Amy Review

Decent ideas can't rescue this shoddy survival horror game.

by

Amy's eponymous infant is psychic, mute, and immune to the mysterious plague that has turned the people of Silver City into zombies. She is also a tiny fool who dashes from a safe hiding spot through a patch of zombies if you leave her alone for a few moments. If you think a frightened little girl deserves your unending patience, you haven't played this game. Amy (little girl) isn't nearly the biggest problem with Amy (downloadable survival horror adventure), however. The game stacks frustration on frustration such that you resent its rudimentary puzzles, shoddy stealth sections, and awkward combat far more than the kid you've led through it all. It's not without decent ideas, but any goodwill they earn the game burns through early and fully; tension and horror quickly give way to exasperation, punctuated by the occasional fake-out jump scare.

You play as Lana, who has busted Amy out of a shady research centre and is escorting her to a hospital when their train crashes into zombie central. Luckily, Amy can't be infected by these ghouls, and radiates an improbable immunizing field; when you hold hands with her, you can't be infected either. In addition to her decontaminating aura, Amy has psychic powers, harnessed by sketching glowing glyphs dotted around the levels. One glyph enables a shock wave that knocks down enemies and barriers; the other creates a dome of silence, used for masking sounds from enemies within earshot. The intriguing premises of the infection system and psychic powers, however, are wasted in the execution.

When you leave Amy's side, the omnipresent infection gradually zombifies Lana. As the contamination sensor on her back goes from green to yellow to red, her skin turns pale and veiny, and her vision becomes red and hazy. When Lana is contaminated enough, zombies mistake her for one of their own, as long as she moves slowly and leaves Amy behind, maybe stuffed in a cupboard somewhere. Despite all the supposed visual cues, it's unclear when Lana is infected enough to pass as a zombie (somewhere between veiny and very veiny). For maximum annoyance, couple that with a city street stealth section with an instant game-over on being detected by an enemy.

The kid has the psychic powers, but when it comes to shimmying, Lana can't be beat.

In addition, Amy can be on her own for only short spells; if you spend too long sneaking around alone, she comes looking for you, trailing nearby zombies like an undead conga line. The added time pressure generates frustration, not tension, especially because when Amy blows her cover it's tantamount to another game-over. There are frequently no weapons to grab, and there is no unarmed combat; Lana can swing a stick or a crowbar, but nothing else. Amy's commitment to de-emphasising combat also means the sticks and crowbars shatter after a few thwacks. Sometimes mid-fight. And you can't carry more than one. Amy, we get it: you're not about fighting. But this punitive, enforced pacifism isn't fun or scary; it's irritating. When that's layered on top of flaky controls for moving and bashing stuff, plus an aggravatingly heavy camera, Amy does a grand job of discouraging combat by encouraging you to set down the controller and walk away.

The imprecise controls extend to the kid's magic brain powers. You can't control Amy directly--though you can command her to stay still and occasionally send her to a designated spot--but you can clumsily aim and steer her two psychic spells. The most creative sequence based on these powers has Amy positioned high on a walkway, psychic-blasting enemies onto motion-sensitive electric mines, clearing the way for Lana, who is unarmed, as usual. But this, like all of Amy's sound ideas, is undermined in the wobbly execution. Amy can't climb ladders but can crawl through small gaps and press elevator buttons, giving rise to the preponderance of basic elevator puzzles (stand on elevator, make Amy push remote button). Old-school coloured key cards for locked doors are another puzzle staple. The most novel puzzle-like element comes via DNA-based locks; Lana has a hacking device that leads her to possible DNA samples (read: corpses) that might unlock the way forward.

Locations are plain and predictably gloomy. A busy screen with high-speed movement invariably nets you a juddering frame rate. There are a handful of pleasing visual touches; Lana's and Amy's character designs are believable and detailed, and Lana's gradual zombie transformation is reasonably creepy. The latter is accompanied by a red fog that dims the screen and a garbled, sinister murmuring. Elsewhere there are similarly eerie flourishes of sound, but the game's occasional spot of music is nothing special.

Everything is red and grainy; must be a survival horror game.

Amy isn't a short game, but its length will vary hugely according to your talent and tenacity for mastering Amy's lethal foibles, since checkpoints are infrequent, and there's no way to save mid-chapter. You could clear it in six hours, but you'll more likely take 10, and if you don't finish a chapter in one sitting, you can't even restart at a checkpoint--you are whisked back to the beginning of that chapter.

The sixth chapter ends with only a minor plot payoff and sets up the story for Amy II with a baffling optimism you won't share for Amy's future. Amy has some interesting ideas, not least the pairing of a fight-averse female lead with a fragile but powerful little girl. It's a pity these aren't enough to sustain it through hours of substandard survival horror.

The Good
Interesting 'contamination' system
The Bad
Awkward controls
Clumsy combat
Frustrating stealth
Appealing ideas wasted
3
Bad
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Discussion

100 comments
horrorfanjapan
horrorfanjapan

This game is not that bad. I did like it a lot, it was very challenging where you had to think and do stuff by trail and error that made the game never got boring for a second you are always trying to figure out what to do or get pass monsters and the military soldiers, it was fun. It felt like the old games were it was challenging with trail and error fun, it sort of felt like a Playstation or old PC game because of the low graphics but the characters look fantastic the graphics are not that bad. 

There are lots of glitches in the game but it's not to bad that it will make you want to turn of the game. The controls are not that bad, the gameplay is like a true survival horror game with surviving skills such as hiding or sneaking pass soldiers or monsters, i like it how you die with in one hit by a big monster or a military solider shooting you it feels more realistic and challenging.

The best aspects of the game is the characters themselves,  the little girl 'Amy' and guardian/carer Lana how their is this special bond between them and that you have to protect this innocent little girl all the time and staying beside her or holding her hand because if you leave her behind then Lana will die and it's game over because Lana is infected by that virus and by having Amy with you she  has got  psychic healing powers so you stay safe with her, a nice bonding throughout the game i like it.

I am only on chapter 2 at the moment and look forward finishing this game, it's additive and fun to play. 

This game is very very underrated and should be rated higher like at least a 6.0 by gamespot, ign and every other game site.

By the way I own the patched version as I just downloaded this game yesterday, I read that lots of improvements were made, the game saves in lots of areas during the chapter and when you die or turn off the game it starts from your last checkpoint when playing it again. Maybe if people played this with the patch it would get a better score.

For me personal I rate this game a 8.0/10 minimum, Until i finish this game i will rate it but nothing less than 8.0. cheers

Connor728
Connor728

Just played the trial... stopped after five minutes. The controls are definitely the worst thing about this game.

RavageCobra
RavageCobra

@CrossLOPER You fool, they gave it a 9/10. Get your facts straight.

CrossLOPER
CrossLOPER

Also, IGN gave Modern Warfare 3 a 10/10 and GS gave it 8.5/10. This game is far more creative and far more comprehensible than that rehash of a rehash of a rehash.

CrossLOPER
CrossLOPER

This game is not that bad. I had no problems with the controls after a few minutes. The camera is fine and you can avoid 95% of the combat, with the exception of about 3 parts in the entire game. If you have trouble with the controls and think this game has "punishing difficulty", you are probably brain damaged.

BillyColeman
BillyColeman

and this is why i dont play meny EU games Lexis Numerique suxxxxxxxxxxxxx and this game looks trasy and was a big hunk of trash gj gamespot your 100% with this game i gave it a 1.5 lol

toffy666
toffy666

i think it's a lame silent hill copy

pfletcher728
pfletcher728

Why do you guys complain and then still stay here and post? If you don't like the way Gamestop does things then there are plenty of other sites out there you can go to. IGN gave the game a 2.0 so I'm sure its pretty bad.

sammyd1234
sammyd1234

WHY IS GAMESPOT SO LAZY, THEY NEVER MAKE VIDEO REVIEWS, AND THEY GIVE THE WORST SCORES EVER, ALSO DONT GO TO E3, DOWN WITH SOPA

blackace
blackace

I have no plans to buy this. The game looks slow and boring. Have no real way to kill the zombies that that staggering in front of you is ridiculous. Their crazy if they ling they will make a sequel.

AlanW91
AlanW91

I almost bought this, but when i download the trial (on 11/01), i saw how bad the game is, its look like a beta version, bad design and terrible gameplay, sad, because the game had a lot of potential.

Philly04
Philly04

Ok? I've waiting to try this game I'm going to at least try the demo. From what I saw in the video above, it did seem interesting so it's no doubt that this is a waste of a good concept.

ragnar320
ragnar320

its kinda funny that because this game did so crappy its actually at the top of the game list thing

Stringerboy
Stringerboy

Another great concept gone to waste. What a shame.

OHGFawx
OHGFawx

i didnt say anything when i watched the preview videos because it was still a game in development, but this looked extremely flawed from the start.

Darryl_Green
Darryl_Green

They forgot to mention how piss poor the lighting was; I think I spent more time running into walls playing the demo than actually accomplishing anything.

niblackninja
niblackninja

i use a ps3 to elevate my feet while i poop

niblackninja
niblackninja

the screenshots looking like dead rising 2

The_GooBear
The_GooBear

@rezsepehr Fanboys!? coming from the person with a Solid Snake pic. Obviously u dislike their comments because you're the PS3 fanboy. I use my PS3 as a dust collection system

The_GooBear
The_GooBear

I wouldn't mind playing through it but Silent Hill 2 & 3 HD are right around the corner. Think I'll wait

PS2fweak
PS2fweak

@Rovelius, that's not really weird, and it's the reason demo's shouldn't be reviewed. I've hated demo's for games I ended up loving, and I've loved demo's for games I wish I never purchased.

rezsepehr
rezsepehr

@intimidator2000 Oh man what the hell is wrong with you fanboys! You Are The Cancers of Gaming!

intimidator2000
intimidator2000

@Buck_Swaggler i agree the uncharted games suck. the only thing cool about them are the cutscenes.

Decker12
Decker12

When you click on the screen shots, it takes you to the wrong image in the gallery. Not that I'm missing out on much, apparently.

Renoo27
Renoo27

Remember when 10 hours was short for a game? :(

VilandasUK
VilandasUK

Wanted this really badly but now not so much.... (That's what happens then the creators screw good ideas)

rezsepehr
rezsepehr

@Buck_Swaggler Get out of here you stupid fanboy!

ananda81
ananda81

An interesting concept badly executed.

Rovelius
Rovelius

@istuffedsunny I get your point, but don't mess with Dead Space bro. I've been trying to complete that Hardcore run for MONTHS.

Rovelius
Rovelius

GS rates it a 3/10 and the demo gets a 4.80/5 on the PSN Store... weird

SilentAssassin
SilentAssassin

LOL I actually downloaded this game yesterday and I was thinking *hmm for $10 this game isn't to bad you def. get your $$'s worth* I got to the 2nd mission before quitting. Then I read this review.. Damn should I even bother continuing? might as well i already bought it... ugh

aminal85
aminal85

@benleslie5, Or and even better idea!!: learn to think for yourself and download the free trial :)

Buck_Swaggler
Buck_Swaggler

Awkward controls Clumsy combat Frustrating stealth Appealing ideas wasted. Odd, this could also describe Uncharted, which gets 9s and 10s.

ofakar
ofakar

wow gamespot scores ABOVE average

Nick7356
Nick7356

This game reminds me of the Silent Hill 3, which is ten times a better game then the look of this 1!

JohnnyShhlong
JohnnyShhlong

I don't think it deserves such a low score. I think they tried to pay homage to classic Resident Evil and Silent Hill. It just could have been executed much better.

benleslie5
benleslie5

I was actully tempting to buying this on PSN, but now I've read a few reviews on how bad it is. Its not worth picking up

megakick
megakick

I don't see many new games getting 3.0 :s

Drabent
Drabent

LoL just what we need more CRAP~~~

GunBladeHero
GunBladeHero

Hmmm 3.0 is not a good score, maybe it's only that the review is too harsh on the game? *Looks at the metacritic overall score* Holy f$%^!!! 22 is the overall score!? Don't ever remember seeing such a low score from multiple critics!

MGSKojima
MGSKojima

welp, back to the kitchen you go.

BlueShark1
BlueShark1

@Tidal_Abyss- yeah, good point, but at least you can visit the site and use it free of charge lol.

jecomans
jecomans

@horrorfanjapan The dynamic between the two protagonists is well done, and visually the game is very sound. However, the puzzles aren't challenging, they're poorly designed. The genre has moved past the point where dodgy controls were used as a substitute for proper tension and difficulty. 

It's a shame because there are some really good ideas here, but it doesn't really work. This seems to be a bigger game than usual for Lexis, so hopefully they'll be able to execute their next idea more soundly. 

If you're somehow digging the style of it that much go back and play the PSN version of the original Resident Evil. 

Bayonetta2013
Bayonetta2013

@DecadesOfGaming Reviewers exist for a reason. To help players make up their minds about whether they want to waste their money or spend it...and thank god for this reviewer, because I was close to spending the worst twenty bucks of my life.

jecomans
jecomans

@Rovelius PSN will always have higher scores than internet gaming websites. The only people who would be bothered going back are people who thought it was good enough to put in the effort to do so. We spend time on game sites already so it's less hassle to give negative or less heartfelt feedback. Also professional reviewers vs. consumers. 

jecomans
jecomans

@Bayonetta2013 Just got it for $4. Played a chapter and begun getting suspicious that this game wasn't the zombie stealth game I'd been looking for. This review certainly helped me decide I don't really want to spend another 6 hours here. Like many others have said here; some great ideas, but hopefully next time the devs will have nailed the execution side of things a little better.

AMY

  • Xbox 360
  • PlayStation 3
  • PC
Amy is a survival horror/action adventure game, where you must protect and escort the eponymous Amy.
ESRB
Mature
All Platforms
Blood, Intense Violence, Language, Use of Drugs
Check out even more info at the AMY Wiki on Giantbomb.com