Title: Amnesia – The Dark Descent
The Gist: The game is a first person survival horror, taking survival horror elements from games like Resident Evil where you are required to solve puzzles through exploration and examination of your surroundings. This can be as simple as looking for a key to open a door or to create an acid from chemicals in order to burn organic mass blocking your path. You play as the character Daniel who has no recollection of who is he is and ends up finding notes written by himself instructing him to kill someone in the mansion you’re currently in. Unfortunately the paths to your goal are often blocked or you run into some sort of…monsters?…
Pros: The game creates an amazing atmosphere by cutting of most light sources and requires you to light your own path or remain in darkness. The downside to remaining in darkness is that your ‘insanity level’ will rise, causing you to hear some bizarre sound reminiscent of bugs in your ears and turn your vision somewhat less efficient and shaky. This insanity level can be lowered by simply stepping into the light, which of course is a rare sight in this game. The puzzles for the game are interesting and require an effort to solve, forcing you to explore your environments for long periods of time in order to proceed. You have the ability to move objects in the game such as books, boxes or large planks of wood which you’ll need to do later on in the game if you want to gain access to areas otherwise closed off to you.
The horror section of the game comes in various forms, most commonly found whilst exploring areas of darkness. You will however discover you’re not alone in this mansion as you’ll occasionally spot some sort of zombie roaming the dark. Apparently if you keep out of their way they’ll keep out of yours, but im not sure how long it’ll last before they decide they’re bored of exploring the dark and wish to feast on my yummy brains. After finding the zombie like creatures I decided I should see if any weapons were laying about the level, but was frustrated to find the only objects to hand were books, carpets and the occasional ink pot. My plans thus far are to either throw books at something until it goes away, offer to read it a bed time story and then sneak away as it falls asleep or try to convince them I’m a travelling carpet salesman who could offer them great discounts if they simply don’t eat me.
Cons: The game is quite slow paced; this isn’t necessarily a con as such but should be known prior to playing. If you’re the sort to get bored easily this might not be for you, I found it frustrating at times when I was unable to determine how to proceed.
Musical Note: The music for this game is brilliantly composed, creating and enhancing the atmosphere for the game. You’ll be greeted by occasional classical music and an abundance of ambient sounds such as creaking or shock-horror moments as something exciting happens.
Hunger Level: I enjoyed the game and I’ll definitely want to return. I can see myself completing the occasional chapter a week or so as opposed to playing large sessions that have me mirroring the character in his rising insanity.
Conclusion: If you enjoyed the puzzle elements of Resident Evil but feel like leaving your shotgun at home? This is the the game for you! I really enjoyed the time I spent playing and look forward to loading it up again. Best played at night in order to enhance the atmosphere of the game. (Disclaimer: May result in Zombie like creature feasting on your brains!)
One Hour, One Review, One ‘Game-A-Week’ @ Black Vinculum