Agony – Xbox One Review

After a successful kickstarter by developer Madmind – (a name somewhat appropriate to the title in question), Agony was greenlit for development, and two years later, it has been born and is in the hands of us here at XBOUK, but does this title fill you with everlasting pleasure or bring you extreme mental suffering?

The concept of Agony sounds interesting, to say the least; a tortured soul travelling through hell to find out why you are there. Agony’s version of Hell is simply breath-taking and the first twenty minutes of play time, we were grossed out and disgusted, but that’s not a bad thing. Hell is a terrifying place and Agony goes for the throat with the shock value, whether it’s a naked blood-soaked Succubus disembowelling somebody or watching a demon build a wall with infant-like creatures as its cement. The novelty does start to dry up after an hour so and it becomes a boring tedious mess full of bad voice acting and frustrating glitches.

In Agony, you play a fresh soul that wakes up at the gates of Hell with no memories of who you are or why you’re there. For reasons not yet explained you are free to walk through the gates. The only piece of knowledge that you have learnt is that somewhere in Hell is someone called the Red Goddess. Only she can help you regain your lost memories. This is where your journey begins and the game straight away falls into familiar survival horror trope of titles such as Alien Isolation or Outlast. Run. Hide. Repeat. But whereas those game did this gameplay well, Agony feels sluggish and boring from the start.

All low-level scum (including yourself) are nothing but husks and have very little impact on anything in hell – you are essentially a demons ‘plaything’. You can shuffle along or shuffle a little faster, jump and crouch. Weapons are none existent however, you can pick up torches which provide light and the ability to burn down certain parts of the environment. When an enemy crosses your path, you can either run away – which won’t get you too far as most monsters are much faster than you, hide, or you can sneak around. There is a power-up that lessens the noise you make but it is still very easy to be heard and seen even when holding your breath as sometimes the monster will still see you.  Aside from a few tense musical notes, there’s no indicator of where exactly an enemy is in relation to you so traversing around tight corners can sometimes be scary, but when your body is glitched in a wall more than once you start to feel cheated.

Enemies are very well thought out and each represent Hell in a unique way. Others leave you rolling your eyes about how generic they look, getting caught by an enemy is typically a one (or if you are lucky) a two-hit death. As such, checkpoints are a must but sometimes even checkpoints can glitch. For example, we hit a checkpoint before a certain area that is filled with demons, to then die and be sent back to a previous checkpoint. Fear not as death is not the end in Agony as you can actually possess other husks if you die and later on in the game a few classes of demon, but this is not as fun as it sounds – every other enemy seems to know that you are the odd one out and can still kill you in one hit.

When walking through endless corridors avoiding demons, the rest of the game has you doing two types of quests: collecting a number of important objects and arranging them to open a door and finding a certain sigil among dozens of others that will unlock the next area. Both of them are completely tedious and boring. The first sigil puzzle was a cool little thing to do but after completing about 5 of them within the first hour of the game, once again the novelty wore off fast. The second quest is a glorified scavenger hunt that will have you travelling through the same environment again.

The main problem with Agony is that the game shows you everything you are going to see within the first few hours. It took us around eight hours to complete and this was searching for the thrown in collectables as well. It offers little to no replay value other than a few different endings that we just haven’t got the patience to play through again. Maybe in time, once the developers fix certain issues with a patch we may have the game people had hoped for. But right now, it is a messy and sluggish game that should stay in the bowels of hell.

Agony is available to purchase or download-  Click here to buy.

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