Wednesday, 6 April 2011

Amnesia: The Dark Descent. (or crux of any self-respecting main character's starting story, though I guess that's a little long for a title... sort of like this.)

 Awakening to the walls of a cold and harsh castle, you stumble forward precariously, unsure what to expect; with only distant screams to assure you that it is far from friendly.

You are Daniel, a forgetful sort (possibly due to his amnesia, I dunno) who, only moments after coming to, reads a letter that was addressed to him... by himself.
You see, the then Daniel drank a potion that gave himself Amnesia, to forget something horrible, yet wrote instructions on how to proceed upon this letter: “Kill Alexander...” Alexander being the Baron that owns yonder dark and creepy castle.

So the new Daniel decides that he obviously has nothing better to do and so proceeds through yonder dark and creepy castle where the probability of dismemberment is a safe and steady 60%. Marvelous.
Of course, that's only if you care about the reasoning behind such madness; as to why you wouldn't simply turn around after the first wall lovingly splattered with hopes and dreams is beyond me.

Any-who, that's the start-up and general story: Waltz through creepy castle and kill the Baron. The only thing between you and that are the natives; and they're an unsavoury lot I tell you now. Although they only seem to appear after you've completed a puzzle or picked up a special item and so become quite predictable. Punctual even.

What separates this from your run-of-the-mill survival horror are two things: Firstly, you cannot attack anything; your only options are to either run, sit in a corner and hope for the best or the balls-out bring it on motherfucker I don't need no weapons approach. I wouldn't advise the latter. 
Agitated resident

The other thing is that unlike other horror games, where zombies and other questionable members of society are around every corner waiting for you with the patience of a saint, Amnesia spreads them out so you never really know when a monster will appear; other than when stated earlier in regards to picking up a specific item or completing a puzzle.

On top of that you don't have a health bar, or any HUD for that matter. What you do have are two measurements of respective conditions, those being your health and sanity. The health one is obvious and in itself nothing new: you get hit, you take damage; you take enough damage, you die. Just with this game they give you a diagnostic. Hmmm, just a few cuts and bruises.
They then employ this for your sanity, this is a double edged sword; you see, your sanity drains when you're in darkness or if you look at a monster. What keeps it straight is staying in light (you have a lantern and can light candles placed throughout levels using a limited surplus of tinder) and completing tasks. I assume that takes his mind off the fact he's being hounded by Sloth from the Goonies. 
Simple, right? Not so, as you see when a monster is ready to make a meal of you, you need to hide; and nothing says hiding like lighting your ass up like a christmas tree does it? So you're forced to hide in darkness, slowly going mad while having some inbred prick breathing down your neck as you wait for him to get on his bike and fuck off.

Hey you guys!
All that said, I never had a real problem with sanity, the screen went blurry a lot and he started chatting to himself about stuff, but who doesn't?... huh? My point is that it never became a serious problem.

Not that I can really complain about this game, I mean it was mostly created by a team of five people, there are some mainstream games that aren't as good as this for fuck's sake! That should say a lot really. So as far as that goes this game is actually damn impressive; the graphics are next-gen with decent lighting and shadows. Really couldn't ask for more in regards to visual style. However I will say the models for the monsters seem less scary once you've seen them upclose, which ironically is when they should be most scary.

Sounds are a big part of this game as well. Not so much in the sense of being quiet to remain hidden but in the sense to give you the willies: screams, creaks, footsteps and of course, music getting louder and more intense going up to the YOU'RE FUCKED melody all serve to shit you up good and proper. Again however, the predictability of monsters popping out to say hello somewhat makes the jumpy sounds a little redundant as nine times out of ten, it won't actually be a monster. So, chill out, take it easy and practice that surprised face for when it actually turns out to be a monster.

From start to finish the game lasts about six hours, pretty dire but what do you expect from an indy game costs less than a second hand T-shirt? ...not that I'd know how much they cost.
As I said before, some maintstream games don't even touch this game, even in terms of length *cough* Force Unleashed 2 *cough* so you're really getting your monies worth.

For the first time in ages, I've not regretted parting with my money for a game.

No comments:

Post a Comment