Amnesia: The Dark Descent Review

You’re stumbling amongst the barrels in a cellar when suddenly the lantern goes out – you’ve run out of the last drops of oil. Desperately looking for a torch or a candle to light with a tinderbox you suddenly hear an otherworldly howl from the entrance! You force your eyes in that direction only to see a twisted silhouette crawling nearer. Insane fear blurs your vision as you’re trying to run away with your heart in your throat. Seconds later you fall to the ground, claws ripping your body…

Amnesia: The Dark Descent is one of the best horror video games I’ve ever played, it’s not like „uh, okay that was kinda scary”, it makes you paranoid and have nightmares in no time. Taking the role of Daniel, a young man who has wiped out his own memories to forget some horrible deeds, you have to search for clues in a sinister castle located in 1800s Prussia.

Daniel soon realizes through his own notes that the deadly Shadow is chasing him, crushing everything in its way, leaving a disgusting fleshy substance behind. To make things even worse the corridors are filled with hideous creatures looking for victims. The mysterious baron, Alexander is also mentioned in the letters, it looks like Daniel can’t avoid confronting him.

Amnesia’s biggest difference from other survival horror games is the total lack of weapons. If you encounter a monster you’ll have to hide or run because there is no way to kill it. The physics engine of Penumbra is also used here, so as you turn a wheel or open the door, you have to imitate these movements with your mouse. Some puzzles are based on realistic behaviour of objects too. The graphics engine excels at lighting and the use of camera techniques to visualize Daniel’s insanity. Amnesia is a real gem of its genre with many Lovecraftian elements, though some may find it unplayable because it’s so frightening.

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