Cornelius Campbell, publicly known by his stage name "The Amazing Alduin", is a world famous magician whose career is heading towards a halt. The theaters that will hire him grow ever smaller in size and although the crowd still claps it's but a painful reminder of his former greatness. The crowd has seen it all and Cornelius is prepared to do whatever it takes to make the crowd cheer in awe again. Cornelius sees an opportunity to restore his former success when an item of peculiar origins appears at an auction held in his home town of Colorado Springs.
This review may contain spoilers
I'm a bit late on the Amadeus review train but here we go. [spoilers ahead, yo]
Amadeus is mostly fantastic. To give a brief overview of all the things I liked about it:
- Goes without saying at this point but this is honestly one of the best looking custom stories out there, and it goes far beyond surface-level. There are the obvious points; tastefully subdued and moody lighting and use of color, phenomenal use of assets from A Machine for Pigs, excellent use of particles and other such effects, detail for days, so on and so forth. But even underneath all that, it's a great looking mod down to its core. I'm primarily speaking of the overall level architecture, which at times can go well above and beyond what I would expect from a mod in terms of visual composition and practical design. Unfortunately the architecture isn't always handled this well, but most of the time it's great.
- Sound design was a surprise show-stealer for me. From the music playing in the foyer, to the sounds of the enemies I was straining my ears to hear, to the very detailed and eerie ambiance of all the levels, there was clearly a lot of thought and care put into the way everything sounds, and boy did it pay off.
- Writing was good, but much more so in the early portion of the game. More on that later.
- Pacing and overall gameplay, with a few exceptions, was generally great. The way the house gradually unfolds is brilliant, in an almost Resident Evil 1 way, which I love.
- Pretty good playtime. Maybe could have been shorter. Again more on that later.
- Look it's a great mod, alright? If ever there was a must-play list of Amnesia mods, this would be one of them.
Right, so with that out of the way, I do have some problems with Amadeus. Not enough to outweigh the overwhelming positives, but... well I have some problems:
To start with one of the more minor things; there was a bit more rummaging through drawers required than I would consider optimal. In a mod this open and sprawling, it really isn't necessary to make the player look around for the key they *need* to progress, when they've already figured out and completed all the actual challenges in their way.
[ie. the player shouldn't have to jump through hoops to get the reward for completing a challenge (usually a key), because they've already completed the challenge and earned their reward, so putting it in a drawer just increases the chances they'll miss it even though they did everything right. Just put the reward where they can see it, ya know?]
My biggest actual complaint with Amadeus would have to be the story, or more specifically the way certain elements in the story are handled.
In the early portions of the first chapter the writing is great. We're setting up Cornelius as a character, and we're setting up Amadeus the automaton and its creator. There's this tense air of mystery that intensifies as more information is slowly revealed; the things Amadeus seems to know in spite of just being a machine, and some of the weird things its doing; Cornelius' growing desire to be seen as a great magician again, which makes you wonder how far he'd really go to have that. Then Cornelius' first show with Amadeus is a disaster, and the stakes raise as his situation becomes more dire. Then a plot-bomb gets dropped; Amadeus' machinery doesn't even work, it's completely broken, but the automaton still moves.
At this point I'm 200% into it, my mind is racing and I want to know how this concept gets explored further.
Answer is it doesn't.
It's revealed that everything Amadeus was doing was actually a ghost that eats children, and I just... kinda sighed.
After this point Amadeus is never mentioned again. The entire concept, that of a machine crafted in the image of its maker's dead son moving on its own even after its machinery stops working, is discarded, and the story is instead about rescuing your son from the ghost of a historical serial killer. Maybe it was always supposed to be about a ghost, but I can't help feeling like a huge opportunity was missed here, both thematically and in terms of just telling a unique story.
The writing doesn't get any better or worse after this, though Cornelius just kinda stops existing after you learn how to stop the ghost, and there's a tangential mention of Luc, Amadeus' maker, being in an asylum, even though that was never mentioned while Cornelius was talking about him, nor does it really explain or add anything aside from making a tenuous connection between Luc and the serial-killer-person who's name escapes me.
Also just a quick side note because I'm running out of space, most of chapter three is a lot of friggin' hallways and square rooms. Really feel like most of it could have been trimmed out and you wouldn't have lost anything.
In conclusion, I'm still giving Amadeus an 8/10 because I know most people simply don't care about writing as much as I do, and almost everything else is brilliant. It's a fantastic mod and well worth playing.
Highest Rated (7 agree) 10/10
well.. where do i start. i've been watching this mod since the earliest screens, but visually, it exceeded all my expectations still. the long years of development can really be seen in the details :) the gameplay started out with pretty basic puzzles but as more and more of the custom assets and awesome ideas showed up i was pretty confident i'll enjoy this mod until the last second. the atmosphere was so damn amazing! and i was actually right.. though the last chapter was the least favourite of…
Dec 5 2017 by KiraImmortal