By billyblaze 18 Comments
I spent the last three to four days playing Amnesia: The Dark Descent. I had nothing else to do for that period, and still the game only clocks about 10 hours of actual play time. How do those two things come together, you wonder? By not being able to stand the dread and terror for longer than fifteen minutes at a time, with one hour breaks in between sessions. That, and following Frictional Games' advice to play the game only after dusk.
This game.. Where do I even begin? Even though I've finished it a few hours ago, it's still as present in my mind as if I'd never closed it.
First, don't be put off by the protagonist suffering from amnesia. Forget about it. Your first thought will be to snort condescendingly and put it off as a cliché, and while it kind of is, it's executed more along the lines of Memento, and less as a device to help the writer excuse the lack of back story. Overall, while Frictional Games do draw from the cliché-box from time to time (especially regarding locations), they know how to apply it gracefully.
Which helps me to swiftly segue to my next point, which consists of praise regarding all the times they do shit you don't expect. At all. Frictional Games is pushing boundaries, just like they did with the Penumbra series way back when. My headline already indicates that I believed the genre to be dead; especially after games like Dead Space and F.E.A.R. were praised as horror, just because some people can't handle little girls playing peek-a-boo. The latest PC game I found worthy of the survival horror label was Call of Cthulhu: Dark Corners of the Earth... up until you got a gun, and the game started to suck. Which is still a proper hour! Well, in Amnesia, you don't have a gun. Or any other weapon. Ever.
Oh, damn! Actually, this should be all the review you need about this game - Amnesia: The Dark Descent is 10 hours of Dark Corners of the Earth's Hotel level.
...I'll probably write a proper review, anyway. For now I'm still processing what the game has done to my psyche. It's not just a strain on Daniel's sanity.