I spent many hours in school passing time in my IT classes and on lunch breaks by playing browser based point and click games in which you were trapped somewhere trying to escape. They were always fun to play but the downside was they never really took very long to complete and there wasn’t a lot of variety. Fortunately though developers were making so many of them you always had new ones to play on a regular basis. In recent years these games have remained quite popular although not as many new browsers versions pop up as once did, and that’s when I stumbled across Anna, not a lady but a psychological horror first person point and click game that was released on PC and Xbox 360. Now I’ve been lucky enough to get my hands on the extended edition of Anna which comes with lots of added extras, but I was dubious as to whether this game would be any good as it isn’t easy to convert a game to a console and do it well. This is due to the fact the controls would be very different as point and click really is designed to be played with a cursor controlled by a mouse not some analogue stick, but being the optimistic type I didn’t went into this game with a blank mind.
Now the story of Anna goes along the lines of you waking up in the courtyard of an old stone house, unaware of how you got there or why it is you’ve found yourself there. The only thing you know is that you have dreamt of this place before but you’ve always been on the other side of the fence, so to wake up behind it is rather puzzling. At first it seems a tranquil place with the sun shining, birds singing and the sound of a stream running past the stone house. Doesn’t sound like much of a psychological horror so far right? Well as you make your way around the building you notice the windows are all boarded shut and all the doors are locked. It’s then your job to investigate the area to get inside the property, doing so by solving puzzles and collecting items you’ll need to help yourself in the game. Once inside you soon realise something isn’t right and you start to hallucinate seeing things that aren’t there and hearing voices. With plenty of puzzles to solve it is up to you to investigate and uncover the secrets of this mysterious place.
Now although it is meant to be a horror I don’t think at any point did I feel the need to crap my pants; most of the time I was just in tears of laughter or staring at the TV in confusion. For example out of the blue I hear a noise, I can’t exit the room I’m in and the torso of a mannequin appears on fire, only to disappear before my eyes. Now this wasn’t scary in the slightest, more confusing as it left me wondering if it was just a random coincidence or if there was some meaning behind what I had seen. That’s when I decided to exit the cottage and found out I had completed the game which just got me confused even more, until I realised that the game had various endings thanks to some stats that pop up at the end. That’s when you realise there is more to the game than meets the eye. This is no normal point and click game, the story behind it is more complex with various paths for you to follow based on the decisions you make and the information that you find. The more you investigate the more you uncover, it’s just a case of how far you really want to go in this game.
Despite that nice little surprise though I was still disappointed with the controls of the game. There was no tutorial or guidance with how to open menus or how to use items so it’s all done by trial and error. Then you have the whole point and click nature of the game using the analogue sticks to move and look around your environment, now this works well usually but when you’re having to search around for objects to interact with it doesn’t feel as natural without doing it with a mouse. There is just something almost unnatural about the feel to the way you play the game, because several times I missed items as I wasn’t looking for them at the right angle and I feel if I had a mouse it would’ve made the game easier and less frustrating to play. It’s pretty much the same as when EA started releasing their Command & Conquer titles on PlayStation and Xbox, they controls just didn’t feel the same as PC and therefore it didn’t seem as enjoyable to play.
Despite that negative aspect to Anna though, which I expected all along with the game being a conversion from PC, it isn’t too bad. It has plenty of positives to speak about with graphics looking beautiful and very detailed, the sound having been selected to perfectly suit the mood of the game at different points throughout and the fact replayability of the game is high having 8 potential endings to unlock. Another element of the game which is designed to keep people glued to Anna is the whole idea of collectable items, there is something in all of us which just makes us want to collect things and there are plenty of items to be found hidden away in the most unlikely of places; so if you want to get all game achievements and complete the game 100% I suppose like the Pokémon motto goes “you’ve gotta catch ‘em all”.
I suppose the final question is, is Anna: Extended Edition really worth it? Well, yes and no. I mean If you’re going to grab this game on PC it’d be a definite yes but for me it just didn’t feel right playing it on a console. That isn’t to say it wasn’t an enjoyable game, but for something that claims to be a psychological horror game it came no where near to invoking any feelings of fear within me. You may think that is just me, that someone else could be scared so much they have to go change their pants but you’d be wrong; I’ve never been scared of Silent Hill games but you can see the ways in which these games successfully implement elements which would bring out a sense of feeling in the player and send chills down their spine. If you are a fan of point and click games though I suppose the game is worth a try or a demo to see if you find it entertaining
Disclaimer:All scores given within our reviews are based on the artist’s personal opinion; this should in no way impede your decision to purchase the game.