Agony (2018 video game)
|Engine||Unreal Engine 4|
Agony is a 2018 dark fantasy survival horror video game developed by Madmind Studio and published by PlayWay. Players begin their journey as a tormented soul within the depths of Hell without any memories about their past. The special ability to control people on their path, and possess weak-minded demons, gives the player the necessary measures to survive in the extreme conditions they are in.
The game is played from a first-person perspective. The player controls one of the Martyrs condemned to Hell, Amraphel (aka Nimrod) tasked with meeting the Red Goddess, one of the creators of Hell, in an effort to escape and return to the land of the living. Unlike other Martyrs, the player possesses the unique ability to possess both other Martyrs and, later in the game, lesser and higher demons, giving them access to special abilities. Using mechanics such as crouching and holding their breath, the player can avoid demons. Besides hiding, the player needs to solve puzzles in order to unlock new areas. There are available hidden statues that the player can collect, as well as paintings which are possible to discover.
This article needs an improved plot summary. (June 2018)
The story follows a lost soul trapped in Hell without any memory of his former life. From what is revealed of the protagonist's backstory, he was a king of an ancient land who made a Faustian bargain with the Red Goddess. In-story, he is referred to as both Nimrod by the Goddess and Amraphel by other condemned souls, some of whom still have their memories, blaming the protagonist for them being damned to Hell because of the acts he committed while alive. As the protagonist wanders through the wastelands of Hell, he discovers a possibility of escaping through the aid of the Red Goddess. Determined, he travels to the Red Goddess' lair to learn how he can be set free.
If the player obeys the Red Goddess's commands, they will ultimately venture to the lowest depths of Hell, provoking a creature known only as the Beast. Sufficiently wearing down the Beast, the protagonist is able to possess it, using its power to break the seals binding it to the lower depths. Satisfied, the Red Goddess reveals herself as the Whore of Babylon, and vows to use the Beast to begin the Apocalypse. The protagonist is returned to the living world, per their deal, only to be killed by the Beast moments later as the Red Goddess begins her conquest of Earth, leaving the player's soul to return to Hell.
The story features multiple other endings, dependent on how the player progresses and the choices they make. However, only two of these are canonical.
Development, fundraising and controversy
In November 2016, the developers of Agony started a Kickstarter campaign to fund the creation of the game. The Kickstarter campaign surpassed its goal and ended in December 2016. The game was originally scheduled for a release on March 30, 2018, but was delayed to May 29, 2018.
The game originally had received an "Adults Only" rating from the Entertainment Software Rating Board due to its level of violence. This led to the developers toning down some of the violence to allow the game to receive a "Mature" rating instead and allowed it to be rated by PEGI.
A planned "Adults Only" unrated patch for PC was later dropped due to "legal issues". However, on June 6, 2018, the developers said they were "talking with Steam representatives" about offering Agony Unrated as "a separate title produced and published by Madmind Studio and without the involvement of any publishers." For those who already own the original game, this version will be either free DLC or a separate purchase at 99% off, which currently is the highest possible discount on Steam's platform. After announcing the financial problems of the company and canceling the Unrated version of the game, the basic game docked on August 1, 2018, a considerable amount of updates on the platforms on which it debuted.
This section needs expansion. You can help by adding to it. (June 2018)
Agony was met with "generally unfavourable reviews", according to Metacritic. The Escapist's Ben "Yahtzee" Croshaw in his Zero Punctuation review referred to it as "liquidized offal." He specifically criticized the game's overuse of gore, stating: "... environments are simultaneously too busy and extremely boring; turn things up to eleven and stay there, and it's just as dull as staying at one", as well as the unforgiving stealth mechanics. He later ranked it as the second worst game of 2018.
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- Chalk, Andy (May 28, 2018). "Hellish horror game Agony will be slightly toned down, 'uncensored' patch plan dropped". PC Gamer. Archived from the original on 2018-05-29. Retrieved May 28, 2018.
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- "Agony for PS4 Reviews". Metacritic. Archived from the original on 2018-06-05. Retrieved 2018-05-31.
- "Agony for Xbox One Reviews". Metacritic. Archived from the original on 2018-05-03. Retrieved 2018-05-31.
- Croshaw, Ben "Yahtzee" (2018-06-13). "Zero Punctuation : Agony". The Escapist. Archived from the original on 2018-06-14. Retrieved 2018-06-14.
- Croshaw, Ben "Yahtzee" (2019-01-02). "2018's Best Worst and Blandest". Escapist Magazine. Archived from the original on 2019-01-03. Retrieved 2019-01-03.