Amy Could be the New Face of Survival Horror

By Ryan Winslett in Previews/Impressions
Friday, June 17, 2011 at 10:00 am
Amy.jpg
Meet Amy. You'll wanna keep her alive.
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It looks like survival horror has a new name, and that name is Amy.

 

Coming from Lexis Numerique, the team behind Flashback and the more recent Red Johnson's Chronicles, Amy is a PSN exclusive set for release this August.

 

During my final day at E3, I had the opportunity to speak with LN's Marketing and Business Development Director Djamil Kemal at a small table set up off to the side of the L.A. Convention Center's South Hall. It was a humble setup for a game that pretty much stole the show for me.

 

For fans of the survival horror genre who feel like Dead Space is too razzle dazzle and the more recent Silent Hill offerings have lost a bit of their magic, you'll want to pay attention to this one.


Kemal said the focus of Amy is the interaction between the title's two main characters, the titular Amy and her older protector, Lana.

 

"What we're going for is emotional intensity," Kemal said. "We think the relationship between these two characters is interesting and mysterious, and that's why the focus is on Amy and Lana working together."

 

Set in the year 2034, just before Christmas, the game begins when a train derails and Lana wakes up wounded, infected and unexpectedly responsible for the safety of an eight-year-old girl by the name of Amy. Set across six chapters, Amy will require the player to be creative, think around corners and occasionally beat the crap out of zombies with whatever makeshift melee weapons you can find.

 

What's that you say? I didn't tell you about the zombies? Well, shortly after the game begins, you discover that people are...changing. What's worse is the fact that Lana is changing, too. While everyone else has mutated into crazy zombie creatures, Lana has a couple ways to keep in control of her sane self. This is where the some of the most interesting concepts in Amy pop up.

 

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Lana has an indicator on her back that lets you know how toxic an environment is. If you stray into a diseased area for too long, Lana will turn into a zombie. During the demo, Kemal walked Lana into a particularly nasty area and spun the camera around, showing off the details of Lana's eyes milking over and veins beginning to stand out on her face. As you can see from the screens, the game is pretty dang gorgeous and the effects were cool to witness.

 

While Lana can pick up a health needle and heal herself, the quickest way to get back into the green is to grab hold of Amy's hand by pressing the R1 button. It's unknown why Amy is not only immune to the disease, but able to heal Lana of it, which is one of the primary mysteries you'll aim to unravel throughout the game.

 

The object of the game is to keep Amy safe, but several creative additions to the gameplay make this much more than your average escort mission. Holding Amy's hand also makes the controller vibrate like the girl's heartbeat. The faster it goes, the closer you know a monster is to discovering you. She also carries a flashlight, allowing you to more easily navigate dark areas. Mix that with her healing capabilities and a small size that allows her to reach areas Lana cannot, and it's easy to see why you'll want to keep the little darling alive and kicking.

 

The clever bit comes when you need to pull off certain objectives while keeping Amy out of harm's way. You can have her hide in all sorts of places while you scout ahead, but doing so means you lose access to some of your best "tools." You can also hide in larger spaces with her, like a closet, allowing you to avoid some of the game's more nasty baddies.

 

On top of all of that, Lana is very clearly a sick person. As her condition worsens, you'll start to hear voices, see things that aren't there and more. Kemal offered a pair of headphones for the demo and, even in a well lit convention center, I could tell that this game is going to get pretty creepy at times.

 

The final Amy surprise is the pricetag: About $13. For a game that looks, sounds and feels like a retail title, Kemal said the reasoning behind the pricing is simple.

 

"We feel price point is a key issue of piracy," he said. "Games cost too much these days. We figure if we offer a great game at a bargain price, hopefully the gamers will be willing to try it out."


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