Maybe the real agony was the game we played along the way?
Well…it certainly is Agony.
Many games use their mechanics to illustrate the theme, whether punishing you to enforce the idea of struggle or a long winding path to imbue ideals of life itself, yet whatever message Agony was trying to get across is sadly lost in a cocktail of muddy visuals, rigid controls and unforgivable performance issues.
Telling a tale of a human soul making their way through hell, Agony posits you in a twisted world of demons, morbid imagery in character design and level design with heavy sexual content as well as gratuitous gore until the end.
Gameplay starts out with simple fetch quests, asking you to retrieve hearts, set things on fire with a torch and later on grab strange vagina apples to power up. There are boss fights occasionally, though there isn’t combat as such, more an often awkward work around including setting a demon on fire whilst they reach through a wall and forcing another to run into a wall. Later you can possess other larger creatures, which enables faster movement but is generally wasted as there is so little in the way of actual combat to enjoy this transformation.The 5-6 hours is will likely take to complete the game are filled with tedium and nothing else the game offers alleviates this boredom.
While it’s clear the visual aesthetic the developers were going with, if you want a game that showcases a gory hell-scape there’s other places to go. This game looks terrible. With ugly textures, genuinely awful character models and constantly stuttering framerate, it can be so hard to tell what is going on at any point, let alone enjoy or at least appreciate the world that’s been designed here. I appreciate that the characters and enemies are meant to be ugly as well, but the models look like something from a poor PS2 game and don’t belong in a modern video game. Smaller studios have managed to achieve more, so being an indie title doesn’t give this game a pass.
Any attempt at atmosphere is consistently ruined, I understand the tone that was set out to be achieved here but at no point does the game give you anything interesting to do or look at, and you are hit over the head with inane gameplay married with somehow twisted yet boring visuals. I couldn’t glean any enjoyment from this game and I encourage you to avoid it altogether. Every potentially interesting aspect of it is done competently somewhere else with nothing here to separate it enough and justify spending your hard earned money. Maybe the real agony was the game we played along the way?