(with Oli J)
In the Dock: Amy by Vectorcell
You remember Resident Evil 4? Yes? Remember all the fun bits were you had to escort Ashley? What do you mean they weren’t fun? Well no… you’re right. They were annoying, irritating and completely made you loath what was until then a finely pieced together game. No-one likes escort missions, so you wonder why they made a game like Amy.
Released this week on Xbox Live, Amy is a survival horror game. How do you know that? Well for a start it’s third person, second it has zombies in it and thirdly it has terrible voice acting, jet black dark areas to traverse and flawed hand to hand combat.
You play Lana, a woman charged with escorting creepy silent kid, and titular character of course, Amy. Now from the opening cut scene, you are subtly told that there is something not quite right with Amy… she doesn’t talk, fears strangers (represented here by a Black Man talking about Santa Claus. Terrifying) and tends to draw pictures of zombie apocalypses. Is that exposition I smell? Indeed it is! All we need now is a train crash and for Black Train Man to turn into a zombie and we gots a survival horror game baby!
In fact, this cut scene is where you first notice the major flaws in the game as the cut scene lags. I’m not kidding, frame rates stumble, characters jar in place and the lip syncing? Well if it gets this bad then simply don’t bother. You hope to yourself that this is just limited to these and that the gameplay will be better, but alas, the glitchy nature remains. Upon discovering a fellow NPC, I noticed before going into another cut scene that his head went all Exorcist on me.
In addition, if you’re trying to emulate Resident Evil (which Amy oh so wants to be), then the one thing you don’t emulate is the control system… from the first two games. This was acceptable in the 90s, not 2012 and not on the 360, whether it be Arcade or otherwise. Playing as someone with a turning circle the size of an over-pumped beach ball only leads to frustration and general anger, which the confusing puzzles have in abundance.
On the (sadly minimal) plus side, the combat is OK and the teamwork aspect between Lana and Amy is implemented well. But there is just oh so much bad! Random jump scares such as cables fusing or panels falling is bad enough, but to have Lana react and SCREAM when they happen is just infuriating. Ditto, as I touched on earlier, creating your NPCs from the Big Book of Racial Stereotypes (“Hey missy! Ah’ma ‘Talian cab driver! But I also used to be in da Mafia. Know what I mean? Fuhgeddaboutit!”)
I went into Amy with intrigue and unfortunately left with a sneer of disappointment. It’s main failing is it’s attempts to be a survival horror but instead coming across as a parody of them. As usual first impressions count, and Amy fails to reach past 2.