Hey gang, since this is a quiet month for releases I've decided it's high time to do some spring cleaning for this interminable Steam backlog I seem to have cultivated in the past few years. Subsequently, I'm playing a hell of a lot of games from my Steam catalogue and giving them a once-over throughout the month of May. Since I'm not made of time like some sort of scarf-donning alien, I'll only be playing each game for a few hours and writing up my initial impressions before moving onto the next. That won't necessarily mean I'll be finished with the game though.
I'll be updating the table below with any new introspectives, ponderings and ratiocinations about the games I'm playing, updating approximately once per day. Goal is for 25 games in 31 days. Let's see how this goes. And because I am not entirely without mercy, this is the only blog I'm uploading to the forums.
01/05/12 - Game #1
The source: Gift from Giant Bomb user TeflonBilly.
The pre-amble: Amnesia is the (currently) newest survival horror game from Swedish development studio Frictional Games. It uses a lot of the features of their prior Penumbra series, specifically a sanity meter that drops during tense situations and puzzles that are often solved by holding and dragging items and fixtures in the environment to manipulate them. It's also purportedly scary as all heck. I figured I shouldn't leave my pal Teffers hanging any longer, so this and most of the other games in this feature will be stuff I've received in the past from giveaways and whatnot.
The playthrough: What was immediately apparent is how much I overestimated my PC's ability to handle this game, so after a slightly more humbling reconfiguration I started my journey into.. some creepy mansion somewhere. The game is quick to give you hints into what you should be doing next, but only when there's a feature of the gameplay you might not yet be cognizant of, such as turning a wheel or breaking a wall with a heavy object. Otherwise, it's happy to just let you wander around with the merest of visual hints and a "well, I guess I should be doing this before I go crazy" bullet point list of goals. Though light is plentiful initially, your amnesiac dapper fellow protagonist will freak out whenever the visibility gets low and creates the first major obstacle to exploration: Light-emitting resources are limited, so it's best to quickly get in and out of dark places before the surroundings get too "wibbly".
In the self-allotted time I managed to progress to the refinery under the mansion, past a meaty barrier that needed some acid I had to craft with chemicals I last saw in Dungeons of Dredmor. I spotted a few of what the game called "Gatherers", which look like lamprey humanoid things, but I didn't spend too much time focusing my attention on them lest the dude I was controlling fell afoul of a pantaloons accident. They don't seem like particularly fun people to wander into.
Overall it was kind of fun, though I don't doubt that exploration will get less and less fun as I get restricted by fewer tinderboxes to light torches and more jowly monsters to hide from. The slowly emerging story is told well with its peripheral "Dear Diary, this shit be messed up, yo" notes and disorientating flashbacks, and I'd like to get back to it at some point: I owe at least that much to its meticulously-crafted burgeoning atmosphere of dread that I neglectfully interrupted by moving onto game #2 (and to its donor, for that matter).
The verdict: Will revisit.