Amnesia: The Dark Descent

So Amnesia is by the same people that made the relatively unknown ‘Penumbra’ series, a game known for its unique engine and inability to fightback against the world around you.

I heard about it initially from a kotaku post on ‘scariest games’, Amnesia was listed multiple times as THE scariest game ever made, and being that its halloween – I wanted to have a little scare, unfortunately I got slightly more than a ‘little’ scare. Being a complete wuss in these types of games, I figured id be more compelled to play through if I had someone else playing with me, hence I made cross get the game and we played together, without him I probably would have gotten to about 20 minutes into the game before closing it and never wanting to play again.

You wake up in a castle and have amnesia and stuff, there is a plotline with lots of diaries and allsorts but I sort of didnt care about that, instead placing priority on my survival.

The main game mechanics which distinguish this game from others is the ‘hand control’ system, which basically means you have to turn cranks yourself, and open doors or drawers by pushing or pulling on them, its a weird feature at first but becomes natural pretty fast and it definately adds to the tension in the game – being able to peek around doors before you open them fully, or having to quickly spin around and close a door if something is chasing you – is much more intense than pressing F and having the door fly open/close shut.

Another pretty key feature in the game is light and your sanity, the latter of which relying on the former, and the former relying on you checking every crevase for lantern oil or tinderboxes to light torches to illuminate rooms, without light your sanity will begin to falter, your vision will blur, your senses will dull, your reactions will fail and in general you’ll just feel all sorts of nasty. Lantern oil thus turns into the only thing you ever want to see when you look around an area.

What you dont want to see (or in some cases, wont see) are the monsters, which are genuinely terrifying. These guys may lumber around initially but instantly turn into world class sprinters upon spotting you – and its fucking horrible.

The graphics, what you can see of them, are pretty fantastic and the atmosphere, the music, sounds and set pieces are perfectly done.

Its without a doubt the best genuine survival horror game ive ever played, and i’ve never screamed so loud at…. anything… before…

And here is audio proof –

We basically recorded ourselves whilst we were playing, these are the highlights – TURN YOUR SOUND DOWN.