New Game Review

Review – Agony (Xbox One)

Y'all need Jesus

We currently live in an era in which people are constantly offended by everything you can imagine. Everything is immoral. Nothing can be said or else a loud and significant amount of people will eventually complain (and be heard) on the internet. Some complaints are completely valid and understandable, like the fact Super Seducer exists; other complaints are just downright imbecile, like the fact women are playable in the upcoming Battlefield V.

Agony was supposed to be the game tailor made with controversy in mind: an unbelievably violent game set in Hell, full of sexual themes, foul language, explicit gore, genitalia, and much more. After playing it, I can completely agree that this game will be remembered as a controversial piece of software, but not due to its theme, but actually due to the fact it’s a terrible game in its own right. This is one for the ages, folks: Agony is one of the worst games of the year.

agony1
Hell is dark and boring.

The premise is simple: you’re in Hell, and you gotta get out of Hell. You’ll face lots of demons, references to female genitalia, glitches, bland visuals, immature plot lines, and terrible controls throughout your journey. It’s not exactly the most innovative plot out there (just look at Doom), but since the opening cinematic looked so promising, I was actually looking forward to what the game was prepared to offer me. I was legitimately thinking to myself, “this game can’t be that bad”. It was worse. Where to even begin?

Upon starting the game, you’ll notice how absolutely dark everything is. You can barely see what’s in front of you, in a way that completely contradicts Agony‘s earlier footage, showing a scary, but visible iteration of Hell. I had to tweak the game’s brightness settings to the brightest possible in order to be able to see anything in front of me. Despite helping with my sight, I realized I had made a terrible mistake: I could now see how ugly Agony is. Dated textures, wonky framerate, extremely poor particle effects, robotic animations and character models ripped straight from the PS2 era are just a few of Agony‘s graphical problems. The game is so ugly you can barely see the supposedly controversial genitalia in every single character you meet.

agony2
You should eat a bit more.

The most amazing aspect in Agony, for all the wrong reasons, is its sound department: it’s B-R-O-K-E-N. For starters, the voice acting is laughable at best. If that were the only issue, however, I’d be glad. The best way I can describe the audio department in Agony, or at the very least its Xbox One version, is by describing how unfinished it is. Audio effect glitches are everywhere. Sound effects are completely out of sync with their respective actions onscreen. The game’s eerie soundtrack vanishes from time to time without any explanation. Finally, the most unbelievable aspect regarding the sound department is the immense amount of voice glitches. Whenever you talk to someone, they proceed to automatically repeat their voice overs just like a scratched record. I can’t believe such a mistake has been implemented into a finished product. An issue like this shouldn’t occur on the pre-alpha version of a game, let alone the retail version!

I have barely talked about Agony‘s actual gameplay, because there isn’t anything special about it. Think of Outlast‘s gameplay complete with the fact you can’t defend against enemies, but set in Hell, with labyrinthine levels, terrible physics, and the addition of a body possession technique that, while sounding great on paper, is so poorly developed that you won’t even bother about using it unless after being attacked by monsters. This possession gimmick allows you to take over the bodies of whomever you meet throughout the game, as long as you and I quote, remove a sack of potatoes from their heads beforehand. At first I was wondering why was everyone wearing a burlap sack around their heads. After removing one of them and looking at the trauma-inducing ugliness of one of the characters, all I wanted was to put that sack back where it once was.

What about the sexual controversies? I wouldn’t be able to tell you about them. I couldn’t stand playing Agony for many hours before completely giving up on it and booting Doom VFR just so I could have some fun in a virtual version of Hell that actually works.

agony3
Excuse me, ma’am, I think you should go see a dentist.

Agony left me speechless. I’m not talking about its controversial themes or (im)mature content, I’m talking about how abysmal of a game it turned out to be. Agony didn’t even leave me angry after playing it or anything like that, it just left me wondering what the heck did I just experience. This is not a “so-bad-it’s-good” type of game, but more of a “so-bad-you-gotta-see-it-to-believe-it” type of trainwreck. This game will be remembered for years to come, but not for the reasons its creators intended it to be.

By the way, can anyone tell me how to ask for a refund? It was an unforgettable experience but I still want my money back.

Graphics: 2.0

Once you set the game’s brightness settings to maximum (the only way you’ll be able to see what’s in front of you), you’ll notice how ugly, dated and unfinished Agony‘s visuals are.

Gameplay: 3.5

Unresponsive controls, a completely inconsistent framerate, a lethargic character and terrible collision detection. Weirdly enough, it’s still the best aspect of the game.

Sound: 0.5

Terrible voice acting and more audio glitches than a scratched record, it amazes me that the developers actually released the game at this state.

Fun Factor: 1.5

Imagine Outlast in hell, with a terrible presentation and more glitches than your average Steam game. Agony is terrible in a shocking way, in a “see it to believe it” kind of way. It’s also not offensive, at least not in the way it was intended to be.

Final Verdict: 2.0

Also available on: PS4, PC

GameStop, Inc.

About Leo Faria

Founder and mastermind behind Way Too Many Games, hailing from the southern swag that is São Paulo, a Sega widower who considers the Dreamcast to be the greatest console ever released, the greatest Guitar Hero and Tetris player you’ll ever meet. My favorite games include Perfect Dark, Banjo-Tooie, the Guitar Hero series, Bioshock Infinite and Star Wars Rogue Squadron II. I also own an Ouya. Never turned it on.

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