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FG's appeal ended together with Penumbra?
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Soul Reaver Offline
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Post: #1
FG's appeal ended together with Penumbra?

I'm a bit disappointed.
Disappointed by FG and Amnesia.

So recently I've replayed all Penumbra parts and Amnesia TDD.
I've always thought that the Penumbra series has much more to offer than the Amnesia series but didn't really know why. However, now after replaying all the games (expect the new piggy game) I try to put into words what really disturbs me about Amnesia.

Replay value

First of all, let's talk about the replay value.
I do understand that in this genre it's hard to create an appealing game that doesn't lose it's entertainment value after completion. Nevertheless it's ridiculous how the devs designed Amnesia in such a way that you'll be bored to death once you have finished it. This becomes very evident when you consider that there is only one proper enemy in the entire game (all the other enemies are scripted and vanish after a certain time). Also the tiring linearity crushes almost every reason to replay it. Penumbra, in contrary, has lots of times when you have to hide and sneak past an enemy and I recall several occasions when I didn't know where to go next. This was only possible to happen since the level design gives you many options which area to check next (often only to find the entrance locked or blocked in another way).

Puzzles

Okay seriously, puzzles are one of the main components of Penumbra but in Amnesia they are so simple that even a 10-year-old could solve them without much trouble. I don't think there is much sense in comparing the games in this section since Penumbra really had some hard puzzles which could take some time and even trial & error to solve (just think about the puzzle in BP where you have to setup a computer / server). I desperatley search for anything comparable in Amnesia however the game almost takes the player's hand and leads him through the story. A machine for pigs apparently takes this a step further and now even reviews claim that the puzzles are too simple.

Story & Atmosphere

At this point both game series score in my opinion.
I can't recall offhand any games that have comparable immersive stories like FG's titles. Amnesia is often praised for its story and its atmosphere and I totally agree but the atmosphere vanishes quickly after you've completed it because of the points stated above. Nonetheless, the story is well written and thought out and still thrilled me when playing it for the 3rd time. But still, I think that Penumbra beats Amnesia easily when it comes to story and immersion. For me Penumbra's story is much more believable and credible in that it reasonably explores the Human psyche and carries many philosophical valuable messages. I don't want to elaborate this as there are many motifs to regard and discuss and this would simply go beyond the scope of this little rant.

Miscellaneous

There are some other little things that upset me about Amnesia.
For example the darkness system. What is the point of a horror game when it's not possible to hide in the concealing darkness because your character goes red (pun)? It just doesn't fit the rest of the game in my opinion. However I like that there is no inexhaustible light source like Penumbra's glowstick which makes the flashlight almost obsolete. Also Amnesia doesn't use the physics engine properly, it's more of a gimmick than a real feature. In Penumbra there are puzzles based on the physics engine whereas all the pieces fall into their place automatically in Amnesia.

Well, I can't really think of any more points but this post is too long already anyway. I'd really like to hear your opinion and hope the Frictional Games will find their way again after this disappointment called Amnesia. However, it's important to note that I think that Amnesia is, despite all things it does wrong, a quite amusing game.

Btw, I didn't know where to post this since it's more of a comparision between both game series and I don't want to incur the wrath of the Amnesia fanboys (who probably even didn't play any Penumbra game).

Cheers.
09-13-2013 11:05 PM
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Cuyir Offline
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Post: #2
RE: FG's appeal ended together with Penumbra?

Honestly, I sort of get where you're coming from on the replayability front. I sometimes get the urge to replay BP and I don't have the sames urges towards TDD. TDD's story was boring and so was the level design, so maybe that.

I loved the puzzles in Penumbra, miss them dearly.

And I thought the flashlight wasn't obsolete in Penumbra. The eery green glow and its light didn't make me feel as safe as the flashlight did but it was a great tool for sure.

TDD was more of a game that only cared about the scares and because of that the rest suffered. Penumbra had more overarching themes, emotions, narrative and such which made going through the games a treat. Plus the computer boot up jingle is the X-Files theme! Always made me feel happy inside haha. I hope their super secret project is more akin to Penumbra than TDD.

All in all, a respectable opinion on FG's games. Personally AMFP, so far, has been a much better experience for me than TDD was. So there's that. And trust me, once *some* people find this thread there will be many a reaction. I miss the state of the fanbase before TDD released, all of the sudden things got... irritating.
09-14-2013 12:07 AM
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felixmole Offline
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Post: #3
RE: FG's appeal ended together with Penumbra?

I agree that the puzzles of Penumbra were more complex than those of Amnesia games.

The replayability is very bad for all of them. TDD and AMFP both have their slim share of random events, but essentially the game will no longer be as much enjoyable as the first time you played it.

However I liked the sanity system in TDD. It forced you to use your lantern and it blurred your screen when you stared at the monster. AMFP has no such thing but on the other hand has no night vision, although nothing happens when you stare at a pigman.
09-15-2013 07:49 AM
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Kreekakon Offline
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Post: #4
RE: FG's appeal ended together with Penumbra?

I personally think that for certain types of games, or maybe even all of them, re-playability is a completely overrated notion. Some games are designed to give you hours upon hours of fun, and play while others are simply designed to give you that carefully crafted one-time impact that won't work a second time as well if you go through it again.

Re-playability is nice, but I think that if you have to choose between carefully crafting a single unique experience as opposed to several changed aspects that will make the game more replayable I'd say go with the former.

As a good friend of mine once said: Re-playability is like the icing on the cake. The icing will make the cake sweeter, but it's pointless if the cake wasn't that great to begin with.

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09-15-2013 07:57 AM
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Soul Reaver Offline
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Post: #5
RE: FG's appeal ended together with Penumbra?

(09-15-2013 07:49 AM)felixmole Wrote:  However I liked the sanity system in TDD. It forced you to use your lantern and it blurred your screen when you stared at the monster. AMFP has no such thing but on the other hand has no night vision, although nothing happens when you stare at a pigman.
Well, I didn't really think of the "looking at a monster"-effect as the sanity system. You had that in Penumbra as well and I think it's a nice feature that makes evading enemies a bit harder. However, I can't agree that the sanity system, that is you have to stay in the light, is a good feature. It's just annoying and prevents you from hiding in the dark. The funniest thing is that the dropping sanity doesn't really have any consequences. Later in the game I just ignored my sanity and eventually dropped to the floor a few times. Then I just got up and continued. There is no sense in that in my opinion.

(09-15-2013 07:57 AM)Kreekakon Wrote:  As a good friend of mine once said: Re-playability is like the icing on the cake. The icing will make the cake sweeter, but it's pointless if the cake wasn't that great to begin with.
However, you can reverse that phrase.
Amnesia was a great cake for me the first time I played it, yet still I'm here complaining about it because it was lacking the icing and all that's left is the pale taste of an old rotten cake when I tried to eat it again later.

IMO, you can't negotiate about replayability in a single player game.
It's wasted money if you buy a game and play it for about 6 hours and throw it in the waste basket after you have completed it because there is no point in replaying it.
09-15-2013 09:39 AM
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Kreekakon Offline
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Post: #6
RE: FG's appeal ended together with Penumbra?

(09-15-2013 09:39 AM)Soul Reaver Wrote:  IMO, you can't negotiate about replayability in a single player game.
It's wasted money if you buy a game and play it for about 6 hours and throw it in the waste basket after you have completed it because there is no point in replaying it.

I respectfully disagree completely. If a game manages to deliver a pulse-pounding experience the first time I play it I would definitely feel like I had gotten my money's worth even if all subsequent playthroughs have less than a third of the original enjoyment. I would not require the subsequent playthroughs to be as fun to warrant calling a game a good title.

I would actually prefer if a game had one single zero replay value awesome campaign as opposed to several moderately fun playthroughs. Of course this is if I had to choose though. Having both is always awesome if the game can manage it, but not having done it doesn't make the game any less good.

Just my opinion though.

EDIT: Just for the fun of continuing the cake metaphor...I would still feel it was worth it if I ate the cake once, and it was delicious even if I may not ever taste it even remotely the same way again.

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(This post was last modified: 09-15-2013 12:35 PM by Kreekakon.)
09-15-2013 12:29 PM
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Gunslingerjh Offline
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Post: #7
RE: FG's appeal ended together with Penumbra?

I have to say I totally agree with Soul Reaver! I've played through Penumbra more times than Amnesia already. (And not because it's an older game). The story, gameplay and music of Penumbra is imo definitely better!

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09-15-2013 04:43 PM
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Cuyir Offline
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Post: #8
RE: FG's appeal ended together with Penumbra?

Yeah.

I've been looking for my Penumbra trilogy dvd case because i've been hankering for it.

Will add though, I don't expect replayability from certain games (like FG's games for that matter) but BP seems to has it.
09-15-2013 10:40 PM
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Zgroktar Offline
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Post: #9
RE: FG's appeal ended together with Penumbra?

I really hate when people try to make their own subjective opinion and experience like as a well known fact.
The most insolent part of this thread is : ''I'd really like to hear your opinion and hope the Frictional Games will find their way again after this disappointment called Amnesia''
Frictional doesn't need to find it's own way or anything right that, because they are on the right path, and Penumbra although a decent game, is still their worst game.
I basically disagree with everything you said; concerning the replay value, I've played Amnesia 3 times in 6 months, while Penumbra I did play once in 2008 or so, and after that just recently, in between I almost forgot about it.
In Penumbra there was still much experimenting with different concepts and approaches, and combined with the relative inexperience of FG back then, the game was often very inconsistent and rough around the edges.
Amnesia was consistently good from the beginning with the exception of ending. They also pushed the feeling of dread and horror at much higher level than Penumbra.
You were also mentioning puzzles and ''enemy encounters'' being much easier, but I still think the challenge segments of FG games are very minor in overall value, and personally I wouldn't complain if their next game is completely void of any puzzles.
09-17-2013 02:44 PM
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Soul Reaver Offline
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Post: #10
RE: FG's appeal ended together with Penumbra?

That's funny.

(09-17-2013 02:44 PM)Zgroktar Wrote:  I really hate when people try to make their own subjective opinion and experience like as a well known fact.

Yet, you claim:

(09-17-2013 02:44 PM)Zgroktar Wrote:  Frictional doesn't need to find it's own way or anything right that, because they are on the right path, and Penumbra although a decent game, is still their worst game.

That's just your opinion and I respect it.
However, I don't see any specific points in your post except that you think Amnesia is better than Penumbra overall and that you don't value puzzles anyway.

(09-17-2013 02:44 PM)Zgroktar Wrote:  They also pushed the feeling of dread and horror at much higher level than Penumbra.

I have to agree with you here, however this feeling deteriorates much quicker in Amnesia than in Penumbra. Amnesia is just too based on jump scares and scripted events which you already know after completing it for the second time. Penumbra has these too, however not in such an extent and let's not forget that Penumbra employs real enemies while you can just wait in Amnesia until they vanish.

It's just not a challenge once you realize that and hence the atmosphere you praise so much quickly dissolves like the enemies.
(This post was last modified: 09-18-2013 02:07 PM by Soul Reaver.)
09-18-2013 02:05 PM
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