By devosion 8 Comments
So during my normal web travels I came upon some serious loving for Amnesia: The Dark Descent on Reddit, and some other sites I visited. I hadn't heard of the game, but I was familiar with Frictional games. Frictional is one of the few talented developers out there making games for Linux and I spent some time playing the Penumbra demos, but never got around to picking up the actual game. Well after hearing so much praise for the game, and reading IGNs 8.5 review, I had to drop the 20 bucks for the title and indulge in one of my favorite genres, survival horror.
Before I even began the game I had heard lots of talk of how scary the game was. I wasn't sure if i should be concerned, or just dismissive, because I really haven't been all that scared by a game before. I only really found the Resident Evil for the GC scary, and Eternal Darkness didn't so much as scare me as it did enthrall me with it's gameplay innovations. I missed out on the Silent Hill 2 scare craze, but as of recently Minecraft has given me mini shocks when enemies unexpectedly jump out of nowhere, or seem to encroach on me from all sides. So going in Amnesia I felt that things couldn't possibly be that bad. Afterall I read Stephen King, HP Lovecraft, and as much scary fiction I can get my hands on. I consider myself a pretty sturdy individual.
Well after spending an hour in the game, and not having seen a single enemy I have to say I was tense and distraught the entire time. It was a mind-fuck of the finest pedigree and I loved every moment. Even if i'm currently scared of reliving those moments! At one point I continually stared at the ceiling of a dilapidated laboratory as strong foot-prints fell on the floorboards, causing dust to fall down, then stop. Swirling winds where there should have been no wind caused me to reel on so many occasions I've forgotten how many times it happened. The strange clicking of a monster that seemed to be only rooms away from me in a library caused me to double check where I came from, and check every room I was about to enter thoroughly. And the crazed howling of some gigantic beast made me hide in a cupboard when all the lights I set aflame went out. This game knows how to create atmosphere, and if all of this wasn't enough, but being in the dark can make you loose your sanity. Your loss of sanity makes your character see bugs crawling on him, and as the effect occurs the scratchings of what I can only believe to be on his brain intensify and made me grate my teeth and shrink between my shoulders, making me yearn for the next patch of light that could alleviate the torment. The whole thing feels like being in an HP Lovecraft story and I couldn't ask for more. I play Call of Cthulhu: Dark Corners of the Earth when it came out a few years ago and thoroughly enjoyed the experience, but none of the scares it made compare to the visceral feeling I get from this game.
So hear I sit, aching for the cold stone walls of the castle that I should be exploring. Unknown stories, and strange items await me within and as each moment passes by I know I am losing my chance to savor the thrill of what comes next, but simultaneously I feel a stark feeling of dread. Will the bugs finally eat my brains from inside out? Or will the beast that beset the screaming and tortured girl find me and I be it's next victim? The contradicting feelings of wanting to be back within the world of the game, while being scared of the indescribable evil that will haunt me once inside reminds me of one thing. Nearly all of the poor victims of HP Lovecrafts fine work. Dare I say I am actually playing through a Lovecraftian styled nightmare that pays perfect homage to one of the finest horror writers of this time or any other? I'd have to say a definitive yes.
This game reminds me exactly of the those same stories that made Cthulhu a household name, and knowing that I know I have to go back into the game. But it's way too dark now, and im scared shitless. Tomorrow i'll brave the castle again, and hope I don't go insane.