February 04, 2011

Amnesia - The Dark Descent

Hello everyone, and welcome back to Paul's Game Reviews.

Today we have with us a game that has been gaining increased popularity and momentum as of late, and deservingly so. A game that tries to redefine the way Survival Horror is played... or, should I say, shows other similar games how wrong they were in their approach.

This game is Amnesia: The Dark Descent. (Developed by Frictional Games)

From the moment you gain control of your character, you will notice what this is all about. You have nothing on you: no weapons, not even your bare fists. Everything is dark, and the voices in your head don't help make things better. Occasionally you will stumble upon tinder, which will allow you to light candles spread around the different areas of the castle, and oil for your trusty lamp; the latter being absolutely vital.
You'll never know when its safe


I will not spoil anything story-wise, as It would really be a shame for you not to experience it first hand. Ideally on a dark, silent night; with the lights off, and your volume cranked up to the max.
Suffice to say this game is not lacking on a good storyline at all.

In terms of sounds and music, It feels just right. It's not a cluster of pointless sounds. You can hear your footsteps, the creaking of a wooder door being opened, the haunting screams of seemingly real victims echoing in the halls... you know, the usual stuff.
Music is nowhere to be found except on the opening menu, which in my opinion is rather lacking. Although it helps not to have some random track playing to build up the creepy ambience, I think several key moments of the game could have been enhanced with a short creepy tune. At least to have something memorable that automatically associates the music with the game (a.k.a Jaws)

If you're THIS close... well, I'd close my eyes if I were you
Last but not least, we have to mention the graphics. For a surprisingly weightless game (barely 1gb), It looks stunning. No matter where you examine; whether its a portrait, the cover of a book, or even the occasional blood-coated wall, you will find nothing but detail. This is the kind of game where you should spend a good minute or two in every single room looking at pretty much everything. Too bad you probably won't have enough lamp oil to do so :P

In the end, regardless of minor issues you may encounter throughout your playthrough, there's no denying that Amnesia: The Dark Descent is a true survival horror marvel, that ought to be played by all fans of the genre; while newcomers to it will find in this game a very good place to start.

Rating: 9/10


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