I enjoy a good game set in a Hellish landscape. For some reason, I find myself attracted to such a nightmarish setting. The more surreal and creepy, the better. When I went to check out Agony, I knew I had to get my hands on a demo of the game if they had one. As of the weekend, backers that pledge $6.66 or more get access to a short piece of the game to try out. And try it out I did.
For those who don’t know, Agony is the story of a damned soul working to escape PlayWay’s version of Hell. There’s apparently some sort of goddess that could grant people passage out of the land, and the demo has you starting out your quest. The demo lasts for roughly a half hour if you’re good, maybe an hour if not. One thing you can’t do is talk to other souls. That is one feature that wasn’t available to play with.
What little I saw of Agony I really liked. I’m not much into “body horror”, but the way it’s presented in this context worked for me. There is a good deal of grotesqueness, but it doesn’t feel out of place here. It also really adds to the atmosphere of having to deal with a place full of demons and suffering souls.
Unless you have a weak constitution, and are fond of body parts in strange positions, you’ll probably enjoy this. Even someone like myself with a weak stomach didn’t have any problems playing. There were a couple really cringe-worthy moments, such as a soul bricking up a wall using babies in between the stones, but again these help set the mood that you’re not in a happy-go-lucky world.
The only problem I had with playing the Agony demo was the stealth mechanics. There is one section where you have to maneuver around a demon or it’ll grab you and kill you. It took me several tries to realize that I could distract it with a torch long enough to slip by. Thankfully, you can always go back and possess another poor soul and try again. It’s a limited time, so you better be quick or you’ll be sent to the last checkpoint.
Agony, even in this very early stage, looks and plays beautifully. The gameplay is smooth, with myself only encountering one fatal bug. After dieing the first time, I found myself clipping out of the dungeon and was forced into the title screen to continue. Other than that, I had no problems playing the demo. From the opening cinematic to the “please support us on Kickstarter” screen, I had as much fun as you can in such a dark survival horror game.
And Agony very much lives up to its name. All of the souls are groaning and lamenting their fate. At least that’s what I got from my experience. By the time I was able to finally possess a demon, I really needed something to cheer me up. It’s most certainly a game not for the faint of heart.
Unlike most other games featuring Hellish landscapes, you’re also without any means to defend yourself. There are no guns or chainsaws to rip these demons to shreds. The only things you have are your wits and a near limitless number of torches to distract those that would wish you harm. Agony is a game that immerses the player in some of the most disturbing images I’ve seen in a long time.
It’s also a game worth playing. If you decide to pledge, be sure to give enough to try out the demo for yourself. It’s worth it.