I’ve been away from games for a wee while for a number of reasons. Had a few uni deadlines etc. and been trying to earn some money to feather my summer nest as well as being totally addicted to the Mars Trilogy of books by Kim Stanley Robinson (more on this at a later date)! I’ve also been taking advantage of the fantastic weather and going out cycling in my spare time.
Alas, the weather has turned rubbish again. On the plus though, I’ve gleened some precious gaming time. So I’ve decided to work my way through Amnesia: The Dark Descent. Admittedly I’m only a fraction of the way through but I just had to spill my opinions:
After watching trailers and clips of the game, I wasn’t entirely convinced on some of the amazing press it had been receiving. Just another FPS… but without weapons. Generally making a game different simply by removing a principle element isn’t a good idea in my experience! But you really have to play Amnesia to fully appreciate the awesomeness. I have honestly never felt so scared playing a game before! The fact you have to run away and hide from any enemies is bad enough, but the lack of any way of defending yourself makes it all the scarier! To add to this, if you look at your enemies for too long they will spot you, so you find yourself cowering in a cupboard unable to see the monster outside, just hearing the sound of its inhuman groans!
Speaking of sound, I don’t think Amnesia would have the same effect it does if it weren’t for the fantastic sound design of Tapio Liukkonen, which more than makes up for the slightly dated graphics. It’s the little things, for example when hiding in the dark the character starts heavily breathing evoking fear in the player, and the scratching, scraping noises that don’t seem to be coming from anywhere, implying the characters descent into insanity. The part that really got me was when you’re trying to escape a monster in the dark flooded passages of one section of the game. The fact you can’t actually see anything but the movement in the water, but hear the violent splashing accelerating towards you, or the animalistic grunts while it devours a human corpse, sent shivers down my spine like no other game has!
Like I said, I’m still not finished the game, and I wouldn’t usually recommend a game so highly before finishing but it’s not for the way the game works as a whole that I’m recommending it. It’s the experience you get from the word go which I highly doubt is going to diminish towards the end. Most probably it will get all the more scary which can make playing a little unpleasant at times… in a good way!
My advice: get on Steam and download Amnesia: The Dark Descent right now! Oh, and play it with the lights off and the sound up… if you’ve got the baws that is!