Upon starting the game, a message will appear telling you this game is not meant to be played to beat, instead play it to immerse yourself into the game. They then state to get the full effect of the game, to play in a dark room, with earphones in and the sound turned up.
The game starts out with Daniel (you) waking up in castle Brennenburg with no memory of how you got there or why you're even there in the first place. Upon waking up you see a strange pink trail of liquid leading deeper into the castle. Upon following the trail of liquid you come across a note from your former self, telling you not to worry and that he has a good reason for making them forget. Upon explaining, the note then tells you to venture further within the castle walls to kill this person named Alexander of Brennenburg, the baron and owner of the castle. As a final warning the note states that an ominous and evil shadow is following you, wanting to kill you, without explaining why. Along the way as you continue following the trail of pink liquid you find a lantern, which is the most important item you will find in the game since you will be using it throughout your journey.
(Waking up in the castle, with the blood/pink trail)
(I personally liked how the game just cut the crap and got RIGHT into the story and plot, without all that bull crap build up most Hollywood movies do nowadays.)
The majority of the time the game is dark and gritty (which it should be unless you chickened out and brightened it) and your only light source is the lantern, or a lit torch which barely illuminates anything! and the twist is you cannot use the lantern constantly because it will run out of oil, so you have to use it sparingly which really adds to the atmosphere. Another fun twist is alot of the time you will not want to use your lantern because it will give away your location if a monster is near, so most of the time you will be crouching, walking though the veil of darkness that covers you like a thick blanket, while also limiting your visibility. But by sitting in the darkness for too long you start to lose you sanity as the darkness eats away at you mind, causing you to panic and breathe louder (which can also give away your location) causing Daniel to freak out, to the point where he starts seeing cockroaches crawling on his eyelids, and losing self control to the point he just falls to the ground, having to literally crawl on his face to move. If this happens your control over Daniel's vision and movement is very sluggish and nauseating, where the control you have over his body becomes shot and starts going to hell. this can also happen during a traumatic event, or if Daniel sees something very disturbing. To counteract this effect you have to continue to make progress through the game and get away from the cause of such delusion and surround yourself in light for a while until Daniel begins to calm down and regain his sanity.
What really adds to the sense of feeling vulnerable is that the game gives you no weapons, period! so your only option if you spot a monster is to either run or hide in the cover of darkness. The demons and monsters you encounter throughout the game are scarce, and are only seen through roughly 30% of the game. The real scare however is the fact your mind will create monsters for you, causing you to imagine something that was never really there. The game is heavily inspired by the works of H.P. Lovecraft in the sense that they take away all the blood and guts you find in most horror movies, and video games, and instead they leave very little blood and gore, and just give you clues to what MIGHT HAVE happened, causing you to imagine most of what has happened, and more often than not causing the player to scare them-self. So I guess that old saying "Our imagination can be our worst enemy" really applies here. which I have found to be a successful tactic for Frictional Games.
(an image seen in the game about one of the tortures)
Along with the Monsters, mind fuckery, noises, and overall scary atmosphere Amnesia also has puzzles! but don't get bummed out just for that! the puzzles are always relatively easy and are almost always logical to figure out, that is if you keep a sane head in order to THINK clearly about it to come up with a solution.
The game mechanics in Amnesia are very realistic in a way because the game actually has you interact with items as you would in real life. For example to open a door you have to click on it and then pull the mouse back mimicking the opening motion of the door instead of just pressing a button and the door automatically opens for you. This helps immerse the player into the game further as you experience horrible noises, and eye gouging monsters. You are almost always guaranteed to have a heart attack, at the very least, end up having to use the bathroom.
The graphics are slightly better than it's predecessors, the penumbra series but I DO NOT judge this game whatsoever on graphics because this is probably the only TRUE horror game you will run into for a very very very long time!
With it's logical puzzle solving, creepy hallways, and constant creepy what the fuck freak out moments I give Amnesa: The dark descent a 10/10 keep it up Frictional games! this game comes highly recommended!
Written by: Cody Sparks Owner of NightmareStudioz 10/6/10