Agony is perhaps not a video game title that would fill you with much excitement; more likely the opposite and would fill you with dread and foreboding, but that's exactly the feeling you should have if you found yourself in the depths of Hell. Agony, the new horror title from Madmind Studio is designed to unsettle, unnerve and challenge.
During my time at the Polish games event at gamescom 2016, I had a chance to see Madmind's envisioned hell for myself. What I saw was limited (the game is still in early development), but after speaking with Tomasz Dutkiewicz, Head of Madmind Studios, I had greater insight into the game’s unique experience.
Agony is a journey through hell. You find yourself trapped in the depths as a tormented soul with no recollection of your past. It's a first-person survival horror title, similar to the popular horror titles that focus on exploration and any encounters are advised to be avoided if possible. However, unlike other games with a similar design, Agony will allow players to possession of some of the horrendous creatures within allowing for more options for exploration and opportunities to tackle situations which you couldn't do before.
From seeing the game first hand, I was able to see an overview of environments. It's built on Unreal Engine 4, so I got to see a fly-through of the environments and it was immensely fascinating, highly detailed, and quite disturbing. Madmind's hell made me think of Dante's Inferno and the nine circles of hell, with the ground littered with corpses of tormented souls alongside grotesque, deranged crimson red soaked floors. It was mighty disturbing. After all, everyone has their own vision of hell in video games and Agony is up there as one of the most twisted of them all.
I only played briefly but as I took control and explored, I was told that the game is open in its design but while not entirely open-world it is more so than other linear titles. With this gameplay design it opens up a variety of alternative paths. One such, during my playthrough, was using a torch to burn away at what looked like cobwebs of flesh to find an alternative path and avoid the clutches of a rather unpleasant demon. Of course, I could've risked going at the beast head on, but it left me with the "nope" feeling so I fled and found a different route. It's moments like these that make for a great survival title and got me excited for Agony.
Alas, as much as I wanted to play more but unfortunately, I played the extent of the presentation. It was an early build after all. Nonetheless, it made its impact and I’m raring to know more.
Since my time seeing the game at gamescom, lots of progress has been made. It's back on Kickstarter (was previously canceled) and with less than a month to go they hit their $66,666 goal - see what they did there. With that success, Madmind’s demonic vision of hell can be embraced by all those who dare in 2017.