Review: AMY (XBLA)

Review: AMY (XBLA)

Imagine, if you will, an atmospheric, moody game where you are given the role of a woman looking after a gifted young girl in a world suddenly overrun by zombies and other monsters. Then make the first level of the game impossibly dark, make the characters incredibly slow, give them the AI of a caterpillar, along with giving the main two characters telepathic powers. This is the premise of AMY; at least that’s what this rather promising game gave me once I started playing it.

In AMY, you play as a woman named Lana, who is given the responsibility to take care of Amy, a young girl who has a speaking disability. The story presented to me in the opening cutscene really intrigued me; too bad this game is nearly impossible to play. Your train crashes into a station and you have to find Amy while avoiding zombies. The problem is that the first level is so dark that you can’t see anything; I set my brightness up to the max and still had problems finding pathways. Thankfully, this is the only part of the game where this happens. After you find Amy, the game then goes into a flux between a sickeningly horrible game and an almost (ALMOST!) enjoyable game. There are so many signs that this game could’ve been a great game, but eventually you realize that there is no hope for this game. From the horrible AI to the ridiculous checkpoint system, this game oozes terrible gameplay design. There was one memorable section in the first level where you have to run from zombies in a random maze made out of fences. I finally made it to safety, only to realize that Amy had decided to stay behind and hang with the zombies. So I had to battle my way through zombies, find my way though the maze, then find Amy and bring her all the way back to the locked door I needed her to open (of course, it would be too much to ask the other guy to help).

I have to say, a lot of choices made with Amy (the character) make me cringe. For one, every time she does something, Lana congratulates her. That would be fine, except for the fact that the game stops for a moment to show you a closeup of Amy’s face every time. Hooray. Also, later on in the game, she gains the random ability to write down random glowing numbers, which give her certains powers, like the ability to make an area devoid of noise. I’m not going to lie, this confused the heck out of me; one minute I’m looking for her, and the next minute she gains superpowers and Lana doesn’t even seem to be confused? Seems legit. Also, I don’t understand why Lana makes Amy crawl through huge spaces so that she can press a button or grab a key when Lana could easily fit perfectly through said space. Then, there is Amy’s horrible AI, which I mentioned earlier. Not only does she like to stand around, she likes to stand right in your way when you’re trying to escape from an enemy’s sight. This has caused me many cheap deaths, and thanks to the unforgiving checkpoint system, those cheap deaths have been quite frustrating. Also, after playing for a while, I started to notice that Lana and Amy seemed to communicate telepathically; if you want Amy to do something, just press the button. Seriously, if you give a command to Amy, Lana doesn’t voice it to Amy, Amy just does what you want. Just like in real life.

After playing through AMY for a while, I started to get the feeling that the designers thought that the players wouldn’t die very often, since there are very few checkpoints spread across the chapters. Well, it’s hard not to die when combat is overly clumsy. You try and hit an enemy, and after a few hits, Lana will decide to take a little breather, which leads to an enemy hitting her. If you decided to dodge the attack (since you won’t be able to hit the enemy), there is good chance Lana will be too slow to evade the attack, which eventually leads to death. For someone who is trying not to get eaten by zombies, Lana sure does seem to want to take her sweet time enjoying the scenery. I know if I was being chased by a monster, I would move a little faster.

Well, I could go and on about AMY’s faults, but I feel that I should stop, unless you want to continue reading this for another hour or two. I will say that the music is perfect for this game and creates a moody atmosphere, but, unfortunately, AMY fails at everything else. It’s really sad, since this game has so much potential to be a good game. For a while, it seemed that the game was starting to get better; I was actually scared and on edge, like I should be when playing a survival-horror game. Then, about 40 minutes later, I realized that this game is so flawed that I may never be able to complete it. It’s like the designers for this game didn’t play-test it thoroughly and assumed that the it was actually playable. Trust me, the only “survival-horror” in this game is you trying to actually play through AMY and hope your controller survives the fall out of your window.


Um, the music is good...Virtually unplayable
Nothing in this game makes sense
Unforgiving checkpoint system
AI is horrid
You have to pay money for this
17 out of 100

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