If the average person’s life is fourscore years and ten then that means that each person lives for roughly 2.2 billion seconds.
Now we are all aware that the majority of time on this earth is spent looking for one’s keys, closely followed by thinking of clever things to say in reply to posts on Facebook, closely followed by sleeping, closely followed by all manner of ungodly activities, closely followed by clearing one’s Internet history. But there are more menial tasks that we do on a day-to-day basis, perhaps some that we don’t even realise we’re doing, that take up an alarming portion of these precious Earth seconds.
For example as a conservative estimate on average I would say each person picks their nose for about 15 seconds per day. But when you amount this over a lifetime this equates to over 106 hours of nasal pleasure. more than four days! Awesome.
Yes as you start to count up the different menial things that you do on a day-to-day basis you start to wonder how on earth you have time to do anything constructive. My point is every person’s time is precious. Every second of it. It should not be wasted!
Unfortunately this is how I feel after my time with Anna Extended Edition by Dreampainters. That my time has been utterly wasted. If only I could claw back the hours and instead spend those precious moments picking violently at my nasal passage, perhaps then I would’ve considered the time more productive. But I can’t. And this distresses me deeply.
The actual game itself, despite being the ‘extended edition’, can be ploughed through in about 35 minutes without any of the periphery indulgences like reading the diary entries/stories etc. 35 minutes you say, that’s not many Earth seconds wasted. Get over it! The problem is however the puzzles are often so dumbfoundingly senseless that they are nye on impossible to solve.
Case in point, within in the very first environment of the game you are located outside an old saw mill. I had opened a little door and directly behind that door was a brick wall. I couldn’t for the life of me decipher how to get past this wall. I tried everything that made any sense at all (A rock. A Knife. My fists. Shouting petulantly at the tv) but nothing seemed to work. I then tried a wooden branch... The wall crumbled to dust before my very eyes. I’m not sure what version of the three little piggies the developers were read as children but I have it on good authority that BRICK TRUMPS STICKS EVERYTIME! This sets the trend for a series of illogical puzzles that would leave The Killing’s Sarah Lund more confused than if she were confronted by a wardrobe without jumpers.
I never played this game on PC but as for the Xbox 360 controls they feel unnecessarily awkward. The initial setting was so sensitive it almost provoked epilepsy whilst the slower setting just felt clunky. As for the button controls they were clearly chosen by plucking them out of a button mapping tombola. It’s a mess and takes a while to get used to. The visuals in terms of fidelity are forgettable at best but there is at least an attempt at an art style and some little creepy set ups that sometimes catch you off and give you a little jump. However on the whole these scares are pulled straight out of the horror game manual 101 and delivered with such clumsiness that it often blows its load before its even got its trousers off. Add to that the fact that you can’t die and any sense of threat evaporates fairly quickly.
The story is very contrived and handled with more ham than a summer spit roast. Everything gets bogged down in details that don’t matter and what you end up with is a game that loves the sound of its own voice and that has about as much substance as candyfloss made of bull excrement.
The sound design isn’t bad with some okay environmental effects but some of the acting that’s meant to be creepy and unsettling would be laughed off stage at the Christmas Panto. The main problem is that everything is so repetitive. The same sounds are looped over and the music - at least for the first part of the game - threw me back to an eight hour journey I took with my Mother to Wales when I was eleven and the Clannad tape got stuck in the cassette player. I’ve never liked Wales ever since.
You may feel I’m being harsh but this game truly was a chore. The poor design choices and clunky controls make it one to be avoided if you have knives in the house (I’ve never wanted to stab my TV before). That said if you lack any self-respect and feel that 16,000 of your precious Earth seconds need to be wasted then be my guest. I’m going back to picking my nose.
Anna Extended Edition
Publisher: Kalypso Media
Release Date: 26th September 2014
Gameplay – 1/5
Graphics – 1/5
Story – 1/5