AMY was a game that I had high hopes for, a true blend of survival and horror that didn’t rely heavily on guns or heavy weaponry to break their way out of a sticky situation. An interesting secret that unfolds along with the plot and scary scenery seemed to set a good tone, but like a B horror movie, a good setting to go along with an interesting idea doesn’t always mean success when the execution is sub-par.
For all the things that AMY does well, there are two more things that go wrong. While the art direction is genuinely scary when you view the monsters on their own, choppy animation and a frame rate that stutters in the worst possible situations ruin the ambience. Environmental details and effects are done well but it’s hard to notice them when you struggle with playing the actual title.
Much like the beautiful but ultimately flawed B-movie actress, the voice acting in the game is on the same level. Most of the voice acting falls into one of three categories: lifeless, annoying, or stereotypical. While I often find myself overlooking the annoying voice acting that seems to plague many games these days, the soundtrack (or lack thereof) really makes it stand out. Ambient noises are done well, adding to a good level of creepiness, especially when some of the characters manage to shut the hell up.
Even if AMY did hit all the marks in these two categories, the actual gameplay suffers so badly from so many issues that it wouldn’t redeem it. The frame rate stutter makes the game almost unplayable at certain moments and happens so often it’s hard to imagine how it passed QA in the first place. Playing through the title feels like a trip through the nineties with all the locked doors and switches that you need to pull in order to make your way around the levels.
The checkpoint and saving system in the game doesn’t make things any better when the sloppy controls and laggy frame rate cause you die. Points are few and far between and each death will find you with an empty inventory; this would be a welcome challenge in an “Extreme” version of the game, but is an unnecessary trouble during normal gameplay. Speaking of difficulty, the game is incredibly difficult, to the point that we were told to play the game on Easy while doing the review.
Ultimately the point of the game is to guide Amy to safety, an increasingly difficult task as the game goes on. The buddy mechanic is a pain in the ass, bringing back all the memories of the horrendous escort missions that you’ve been forced to play over the years in other titles. While ICO made you feel responsible for the safe-being of your companion, I just wanted to get Amy the hell out of there so I didn’t have to search for her anymore. Deciding to leave her behind isn’t a good idea either as you mysteriously lose your health if you stray too far.
AMY is a disappointment in almost every category: it’s not fun, it’s not that pretty (despite having some decent design), annoying voice acting. Strange bugs and glitches ruin the experience, forcing me at one point to delete my save file and start from the beginning because of an invisible monster that kept killing me. Much like the recent Resident Evil films, AMY has a few good concepts but doesn’t follow through on the execution to make it everything it should have been.
AMY was played using the PlayStation 3 version, and was provided for review by Lexis Numerique.
Some creepy sound effects, generally good art design.
Pretty much everything else.