|System: Xbox 360, PS3|
|Dev: Vector Cell|
|Pub: Lexis Numérique|
|Release: January 11, 2012|
|Screen Resolution: 480p-1080p||Use of Drugs, Blood, Intense Violence, Language|
by Amanda L. Kondolojy
The only reason I can think of for AMY to exist is an exercise in the willpower of survival horror enthusiasts. Sure, you can say a game from the Silent Hill or Resident Evil series is one where you have to survive, but a game that really pushes the limits of what it means to endure adversity has never really been created. Until now. Imagine a game where you have no goals, every level is an endless hallway, and the controls don't work. Welcome to the world of AMY.
The game starts out with a rather ridiculous premise that could have gone either very well or very poorly. You play as Lana, who is traveling with a young child. Though a series of well-timed phone calls, we learn that AMY has some sort of medical condition that she has been treated for at some sort of center. However, the doctor at the center is apparently some kind of psychopath, so Lana helps Amy escape, and now they are planning to sneak into another hospital, just in case the evil doctor (or whatever) is watching.
However, just when things are starting to look up, Amy shows Lana a picture she drew of an explosion and monsters, just as the train they are riding actually explodes. You wake up an unspecified amount of time later. Apparently, during your nap, the entire world went to hell. There's some kind of infection happening, major public areas have been closed off, and there's even a temporary serum that has been developed to ward off symptoms.
To me, it sounds like someone has been in stasis for at least a few weeks, but the gap in time is never really explained. The story goes from sort of decent to completely ridiculous in a heartbeat, but this is actually the least offensive part of the game. And that's saying something.
Once you are able to take control of main character Lana, the real frustration begins: the progression system. Throughout the history of games, developers have found interesting ways to get you from one point to another. Whether it is a left-right scroll, a map, or verbal cues, there's always a little something to give players some direction. AMY, however, gives you no direction whatsoever. You're just dumped into an endless maze of hallways, and the best you can do is hope for a button prompt.
But even those are few and far between, thanks to a control system that doesn't make much sense. Moving around is simple enough, but combat involves pressing both the trigger and a face button, while running involves doing a weird controller dance with three individual button presses. The game also never makes it clear whether you are supposed to press, tap, or hold a button, so you'll have to rely on a lot of trial and error just to get the controls down. Unfortunately, even once you learn the controls, the experience doesn't get much better. Combat is hit or miss (literally), and even though you might tell your character to jump out of the way of an attack, you'll probably end up standing still looking like an idiot about 40% of the time. Getting your characters to do what you want them to do seems like a basic fundamental of video game development, but, unfortunately, it is one that AMY just doesn't possess.
As you progress through the game, you'll learn that you have to work with little Amy to get things done. Holding her hand will help protect you from infection, and there are several areas where you will have to use Amy's special skills to either get into a tight space or solve a puzzle. In order to use Amy effectively, you'll have to literally hold her hand and lead her to whatever you need her to do. She's like the annoying NPC from every other game where you've had to babysit, but this time, the babysitting is literal, and you have to endure it for the entire length of the game. It's not a very good mechanic, and makes accomplishing even simple tasks much more difficult than it should be.