While the idea of a game like ICO that is part survival horror may sound novel, Amy fails on all accounts to delivery on its concept.
A game with a premise like Amy’s is one that sounds promising. Picture ICO but in a dirty, rundown city that is infected by some unknown contagion. It is your task to escort this scared girl, Amy, out of this mess. But in reality it turns out that the mess you are trying to escape is actually playing the game. Amy quite possibly could be the worst game I have ever played on PSN.
It isn’t a good sign when you get to the opening cutscene of a game and there are already problems. There are tearing and framerate issues galore throughout most of your playthrough. Which is strange because it doesn’t seem like the visuals are so outrageous that issues like this would arise. You can see in the video embedded below but everything about Amy’s look is just average. I will admit to liking the onscreen effects that happen when Lana, the character you control, gets infected. The screen turns this pinkish color and the more you are infected, the more intense the visuals get. Environments seem similar from chapter to chapter, with indoor surroundings being the mainstay. When there is the occasional outdoor setting you are funneled through it in a way doesn’t give you any feeling of being out of the halls and sewers you were in before.
I can give you three reasons why you should just ignore Amy altogether. First the controls are cumbersome and there seems to be some strange hit detection going on in the background. If you watched any of the times I streamed, you probably heard me cursing about the controls numerous times. Fighting monsters feels like you are hitting a pinata, blindfold included. There is no rhyme or reason behind the combat. Sometimes you will hit the dodge button, your character preforms the animation but the enemy still randomly hits you. Other times you are no where near the enemy but for some reason you will get hit. To actually attack them you have to catch them in an animation, which will still be hit or miss. Combat controls aren’t the only thing that feels unresponsive. A main point of the game is holding Amy’s hand, this will not only bring her with you but it fights off the infection and keeps you alive. The problem is that half the time it seems that Amy can’t or won’t hold on to you. If you try to go around a corner at the wrong angle she will let go, start running and turn sharply she will let go, hell it is even hard to get her to hold your hand if she is next to you some times. For a feature that is a main part of your game, you think they would have made sure it was the best part. This is far from the truth with Amy.
Next we have the puzzles. I will just give you an example from chapter 3, if you want another one watch me struggle for upwards of an hour in chapter 5′s terrible stealth section. I swear I almost broke my control about 6 times doing that section over two days. But back to chapter 3… there is a part where you are trying to catch a ride on the subway to get to the hospital. To do this you have to get across this huge room that is mined with motion detectors. If you move too fast over these you will be shocked and lose some life. So I figure this won’t be too hard I just have to be careful. Skip ahead a bit, I think I have Amy perched atop this piece of scaffolding so she can operate an elevator that is across the map… yes the button to move an elevator is on the opposite side of the stage. So I get Lana over to that elevator and tell Amy to push the button… nothing happens. I think, what the hell is going on here. So I trek back and it seems that Amy has some how on the bottom floor of this area, note that it is impossible for her to get there other than glitching out. So I have to get her back up on this scaffolding and again go across this huge motion detector field. This was the 5th time I had to go across it. Excellence in game design! The worst part was the next bit.
The game really likes to not give you a f*%king clue to what you should be doing. In the part before, I finally get up this elevator and grab a key card then monsters flood the stage. You are supposed to use Amy’s psychic powers to knock them into the motion sensors which will eventually kill them. Thing is it took me about 30 minutes to figure this out. The clue they give is hidden away on the loading screen. A worse example is the final boss. Spoilers everybody. So if you aren’t paying attention to the cutscene at the beginning of the stage or you just happen to miss the clue there are defibrillators mounted on the walls. You need to place them on the wet floor and have the boss run into them. At one point I grabbed one of them and was like “HOW THE F#*K DO I USE THIS!” Need another example? I didn’t even know that you could walk through the motion detectors at first. I was fortunate enough to view a video on youtube, and it blew my mind. How can a game not explain the simplest things.
If the story is to be believed this isn’t the end of Amy’s journey. But I truly hope it is, Amy is terrible. It is the most frustrated I have been while playing a game in years. Avoid it at all costs. Hell I wouldn’t even recommend downloading it for free if it is ever offered via PlayStation Plus. Use that bandwidth for something more entertaining, like this.
A copy of this game was provided by the publisher for review purposes. For more info on our review policy click here. This review is for the PlayStation 3 version of the game.
Chris K's Score:
What I Like:
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