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Amnesia Review

September 30 2010

Amnesia Review
by Lodur

Developer: Frictional Games
Composer: Mikko Tarmia
Platform: Linux, Mac OS X, Microsoft Windows
Release date: September 8, 2010
Genre: Graphic adventure, horror
Mode: Single-player
Media: Download
System requirements: 2.0 GHz processor, 2048 MB RAM,

Amnesia is an exploration-based adventure game played from a first-person perspective. This game is developed by the same folks that brought us the game Penumbra, and it retains the physical object interaction introduced there. This allows for advanced physics based puzzles and interactions such as opening doors and fixing machinery.

In Amnesia, players do not have access to weapons, which in turn gives them no defense against the gruesome creatures that wander the location of Brennenburg Castle. Because of this, the player must use their wits to escape and hide from the monsters until they lose interest in finding them. Using the shadows to hide is the recommended method of monster evasion. In addition to a traditional health bar, players receive a sanity bar. Being in darkness too long, witnessing unsettling events or staring at the monsters for too long will reduce your sanity. As the sanity level decreases, visual and audio hallucinations begin to take place and the player is noticed by monsters more easily. Players can use tinderboxes, candles or lanterns found throughout the game to cast light and stave off the effects of sanity draining away, but tinderboxes and candles are limited and once a lantern runs out of oil it can no longer be used. Players restore sanity by completing goals, or progressing the story of the game along.

The game casts the player in the role of Daniel, a young man from London, who awakens in the dark halls of Brennenburg Castle with little to no memories about himself or his past. All that he can remember is his name and that something is hunting him. The game’s story is reminicint, at least in part, of the short story The Outsider by H.P. Lovecraft. This makes sense when considering the frequent homages the developers make to the author H.P. Lovecraft and his works. Even the engine which powers all Frictional Games’s titles, the HPL Engine and the HPL2 Engine, bears the aforementioned author’s initials. The authors also cite “Soul Made Flesh” by Carl Zimmer and older horror movies such as The Haunting as inspirations.

Another interesting thing about this game is the fact that it allows for custom stories to be uploaded into it. Tools for the HPL2 Engine have been released that allow the creation of custom levels, models, particle effects and materials. Game logic can be implemented using the AngelScript scripting language. These tools give players and would be designers a chance to create something pretty slick with a fairly intuitive set of tools.

The game is genuinely creepy; everything from the visuals to the audio is well crafted and makes your skin crawl. The fact that fighting is a death sentence, combined with puzzles that both challenge a players intellect and reward you for a job well done makes the game feel very “real”. There were several times during the game that I got up out of my chair to put on an extra light. If you have surround sound, I highly suggest turning the volume up, as the game has very subtle scratches and hisses and various other noises added specifically to make the hair on the back of your neck stand on end.

Amnesia is well worth your time if your a fan of the genre, and the game is incredibly well made. It’s also very cheap, costing only $20.00 US, and is made available through many different delivery systems. Check out their site for a complete listing of download retailers for your appropriate computer system.


978772_20091125_790screen003 screenshot amnesia_thedarkdescent_web am7 amnesia-screenshot-1-590x368

Filed under: ReviewsPCMacAction

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Samodean's avatar
Samodean 05:41pm, 09/30/2010

Wow, very cool. I’ll definitely have to check this one out.

TartDarling's avatar
TartDarling 09:20pm, 10/03/2010

This one looks like one I’ll have to try out. As much of a weenie as I am, I love horror games.

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