Amnesia: The Dark Descent

This is where you can deliberate anything relating to videogames - past, present and future.
Post Reply
User avatar
JaySevenZero
Admin
Posts: 2424
Joined: August 27th, 2012, 4:28 pm
Location: Liverpool, Europe, Earth
Contact:

Amnesia: The Dark Descent

Post by JaySevenZero »

Here's where you can write up your thoughts and opinions for Frictional Game's survival horror title - Amnesia: The Dark Descent

User avatar
NeoGazza
Member
Posts: 18
Joined: December 11th, 2015, 10:23 am
Contact:

Re: Amnesia: The Dark Descent

Post by NeoGazza »

I love a great indie horror game and Amnesia fit the bill perfectly. I first heard about it through word of mouth and I didn't expect a whole lot.
While booting up for the first time I was greeted with the message "This game is experienced best with headphones" so I decided to play along. Closed the shutters, turned up the volume and started playing. The graphics were somewhat of a letdown, but I did't expect a whole lot either - this is not a AAA studio after all.
By the end I made it out of the first hallway, it clicked. It had been years that a game had given me goosebumps, but Amnesia managed to do that 3 times in a row in my first hour. Conveying any type of emotion to the player in any game always makes me sympathize with the game in question, so I was hooked and determined to finish this game right then and there. Before I had even witnessed the true survival horror part.
The puzzles were decent but not very difficult but that is not why you play this game. The repeated deaths because you don't know where to go or what to do, reduce the initial fear you had first entering a specific area.
The mechanic that I really loved was that time spent in darkness really gets to your character . When a monster approaches, your main characters cowers in fear and starts to lose his sanity - a mechanic I hadn't seen since cult classic 'Eternal Darkness'. Hide or die! A nice touch is that you don't really get to see the monsters in their full low-texture glory but by design the monsters' faces are blurred out because your character can't handle the horror. Light in the form of candles or otherwise gives you some respite but don't let the creatures see you! I almost peed my pants when a monster started growling and chasing me -so I decided to run like mad. When I thought I ran far enough I turned around to find the monster had chased me just before it ripped me to shreds.
Suggestive as this game is, it is all the more powerful for it.

Although flawed, this game is a hoot when you are a sucker for atmospheric horror games!

User avatar
Lokhe
Member
Posts: 15
Joined: July 9th, 2015, 1:27 pm

Re: Our next-but-one podcast recording (22.10.16) - Amnesia: The Dark Descent

Post by Lokhe »

I don't play a lot of horror games because they work way too well on me. Being a tiny production from my home country and garnering a lot of attention online I had to check this one out though.

Mind, I did not struggle my way through this alone. I employed the help of two good friends and we took turns playing the game and spectating. Many shrill screams were heard throughout these sessions, some of them from the game even, until we finally hit the end.

I really appreciate the game for what it is. It looks great in its own way and the sound design is nothing short of exceptional!

I even played around a while with the level editor but had to put it down because it creeped me out too much. I was making my own level, fully aware that no monsters were implemented, and still I was too uncomfortable. I found sound files in the archives that were not in the campaign too. One ambient track in particular was incredibly unsettling...

I'm glad I completed this game but eaually glad it's behind me. Now I just have to figure out how to deal with SOMA that my gf bought x.x

User avatar
The_reviewist
Member
Posts: 36
Joined: August 31st, 2013, 10:47 pm
Contact:

Re: Our next-but-one podcast recording (22.10.16) - Amnesia: The Dark Descent

Post by The_reviewist »

Amnesia: The Dark Descent first drew me in with its aesthetic, as a long time lover of the old Looking Glass Thief games, I have a deep love of creeping round spooky medieval corridors, and avoiding the denizens therein. So when I heard that Frictional Games, who had made the interesting Penumbra series, had eschewed aliens and snowy bases for a horror game in a castle, I made a beeline for it. And how I cowered and shook.

Amnesia is one of the most terrifying gaming experiences I've ever had. Not since my teenage flirtation with System Shock 2 had I been so afraid to turn the next corner in a game. Within the cobweb and fleshy-tendril strewn halls of Castle Brennenburg I found myself at the mercy of strange sounds, deformed horror and more often than not, my own imagination. As in retrospect, the vast majority of the game had me jumping at my own shadows and creaking sounds, rather than at a tangible enemy who could hurt me. While all along the mystery of Daniel's fractured memory and the history of the castle and the crimes against nature performed there, unfolded at my fingertips.

Frictional should be lauded for not only crafting a fantastic game that builds up a brilliant atmosphere of terror, but at also creating an experience where the plot, albeit a tad convoluted, captivated as you play. Indeed, Amnesia not only provides a solid example of a horror game, but also proved instrumental in both pointing the direction that horror titles would follow over the next few years, but in fuelling the early days of the Lets Play communities online with footage of terrified players.

It's not a perfect game, mind you. The engine, while decent does look a little dated, and the wibbly wobbly sanity effects get a little irritating after a while when stalking round dimly lit cellars and cisterns. Moreover, the overlapping multi-generational story is far more complicated than needs be, and isn't really helped too much by the somewhat badly written PDF of short stories "Remember" that comes in the game files.

It is however, a genuine classic, and a game that never ceases to be scary, and without which, we'd likely never have had Alien Isolation, the various Slenderman games, Outlast or the fascinating if flawed sequel Amnesia: A Mchine for Pigs. Bravo Frictional.

User avatar
Tleprie
Member
Posts: 128
Joined: November 2nd, 2014, 4:13 pm
Location: Indoors
Contact:

Re: Our next-but-one podcast recording (22.10.16) - Amnesia: The Dark Descent

Post by Tleprie »

According to Steam I got the game in the Humble Indie Bundle 5, so I probably played it sometime in 2012. As with many games, I played it with a friend watching.
Over the course of, I imagine, a few sessions, we beat the game. There are a few moments that I clearly remember. The one that we still talk about was during a water part. While running away we were trying to close doors to buy time. But at some point in the chase the monster caught up with us and was right behind us when I turned to slam the door. The creature was hideous (and for some reason visible unlike other water monsters?) and both my friend and I shrieked with terror.

Before getting into more analytical things, I'll also mention that Amnesia is one of the few games that I've gone out of my way to get mods for. I really loved the engine and wanted to see what others had done with it. Nothing really stands out in my mind now, but I had a couple hours of fun with them.

There are so many elements working together to make Amnesia what it is, that I'm finding it hard to put it in words. This is my 3rd attempt at writing this bit. Anyway...
First I'll say that the story is delivered superbly. Not necessarily as a great narrative, though I do find it interesting, but as a great way to keep the horror going. There are notes and "flashbacks". Both of these keep you where you are, meaning they are only brief escapes from the monsters. I was thankful for every flashback, knowing that I would probably be safe, at least for a few seconds, but the terror quickly set in again when they ended, as I was still in the exact same spot.
Amnesia offers a few safe haven areas. Hub worlds of sorts. But even these get overrun by the darkness and push you deeper into the castle. As far as I remember, there is no one to actually talk to until the great Agrippa. This isolation is draining. Similarly draining, in fact, to the way sanity drains in-game.
The sanity meter feels to me like being kicked while I'm already down. But it's that sort of kick that you enjoy, either because you have an itch right where you're being kicked; all you have known your life is kicking; or you just enjoy pain. Either way, Amnesia's sanity kicks work, and I think it is because they work going both ways. You lose sanity for being in the dark or encountering monsters and stuff, making the game harder and scarier. But by moving faster and being deliberate you can keep the darkness at bay. Even the sound that accompanies the boost in mental energy is a sigh of relief. You may not have a safe place to run to, but you can make the experience a bit better just by pushing through it.

The sound probably contributes more to the success of the game as well as the player's success than the visuals do. This is because fear, as I understand it, is a survival instinct (or something). The sound of the monster is both exactly what you don't want to hear, but also what you desperately need to hear to stay alive. Sure, you could try running through the game with your fingers in your ears, but then you'll likely get killed a lot more, especially since you're now playing with, I assume, your feet.

To avoid rambling too much more, I'll wrap things up. Amnesia does everything right to terrify me when I'm playing it, but from the outside, even while being as close to it still as the pause menu, it is deceptively tame. I know from just last night's experience that it will get to me, but a part of me still thinks I can handle it. With most horror entertainment I grow much more uneasy after the experience is over, but Amnesia is the exact opposite, perhaps because it does such a good job of putting me in its world.

Post Reply