|System: PC||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Frictional Games||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: Frictional Games||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: Sept. 8, 2010||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Pending||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
Immerse yourself into the game the way its intended. Play it late in the evening, turn out the lights and put on headphones. See how long you can stand it. Your virtual environment is an atmospheric medieval castle, filled with the remnants of unspeakable atrocities. The darkness is your enemy as well as your saviour, as hiding in the shadows is often your only line of defense against approaching entities. Youll hear them coming, and the ungodly sounds will tie your stomach in knots. Its this anticipation that will wreak havoc on your psyche.
While hiding in the shadows, an interesting gameplay element will begin to affect your character as he loses his grip on reality. Insects will visually torment him, sounds will become more aggressively bizarre and even the control system will become affected, making even the easiest move sluggish and difficult to perform. You really feel the need to get back in the light but you cant until the threat is gone. In the light you are a target, in the dark you are a madman. There is no safe haven in Amnesia, just places that are less horrible. And theres no shortage of horrifying places including dungeons, torture chambers, morgues, sewers, and laboratories of the damned. Words cant describe some of the terrifying images these environments conjure. Its not just the images of clumps of congealed tissue stripped from tormented bodies, or the blood-and-rust-stained, ancient instruments of torture; its what they represent. We are forced to confront the realization our ancestors did practice such barbarism, in real life. In such instances, Amnesia is more than a game.
Its the glimpses of the creatures we see that captures our imaginations and makes us question: what the hell did we just see? And we hope we never see it again. But hope is not something you will experience in Amnesia, helplessness and fear will be your constant companions throughout your journey. The castle is huge, and rendered in an uncanny gloom that chills your bones like a cold rain. Oil can be found to fill your lantern to light your way through the corridors. Tinderboxes will allow you to light candles and torches. The lighting effects are very convincing. The monsters are twisted mutations of only God-knows-what. Sounds emanate from all over the castle, but not your usual creaks, groans, and chains. Many of these sounds are demonically ethereal, provoking your imagination to the breaking point. The music is restrained and subdued, deftly controlling your emotions.
If youre going to play Amnesia: The Dark Descent in the evening, with the lights out and headphones on, make sure the house is empty. Should someone come up behind and tap you on the shoulder it could be game over. Youve been warned.
CCC Senior Writer