| headbang vol.99
25.03.2011 at 14:58
So. A game. For the PC. Claimed scary by many...and for the first time in the history of games, I agree with that. Nothing, not even Silent Hill 1 or 2 or Siren has come close to what Amensia offers.
A simple intro about how the game plays is in order as well, because while praised, the game seems not very popular. You are Daniel. You adventure through a castle, in order to kill a certain person. It's not a spoiler, as you will read the letter telling you that in the first 10 or something minutes into the game. The building itself doesn't seem very friendly. Most of it is covered in darkness, and there are things walking around, making noises and killing you every now and then. And the best part is, that the combat is very simple. You have one option: run. There is also a way to avoid the combat: hide. Avoiding confrontations is recommended, as when you do see an enemy, then your vision blurs and the controls become a bit less responsive (some people have criticized this, but I see it as a bliss), making running in the correct direction difficult. Also 2 or 3 hits by your stalker is enough to take you down. The general atmosphere is very gloomy as well. Wind blows, doors blow open, footsteps sound in the distance etc.
The story itself is told in the form of flashbacks and letters. The letters explain WHY you're there in the first place. The flashbacks give a better understanding about what happened there. Oh, and the letters are written by yourself. You have...well, amnesia.
The game has no UI. There sort of is a small dot in the center of your vision if you want it there, but other than that, there is a hand that appears near interactible objects. Some things you can pick up (tinderboxes, oil and quest items mainly), some things you can move (smaller furniture that can be tossed around, larger that sometimes can be moved), some things you can open (cupboard drawers, doors, everything of the sort). You have an inventory that doesn't fill up. And you have 2 "health" bars. One monitors your direct health, the other monitors your sanity. It is mainly in form of text, like sanity says "head pounding, hands shaking" or the final (I think) form is "...". You can stabilize sanity by staying in the light, where you are in more danger, as enemies can see you.But solving puzzles takes your sanity to a fully clear state.
The puzzles themselves are sort of varied. Some things require you to move items in a quick sequence in order to move a shelf. Other times, you just need to find multiple items, drag them on each other to combine and then use it on something. Rather not get into any more detail.
I mentioned before that most of the game is dark. You have a limited supply of tinderboxes and oil that you can use to either light candles or torches, or to fill your lantern. Thing is that other than the lantern, you can't turn off light. Which means that if you put on every single lightsource, then you will be in a bind when you see an enemy, and also you might not have anything with which to light something when you really need.
Now, that's about it for the game. It's better to keep most of it secret, as it works much better when you actually play it. I will now get to the part about how the game is scary. The thing with Amnesia is that when you really get into it, then you will make realistic actions. You don't run around with your latern lit, you don't just open doors quickly, because you never know what can be on the other side. You will get accustomed to being on the edge, when walking around. And when an enemy pops up and kills you, then going back there after re-loading.........There was one scenario, when an enemy approached me from the top of the stairs, when I still had about 10 steps to go. I immediately stareted running away to what I remembered was a room where I could block him in. I didn't find the room because everything was dark and blurry. Needless to say, I died. And when I went back. Then before the steps, I was literally heating up behind the keyboard, sweating. I sneaked very slowly, ready to turn tail and run, I near the end of the stairs (nothing), I reach the top (still nothing). I was sweating the whole way...for nothing. No one was there anymore.
The game builds you up with the music, the sound effects and the graphics (which is everything about a game, not counting the story). There have been a few cases, where, after I have died, I literally didn't want to play again on the same evening. The game doesn't leave any lasting paranoia or fears in your everyday life, but it generates a special aura about the product itself. I think if I had the physical copy of the disc, it would be stacked deep in my cupboard, away from plain sight. I don't have any complaints about the game. If you disable the hints, then it really doesn't hold your hand. Most of the times, the items required for solving puzzles are highlighted, but in some cases, the solution might be just a random object that's lying around. The graphics are good. I can't max them out with my 2gb ram and a year old graphics card without experiencing horrendous lag, but even when slightly mid-range, they are still awesome. The sreen is most of the times blurry, because I'm avoiding light now, so my sanity is almost always as "...". The sound effects really drag you in if you have a surround sound (better than headphones in my opinion), and playing in the dark completes the experience. The movement is simple. WASD, leaning, crouching, jumping, running.
All in all, a 10/10 game as far as my opinion goes, even though I haven't gotten to the end yet. I sincerely recommend anyone who believes that games aren't scary (I was one of those before this game) to give it a try. But...I really don't know who else to recommend the game to. It doesn't really fit in as an adventure game, it's not an action game, it's not an RPG...Although, adventure probably is the closest. A scary-atmorspheric-puzzle-adventure game.
I am NOT a musician, so i do not judge bands by skill. I judge them on how i like the sound.
The reason why most of my ratings are high is because I usually rate albums that I buy. And I buy albums that I like