Agony Xbox One X Review

Agony proves that setting is only one component needed to make an excellent horror game.

By Grayshadow, Posted 02 Jun 2018

Agony opens up with a dark blood-filled world full of sadistic themes and demonic creatures. Attempting to convince the player that this horror game is something that can rival some of the most gruesome and terrifying titles within the genre until you experience all the vexing moments that follow. That sense of uncomfortable tension quickly fades and is instead replaced with frustration as agony fittingly becomes the feeling you'll exhibit while playing.

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Agony has you tasked with looking for a Red Goddess in an attempt to escape Hell. Burnt to a crisp and strip of all memories you'll explore an environment constructed with atrocities and human genitalia in mind. It hards not to be shocked by the level design as the architecture around you feels like a living nightmare. After that initial hysteria Agony quickly begins to show its issues.

The most predominant and noteworthy being Hell itself. The overuse of black and red instantly makes getting lost much easier within the labyrinth. Similarly, after you won't find anything as striking as the initial drop into Hell.  All the architecture and art design bleed together with little variation to keep exploration from becoming dull.

Hell is massive, and that works to its disadvantage. The only sense of direction provided is Destiny Lines that send out a neon cluster of lights. These are useless and often point you towards walls, ceilings, and other impassable barriers. Since these "helpful" tools are limited depending on the difficulty setting expect a lot of backtracking since everything begins to look the same.

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Enemy design is great. While you'll encounter predictable charr humans found in titles such as God of War and Doom many of the enemies are truly hideous. The animators did a great job of crafting creatures that would rival enemies found in The Evil Within and Resident Evil.

All humans, including yourself, are shambling corpses with very little movement. You can walk, sprint for a limited of time, and jump. There are no weapons and the only defense you have is to run, sneak, or hide. However, it's very easy to be seen and heard, and with no indicator of where hostiles are you can expect to rely on trial and error over precise timing. This wouldn't be an issue if dying wasn't a whole other problem.

When killed you have a limited amount of time to fly around Hell to locate your body or posses another. Possession requires a capable victim but Agony doesn't explain who can be possessed or how to make them vulnerable. 

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if killed again you restart from the last checkpoint which is triggered by demonic sacrifices. These are poorly placed and often hidden in obscure areas. Some checkpoints are placed so far apart that death could end up costing 30 minutes of progression.

Much of the game requires 2 types of fetch quests. Locating small objects and arranging them in a specific way and finding the correct sigil to unlock the next area. If you happen to pick up the wrong sigil you'll have to head back and try again.

Agony proves that setting is only one component needed to make an excellent horror game. Agony relies heavily on its shock value but lacks substance to keep fans of horror games tense and alert. Instead of cultivating these feelings provides more frustration and anguish just to progress.

Adam Siddiqui, NoobFeed
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General Information

Agony

35/100

Platform(s): Xbox One, PS4, PC
Publisher(s): PlayWay
Developer(s): Madmind Studio
Genres: Survival Horror
Themes: First Person, Hell
Release Date: 2018-05-29

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