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Amnesia: The Dark Descent - Enough Terror To Go Around

Amnesia: Frictional Games released The Dark Descent on February 17th, 2011. Amnesia is a survival-horror game that was released for PC, Mac OS X, and Linux. It is available via download from Valve’s Steam Store, or by a DVD retail copy of the game. The game focuses on a man named Daniel who awakes on the floor of a dark castle, not remembering anything. He finds a note from himself that orders him to kill the baron of the castle, Alexander. The note also warns you because a “shadow” is following you and it is breaking down reality trying to reach you. Throughout the game you must proceed through the castle completing various puzzles and tasks to eventually lead you to Alexander.

HORROR ASPECT

Amnesia: The Dark Descent is a survival-horror game and it is very successful at being horrifying and that is for sure. The game features lots of random jump-scares all throughout the game. If you are new to the horror genre, a jump scare is when something will randomly “jump” out at you and it usually causes you to scream in terror because you weren’t at all expecting it to happen. Some of these events in the game are scripted however, others can be randomly triggered that will give you a slightly different playing experience every single time you play.

The game heavily relies on its audio to create its terrifying and immersive experience and it truly does a great job using audio to scare the player. I’ve had countless times when playing this game my heart just dropped because I was so scared. Walking through the dark hallways and passages, the player will hear lots of very eerie noises such as the creaking of wooden floors and doors, the sound of many insects crawling around the player, and occasionally cries for help from unknown locations in the castle or perhaps they are just sounds that are created by your very own mind from your irrational fear of the unknown. And that is what the scariest part of this game is. The player will greatly fear the unknown.

The lighting of this game also heavily impacts the horror-aspect of this greatly. A player must remain in lit up areas as often as they can or else they will begin to “lose-sanity” within the game. If a player’s sanity decreases enough, cobwebs, cockroaches, spiders and other strange things will appear in the field of view of the player. It will stay this way until you can find light to stay in. The player can pick up a lantern in the beginning of the game and without it; you will not be able to beat the game because it will just be far too difficult. This lantern can be used to light the everlasting darkness that this game has. However, you must find oil for your lantern that will be hidden around the game. Without this oil, you will not be able to use your lantern and it may be hard to progress and the player’s sanity will decrease very quickly. Alternatively players can collect tinderboxes around the game which the can use to light candles. Unfortunately the candles are stationary and will only light up a small area around them however, this light can be used to keep a players sanity up.

The monster in this game overall does not appear to be very scary. It is very disfigured and strange looking and that is what many people may find to be so scary about the game. For me, it really isn’t the appearance of the monster that scared me; it was more the sense of not knowing when the monster would show up out of nowhere. Also it was the actions of the monster that scared me the most without a doubt. I would be hiding in a closed room and I would hear it walk past the door and then it would stop. Then it would begin attacking the door and breaking it open and it would charge in after me. These events are probably the most terrifying because you don’t know what the monster is going to do or if it will spot you somehow.

Overall the game is terrifying because after-all, it is a horror-survival game and it does a fantastic job at being just that. I find this game to be very scary, even scarier than Frictional Games’ Penumbra series, but I still believe that it is quite enjoyable and I have replayed it multiple times.

SURVIVAL ASPECT

Amnesia: The Dark Descent is a survival-horror game so it quite obviously has very nice survival aspects to it. In the game a monster hunts you. If you happen to run into this monster, there is a very good chance that it will attack you. If you end up being attacked, you will be hurt or possibly killed. To survive, you will need to heal yourself using potions that you can find hidden on shelves and within chests throughout the game. The survival aspect is not as prominent as the horror aspect but the game is still very entertaining from either point of view.

GRAPHICS

Amnesia: The Dark Descent is definitely not a blockbuster when it comes to its graphics. The graphics are a bit comically styled and have a very nice dark feel to them. The castle in the game has a bit of a medieval styled. Some of the design and machinery within the castle give it a very nice Steam-Punk/medieval style, which was a very good choice on Frictional Games’ part. For various puzzles within the game, you must work with machines that use steam as a power source that is where the Steam-punk essence is present. I personally think that it fits very nicely with the medieval castle and personally I think that any game that includes a medieval style like Skyrim did, I will love it almost right away.

The lighting of Amnesia: The Dark Descent is very important to the game’s workings. The game has to be very dark because if it were too bright then it would fail at being a horror game. However where there is light in the game, it is done fantastically. When you pass through a bit of candlelight and then proceed forward down a dark hall, your character’s eyes adjust to this source of light just as they would in real life. When you first step into a lit up area, everything will be a bit too bright but then your eyes adjust to this light and balance it out. When you leave a lit up area and step into the darkness, everything will appear too dark at first but your eyes will adjust and you will be able to see a bit better. Just like in real life, the longer that you're in the dark for, the better you'll be able to see and make out objects.

Overall the graphics in this game are very visually appealing in my opinion and I believe that these graphics are attractive and these kinds of graphics will most likely keep players interested.

STORY

Amnesia: The Dark Descent offers a very intense and interesting story to its players. As mentioned in my above summary, Amnesia is a survival-horror game that was released for PC, Mac OS X, and Linux. It is available via download from Valve’s Steam Store, or by a DVD retail copy of the game. The game focuses on a man named Daniel who awakes on the floor of a dark castle, not remembering anything. He finds a note from himself that orders him to kill the baron of the castle, Alexander. The note also warns you because a “shadow” is following you and it is breaking down reality trying to reach you. Throughout the game you must proceed through the castle completing various puzzles and tasks to eventually lead you to Alexander. This game in my opinion is very good and I believe it has great replay value. I have put over twenty hours into this game on Valve’s Steam Service and have played the game about three times over.

PUZZLES

Amnesia: The Dark Descent has a lot of puzzles throughout the length of its story. This adds another level of challenge to the game, which many people will enjoy. You never want a game to be too easy or else you will not find it to be all that fun at all. Amnesia will put you in some very tough situations where you have to use all of your brainpower to get out of them. This makes the game very fun in my opinion and can even add a bit of horror to it as you are always trying to move quickly because you never know where the monster is and you are scared that it might show up behind you at any moment.

ADD-ONS

Amnesia has a great community that has created thousands of custom maps that you can play that will increase the playtime you may have for this game. Some maps are downright terrifying where the creators are absolute jerks with their constant jump-scares. If you purchase this game, as soon as you complete the original story, you should download a bunch of custom maps to play. You definitely will not regret making this already great game, even better. Or if you’re feeling creative, you could always download the tools that you need to create a custom story and build your own to release to the world for lots of other people to play.

CONCLUSION

To wrap up my review of Amnesia: The Dark Descent, I would have to give this game a rating of 8.5/10. It isn’t perfect but it is definitely very fun and enjoyable. Sometimes I feel as though some parts of the story could have been a bit better and also there are a good number of bugs that I have run into while playing this game. I highly recommend that you play it.


Games | Horror Games


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