SGBCC Day Two: Anna

This is day two of my Lent 2013 Steam Game Back Catalogue Challenge.

I probably won’t be giving Anna a full hour, as it is already after midnight as I boot it up. I have been unable to play it today, as unfortunately it lacks a windowed mode. This was probably for the best – ‘horror adventure’ may not be the wisest genre to explore with a toddler accompaniment.

As the game starts, you are outside an abandoned looking sawmill. It’s a bright, sunny day. Technically, the graphics aren’t great, but it does have a very painterly feel. They seem to do a lot with not a lot. I wander around collecting the odd thing here and there, doing some doing, admiring the text overlays.

After a while the dizzy mouse movement gets to me so I go to adjust, finding a hint system as I do so. Having been aimlessly wandering for a while now, I submit and ask for a hint.

That notch seems incomplete.

Oh. Does it now. What notch would that be? The help is less than stellar.

As soon as I find this ‘notch’ (I’d already seen it in fact, but the hotspot didn’t activate properly so I hadn’t realised it was a ‘thing’) the rest fell into place and I was soon inside the building, being reminded of Amnesia. Significantly. Amnesia was, of course, the game I had to stop playing while I was pregnant as the fear wasn’t good for my blood pressure.

A spooky thing occurred, and I watched it happen, rooted to the spot, wondering if I should look (run?) away. I didn’t.

I kept pottering around, as you do. Finding, using, doing. Reading the ‘atmospheric’ bits. Wondering if I’m missing much having the volume so low. The inventory, by the way, is awful. So awkward to use.

Then, after a nice little find, I turn around and get a shock. In a flat panic at what I saw (what DID I see?) I hit escape. Helpfully, the menu tells me I can’t save now. Great. I’m pretty sure I’ve played for an hour by now and I want to go to bed without further horror. Why, Anna? Why do this to me?

It’s okay. I look away. I move a little. I look back. My save option returns. Thank fuck.

That’ll do. I save and quit.

Then I notice that this game had a metacritic score of a mere 55.

Will I play again? Well, actually, I think I might. There’s a lot to hate about it – the mouse movement is jerky, the inventory is awful, and it’s not often I really fancy being this kind of scared – but I hope there is also much to see still. I was certainly looking forward to it pre-release. Hopefully that wasn’t entirely misplaced.

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