Amnesia: The Dark Descent Review

Amnesia

You’ve come to the abandoned library of castle Brennenburg in search of a key that will be needed to continue your quest. The rooms have fallen into disrepair but with a bit of courage and ingenuity you work your way through the rooms, learning a bit more about your situation in the process.

Amnesia Room

As you approach the end, however, you hear sounds. Breathing. Footsteps. You’ve heard them before and seen nothing, so perhaps you don’t need to worry about them. At last you find the key on the master’s desk, and from a note you learn the horrific reason why the room was locked in the first place. Before you can even turn around, however, a distant room of the castle collapses, and the sounds of that strange presence return, louder than ever before.

Amnesia Stairs

You leave the room, trying to leave this area as quickly as you can. That’s when you see a creature. It almost appears to be a naked human. But the limbs are just a little too long. And its head is not…quite…right. It doesn’t notice you as it casually walks into the next room where you need to go. You hesitate, and try to find another way around. No luck. As you hesitantly go to the room where the monster awaits you, knowing you have no way to fight should it come to that, the monster itself appears in the corner of your eye, and you see its face for the first time. The heavy breathing and visual distortion let you know that your character’s sanity has taken a serious blow from the sight itself. The creature takes one monstrous stride towards you before it vanishes. You flee as fast as you can to leave the level. As you reach the loading screen, you relax a bit and realize that you were not in any real danger.

And that’s when the castle tries to eat you.

Which is to say, in other words, that Amnesia: The Dark Descent is one of the most immersive and horrifying experiences in recent gaming. As a first person adventure game you have few ways to fight but many ways to die. Amnesia fills a void in gaming that nobody really noticed was there—true survival horror, and is well worth playing.

You play the role of “Daniel” an English Archaeologist circa 1839 who awakens in a castle without any memories of who or where he is. You find a note seemingly written by yourself explaining that you willingly erased your memories and must find the inner sanctum of a man named Alexander, who your past self begs you to kill. What follows is a horror story ripped straight from Lovecraft’s sensibilities. As you work your way through the castle, your only companions are your lantern, the ever present sense of danger, and madness.

Amnesia Decay

Daniel’s sanity is one of your most precious resources in this game, and one you must always try to protect. You have access to a Lantern which slowly burns through your Oil reserves, and a number of tinderboxes to light torches on the wall. But most of the castle is dark, and staying in the darkness too long will quickly drain Daniel’s mental fortitude. Besides that, looking at horrific sights, or certain scripted events will also drain your sanity. Only clearing puzzles will restore your sanity. But as your sanity decreases, hallucinations make it harder to work. All this combines into a constant sense of menace as you try to work through the otherwise simple puzzles quickly enough to avoid running out of oil or going insane.
Amnesia: The Dark Descent is filled with clever scenes and moments of true terror. Some of these will play out as tricks of the game, or tricks your own mind plays on you. Shadows and light can be your worst enemies in these cases. Other times your life WILL be in danger and you will have to run or hide from creatures you often can’t see but feel as a blow fills your screen with blood and send your body flying a few feet forward. With even a little effort to immerse yourself in the game, Amnesia takes you in and won’t let you go.

Amnesia is short at around 10 hours to beat, and contains relatively replay value. At 20 dollars, however, it’s well worth the cost. The game also comes with tools to create custom stories with the game’s engine (including a rather clever physics engine allowing for some great puzzles) but it’s currently unproven if that will add to the value of the game. Still, I cannot recommend this game enough. Buy it, and brace yourself for a powerful experience.

Written by Tabris

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Amnesia: The Dark Descent Review, 10.0 out of 10 based on 2 ratings

3 Comments

  1. No matter if some one searches for his necessary thing, so he/she needs to be available that in detail, therefore that thing is maintained over here.

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  2. Tabris says:

    I’m a firm believer that you need 2 things to feel afraid in a video game. A sense of powerlessness, even when you have power, and a sense of isolation. Ammo restriction or a particular unbeatable foe are ways to get around the first one, that’s now becoming less and less of a factor.

    The other one is ruined by the abundance of “Survival Horror” games with Co-op play. That just doesn’t work at all.

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  3. Bryan says:

    Excellent Review. It really makes me want to get back into PC gaming. The horror genre has been lacking lately. It seems like many “horror” games have made a strange transition to action adventure.

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