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TAY! Weekend!!! Whatcha Playing?

Finished with Agony, onto the Wars

Happy Weekend TAY!

And a Happy Father’s Day weekend to all the Pops/Daddies/Dads/Fathers/Da-das out there. I’m personally looking forward to a relaxing and quiet weekend with just my family and some movies and video games.

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I had a busy time last week with multiple groups of people visiting our home and I had very little chance to game. I did find the time to finish Agony UNRATED (I didn’t know I was that close to the end) and well...Agony UNRATED was definitely...something.

Something good or something bad, I’m not quite sure. Unique for certain, I haven’t done that before. There is a lot of promise here, but a lot of clunky execution as well.

Agony looks amazing visually and it is an impressive first outing for a very small team at MadMind Studio. The level design was exquisite and with all the trippy and shifting visuals, I often found myself turned around and lost, which is a rare treat for me in video games.

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It definitely isn’t for everyone and would probably offend some (many...most?). Scenes of torture, rape, and death aren’t uncommon and the frequent nudity and occasional sex scenes are symbols of defenselessness and depravity rather than to lighten the mood. This is Hell, it isn’t a happy place, and you’ll find no punches pulled in the unrated version. However, if you like to push your boundaries, there might not be a better horrorscape in video games. (I did have South Park’s GoT song in my head at many points during the game with all the penises).

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The problem with Agony is that there is very little to it beyond this disturbing and yet impressive realization of Hell. I think I’d liken Agony to a walking simulator as what little gameplay there is feels clunky and somehow unimportant.

Actually, everything in Agony feels unimportant and unnecessary. The stealth, collectables, combat, (weak) puzzles, and upgrade system all feel completely optional and seem to make little difference. If you are willing to simply keep moving forward, you’ll finish the game. I didn’t even realize I had earned upgrade points until halfway through the game and I was playing on Hard.

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Also, the game is awkward and clumsy to control. I get that I’m supposed to be a weak human for much of it and they are going for a more realistic approach to how the body moves, but it always feels slow and cumbersome to get around. There is little joy in hell, especially with the controls.

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You never shake the weird dichotomy of Agony being a polished and unpolished game throughout the entire experience...well...until the end where it is basically all-bad.

Agony’s final encounter is painful. You have to figure out what to do while performing some awkwardly controlled platforming. One slip and you fall to your death; respawning at the last checkpoint.

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From the checkpoint, you have to replay a giant section which involves numerous unskippable cutscenes (video game sin #1) and forward movement as your only action to perform. If MadMind were trying to represent a gamer’s hell with the final boss, they absolutely nailed it.

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I’d like to see more from MadMind Studios. You get glimpses of exciting game ideas with Agony, but none of the mechanics are put to good use and it feels like a game that might have drowned in its own complex design. There is more to play in Agony with the DLC and I might go back and look at it since you can play as a demon instead of a frail human. But, I’m just as likely not to give Agony another look for a long time. As much as I’d like to see the new areas in the DLC, Agony just ends up being no fun to play.

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After Agony UNRATED I needed a complete gaming pallet-cleanser and decided to play Halo Wars: Definitive Edition on PC via Game Pass. I remember enjoying it on the 360 and it now looks much prettier. Also, I can play it with a mouse and keyboard which is much more precise for an RTS game.

I’m looking forward to playing more Halo Wars when I get a spare moment and hopefully, I’ll be able to get the family to play some Rock Band this weekend. I still haven’t tried out the new Proclaimers track.

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So, what are you playing this weekend?

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