On September 8, a group of Swedish developers known to thrill pumped out their newest work: Amnesia: The Dark Descent. Over the past month and a half, tens of thousands of people have shit their pants in the dark, with many people doing it online with an audience.
Frictional Games were known for their work with Penumbra, which at the time revolutionized horror games (and caused me to pussy out very early in Overture). Their streak continued in Amnesia and the reception was good.
Like in Penumbra, the main character does not get to use weapons to fight enemies. Rather, he must avoid confrontation and hide in the dark. This game introduces a sanity meter, similar to ones in games like Eternal Darkness, which causes hallucinations. However, in Amnesia, sanity plays a part of the game, where for instance one can be revealed when he goes into a panic attack.
The immersion in this game would be wonderful were it not for the loud music. Some parts were hard to be immersed in, due to confusion with aforementioned music. The parts that do suck you in, however, do it very well. (graviteh.blogspot.com) A player will experience real world anxiety and fright, and be tense throughout the game. The atmosphere and pacing were well timed by the creators, and every nuance is masterfully placed.
The difficulty in this game is non-existent, but this is not a bad thing, as the goal is to be the character. A player may die once or twice but it's easy to start over. The point of the game is the storyline. As you progress the game, you learn macabre stuff and this will pass over into real life in a graceful way.
There is plenty of innovation in this game, where new techniques and new puzzle types were implemented to cause you to want to look over your back. Furthermore, the atmosphere must be mentioned again; this is not a run of the mill "It's only a game" type of feeling, the developers did enough to make you want to run away.
It's unfortunate that it worked very well for some.
Overall Rating: 8/10