Agony, Agony, Agony. If there was ever a survival horror that had heaps of potential in this day and age, it was Agony. Sadly, the end result was far removed. When this was first showcased, it took the world by absolute storm. Many games have depicted hell in some very interesting ways, but Agony went one further by producing an environment that was so disturbing and so gross, that a chunk of its content needed to be removed in order for the game to see the light of day; rape, mutilation, the killing of young and much, much more.
We had the opportunity to fire over a few questions to the developer prior to release, but for reasons unknown, they went dark. Perhaps they were too busy fixing the game or hiding from the widespread lashings? I don’t know. The fact of the matter is this. Not only did Agony underwhelm upon release, consisting of a gameplay formula that was ultimately repetitive and bland, but the performance and technical issues that plagued the game rendered it almost impossible to appreciate, or furthermore, enjoy. It’s a shame really.
It’s not a shame because of its issues alone, but it’s a shame that this game was largely the product of community funding. It’s a slap to the face of each person that put their trust into the game and paid for it to be developed. Of course, this isn’t the first time a community funded project has flopped (Mighty No. 9, I’m looking at you) and it wont be the last. My problem here is that this level of poor quality will only stop people from backing other projects over time. After all, how much would you pay-in if you continued to get burnt?
Anyway, the bottom line here is that Agony screwed up. Hell, it didn’t just screw up, it utterly failed to meet any of its expectations. Madmind Studios has recently stated that they’ve run into some financial problems and as such, they wont be releasing Agony: Uncut – a version of the game that includes all of that aforementioned chopped content. If anything, the game is a prime example of over-hyping and under-delivering. We’re assured we’ll get some patches, though, but there’s no denying that it’s too little too late for damage control.
I say it all the time and I’ll never stop saying it. We game in a time where developers and publishers think that it’s acceptable to “release now and fix later” and that’s just not right. Sniper Ghost Warrior 3 walked a similar path, but mercifully, the game’s strong post-launch support has seen some incredible improvements to the core experience. This, however, doesn’t justify the fact that it was a buggy clusterf**k when it first hit store shelves. Its mediocre reception upon launch will back this up if you’re curious about the state of it.
This attitude helps no one and above all else, it makes the developer of any game that adopts this attitude look stupid. I couldn’t give a monkey’s left gonad about excuses. I don’t care if time constraints play a role in a game being released earlier than it’s ready to be, or whether it’s down to pressure from a publisher. If you ask me, it’s the responsibility of the developer and publisher to see a game released in the best state that it can be released in. If fans get anything less than that, the respective companies deserve a loss in trust and sales.
I cant count how many times we’ve been asked to re-evaluate a review once a game has received a post-launch patch to fix its launch-riddled technical issues. We’ll never do that. Never. We’re quite happy to write an article about the progress of a game if needs be, but we will never adjust a score, because, like I’ve said, it’s the responsibility of a developer/publisher to release the game in a decent state. It’s not our responsibility to chase our scores up and alter them when these broken games have eventually been fixed.
That’s a topic for another time though, so let’s get back to Agony. Amidst the financial problems that Madmind are facing, they have stated that a part of the team will remain to produce patches for all platforms that the game has released on. But, is that enough? No, it really isn’t. The problems in Agony are so dominant that I fail to believe that the developer didn’t know of these issues before releasing the game. I mean, they’re up in your face from the get-go; framerate issues, voice-sync issues, crashing issues, lighting issues and more.
Assuming that Madmind never witnessed a single problem with the game prior to release, how the hell did this make it through QA? Did it even go through QA? Who the heck knows! The fact of the matter is that Agony failed to meet its expectations. It failed to meet that on a technical basis and on a mechanical basis. The game just isn’t good. Many fans have taken to social media outlets to bash the developer for the state of the game, understandably. This is a product that will never reach its potential due to its very poor handling.
Money is power. When a developer asks its community for that to create a game, that game needs to be handled properly. If it isn’t, it makes not only the developer look bad, but the crowdfunding platform look bad, which just isn’t fair. Agony, ironically, is hell to play. It’s a game that’s screwed up in more ways that I could care to count. If you’re looking for a decent survival horror, stick with Resident Evil 7 or look out for Remothered at the end of July. Did you pick up Agony? What did you think of it? Hit the comments below my friends.