When Daniel opened his eyes, he found himself laid on the floor of a dark and disturbing castle’s corridor. The only thing that remains in his mind is the impression of something that was pursuing him, not even a thing of his past. This is the beginning of one of the darkest and tensest games of the last years. Amnesia: The Dark Descent is the new survival-horror and complete game developed by Frictional Games. In the launch of this new version, the style of its acclaimed trilogy “Penumbra” remains, Frictional Games presents us a game where keeping your fears under control is the trick for having a chance of surviving. The intense exploration of the mysterious castle will lead you to a crazy story inspired on the H.P. Lovecraft’s world.
Amnesia: The Dark Descent 1.0.1 Features
- Fear, fear and more fear. One of the tensest games launched in the last few years
- Dark and distressing environment
- Excellent soundtrack full of sound effects which will hold you in constant tension
- Inspired in H.P. Lovecraft’s tales
- Developed by Frictional Games, an indie company specialized in horror games
- Good graphic engine
- First-person game
In the last few years, the monopoly of survival-horror games was absolute property of Japan. It seemed that no other person in the world could frighten some players that were used to the blood, monsters and terror produced by the companies of that country. But the Swedish people who work at the Frictional Games studio have decided to gather the atmosphere and stories of the American writer H.P. Lovecraft in order to show that The West also scares us.
As we start de game, some messages appear to inform us about what we are going to find. This is not a game for killing enemies in a wide battlefield, neither a game for running without watching your back; indeed, this is a slow game. Our character is called Daniel and has just woken up in the middle of a dark castle of the 19th Century. Everything around him is in total darkness, and without any explanation, he will have to wander all over the desolate castle looking for an exit, as well as for a reason for that situation.
The health status of Daniel will be divided in two variables: physical and mental. Walk and stumble and find pathways around the narrow corridors of the castle, and in your exploration you will find many ways of going crazy. Darkness will be our worst enemy; it will confuse our senses, distort our eyesight and it will even make us to fall to the ground. The best way to get back to our senses is by walking through the illuminated places or by solving some of the puzzles we will come across on our way. But the castle hides a lot more of secrets and monsters. Attacking them will be the worst mistake we could make, because that will affect our life and the monsters will kill us slowly.
Amnesia: The Dark Descent is a subterfuge game, and its mechanics are pretty easy; by playing the hero or by directly confronting our enemies we won’t achieve anything. That’s why we will have to hide or escape from every unknown creature and to try (as far as possible) to block their way for impeding them to pursue us, and try to get outside the casttle. So, closing doors in corridors and baring them with tables or furniture will be the best option for gaining some valuable seconds that will allow us to plan our escape tactic. Be careful with every movement you make, your survival will depend on it.
The interaction with objects will occupy the most part of our time. Daniel doesn’t remember why he is there, neither where he has to go. Most of the doors in corridors are close and they have some puzzles that you will have to solve. By collecting the objects and keys needed to open them, we can arrive to the other part of thecastle.
For interacting with doors, barrels, boxes and other objects that we will come across, we will use the mouse. The cursor’s shape will change depending on the object we are pointing at. For instance, a hand will appear on the doors so we can open them if necessary (that’s very useful if we want to hide from monsters and we need to half-open a door to control their moves).
Our best ally during the adventure will be the oil lamp. This will be our most precious possession since it will give us light and sanity in the shady corridors we will go through. For keeping it lighted we will need to collect and save as matches and oil as possible. With the matches we will be able to light the candelabra and the torches we will find in the desolate corridors, but the key is to do it just if necessary and if it will help us to save oil.
To open the doors in corridors and to power up some mechanisms spread about the game, sometimes we will need to solve a series of puzzles. These will be quite logical and their only difficulty will be to find the object needed in order to activate them. By making this kind of tests, Daniel will keep his sanity and he will get over his growing madness. The items that we will use can be rotated and moved depending on our necessities and they will answer to whatever movements we do with the mouse.
Speaking of graphics, Amnesia: The Dark Descent is an attractive product. However, it hasn’t got any great technical wonder, and it tends to repeat many textures and objects, above all, the boxes that we will find in the castle. All the scenes are very similar, if not the same, and this makes this horror game annoying due to the map size, although we have to admit that this creates an environment of solitude.
The graphic engine developed by the guys from Frictional Games performs very well the textures and the characters; even though they are very simple (remind this is an indie company with little resources), they are very appropriate for the game. As Lovecraft lovers, the studio renamed this graphic engine as “HPL”, honoring the famous writer.
But the big theme of Amnesia is the darkness. We will be practically all the game in shadows, and the plot will be developed in total darkness. At the beginning of this horror game, they recommend us to play at night, without any light and with headphones, but honestly… I think that’s crazy. No, there is not such a potential danger able to make us fear the horrors we will find behind a door or corners, but our suggestion will be our worst enemy.
The more we go into the game, we concentrate on the puzzles and we focus on the exploration of the castle, the bigger our fear will be. Honestly, we are facing one of the most terrifying games I know, and although it has entered through the backdoor of the sector, now it has made a name for itself in the market of horror genre titles.
In the official site we will find enough information about the game: forums with guides, a store for buying the Frictional Games titles, and technical support with patches and other free updates, as well as videos that will give us an idea of what we can find playing Amnesia. Precisely one of those videos shows the reactions of some gamers while “enjoying” their walks around the castle. It is both funny and worrying to watch them, if you haven’t played yet.
PHP Nuke's opinion
Amnesia: The Dark Descent is one of those classic PC games. It is a slow game, in which it seems nothing happens but at the same time we will get hooked from the beginning. Darkness will envelop us, it will play with us and with our minds, and at the end, we won’t know if it’s better to stay in the solitude of our dark room or to return to the castle, which is dangerous but more controlled. The little Swedish studio of Frictional Games stops with the Penumbra series to present us another twist in the “survival-horror” genre.
As used as we are to those action games, to those big explosions, the first thing we will do as we wake up in the shadows of the castle is to look for some kind of weapon or blunt projectile. Soon we will see that the gameplay of Amnesia is totally different and more realistic.
If we woke up in the middle of a castle, without any memory about how we arrived to that situation and we started to stumble the corridors in an exploration for the truth, I don’t think our first choice would be to attack spectral and deformed figures. In this horror game, the key is hidding and waiting until your way is clear and to start running without looking back.
The hoarding of matches will also be indispensable. Our mental sanity will be preceded and/or accompanied by little dose of light among all that darkness, although this can make us to observe some monsters and some horrible and bloody mutilation scenes. Maybe, because of that approach to reality we mentioned before, if we try to attack directly one of those monsters, we will inevitably die, a logical thing, since the most powerful weapon we have is a broom.
The game has an automatic save function, so it is better not to be worried about saving the game all the time and to be focused on the storyline. Once we start and the fear goes across our body, we will realize that we do want to save the game so we won’t have to go again to that moment of the game.
The “trick” we have found consists in closing all the doors we leave behind in the corridors. If we are stuck somewhere or in some puzzle, we must save the oil for the lamp, lighting some candles or torches around us. After making sure the area isn’t in danger, in that moment only, we will have to save the game. We don’t want to die in Amnesia for multiple reasons: the first one is the tension and the stress we are going to feel, and that strain can makes us to scream so loud the neighbors will shiver. The second reason is that coming back to the control point will be tedious, since it is not necessarily nearby (in place or time) from the point we are at, and we will have to repeat all that tense scenes unnecessarily.
The development of the story is too slow, and maybe the end is not as good as expected. That’s for sure the reason why, when you start the game, they recommend you to enjoy the experience of the game instead of just trying to arrive to end. Amnesia: The Dark Descent is a long and boring game, and partly that’s the fault of those puzzles we come across while playing.
These are just little issues we are going to find during our adventure. A stuck lever that doesn’t move, a close door in multiple corridors we need to open in order to gain access to another room… we call that puzzle, but actually that kind of things are realistic and simple situations we could find everywhere. The thing is, most of the times we will have to go back to get a key or an object needed to go on.
Not suitable for heart patients, Amnesia: The Dark Descent is one of those games that give you back the love for the PC. It will make us feel fear and tension, we will get both angry and indignant, and at the end of the day, this game will convey you the impression of those old adventures games. Totally recommended to every person who loves psychological horror and who has good nerves to be able to walk an enchanted castle just with an oil lamp. For more information, feel free to visit the developer’s site .
The minimum requirements to get installed and play Amnesia: The Dark Descent are listed below:
- OS: Windows 7 or higher
- Processor: 2.0 GHz or higher
- RAM Memory: 2 GB
- Compatible with RadeonX1000/GeForce 6 Memory Cards
- Hard Disk: 500 MB of free space
Amnesia The Dark Descent is an adventure game with the shooter game controls. With a first-person perspective, we will have to tread the corridors of a dark castle of the 19th century, looking for an exit. We will move forward through the shadows of narrow corridors with the only help of an oil lamp. Besides, we will put our mental skills to a test trying to understand the things we see and trying to recover our memories.
Although this game hadn’t as advertising as its competitors, from its launch, Amnesia has become a public and critical success. The previous released by Frictional Games (Penumbra trilogy) feels small compared to the great job they have done with Amnesia. It seems there’s going to be a second part, but for the time being… lets rest our nerves.
- Amazing environment which will totally terrify us
- The game style in first-person is awesome. Our suggestion will turn against us
- The plot is based on H.P. Lovecraft’s worlds
- Total defenselessness feeling
- Gameplay with high doses of horror and realism
- Good graphic engine
- The scenes and objects are too repetitive
- Slow storyline progression