Agni: Queen of Darkness Review - The Next Level

Game Profile

Release date:
February 2008
Irrational Games

Agni: Queen of Darkness

Bioshock dev's lost game discovered in India.

Review by Sean Wheatley (Email)
June 21st 2008

The dialogue is spoken in Hindi but there is an option for English subtitles so Anglophones don't need to worry about a language barrier. There are a few of Ghayab's one-liners unrelated to the main story didn't get translated. I did study some Hindi in university, and from what I gather, those are some cheesy lines it could have done without anyway. Music is fairly minimal and consists more of eerie, ambient sounds than memorable tunes. It's an approach similar to many horror movies and it works fine for this game.

I was also impressed with the structures of the game's buildings; they are realistic enough to be believable. Also, scripted events are well timed, and there are a few interesting environmental puzzles thrown in. The level design and platform elements make up for some of the shortcomings of the combat.

There is one major flaw I encountered with the game's overall structure, however. About halfway through, I reached a point where it told me I needed to do a certain number of tasks before being able to go forward. The problem was that there was no way to backtrack to try and find what I was missing. There is no hub to lead you to other levels, and I wasn't told that I needed to load up one of the earlier saves (the game's save system is all done automatically; you can choose to load up a previous level by its name). I don't mind having to replay some levels but it's poor design not to notify the player, and to make him have to guess which earlier part to reload. I had already put a few hours into the game at this point. It wasn't game breaking but gamers shouldn't have to deal with situations like that.

And so, Agni: Queen of Darkness falls short of being a classic but despite its flaws, it managed to hold my interest due to its compelling locales and varied gameplay. I'm not sure how much of its development was done by FXLabs but it's certainly not a bad start for the fledgling game maker. If you can deal with the design issues, it gets my recommendation as an atmospheric horror game with enough of its own style to warrant a purchase. On the other hand, if you're looking for a highly polished action-adventure game with cutting edge graphics, or longing for the deep character customization originally promised for The Lost, then I would look elsewhere.

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