View Full Version : Review Amnesia: The Dark Descent

04-04-2011, 11:18 PM
**Note that I did keep this review sort of vague since I didn't wanna give away too much! To get the full blow of just how awesome this game is, you'll have to try it for yourself! - Saph**
Horror games....

"Why does it have to be a horror game!?" some of you might ask. I would've asked the exact same question not many months ago, cause I have only ever played 1 horror game, F.E.A.R, and I never completed it.

That was years ago, and I recently stumbled upon a horror game that I just could not pass up, so I gave it a try, and it is...


Amnesia: The Dark Descent is a survival horror game by the masters of creepfests, Frictional Games, who also gave us the amazing Penumbra Series!

Story: Amnesia: The Dark Descent takes place in the mid 1800s, and the player assumes the identity of Daniel, who has, you guessed it, almost complete amnesia! The only things he can remember are his name and where he is from.
You begin the game by waking up in the middle of a room in what appears to be a massive castle, namely, castle Brennenburg, and you have only 1 clue as to what is going on, and that is a trail of glowing pink liquid, leading through the empty halls of the castle.

Should you follow it?

(Where does it lead!? Only one way to find out!)

Amnesia: The Dark Descent is a very worthy follower to the fantastic Penumbra series, and gives you the same eerie feeling as you have come to expect from Frictional Games! It is a game that is not as much about shooting zombies, and completing the game by getting from point A to point B as fast as possible. For this game to be good, you really have to submerge yourself in the story.

What if you ARE stuck in a castle, with moaning floor boards and crumbling stone walls, and odd noises coming from the basement, and an odd, unnatural darkness laid across every room? What if you DO have Amnesia, and have NO idea how you got there!? What if you WERE walking through the halls, and suddenly heard a thump from the room you just passed?
The game is extremely powerful when you allow it to enter your mind, and play with your feeling of there actually being something looking at you from behind. I guarantee that you will twist in your seat, you know, just to be sure!

The game is, thankfully, not just about avoiding monsters and getting to the next level, it's not that simple! In the game you will find obstacles to get through, as well as brain teasing puzzles to solve, in order to move on. The puzzles are realistic, and might even be puzzles that could be found in reality! They are difficult, but not impossible, and none of the obstacles or puzzles will leave you wanting to quit the game cause it's just that damned difficult.

(Possibly the most famous puzzle in Amnesia: The Dark Descent! This one will leave you pondering for a while, and will make you feel embarassed at its simplicity upon completion)

One key factor during gameplay is your ability to defend yourself, or rather, your lack thereof! Throughout the game you have only 3 weapons to defend yourself with:


There are no wieldable weapons such as swords, guns, or even a board with a nail in it, so your best bet is to be as stealthy as possible, and no matter what you do, never get caught!

A unique aspect to Amnesia: The Dark Descent that I have never seen in similar games, are the way your controls work!

You all know the standard point and click and the door opens, click again and it closes. In Amnesia: The Dark Descent they take the realism to a whole new level.
For example: To open a door, you hold down your mouse button, and you slide your mouse in the direction the door opens, and the opposite direction to close it. The reality of this simple controls feature is made painfully clear when you have a monster hot on your heels and you reach a closed door. You shove fast and hard with your mouse to open it.

...It opens TOWARDS you, not away from you.


The game is extremely realistic, from rotating items you hold, to turning wheels, to pulling levers, to dragging a table infront of a door to keep a raging monster away for another 5 seconds!


The graphics in Amnesia: The Dark Descent are quite fitting. They won't make you jump out of your seat and yell "THIS IS AWESOME!!!", but they deffinately get the job done, and are more than realistic enough to make you feel that you are in fact hiding behind a crate with an unspeakable abomination heaving for breath only a few paces away!

The graphics are as mentioned more than good enough to make the game very enjoyable and realistic, and what few flaws or edgy textures you might find, they are typically quite well hidden, and will only be obvious if you actually look for them actively!

The sound in Amnesia: The Dark Descent is nothing short of masterful! This game would lose substantial amounts of creepy points if they hadn't put so much work into the sound! You might find yourself walking through a corridor, and hear heavy footsteps above your head, but when you look up, they're behind you, and when you look behind you, they're below you! You might also hear a heavy thump from the floor above, and you can even see the perfectly synced dust falling from the old floor boards above as whatever that was hit the floor!
The voice acting is well rehearsed and quite believable! It is hard to find a way to tell if they're actually acting! There are lots of noises in the game, some are easy to tell, like a dog barking, a person moaning, while others are harder to decypher, like a rattling mixed with the dripping of water. The noises that haunt the castle will make you wonder if its a good idea to find out why that piano in the other room is playing when you just came from there, and no one was inthere :huh:

Some of the features that will play a key role in the game:

This is perhaps the coolest detail, and your worst enemy. In Amnesia: The Dark Descent, neither the shadows, nor the horrible creatures roaming the castle, are your worst enemy. Your own mind is! The character you play as, Daniel, has a powerful phobia of darkness, and is also shaken by the fact that he has forgotten most of his entire life! This makes his sanity shaky!
Everything from dwelling in darkness for too long, to having your eyes fixed on a monster for too long will begin to drain your sanity, and once you go koo koo, there's NO telling what might happen!
(Witnessing disturbing scenes such as this would make anyones mind begin to spin!)

This is one of the only VERY few items that are able to keep you sane! When your sanity falters, and you begin to go insane, the best cure is to progress in your search, and note your progress in your logbook! This enables Daniel to feel a sense of accomplishment, and his sanity will drift back in place!

In Amnesia: The Dark Descent, you don't have an actual Health Bar which shows you how close you are to death, it is far more simple, and far more dangerous than that!
Your health is represented by a heart in your control panel, and hovering your mouse over it will give you a very brief explanation of how healthy you are. The game yet again proves its reality by being extremely merciless if you get caught! Attacks from a monster might give you nothing more than a bruise or a slight cut, but they could have a better aim, and give you a deep, heavily bleeding wound, or even kill you immediately!

Oil Lamp:
Only rivaled by your logbook, your oil lamp is your most trusted friend! You gain it quite early on, and from here on out you have a portable light source!...As long as you can keep finding oil to fuel it of course...
If you havnt found oil in a while, your oil lamp will die out, and you might find yourself surrounded by darkness, with no means of illumination. This would be your worst nightmare!

(I shall rate the game with a system of 0-5, 0 being so bad that it'd be better off not there, and 5 is simply top of the line awesome!)

Storyline: 4.3/5: Kind of a cliche storyline. An abandoned castle, a hero with Amnesia, and a mission to complete. Seen it! I did however, give it just above 4 stars because Frictional Games managed to take a cliche story idea, and make it unique enough to pass as Amnesia: The Dark Descent storyline, and not just another creepy castle thriller!

Graphics: 4/5: As stated above, the graphics arent fantastic, but they're realistic enough to make it almost effortless to truely submerge yourself in the story and feel like you're actually there!

Sound: 4.7/5: Extremely good sound here! This game would be a mere shadow of itself if it weren't for the amazing sound work! The only reason why I shy'd away from 5/5 was the fact that the sound expects you to continue right after a sound plays, for example, running through the same room over and over again will make a sound loop! There're also sections of the game where the same set of background noise will repeat over and over, which might end up becoming irritating! However, this happens rarely enough for me to give it a very high score!

Gameplay: 3.4/5: The gameplay is good, and the unique controls are deffinately aiding in the reality, but that is where my praise ends. It is a matter of fact that gaming experience is more important than realism, and Frictional Games is really driving with 2 wheels over the cliff on this matter! The fact that it takes so much effort to simply open and close a door might get in the way of your gameplay. For example, in real life we simply open and close a door, but in Amnesia: The Dark Descent, you might not get the mouse movement JUST right, causing the door to only open partly, and not fully.

Total rating: 4.2/5
(Deffinately more than a simple try and decide! This game is in the top leagues of its genre, and will most likely lead new comers in the right direction.)

Amnesia: The Dark Descent is a horror game that indeed does go where other horror games fear to go, and it is a simple must have for any adrenaline junkie who loves horror games! Despite its minor flaws, Frictional Games did a marvelous job on this!

And to tell you the bitter truth, I feel like going to play it some right now, but I am actually alittle scared to :embarrassed:

I highly recommend this game!

04-05-2011, 12:58 AM
I didn't read it because your pictures are stretching the page too far D:

Can you resize them or find different ones? It's impossible to read :(

04-05-2011, 01:02 AM
I see your point.

Fixed :)

04-07-2011, 12:07 AM
The image of the zombie thing sent a shiver down my spine, good review man! I've seen a lot of people do a review of this game and a lot more do some interesting play-throughs

(Contains harsh language)

04-07-2011, 12:44 AM
Lol this is alittle over the top and it seems alittle fake to me with all of the over stimulated screaming :-/

But MAN you shouldve seen me in that game a few days ago XD I havnt played it for 3 days since!!!

So I had finally gotten into the dungeon and I was following this friggin guys voice goin "no...no...NO!" and I'm like panting harder than my damned character(mind you, its 1am, there's a minor storm outside, with some occasional lightning, a have no light turned on, and I'm completely alone)

So I follow this yelling and I reach a close door, and I creep right up to it and peer through the iron barred window, and WAM! A monster slams against it right in my face and I'm like "OMFG WTF HOLY MEATBALLS WTF WTF OMG OMG STFU STFU NO WAI WTF NOOOO!!!" And I jump out of my seat, throws my headset off, commences to SCREAM, back away from my computer, turn it off RIGHT there on the power button, goes to the bedroom, and lies abnormally close to my wife that night :-/

EVER since then bro, I havnt played, not ONCE. I decided that playing through most of it was plenty for me! I might return to it in a few weeks, DURING the day!!!

04-07-2011, 12:52 AM
Hahah that's ****ing hilarious, yeah I don't like horror games unless I get a sub machine gun to fire all over the place when I get scared lol.

04-07-2011, 12:56 AM
If I have a Jeep parked outside with a Gatling Gun strapped to the top for me to go out and fire aimlessly while screaming hysterically after getting scared?

I could probably go back...

But probably not....

It'd be WAY more fun to shoot the gun :cheesy:


Wouldnt you?:D

04-07-2011, 02:12 AM
After that Im not shore I want to play that game. I vould scream like a girl:embarrassed:

04-07-2011, 12:27 PM
Game looks interesting, but not my thing. Even though the realism has some appeal, the actual gameplay doesn't.

Good job on your first review! A+.

04-07-2011, 12:32 PM
Amnesia: The Dark Descent is deffinately not for everyone!

Dont give a bad excuse for not playing it XD Its not for the faint hearted! It might not sound or look THAT scary, but trust me, its not the blood and gore or the shadows that make it scary, its the damned atmosphere.

It has been voted as the best horror game of 2010, as well as the best atmosphere in a game of 2010!

And thanks for the kind words Linux =) I'll work on my next one soon!

It should be done next week! =) Hope you enjoy it!

04-07-2011, 12:38 PM
I've played horror games before and it's not really the genre that turns me off. Over the years, I've almost completely moved away from most genres. The thing I enjoy the most now is a gun in my hands with a head in my crosshair.

And good luck on your next review, I look forward to it.

04-07-2011, 06:49 PM
This is a really great review, Saph :3 Makes me want to pick it up o.o It sounds like a really interesting game... maybe something I'd like to play with a friend around ;P

04-08-2011, 03:27 PM
Nice review man, a good game for sure, loved the atmosphere. To any Steam users interested in picking it up: Steam has it on sale all the time if ya keep your eyes open, and it's well worth 10 bucks.

04-09-2011, 03:08 AM
Did you know that the creators ran out of all money during the making of amnesia. It still turned into the awsome game it is, but they are working on another horror game and now they got lots of money!!!!!!Do you know what I mean!!!!!!!!!

04-09-2011, 04:46 PM
Did you know that the creators ran out of all money during the making of amnesia. It still turned into the awsome game it is, but they are working on another horror game and now they got lots of money!!!!!!Do you know what I mean!!!!!!!!!


I hope its gonna be like Amnesia, its just unbeatably awesome :p

04-10-2011, 03:44 AM

I hope its gonna be like Amnesia, its just unbeatably awesome :p

They describe like it will take the horrors feelings from their other games and use it to express something bigger.

What that means? only they know..

04-11-2011, 04:11 PM
I have to say, this is a well in depth review of an amazing game all put together nicely.

04-14-2011, 12:26 AM
Apparently there was an expansion released recently. I noticed I'd gotten an update but didn't bother to check what it was. It's free too, I'll probably give it a go this weekend.

05-27-2011, 04:46 AM
Beautiful review! Really enjoyed reading this!

I've actually always been interested in this game and really do want to give it a go. I love horror games and i've seen a few walkthroughs of this one. xD Those zombie things actually look pretty hilarious but then again, i'm not actually playing the game and being chased by them...

This really gave me a better insight on the game...Thank you!

Please make more and I can't wait to read them! A+

05-27-2011, 02:02 PM
This game IS absolutely wonderful. It's the horror game that turned me on to all the other horror games I've ever played (Dead space 1+2, All of the Penumbra series, Etc.) Frictional games, however, is the best horror game producer out there in my opinion, as they will keep you on your toes during every last second of the game :p