AMY, developed by VectorCell and published by Lexis Numérique, is a survival horror stealth game along the likes of old school titles like Silent Hill or Obscure. Players control a woman named Lana that is tasked with escorting the autistic like 8 year old girl Amy as they try to escape a disease ridden town overrun with wild creatures, monsters, and the military. If you ask most gamers what the worst type of quest or mission in a game is, the likely answer will be escort missions. Has VectorCell done the impossible and turned the hated escort mission into a beloved cult classic or have they blundered by delivering a wasteful pile of code?
The game starts off with Lana and Amy riding a train. Inferred from a phone conversation that Lana has just before the train crashes into zombie monster land, she rescues Amy from some sort of research facility and Amy could now possibly have some kind of supernatural abilities. Amy disappears after the crash and you are tasked with finding her. Lana moves around a bit stiffly and can attack zombies with a melee weapon and do your typical pushing of buttons and moving of crates. After a couple of introductory fights and environment manipulations, Lana finds Amy and together they spend the rest of the game escaping the horror that surrounds them.
You soon find out Amy does in fact end up having supernatural abilities and this ties heavily into the gameplay. One of the first abilities Amy gains is a dome of silence that will allow Lana to stealthily break and walk over glass without alerting enemies. Another ability gained is a telekinetic push that allows Amy to push enemies away from her and Lana. Amy isn’t just used for her abilities but there are puzzle segments that split the two up with Lana telling Amy what to do from a distance or outside of a room. Some of these sections seem extremely forced and don’t make sense; such as placing Amy on an elevator and having to climb a ladder on the other side of the room to push a button for the elevator to go up. Who designs elevators like this? Amy also tends to break character after accomplishing these tasks when Lana gives her praise by acting like a little Dora the Explorer twin jumping up and down smiling and clapping.
Amy is also not susceptible to the infection and the zombies want to drain her of her supernatural energy. Lana, unfortunately, is susceptible and only by staying with Amy is she moderately safe. During the segments away from Amy and when fighting infected monsters there are shots Lana can take to heal and she wears a color coded light that showcases her level of infection. When Lana is borderline fully infected, the enemies ignore her. There are sections that require Lana in that state. While on Easy difficulty it is somewhat hard to die, on Hard it seems that sometimes you just drop dead randomly without enemy interaction.
While the game has fighting mechanics, it tends to rely more on avoiding enemies and confrontations. There are hiding mechanics that allow you to hide Amy or both of you under desks and in cabinets. This is where the game can get extremely frustrating on the Hard difficulty. You can easily spend 10-15 minutes setting up a way to get past an encounter and die for whatever reason and fall back to a checkpoint well before you started that section. This is not an uncommon occurrence and can lead gamers to throw down their controllers in disgust. Especially if the reason for dying were the somewhat unorthodox control schemes.
Speaking of unorthodox control schemes, to run one must hold the Left shoulder bumper and to run faster they must mash the X button, but to bring Amy along they must also hold the Right shoulder bumper to hold her hand. During segments that require to run fast with Amy, you feel like you need another couple of fingers or better placed buttons to accomplish the task. Nothing fuels ones rage like having lost 15 minutes of game time because your finger slipped off the Right shoulder button while running and you have to go back for Amy and die. The other controls are typical with the Left trigger readying you for melee and the X button swinging with the B button aiding you with the dodge ability.
Graphically the game is on par with other titles out there in the same genre. The character models look good and Amy can tend to creep you out while playing in a dimly lit room. Brightness/Gamma can be an issue because even on the brightest settings the game tends to be overly dark. Jacking up the brightness on your monitor/TV can help but will washout color outside of the game. As for the voice acting, it is horrible and not even in the fun horrible way. Unmemorable characters have some of the worst dialog I’ve came across in a video game. The other sounds and music are typical for the genre and do not really stand out.