Amnesia: The Dark Descent – Best horror game at the moment?

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Amnesia: The Dark Descent - Best horror game at the moment?

Introduction:

Survival horror, now that’s a genre I’ve missed for console, I bought Resident Evil 6 without playing the demo, I prayed to the gaming gods, asking for it to be like the first three original games!  Sadly though its the same Resident Evil: Zombie Warfare at the minute. So this nightmare convinced me that I should get get a gaming PC (This was around 2 years ago now), my friend pointed out to me this game called Amnesia, to which I thought “this will not be good at all” but after watching numerous YouTube videos, I got to see things that genuinely scared me.  Obviously after watching people scream whilst playing the game, I thought “I’ve got to try this!” luckily I bought it for a small price of £3.74 in the steam sales.

Gameplay

When you first open Amnesia it immediately hits you that it is going to be a creepy game from start to finish.  At first I embraced the horror with open arms! I wanted to feel scared, almost like a child watching “Child’s Play” for the first time.  Amnesia is clearly set in the Victorian era, and you play as a man called Daniel, who has as the title says ‘Amnesia’.  Our main character Daniel is stuck with amnesia and struggling to figure out where he is and what he has to do.  Now the antagonist in my eyes is something Amnesia really does well, he’s not in the game, instead his minion/minions are the ones that hunt you, the creepy feeling I got in this game was slowly diminishing with every noise and encounter with these monsters.

Now you can slap the label “survival horror” on any scary game, but I feel this particular game lives up to the label. Because the whole point of this game is to do one thing, and that thing is SURVIVE. Now by this I mean that you have no weapons, no means to attack these monsters, if one comes for you, you simply have to run away and hide, making sure they don’t find you so you can live to fight another day, which at times can be downright petrifying!

I won’t spoil the storyline for you, and I’ll be honest, you NEED to collect the pages that are around the game to really understand the story, these pages help you to figure out certain puzzles.  You can however not collect any pages and complete the game fairly easily, it can happen. I personally collected pages because I’ll be honest I’m a little dumb with puzzles. Another game with a similar style that will keep you on the edge of your seat in my eyes is the “Penumbra game” which is also a game by Frictional Games, Outlast by Red Barrel, and of course the Five Nights at Freddy’s games.

Amnesia is a unique game that utilizes things like hiding from monsters and using torches to stop yourself from passing out due to stress/paranoia/etc.  Now I’m a guy who is scared quite easily to be honest, and I can play horror games right till the end, and it would usually take me a few days easily. Amnesia was a different breed of monster, it made me stop playing at times, because I was genuinely scared to play this game. However with all the fear aside, it kept me wanting to play for the great gameplay and storyline.

I’d like to give a special mention to the amazing community for this game, which is booming even now  5 years after its release and even after the sequel being released. Amnesia has many great mods which are essentially “mini stories”. It’s slightly odd because the mods the community has made, are really just as scary to play as the actual game itself, oh and you can find some HILARIOUS modifications to. You’ve got to respect such a supportive community and they really make this game worth having if you’re a survival horror nut.

I’m sure there are people that think “you can’t attack? what’s the point?!” but give it a chance, it really is a great game and the lack of weapons adds that sense of genuine horror, you feel like Laurie Strode in the Halloween franchise, Ripley in the Alien franchise, this is what this game does. It makes you feel like someone running for their life throughout the entire game, you hope there isn’t a monster around the corner waiting to make that ungodly growling noise and scare the crap out of you.

Any game comes with its problems though, Amnesia only had a few problems that really grinded on my gears; The least important was graphical glitching in the game resulting in textures completely missing, replaced with black blocks. The second thing I would say that disheartened me slightly? Well how easy it is at times to simply stop monsters from attacking you by jumping up on something high, like a shelf or table. So personally there was little about the game that I really disliked, but these tiny glitches that occured from time to time reduced the scary factor! I would say this game definitely would have got a 5/5 if these problems didn’t exist.

Audio & Graphics

The Audio in this game is superb, and thankfully so, a good horror game needs the audio to be top notch to get those scares from people.  The sheer terror when you hear the monster for the first time sent shivers down my spine, and even the voice overs for an indie game are great.  If audio is important to you, this is well worth the money. The graphics aren’t terrible, but it is a 5 year old game now, so if you’re looking for something to really test your computer, this isn’t it.  This game will run well on damn near all gaming PC’s, if you’re looking for a game that is outstanding to look at, this isn’t that, even though in my opinion, for 5 years it has held up pretty damn well, when you look at similarly aged games like the original Darksiders which was AAA at the time of release!

Conclusion

I’ll be honest, this game is great, I enjoyed and hated every second. I hated it because of the wee that occasionally leaked out from all the scary moments, I just wanted to say thank you to Frictional Games for delivering a great survival horror game that has given me hope for the “Survival Horror” genre. Amnesia is a game that can appeal to those who are simply looking for a different way to play a game. Amnesia does offer the true survival horror experience unlike no other if you embrace the horror, and give it a chance. It’s worth noting another Amnesia game has been released since, sad to say it wasn’t nearly as scary as this game, which really disappointed me, mainly because I was pumped to play it, then when I got to the end product, I was left feeling…….. meh…  Needless to say though the community gives you more stories for this game so if you get it in the Steam sales, it would be a bargain!

  • Audio
  • Controls
  • Design
  • Graphics
  • Value

Summary

- Overall this is still a horror game worth your time, despite the age that it is now. If you never played it before, you're bound to get scared at least once!

- If Graphics are a huge thing for you however, I'm almost certain you can give this one a miss, and go onto what is a graphically superior horror game like Outlast.

4.6

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