This game is almost too scary to continue playing…almost. Amnesia: The Dark Decent is a horror action adventure videogame developed by Frictional Games and published by Valusoft for the PC. I knew about Amnesia: The Dark Decent shortly after it released back in February from PC gamers raving about how scary and atmospheric it was. Thanks to the recent Steam Summer Sale i was able to pick this up for under $10.00.
When you start up Amnesia the developers give you an interesting message. They say Amnesia “should not be played to win” which immediately piqued my interest. Instead you should just immerse yourself into the game’s atmosphere and not worry about saving, checkpoints etc. The problem is, when you immerse yourself into this game’s atmosphere, you’re hooked into its nightmare.
The story up until this point for me is unclear. You’re playing as Daniel (protagonist) who just awaken from a long sleep. Early in the game you discover a letter that you written to yourself asking you to kill a person named Alexander and for you to dwelve deeper into the castle’s darkness inner sanctom. Not only that, but apparently your being followed by a shadow nightmare that you cannot see. The story in Amnesia: the Dark Decent is told through notes that you discover either through text or voiced dialog. You also get tidbits on loading screens when you enter different areas of the castle. You can always go back and read mementos or notes by pressing “J” which gives you access to you’re notes, diaries and mementos.
Amnesia is presented in a first person view. If you played any Penumbra game your right at home with Amnesia: The Dark Decent. What i am getting so far from a presentation aspect is a creepy, eery game. Every sound, every shadow everything creates a feeling of anxiety as you play. It doesn’t help that early on the game is so quite. I am constantly expecting something to jump out and scare me but it hasn’t happened. Amnesia does a great job in making you want something to scare you but it rather toy with you’re frail psyche. This is coming from a guy who loves scary movies. So far, Amnesia is scaring me and i really enjoy it.
The most important gameplay element so far is light and you’re sanity gauge. You have to stay in lighted areas so you’re sanity gauge doesn’t decrease. There are tinderboxes scattered about the dark castle so you can light candles and torches nearby. Early in the game you find a lantern you can carry in you’re left hand. The lantern uses oil and runs out frequently. You have to find oil to keep the lantern lit. There are strange subtle creepy events you notice as you play. If you ever played Eternal Darkness on the Gamecube Amnesia pulls some tricks on you in similar fashion.
What i really like about this game so far is its atmosphere and pacing. I am having a really good time just exploring and finding items to use while staying in the light. If its true that you cannot beat this game i will take the devs advice and just keep myself immersed in its atmosphere. No matter how scary it will seem. Thanks for reading.