AMY Review (PSN/XBLA)

January 27, 2012

PlayStation 3, Reviews, Xbox 360

AMY is the latest game from the mind of Paul Cuisset, creator of Flashback for the SEGA Genesis and Super Nintendo. It is a survival-horror game developed by VectorCell and published by Lexis Numerique. After numerous delays, is AMY a girl worth watching over?

Story: 3/5

The game starts off with Lana breaking out of the Phoenix Center with Amy, an autistic girl with mysterious abilities. Lana receives a phone call from her contact Ellen Lavigna while on the train heading back, discussing Amy’s condition and how she appears to be getting worse. Ellen tells Lana to meet her at a hospital when all of a sudden, she notices an explosion coming from near the Phoenix Center they’re running away from. Suddenly, the train crashes and Lana is searching for Amy so that they can meet Ellen at the hospital in Silver City and try to find out what’s wrong with her. The ironic part is, Amy isn’t the one that’s going to need any curing. The city is infected and its citizens have turned into zombie-esqe creatures. Lana was also infected and if not careful, will slowly deteriorate into a zombie herself. However, Amy has special abilities within her that prevent Lana from turning. Throughout their journey, Lana and Amy will have to work together to ensure their survival. As the story progresses, you will learn about why Amy was being tested on and why she is so vital. The story as a whole isn’t anything too deep and raises a few questions such as, “Who is Lana and why did she personally break Amy out of the Center?” While there are some loop holes within the plot, what’s there is enjoyable and intriguing enough to want to see where it goes.

Gameplay: 2/5

AMY has very intriguing concepts that work in theory and fans of Cuisset’s “Flashback” may catch on to some similar mechanics. However, there are some serious technical issues that prevent the game from ever reaching the greatness many were hoping for. As Lana, your job is to protect Amy, whom in return will prevent you from turning. By pressing a button, you can call Amy over to you and holding the same button will allow you to hold her hand (which enables you to regenerate your status faster). While this sounds simple enough, the game is strict and unresponsive with this action at times. To hold her hand, you have to be almost still for her to grab on. If you run or crouch, she has a hard time trying to grab on. There are moments in the game where Amy has to utilize her abilities to help both herself and Lana escape. The game advertises that Amy has 5 unique abilities but strangely, there were only 2 types I came across: shockwave and silence. What was the point of the Ability Wheel she has?

When you die in this game, you will oddly lose your weapon as well as all of your syringes you had collected. It can certainly cause frustration but never became too much of an issue throughout my playthrough to be honest. What will cause frustration for many is the confusing checkpoint system. First off, normally when you reach a checkpoint in a game, it will autosave or at the very least allow you to “save and quit” so that you can return later on. AMY demands you to actually complete the chapter before saving so be sure to put some time aside before playing. Secondly, the frequency of the checkpoints are too few and far in between. The most infamous chapter that may cause serious frustration is Chapter 2. After you reach the first checkpoint, you won’t be prompted another one until almost 20-30 minutes later. Other chapters had distant checkpoints as well, but not as bad as Chapter 2’s.

Lana has to occasionally be stealthy at times to sneak past creatures and doing so will benefit you. Whenever you can avoid a confrontation, the better as Lana isn’t much of a fighter. The combat is basic but makes sense considering that she has no fighting background. She mainly just swings pipes and crowbars at enemies and can dodge. If you’re familiar with Silent Hill, it’s along those lines in terms of combat. As Lana becomes more contaminated, she will be able to blend more with the other infected. You will notice this when the screen starts getting all hazy and reddish and when more severe, Lana will start moving like them. This can be used to your advantage however as it allows you to sneak past creatures since they think you’re one of them.

Another problem in the game is the sense of direction. You’re never given too much of an idea of where to go next and what you should be doing. The game would’ve benefited from having a map so that you’d have a better understanding of the environment. There are a few sections in which you will have to scan DNA to open locked doors. During these scenes, you have to utilize the radar on the bottom right of the screen to see where the DNA scans are. In almost every game that has a mini-map/radar, it shows you how much closer you’re getting to an object. AMY seems to throw that mechanic out the window and just show you the direction the DNA is in, without showing whether it’s closer or farther away from where you are.

Despite these numerous issues, the game was still surprisingly enjoyable. Each chapter was entirely varied, keeping it fresh throughout the playthrough. Chapter 1 was essentially your tutorial stage, teaching you some of the basics. Chapter 2, the lengthiest and most difficult chapter, had you learning some of the stealth mechanics while introducing a grotesque creature and quarantine soldiers that can pick you off in a single shot if spotted. Chapter 3 has you handling more environmental puzzles while Chapter 4 is more combat intensive. The notorious Chapter 5 that many complained about has you being stealthier than Solid Snake. In this chapter, you must spend about half the time trying to get past the infected and if you get spotted once, it’s back to the checkpoint (there’s only one checkpoint during the stealth sequence). Lastly, Chapter 6 then has you facing off against the final boss which is the only boss in the game.

Even though checkpoints were too few and far in between throughout the chapters, it definitely gave off the sense of survival horror. It actually further pushed you to doing your best to not screw up.

Graphics: 3/5

Visually, AMY is a mixed bag. Lana and Amy themselves are very detailed and animate fluidly. The other character models also look well detailed for the most part. The environments are dreary and drab but that’s exactly what the game is trying to convey and it works. To be quite honest, the only problems with the visuals are the screen tearing and frame rate. The screen tears a little too much with almost every action you do. The frame rate was really abysmal at times though, stuttering way too often to the point where it takes away from the immersion. The main visual detail that really stands out is Lana’s transformation. If you pull the camera close to Lana’s face and watch her slowly turn into a creature, the amount of real-time detail is impressive.

Sound: 4/5

A solid soundtrack that captures the moments extremely well are accompanied by some disturbing ambient noises. Sound effects are effective and certainly amp up the creepy factor. The voice acting leaves a bit to be desired. Some characters are fine while others (a certain character you meet in the first chapter) can be extremely irritating and make you want to put them out of their misery.

Overall score: 12/20 = 6.0 out of 10

AMY isn’t an unplayable game by any stretch of the imagination. Rather, it’s a game that needed to stay in the oven for a little extra cooking time. The technical issues that should’ve been ironed out are the main problems riding against this game from greatness. If you had any interest in playing AMY, then by all means give it a go. However, if you never had an interest in the game, nothing here will sway you into giving it a look. Here’s hoping that the hinted sequel irons out all the kinks.

PROs:

+ Interesting Concept

+ Solid Soundtrack and Sound Effects

+ Nice Character Models

CONs:

– Buggy Gameplay

– Stuttering Frame Rate

– Abundant Screen Tearing

– Shoddy Save System

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About Glacier928

Marcello is the founder, creator and editor-in-chief of GamersXtreme. His dedication and passion shows as he keeps gamers informed with daily news articles and provides truthful, honest opinions on all gaming related news. Having experience with video game design, as well as over 20 years of gaming under his belt, Marcello has always had a massive interest in the gaming society. Originally, he created GamersXtreme in the style of a magazine back in middle school. Today, he has taken what was created as a basic premise and has evolved it into the site it is today.

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2 Comments on “AMY Review (PSN/XBLA)”

  1. RockN Says:

    Played the demo. Definitely flawed, certainly not the worst game I’ve ever played. Not amazing either though.

    Reply

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  1. AMY Receiving a Much Needed Patch Update? | Gamers XTREME - April 3, 2012

    […] reviewed AMY back in January (found here) and while it had plenty of issues, I still found myself enjoying the game a bit. However, if this […]

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