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Amnesia: Dark Descent

 

  • Genre: Survival Horror, Indie
  • Developer: Frictional Games
  • Publisher: Frictional Games
  • Players: 1
  • Network Players: 0
  • HD Space: 3 GB

You’re guaranteed a to be lost in the dark

It’s not very often you come across a game that frightens you. The horror genre has changed; the majority of the franchises have gone towards a more action packed game filled with gore. A true horror game emphases on the atmosphere.  It’s the feeling of fear that gives it touch. If the game heightens your senses, it’s a success with what it does. You want to be scared. For some strange reason, being afraid is a pleasure. It makes you feel more alive. Amnesia: Dark Descent gave me goosebumps, I admit to getting scared but does that mean its esthetically & functionally good as a game that sticks true to the traditional survival horror genre?

 

CONCEPT

First off. The game is actually meant to be played super dark. You’re able to change the brightness setting in the options menu but diminishes the tension. You wake up in a daze and find a letter which you wrote to yourself that states your name is Daniel, you purposely took a drink that made you forget everything you’ve done & must kill a man named Alexander but all the while, something is after you, a dark entity that follows your every move & will eventually devour you.

Most of the architecture that is present reflects a mixture of a medieval dungeon.

You have no reason why you must carry out this dark deed but as you play the game you’ll come across many letters from diaries scattered throughout the levels explaining the background as well as having visions & flashbacks of conversations & telepathic communications through other characters in the game. It’s really hard in the beginning to understand the story, you’ll be confused and frustrated because you’ll try to follow what’s going on. You don’t know anything. From that moment, the creators make you really feel amnesia. There are 3 endings & I wasn’t that disappointed but throughout the whole game, you’re realizing that the story itself is pretty mediocre, but that’s not to say it hasn’t got its moments when you’re about to jump from your chair.

DESIGN

If you decide to change the brightness *cough pussy* that game becomes significantly easier. You’ll be able to see the majority of things but there will always be areas that stay completely dark until you get into the shadows & adjust to the darkness. The controls are simple. You move around normally with W, A, S & D buttons. You’re able to take out your lamp with F to illuminate the surrounding area. Your lamp runs on oil, you’re able to pick up oil bottles scattered around the game or find oil dispensers that fill up your lamp. All around the castle are candles & torches that you can light up permanently by finding ___. The darkness consumes you & your state of mind. You have two separate variables for your conditions which also describe in what state you’re currently in. Your heart is your health & your brain shows your sanity level. If you get hurt, the screen starts to become red. You can always heal yourself by finding bottles of Landanum or wait for your health to regenerate.  

If you turn on the brightness you can see how disgusting the creatures area. Beautiful!

 

You’re able to pick up objects & throw them but the majority of are useless. Key items will be put into your inventory where you can combine certain objects together. Areas are all filled with puzzles & will have you backtracking to different sections again.  You might get lost but you’ll be able to open up your journal to see past letters & to check your objectives. Think carefully. As with every puzzle, sometimes the solution is right before your eyes & you’re just too blind to see it. Others are trickier requiring more attention to detail or in most cases, just really good eyes to see through the darkness. Important objects are always glowing which helps them stand out but that’s only when you get significantly get closer to them.

AESTHETICS

The scenery is more or less enjoyable. You’re in a castle & its pretty harsh, its old & it inhabits strange monsters & more or less disturbing environments. The game gets darker & its story will eventually make sense up to half way through. That’s when the game gets good. You’ll understand the pieces to the puzzle and become intrigued, giving you initiative to continue while always wondering what’s going to happen next. Your mind is interesting. If you stay in the darkness for too long, everything starts to move like if you were on an acid trip. Everything feels like they’re breathing. You’ll find it very appealing. You even might see insects crawl across the screen. The moment you approach the light, everything stops moving & turns to normal.

It is a horror game. So expect to find lots of bodily fluids and depictions of dismemberment.

 

Daniel’s breathing adds more feeling, when you hear the heartbeat, the footsteps & other sounds that are emitted from the environment; the player becomes more focused on his or her surroundings. Since you don’t know what’s around the next corner, just shadows, you’ll be cautious with what you do. You’ll hear screams, people whispering, and strange noises. You’ll begin to hesitate even if it’s all in your head. Daniel doesn’t speak, but you hear his narration as you read journals if you wrote it, or the player will begin to read letters to understand more of what’s going on. There’s a lot of literature so at least be prepared to read as this is the strongest point of storytelling throughout the game. To open doors, you must hold down the mouse pad and either move in a circular rotation or up & down as if you’d do so in real life to move or pull levers & open doors. You have no weapons, you’re helpless & your only option is to run or hide in the shadows by crouching. While you’re running, all doors open towards you. Think & act fast otherwise you’ll end up dying & respawning at the last checkpoint, which is never far away. If you die, a message will appear on the screen giving advice regarding your outcome.

You have to take a deep breath before exploring. You never know when there’s another jump scare.

VALUE

Amnesia is a decent game. It’s style of gameplay stays true to the survival horror genre. The core of the game is in its illumination & audio because that’s what will affect the user experience & how you’re supposed to perceive the game. It’s got little to no glitches due to the size of the game. The campaign is short, lasting around 5 – 10 hours at most & doesn’t require more than 1 or 2 replays. The ambience surrounding Daniel is what will attract a wide range of audience looking to prove themselves if you’re up for the challenge to delve deeper into the shadows that force you to see the darkness inside.

Concept8.5
Design9
Aesthetics7
Value6
Positive
Lots of good jump scares and is successful in getting you frightening
Very great mechanic with opening and closing doors
Disturbing scenery
Negative
So dark that it’s kinda hard to see where you’re going.
Hard to follow and uninteresting story
The gloomy and dark colors make this game unappealing to the eye
7.6
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