I'm a huge fan of horror movies, shows, and books, but I'm not much of a horror game fan for whatever reason. I'm not exactly sure why, but I tend to avoid most horror games, especially survival horror, but that's another story. If I'm going to play anything in the horror genre, I prefer that it be more in the style of a interactive fiction/puzzle rather than an action based game. That's not to say I haven't played and enjoyed more action based horror games. I have, but just not as much.
Anna seemed like it would fit my personal preference, but this has been one frustrating journey with this game for various reasons. To be fair, I'm still in the process of playing this game. As of this writing, I'm just now getting to the second floor of the cottage. I've already managed to unlock one of the endings for the game. I wanted to quit there and wash my hands of the game, but I pulled up my big girl panties and reloaded my last save. I want to give this game a fair chance, and I want to like this game. I do. I really, really do.
This constant crashing is my biggest complaint, and probably the reason I have so little patience for the other things that irk me about this game. There was a moment there on the first floor where I was freezing every couple of minutes to the point that I was almost in a blind rage. I am an intense person, and I have intense emotions about everything. When I say I was in a rage, I was in a RAGE. It would freeze when things were shifting in game. It would freeze if I moved the camera quickly. It would freeze if I breathed the wrong way. The fact that I was even able to stick that out is one step from amazing.
Next, what the heck is going on with these puzzles? I'm a big fan of puzzles and games that prominently feature puzzles. I could spend hours lost in a puzzle game. Anna's puzzles aren't difficult more so than there's very little clue about what you should do. It's not that I need a game to hold my hand while I try to figure out what to do, but so many of the puzzles are basically just a game of click and pray instead of a path of logical steps. I will say that some of the puzzles, the ones that did follow the logical reasoning path, were pretty brilliant such as the leaf puzzle (SPOILER ALERT), which has been my favorite so far.
It isn't all bad, though. Anna isn't so much of a scary game, but I say that as a longtime horror fan who is probably not as sensitive to certain elements of the genre. For me, the game is just atmospherically creepy, and there's nothing wrong with that. I enjoy it. There are a few cheap shock moments, but most of the events have been interesting more than scary. The story, while a little broken in places, has an eerie vibe that continues to grow more curious as you unlock pieces of the story.
My main concern with the story, though, is that people might not understand what's going on if they're not reading the protagonist's journal. I'm not a fan of games relying on the journals/codex to tell the story. I always read them, and I know I shouldn't worry about other gamers not reading them. However, I'm one of those gamers that still feels like the story should be understandable through gameplay with or without the journal/codex.
Right now, I don't know if I really want to continue with this game or not. I'm stubborn and I hate starting games and not finishing them. I'd rather finish them, even if it takes me a million years to do it, but when I do quit something, you know it had to hit a point where I just couldn't do it anymore. With two games coming out this week that I've been anticipating, Anna might find itself on the back burner.