I just finished playing through Amnesia: The Dark Descent and it took me about 2 weeks to beat. The reason it took so long is that I truly had a hard time playing for more than 30 minutes at a time. Not because the game was bad, not by any means, but because it’s so scary, suspenseful and downright disturbing. The following will consist of my review of Amnesia: The Dark Descent.
Story – 10 / 10
The story behind Amnesia is more than enthralling. It is epically disturbing and drew me in like no other game ever has. I though that a game like Dead Space was scary, and it is, but it’s child’s play compared to Amnesia.
You are Daniel, and you wake up in a huge castle with little to no memory of your life. You must find clues about how you got there and what the purpose of you being there is along your journey. The story is set in the 1839, during a time of mystery, scientific pursuit, and superstition. And all you can remember about yourself is your name, and that something horrible is after you.
Throughout the course of the campaign you come across pages from Daniel’s journal, giving more and more clarity as to what has transpired and what it is that is after you. But one thing is certain; you must journey into the Inner Sanctum of the Castle and murder Alexander the Baron.
Following a trail of hints, clues and blood, Daniel must figure out a number of very challenging puzzles, fixing old machinery, finding a way around blocked off doors and similar tasks that at times can be frustrating, but are always very rewarding when finally completed.
Every time I picked up a new piece of Daniel’s notebook or a letter lying around the Castle I never skipped over it or “skimmed” it. I listened to Daniel in his English accent reading his own letter with wide eyes and open ears.
You must eventually track down pieces of a broken orb that were once yours from a journey to Africa, mend them together, enter the Inner Sanctum and kill Alexander. But don’t be fooled, this is no easy task.
Amnesia The Dark Descent was never dull or “ordinary”. The story was intensely dark and horrific, and I loved every minute of it.
Game Play – 10 / 10
It is quite a pleasure to experience a game where you must use your wits, a lantern and your hands to complete your quest, rather than a machine gun and grenades. Even when killing Alexander at the end of the game you never raise your hand to him.
To open doors you have to move yourself close to the door, a hand icon will appear, you click you mouse, while holding down your mouse you pull towards yourself, thus pulling the door out. Likewise when turning a mounted wheel on a piece of machinery you make a circular motion with your mouse in order to have a similar effect in the game, thus turning the wheel. Quite an interactive and fun form of game play.
Light is your friend. Your lantern and tinderboxes that light torches are your means of staying sane. Also, if you complete a puzzle or repair a piece of machinery your sanity is fully restored. Stay in the dark too long, see too many unsettling events or stare at monsters and your sanity could drop to dangerous levels.
The whole game is in a First Person Perspective. There are no cut scenes and everything is witnessed as you were there. The game play was refreshing, left me feeling venerable and powerful at the same time.
I really have no idea how long the game took me to complete as I could not complete it in one sitting, or even 10 sittings. With the suspense so high in this game I had to keep putting it down for a day or so to keep my whit’s about me. I would guess the Amnesia took me between 15 and 20 hours to beat though.
Graphics – 8.5 / 10
Amnesia the Dark Decent was developed by Frictional Games, not a large company by any means. I can’t hold it against them that they weren’t able to generate the type of virtual world that I’ve become accustomed to…detail and resolution wise. But despite the limitations with a smaller developer’s budget and rendering software, the world/castle was very believable and did look very nice. I just don’t recommend going from playing BulletStorm to Amnesia and not expecting to think the graphics of Amnesia are something you should have seen in a video game 10 years ago.
The only real gripe I have about the graphics is the limit the developers put on FPS (Frames Per Second). I believe the cap was 40 FPS. So even though that my system can tear up very demanding games, at times the fps in Amnesia dropped for no seemingly explainable reason. I feel like a game that is not meant to push PC’s to their limits should have no problem allowing gamers to experience FPS closer to 100, and never lower than 40.
Sound – 10 / 10
The sound in Amnesia the Dark Descent is amazing. They use creepy music, British accents and terror vibes like a master composer. With no other game have I ever felt like the soundtrack, voices and overall sound of the atmosphere was as important to the single player experience as with Amnesia.
The way the sound has been incorporated into the game only made it more frightful and curious. Without the quality of sound that has been put into Amnesia, the game would have not been nearly as scary.
Two thumbs way up for the soundtrack and voices with the Dark Descent.
AI – Not enough AI to be considered with a score, but it was good, therefore not noticeable that it really was AI.
Replay Value – 7/ 10
No matter how compelling or utterly amazing a single player game is, for me replay value consists mostly in a multiplayer experience. Having no multiplayer to offer at all, I feel that the replay value with Amnesia the Dark Descent is a little on the low side.
But I don’t want to completely count this horror film out, I would actually love to replay the game in the future, even if the future may be a few years down the road. But I am sure when I do replay Amnesia; it will be another rollercoaster of a ride that I will not soon forget.
Amnesia the Dark Descent is the most refreshing and scary game I have ever played in my life. The story is more than stellar. And playing through the campaign was so intense I often had to catch my breath, take an intentional break to keep my wits or put the game down for a day or two to regain my composure.
I loved this game and it deserves all the praise in the world. I just hope more gamers realize that there are amazing games out there that do not involve spy planes and RC cars with bombs attached to them. So don’t be afraid, give Amnesia the Dark Descent a try, you won’t be sorry.