First Impressions: Amy

The developers at Vector Cell are currently working on a survival-horror game simply entitled: Amy. Set to release sometime in first quarter 2012, the downloadable game will hopefully put an innovative twist on the zombie-killing genre. In a market filled to the brim with games about the undead, will this title be able to stand out from the crowd? Let’s take a look at it and find out.

The story of Amy takes a bit of a different feel than your average zombie game: a woman (Lana), and a young girl with autism (Amy), get caught up in a comet strike. On top of the normal fire and destruction from impact, this celestial object brings a virus with it, which starts to infect people, turning them into zombies.  Lana, who was injured by the crash, can feel the infection starting to flow through her. Death looks certain for Lana but, for reasons yet to be explained, when she is near Amy her wounds heal and her infection starts to subside. Together, they must find a way to escape the nightmare and survive. The little story revealed so far leaves many questions, but is shaping up to be a fresh take on the zombie game genre, which in my opinion is a breath of non-virus-ridden air.

Amy has many aspects of gameplay, but the most obvious is Lana’s infection.  If she is away from Amy for too long the infection will start to force a change. Her skin will discolour and rot, her veins will start to show, her eyes will cloud over, and her movement seems to become impaired. This change also affects the world around her, causing her to hear voices that aren’t there and making her vision distort and discolour. Players will need to either stay close to Amy, or find anti-virus injections or gas masks to fight the infection. This unique concept brings a distinctive aspect to an over-done genre. A trailer giving in-depth explanations of this can be found below.

If battling your inner zombie wasn’t bad enough, our two heroines must fight off the completely undead as well. Combat within Amy is set to use only melee weapons, all of which have a breaking point. Overuse will cause them to fall apart in Lana’s hand, forcing players to either go toe-to-toe with the flesh-eating monsters, or flee for their lives. Still have some optimism about your odds of survival? If you answered yes then prepare to have your dreams crushed, as it gets worse from here. Aside from your usual infected meat-sacks, there appear to be more evolved undead that seem to have some degree of intelligence, who move faster and strike harder than their standard brethren. To add to the buckets of sunshine and rainbows, it seems that special ops teams are present within the city for reasons, that as of yet, remain unclear. Don’t get too excited though, as they’re just as quick to point their M4 carbines at you as they are the undead.

Things may look bleak for Amy and Lana, but there may be a saving grace. Amy presents players with a couple of alternative options to overcome any given obstacle: pull a Sam Fisher and stealth your way around, or hide, literally, like an 8-year-old girl. Players will have the ability to use various parts of the environment to conceal themselves, such as hiding in lockers or under tables. From there, they can stake out enemies, watch for patterns, and hopefully slip by unnoticed. If all else fails, fight or flight! For a deeper look into Amy’s combat and enemies, check out the trailer.

The world of Amy is currently shrouded in mystery. What is this virus that caused undead to roam the earth? Why is Amy immune and what is her power? Why are human soldiers trying to kill a woman and an innocent child? To the answers to these questions, we’ll just have to wait patiently for Amy to hit XBLA and PSN sometime in Q1 2012. If you ask me, the wait looks like it’s going to be well worth it.

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December 21, 2011 - 8:30 am