Amnesia: The Dark Descent

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Zhukov
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Amnesia: The Dark Descent

Post by Zhukov » Thu Sep 09, 2010 3:14 am

So... having recently posted mildly trollish replies on other people's this-game-is-awesome threads, I guess it's time for me to start one such thread of my own.

...

Amnesia: The Dark Descent

Survival horror. Indie game. Scary. Fucking excellent. I do not say that lightly.

Made by Frictional Games, the same people behind Penumbra.

Available direct from the developers or on Steam. Demo available.

Usually I would post an immense wall-o-text explaining in excruciating detail just why this game is fucking excellent. But that would prevent me from playing the game. So... no.

Lastly, there is... something in the water.

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Freshbite
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Re: Amnesia: The Dark Descent

Post by Freshbite » Thu Sep 09, 2010 8:05 am

Oh my, I shivered just from watching the trailer.
Looks brilliant, but I don't think it's one of my types of games.

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Re: Amnesia: The Dark Descent

Post by Dudeman » Sun Sep 12, 2010 4:03 am

Just bought this, and I must say; This is by far the scariest game to date. No weapons, no way to fight back, just the feeling of dread slowing closing in on you... Amazingly done.

The complete immersion that it offers by having you control every movement of Daniel's hands is a great feature. At one point, I got scared shitless by a certain even I won't reveal, and couldn't get my hands to stop shaking long enough to open a door and get the fuck out of there. Amazing game, and going to be made more awesome by the fact that a mod kit is coming out soon, allowing people to make their own custom stories.

Buy this, you won't regret it.

I'll leave you with similar closing words as the OP;

There is... something scary as fuck in the water that wants to rip your face off and use it as a mask



EDIT: Just noticed that my post count is 404. Oddly low for the three years I've been here, but I'm mostly a lurker. Anyways, wish me a happy internet error code day!
Last edited by Dudeman on Sun Sep 12, 2010 3:49 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Amnesia: The Dark Descent

Post by zoidberg rules » Sun Sep 12, 2010 9:16 am

Happy internet error code day!

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Zhukov
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Post by Zhukov » Sun Sep 12, 2010 10:59 am

(Finished the game. Wall-o-text time. Don't worry, I'll keep this free of spoilers.)

Image

Short version: If you like horror games, go buy this without delay. $20. Links above.
Long version: Read on.
Right then. Are the semi-literate philistines all gone? Good. For those of you still here, let's get down to business.

First things first. This game is scary.

No, wait... that doesn't quite do it justice. Let me try again.

This game is utterly, completely, brick-shittingly terrifying.

In general, video games do not scare me easily. The F.E.A.R. series? Made me jump maybe four times. Condemned? Two creepy moments. Dead Space? One scare. But Amnesia? Oh good Lord. 6-8 hours of unrelenting horror, alternating beautifully between suspenseful dread and adrenaline fuelled oh-god-it's-right-behind-me terror. Quite simply, this game does not fuck around.

The scariness stems from two key design decisions.

Firstly, the player character is completely defenceless. Not so much as a crowbar to his name, let alone a shotgun. So when something unpleasant decides to forcibly invade your personal space, your main course of action is to run for your life, then hide in a corner, then pray to the uncaring deity of your choice.
So, in short, the enemies cannot be killed. Nor can they be trapped. They cannot be stopped. They cannot even be outrun, at least not for long. At best they can be delayed or distracted for a few precious seconds. I'd love to tell you more about the enemies, but I can't. All you need to know is that I never dared take a good look at them. And that they are scary.

Secondly, the game never relies on closet monsters. At no point whatsoever will Amnesia thrust an enemy in your face in the pixelated equivalent of someone yelling "Boo!" Although while playing I almost wished it would, because what it does do is infinitely more terrifying. Enemy encounters are thoroughly foreshadowed, either by scripted events or by audio cues. Basically, you will invariably hear enemies before you see them. This adds to the sense of dread, apprehension and vulnerability that permeates the entire game.

These two design decisions are coupled with good visual design and utterly superb sound effects. Seriously, I cannot praise Amnesia's use of sound enough. The whimpers, the panicked screams, the skittering in dark corners, the half-screech-half-roar when an enemy spots you, the context sensitive music (by the same guy doing Overgrowth's music). It's all damn near perfect.

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Also worthy of mention are some of the mechanics. The player interacts with the world through a sort of mouse-based motion control... system... thing? No... that's not quite right. Let me use some examples. Remember how you can pick up and throw objects in Half Life 2 before you get the gravity gun? It's like that, but also applied to actions like opened doors or pulling levers.

So to open a door you put your mouse over it, hold down the button and drag in the desired direction. This means you can choose to boldly throw open the door like a hero or timidly open it inch by inch in order to see the room beyond. (Hint: the first one is a bad idea.) It might take some getting used to, but it does wonders for the immersion factor.

Then there is the sanity gauge. Suffice to say, the player character isn't quite right in the head for reasons that are made clear throughout the game. Any disturbing events drain his sanity gauge. The only way to restore sanity is to solve puzzles and make progress. In essence, it is a kind of slow-burn time limit. It's very forgiving, but helps to give a highly appropriate feeling of paranoia.

In particular, staying in dark areas for too long will take its toll on the protagonist's mind. This interacts well with the game's basic stealth mechanics. The player must constantly choose between the relative safety of the shadows or the vulnerable comfort of light.
Looking directly at enemies is also mentally damaging. Furthermore, it will sometimes cause the protagonist to panic or make a noise, revealing his location. Therefore, you will often find yourself crouched in a dark corner, staring fixedly at the wall while you listen for the approaching steps and inhuman moans of some shambling creature. If that isn't horror, I don't know what is.

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Okay, this is the part where I stem my gushing to mention a few weak points. So here they are. While the gameplay is generally brilliant, the story is "merely" good. The voice acting fluctuates between competent and a bit iffy. A couple of the puzzles could lead to frustration. The ending is a bit anti-climatic.

Okay, that's the criticism done with. Back to gushing.

If you like survival horror, buy this game.
If you like being on the edge of your seat and scared stiff, buy this game.
If you want to reward an indie company for their truly brilliant work, buy this game.

Personally, I put this in my top five games of all time. Among such distinguished company as Portal and Bioshock. I don't think I have any higher praise then that.

Once again, buy this game. It's good.

And did I mention that it is scary?
Last edited by Zhukov on Mon Sep 13, 2010 5:33 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Amnesia: The Dark Descent

Post by TadMod » Mon Sep 13, 2010 3:57 am

Great review!

I hope this game is better than penumbra. Penumbra was amazing... until I realised that the hammer kills ANYTHING in a few hits... by far both the greatest and most dissapointing moment of my life.

The lack of weapons has had me drawn in for a long time, it just sounds like the player is so.... squishy

I'd been following Amnesia for a while and was going to pick up a copy, but I'm broke :(

Hopefully sometime in the future...

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Re: Amnesia: The Dark Descent

Post by Blorx » Mon Sep 13, 2010 8:07 am

Nice! I had been looking at it, but I'm flat out broke, so I couldn't exactly pay for it right now.

Instead, I tried the demo out. It's pretty freaky/suspenseful, and the part that's really killing me is making sure I don't lose my sanity...and still being able to have enough oil.

Btw, hate the level that gets turned into an indoor lake. It's near impossible to avoid the invisible water monster.

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Re: Amnesia: The Dark Descent

Post by TadMod » Mon Sep 13, 2010 3:34 pm

Zhukov, I love you!!! :D :D :D :D

OT:
I gave the demo a shot too, I neede to play through it about 4 times before I was satisfied that it truly was freaking scary and I'm not that much of a wimp, lol

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Re: Amnesia: The Dark Descent

Post by Ragdollmaster » Mon Sep 13, 2010 8:12 pm

Looks a lot like Penumbra (and well, no duh, seeing as it's made by the Penumbra devs) but scarier. In Penumbra, once you got used to scaring away spiders and smacking around dogs, the game became significantly less scarier. I was almost eager to engage in primordial combat with my trusty pick axe in my hands, and to then pluck my way around the enemy corpses and explore the area like a tourist :lol: Amnesia seems much more about vulnerability. In Penumbra, even if you have no weapons for one reason or another, you could always hit enemies with doors, trap 'em in rooms, throw loose rocks and stuff, etc. In Amnesia, you are a pansy. Don't get me wrong, it's actually a pretty good representation of what a weak human would do, but I still felt that Penumbra was more aimed towards the average joe- scared but willing to fight if necessary. This guy literally couldn't fight if his life depended on it, even if he was cornered and totally screwed either way.

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Re: Amnesia: The Dark Descent

Post by Renegade_Turner » Mon Sep 13, 2010 8:18 pm

Never really enjoyed horror games. There's something about scaring the shit out of myself for a thrill that just seems so counter-productive to me enjoying my life.

That said, there are some games I just have to play through that have horror elements, Metro 2033, Singularity, Resident Evil 4. Is it me or does it seem like the norm these days to throw in undead or undead-like enemies at some point in the game? Either that or mutations of existing species. And they always have to be terrifying as fuck. Getting chased around sewers with no ammo left in my shitty pre-WW2 gun is no fun whatsoever.

Thief did it, for one. I don't understand the existence of zombies in the Thief series. It just took away from the games, for me. I hope there's no zombies in the new Thief game.

That's why I don't think games like Amnesia: The Dark Descent and the Penumbra series will ever get played by me. I've been tempted quite a few times because they've received significant enough critical acclaim, but I just don't see myself enjoying the experiences they provide, as terrifyingly amazing as I'm sure they are. It's just not what I look for in films or games anymore really. It would have been when I was 15 or 16, but now that I'm a bit older I began to think "What's the point in going to a film or a movie just to be scared?" Artificially created fear is not what I consider a beneficial emotion to experience. Films and games which involve varying degrees of sadness, happiness, anger etc. are fine by me, but I just don't derive any enjoyment or satisfaction out of games or films which mainly aim to instill fear.

I'm expecting to get some snarky backanswer to this, yes, but I don't think it's warranted because I'm acknowledging that other people enjoy such things and these games and films like it are as legitimate as games and films which evoke other emotions, I just don't understand the enjoyment or satisfaction which other people get from them, although I acknowledge that they must have reasons.

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Re: Amnesia: The Dark Descent

Post by Ragdollmaster » Mon Sep 13, 2010 9:13 pm

Well, using fear is just another emotive tactic that helps immerse you in the game. When you are actually scared about what's going to happen, the natural implication is that you also care about what's going to happen; and, specifically, what's going to happen to the player. You do not want to see your guy butchered up by evil bastarfs, you want to see him triumphantly escaping from their evil clutches, preferably on the back of a dolphin or something.

Horror games typically try to stimulate that fear by making the game seem hard (though hard games are not necessarily scary [see Ninja Gaiden]), usually by making the protagonist a weak pansy squaring off against the unknown. The point is, it works. Maybe it's not actually "fun", per se, but it's still a cool experience.

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Re: Amnesia: The Dark Descent

Post by Freshbite » Tue Sep 14, 2010 12:27 am

Renegade_Turner wrote:I'm expecting to get some snarky backanswer to this, yes, but I don't think it's warranted because ... [schtuff]
Nah, I feel kind of the same. I play games to enjoy myself, not to scare myself shitless.

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Post by Zhukov » Tue Sep 14, 2010 12:37 am

Ragdollmaster wrote:In Amnesia, you are a pansy. Don't get me wrong, it's actually a pretty good representation of what a weak human would do, but I still felt that Penumbra was more aimed towards the average joe- scared but willing to fight if necessary. This guy literally couldn't fight if his life depended on it, even if he was cornered and totally screwed either way.
Yeah, it can seem a bit odd sometimes.

There one part where you're carrying a two foot iron bar around, which would make a serviceable weapon. There's also plenty of knives sitting around in some areas.

But hey, it makes for good gameplay, so I'm not complaining.
Renegade_Turner wrote:Never really enjoyed horror games. There's something about scaring the shit out of myself for a thrill that just seems so counter-productive to me enjoying my life.

[snip]

I'm expecting to get some snarky backanswer to this, yes, but I don't think it's warranted because I'm acknowledging that other people enjoy such things and these games and films like it are as legitimate as games and films which evoke other emotions, I just don't understand the enjoyment or satisfaction which other people get from them, although I acknowledge that they must have reasons.
Nah, no snarky remarks. That's fair enough.

Hell, I honestly couldn't tell you why I enjoy it so much. Perhaps it's because it gets the adrenaline flowing without any actual danger? Or because scary things are inherently compelling? Or maybe just because it's something different. Sure, playing the role of an unstoppable badass has its merits, but, like anything else, it gets old after the 273rd time.

Oh well, to each their own and all that.

Sissy.

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Dudeman
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Re: Amnesia: The Dark Descent

Post by Dudeman » Tue Sep 14, 2010 3:42 am

My delicious staircase that I made using boxes. The purpose was to mess with something on the ceiling, but it turned out to be non-interactable. Still a cool staircase though.



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Re: Amnesia: The Dark Descent

Post by Kestril » Tue Sep 14, 2010 10:09 pm

I want to play it, but it crashes when I open it.

It says its an access code error.

Any ideas?

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