Dark. That word is Amnesia: A Machine for Pigs at its core, from its horrific subject matter to the visuals themselves. Like The Dark Descent, A Machine for Pigs wisely keeps you from seeing too much. When the game springs one of its scares, your imagination has already done most of the work for you. On the downside, A Machine for Pigs suffers from some performance issues. This isn't a game made for the most premium hardware, so the struggling framerate and frequent stutters aren't acceptable. However, all the steam, pipes, gears, and sketchy electronics firmly establish the late 19th century setting.
A Machine for Pigs is meant to be played in the dark with headphones, and for good reason. It's moody, disturbing, and frightening at times. As you walk through your mansion and below the surface, you'll hear some truly awful sounds -- and you'll never find out where they're coming from or what's making them. Bloodcurdling wails, inhuman snuffling sounds, and the otherworldly groans of steel and copper make it abundantly clear that you're occupying a place of pain. At key moments, the soundtrack kicks in; strings and vocals are the go-to musical resources for games like these, and they are used to grand effect in A Machine for Pigs. I didn't think the sound of despair could be so sweet, but I'm wrong about a lot of things these days.