Anyway, this poor soul must escape from the fiery, gruesome hell that they have been condemned to.
While some think of hell as an eternal limbo and others think of it as ‘fire, fire everywhere,’ Agony is delivering a more terrible and realistic version. It’s not just you being tormented, the demons are as well. There isn’t a demon hierarchy, you’re all just as bad as each other, they are just a lot more aggressive.
Let’s just dive right in. What makes Agony a true horror game is its lack of defence actions and the danger of almost everything around you. You’re toddling along slowly, trying to figure out what the flaming hell is going on (pun intended), and you come across a demon thing going through some tough times, probably a breakup — what can you do? Well, obviously, run for yer life! Forget about manning up and facing yer fears, just run! Ye cannae defend yerself, just run! Get away from me, ye wee demon scunner! Oh no, she caught me.
That’s part of the reason I love games similar to Outlast so much — there is no defence, and it’s fantastic. There’s a fine line between survival horror and survival shooter, and many game developers haven’t received that message yet. If you’re watching a horror movie (that isn’t a comedy, mind), my bet is that the victims have little to no experience in combat, little to no weapons and little to no courage. It keeps you on the edge of your seat. In a game, I expect that same level of suspense, and you just can’t get that when you can run in guns blazing, blasting the heads off any creature that isn’t you. Horror is meant to be frightening, and Agony captures that.
You sneaky devil you!
While there’s almost no combat, you do have the ability to throw objects, like bones, to distract the demons. That, combined with the super stealthy sneaky mode which quietens your footsteps and the power to switch into another human or simple-minded demon’s body, gives you a
I would also like to mention that Agony is beautiful. Not beautiful beautiful, but beautiful in a cruel, ghastly sort of way. Stumbling down small tunnels filled with bloody intestines and teeth is quite a horrid sight, but if you can appreciate it, it is visually spectacular. The eerie sound effects and tones and the way people cry when you’ve morphed into their body is very spookily satisfying, and adds to the game’s horrible beauty.
I’ve had a short demo of the game for a little while now and after a few minutes of playing, I was already enthralled. I look forward to seeing where the game is led and what it’ll be like when it’s released, scheduled for Q2 2017.