The game opens up fantastically, with a brilliant score and soundscape, and with just enough information to make you want to plunge yourself further through the first stage. However, it doesn't keep this pace up. You're met with a typical Giant Creepy Mansion with Spooky-Ooky Happenings. You also must find your children, whose ghosts flood the house. The notes and bits left about emanate nothing more than a minor creepiness factor. The hollowed out walls and two-way paintings are a suggestion that either something disturbing has been lurking around the house, or that the main character is a weirdo who liked to spy on his guests in the bathroom. Admittedly, the soundwork and atmosphere are very good, the audio especially. When you pull a lever, you get a hiss and a click, and seconds after followed up by massive machinery shifting and grinding and making lots of noise. Take a step, and what sounds like gargantuan metal plates grinding against each other create a sound so enormous that the ground beneath you shakes. That's all well and good, but the rest of the level is fucking boring.
This is held off only slightly by a redeeming factor: The Professor. The Professor speaks to you on telephones found throughout the game. His voice and speeches are urgent and hurried, as if something were after him. He tells you where to go to find your children. We're met with an onslaught of gaudy puzzles: Pull this, twist that, yank this and flick that. If I wanted to play Bop-It, I'd have taken my $20 to Wal-Mart and bought a fucking Bop-It. Hell, maybe my kids would flock to me with the promise of toys more fun than this drab physics manipulator. After a while, The Professor becomes a nuisance, telling me to go to places laid out by a predestined path. We encounter a few monsters in the darker, creepier areas, but nothing that makes it so unbearable.
When we reach the midpoint of the game, though, things pick up. We encounter our first real monster, and it's fucking terrifying. There's nowhere to hide, so you have to quickly outwit it and get past it. It keeps this up for much longer. Many monsters you will have to distract and outmaneuver, whereas others you will simply have to outrun and trap. Our story begins to clear up, as well; the notes become more revealing and less cryptic nonsense. The Professor also begins to show more character. This is where the game changes.
We discover the place where the pigs are housed, monsters in cages, makeshift dining halls and bedrooms, disgusting things eating like barbarians from human plates and playing with baby blocks in their prisons. The Professor tells us what we have done, what we have created, and it is too much to bear. He shows us what we made by revealing the city; it is overrun by the pigs. Orphans and beggars and whores run, screaming, trying to escape these beasts, yet they slaughter them all. This world is a machine, fit only for the slaughtering of pigs. The atmosphere is very tense, it has such smooth transitions between utter madness and worried silence and it urges you to find it within yourself to press on, no matter what. The Professor becomes less likable, and our hate is placed upon him.
We reach a puzzle that seems to ultimately offer us retribution, yet it does not feel right. We are not sure it is what's best, and we are hesitant to do what is asked. As we descend deeper, we find ourselves in more despair, until we must fight or die. The puzzles force us to get on with it, they frighten us and confuse us. Then, The Professor reveals it all. We find our character with strengthened resolve: He wants revenge. Finally, we find ourselves at the end, where we face retribution. Despite the warnings, the prophecies, the foretellings of The Great War and World War II (the professor only describes war and bullets, but mentions millions dying in chambers and ovens, suggesting the Holocaust), we ignore them and find peace within the embrace of our death-machine.
All in all, not too scary. The atmosphere was well-done, but the scares were predictably and a bit boring. However, the story was told so excellently that it more than makes up for it all. The visuals are great and the scenes we find ourselves in are much more compelling than that of its predecessor. I was able to finish the game in two sessions, me taking a break in the middle due to stress from the scares, but after that the story more than overpowered the scares, to the point where it almost became an action game.
Replay Value: 2/10
Despite its low replay value, everything about it is either adequate or awesome, and it's all only $20. Definitely worth it.