Here's the problem: many of us are trying to figure out why GOG's "interest" varies so much AMONG the releases that publishers are willing to bring here.
There is a pattern of GOG having interest in low wishlist vote games that their publishers want to bring here, like this release and Sally Face, where the wishlist votes were literally in the single digits...WHILE, at the same time, GOG is not having interest in higher wishlist vote games that publishers also did (apparently) want to bring here, like Agony
I can't speak for GOG, but I think I may have a hunch what makes them favour some games over others:
- games that are day one releases (like Florence), will be favoured over an already two years old game (Agony).
- games that are older, but generally bugfree (like Sally Face), will be favoured over a game that was bug-ridden at release and apparently still has problems with this (Agony).
- games with some new and/or interesting setting and/or mechanics (Florence) will be favoured over a game with a bland gameplay and broken gamemechanics (Agony).
- games that can be offered to all customers (Florence/Sally Face), might be favoured over a game which probably can't be sold to parts of their customers due to excessive violence (Agony unrated).
The last point is the least probable, since there are enough games in the store already, which can't be bought by certain customers (in Germany/Australia/China/etc.), due to regional restrictions.
Btw: here's an excerpt of a review text for Agony - see, whether you can find reasons, why GOG may have decided against a release: Torture, orgies and infanticide
Agony breaks some taboos in his portrayal of hell. However, the game mechanics and technique also break in the process.
[...] (The game) surpasses
(its spiritual predecessors in art) in the details of his cruelties - but neglects playability and an interesting story. Without sense and reason
You're a damned soul with no memory. Other people in hell recognize you and describe your deeds during your lifetime as disgusting. But that is not really believable
. This is not so much because of the claims themselves, but rather because of the way they are presented to us.
The few slides and monologues are presented with an irritating pathos. The damned may find countless synonyms to describe their tortures, but emotions like fear or desperation that are to be expected in hell never resonate. Even the identification with the main character is hardly possible.
In the already thin main plot
there is only very little information about her that would give us a better picture. She wants to escape from hell - that's all we know. Her own soul does not reflect the events. She shows no fear, does not panic. No gasping, no heartbeat, no emotion. This apathy slowly transfers to you as player. After a while, you just don't know why you are struggling through all that blood and mesentery.
This is especially unfortunate, as you'll encounter interesting demons with their own personalities and rivalries among themselves. Apart from numerous documents and a few cryptic sequences they form something like a background story
, at least in the beginning, which however is largely unimportant for your soul. That's what nipped-in-the-bud potential looks like. Stumbling through the afterlife Bodies as empty shells. Ironically, this formulation also literally fits the game mechanics.
[...] Agony buys this plus on athmosphere with a frustrating control, though.
As a human your basic speed is very slow. In principle not bad, if you wouldn't get stuck again and again at not visible edges and corners. Also jump passages seem inaccurate and you rush into the depth, although you estimate distances correctly. Annoying, because checkpoints are very irregularly distributed and you can sometimes lose a good 20 minutes of play time due to a tiny mistake. A hell of a lot of mistakes
Except for rare exceptional scenes, you can't defend yourself against enemies; instead, you must evade them.
These stealth passages usually take place in labyrinths, which give you enough freedom of movement. The monsters' routes seem random, but since you can hold your breath or throw a torch as a distraction, escaping them is relatively easy
. Running away is only useful, though, if there is a narrow passageway to the next room nearby. Without that, the creature will most likely catch up to you. Of course a horror title needs a high degree of difficulty to convey a feeling of risk and inferiority.
But in Agony some scenes simply seem unfair because of sloppy programming.
At one point for example you are supposed to push a demon over a cliff. No matter how careful you are, the beast can still catch you while you're doing that.
...there's no cure to protect you against faulty scripted events.
What is disguised as puzzles in Agony, are actually rather boring search and collection tasks.
In order to open gates, you search labyrinths for hearts, skulls or other body parts. These end up in a bowl as an offering. Or you have to draw a sign on a tablet in blood, which is hidden somewhere in the surrounding area. The game uses these tasks over and over again, with script errors appearing here as well. Sometimes key events are not triggered and you have to restart an entire section. In combination with the rather leisurely game speed Agony therefore becomes a test of patience.
But all this hypnotizing, disgusting nightmare has no deeper meaning for our protagonist. In the end, Agony seems like a strange art installation that has been given no context. The target group for agony is probably relatively narrow. And even if you are a horror fan, you have to bite your way through an unfinished game.
I don't usually mind bumping into a few small inconsistencies, but we are talking about real game blockers that hinder the progress of the game.
Madmind Studio is working on patches right now, but even in our tested version (1.02) there were still major bugs.
Nevertheless: a gripping story with interesting characters will still be missing
, but is something, which a good horror game actually needs.
The emotional level is missing, which creates a bridge to the player. As it is, I feel more like a visitor in a gallery, staring at a framed picture on a white wall: I'm at a distance.
FYI: most of the [...] describe the violent tortures and hellish nightmares contained in the game.
And it sure looks like that's all the game relies on, and what a certain subset of users are looking for.
The reviews on Steam are also pretty telling.
Mind you - the game got mainly bought by people who knew what they were getting into.
And most of the positive reviews are only full of praise about the level of depicted violence and gore.
Now, I don't know about you - but I look for a little bit more in a game.
As the reviewer wrote: The target group for Agony is probably relatively narrow.