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Review: Agony (PC)By Ofisil At 04.06.2018 22:41

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An old chap enters what seems to be (pardon the imagery) Satan's anus and, since he has no recollection of his life so far, he starts searching for the one running this joint; the mysterious Red Goddess. In all honesty, however, for what is supposed to be the scariest place ever, things aren't as impressive as might be expected. Agony's hell is a pretty... customary one, and that's putting it mildly, as there are renaissance depictions of the Antichrist's hometown, which are far more imaginative, atmospheric, and disturbing.

This is basically a fleshier, bonier, and bloodier version of Doom's hell, just one where some of the devils have had boob jobs, and with brightness and contrast decreased a couple of notches. Things are not as unsettling, otherworldly, and, as a result, scary as expected, however. This is nothing more than your average metal album cover, and not even a Cannibal Corpse one (Google that!). Moreover, while lots of gore, demon-sex, and monstrous foetuses with giant heads will be thrown around, it will all be done without any real build-up, thus most will sort of go numb.

The thing about good horror is that it's not about gore, but about playing with people's minds; making you afraid of what lies behind the door, instead of seeing it. This doesn't understand that concept, and just succumbs to cheap shock antics that simply don't work, and frequently end up being laughable; like some demon babies that are hung from their umbilical cords, which, instead of nightmare-inducing, look like cheap Halloween toys, or the hokey voice-acting of the Red Goddess, also known as the one who is supposed to be the frightening, head honcho.

The story is as mundane as the realm it takes place in, which is even more disappointing because it's based on the Book of Revelation, making it hard to believe that the developer couldn't take advantage of such source material and create something truly original. As for its 'Unholy Female' "theme," it isn't used in a way that leaves an impact. The Onoskelis demoness from the cover has a vagina dentata instead of a head, succubi have violent sex orgies, the forbidden fruit is… well, cherry-flavoured, collectibles are Venus figurines, and so on, but… meh.

Gameplay-wise, this is excruciatingly boring, leaving a bitter rushed/incomplete aftertaste, and, most of all, is nothing more than a generic hide-and-seek/walking sim-esque "adventure" that makes the original Metal Gear look like Alien Isolation. You know the drill: stay silent, wait for the patrolling baddie to walk away, and find X, put it in Y, in order to open Z. Sure, deeper into this ordeal it will also be possible to possess foes, but this isn't really as cool as it sounds, since most demons are nothing more than walking keys for those doors that couldn't be opened otherwise.

Oh, and don't forget worst enemy of all: the glitch demon! Here's a list of a few issues, even after the recent, 3GB patch: many enemies can see you when they shouldn't, and many don't when they should; there are myriads of spots where the protagonist simply gets stuck, forcing a nice little reset; sometimes he can get burned by using a torch, or by simply holding it, and sometimes he will get hurt by… err, hell's air(?). Should people wait for a more massive, and, hopefully, more effective update? Not really, as this wouldn't be enjoyable even after all its problems were wiped out.

This is one of those "where the Hell (literally) do I go" kind of situations, where navigating the game world isn't really a matter of how skilled gamers are. As such, rather than feeling good after completing a section, you will often feel as if you were just lucky that to have found a way out of the maze, or happened to stumble on the key item that was required to move on. As for the level design, not only is it atrocious, and so choke-full of detail that it becomes tiring too gaze upon, but, more often than not, it's simply impossible to see anything due to how dark everything is.

Generally, there's nothing good to say about Agony. For a, supposedly, risky survival horror game in hell, it's almost devoid of atmosphere, and when things aren't drowned in darkness, or don't blend together, it's simply boring to look at. It also stinks of a rushed production, with tons of bugs, an annoyingly problematic level design, and sleep-inducingly simplistic stealth and puzzle mechanics. Now, excuse this humble reviewer, as he will have to take his revenge upon Hell by playing Doom and shredding it to pieces…

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Final Score
If Hell does exist, then it's surely the one depicted in [i]Agony[/i], because one can get used to pain and suffering, but these can't compete with utter and complete boredom. Madmind Studios' rushed, "controversial" cash-grab, is nothing more than one of the contenders for the worst release of 2018, and one of the worst survival horror games ever, full stop.



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