Amnesia: Dark Descent

(This piece was published in Synthesis’ Misc Debris section, on the page that follows album reviews).

Amnesia: Dark Descent

Frictional Games

Computer Game

So many games these days are billed as survival-horror but don’t really have much of either.  Rather they set you as a beefed up hero filled to the brim with guns and weapons, making survival hardly a challenge, and rely on a few cheap scares to hit that horror mark.  Amnesia, though, is terrifying.  You play as Daniel, a Englishman alive in the early 1800’s who wakes up in a dark, terrifying castle occupied by ghastly horrors and no memory of how you got there or why (hence the title, Amnesia), just that something is chasing you and that you have to get out.  As you play you uncover a terrible history, through notes and letters scattered through the castle, about yourself and the owner of the place that your character would obviously have rather it stayed forgotten.  The enemies are few and far between and you have no way of defending yourself (the most you are armed with is a lantern, and when lit that will only draw those terrors to your location).  Instead you have to frantically hide whenever one appears, and hope it moves on without taking notice.  And all that time spent in the dark only adds to Daniel’s terror, as his sanity slowly edges away as he sits in darkness.  Modestly priced at ten dollars, your only good excuse not getting it would be avoiding night terrors.  Amnesia is a game where the worst is best left unseen.

Released:  9/8/2010 (online), 2/22/2011 (retail)

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