Horror games most of the time end like a paradox. On one hand, the game is supposed to supply fear, loneliness, terror and a loss of control through atmosphere and history, at the same as the player tries to make out the puzzle in the game to advance.

Amnesia: The Dark Descent is a game for your senses. When starting the game, the developers say you should dim the lights, fix your screen contrast and wait for the night to set. And as it is, you should really follow these tips - cause in the most horrible cases (heart-attack anyone?) you'll only get one chance to play "Amnesia" the way it was meant to play!

Frictional Games tries to tell you in the introduction that you need to drop some of the usual gamer "procedure" before playing this game. This is not a game where you get a big-***-mother-f* gun that can shoot down stars, collect points, build houses or save the princess. "Amnesia" is a kind of practice in mental stamina, that tests how you cope with stress and physiological torture.
In many cases this can mean "Classic Horror", where a door suddenly can blast open, followed by a spine-chilling breeze or a terrorizing scream. It's often a mixture of tricks with the visual, though it's often the sound-effects that steals the moment and devours you hole into the atmosphere.

One of the many horrors roaming around the castle..

There's a lot of ways to conjure great horror. Usually the media takes the unknown and what we can't understand, but can also mix everyday-stuff and confidential symbols with macabre and terrifying themes. "Amnesia" works best when nothing special seem to appear at all; when it's only slightly hinting to something scary, without actually telling you what it is.
The first-person angle is really taking advantage of this, without making the actions seem like your just a lengthened version of yourself. The physics-engine makes the puzzles special, the way you can manipulate the objects. Nothing is scarier then being stuck in a closet while you open the door ever so slightly - only to see a shadowy figurine disappear throughout the room. It's pure terror on your nerves, and thats without a doubt what "Amnesia" does best.

If there's something Frictional Games does brilliantly, it's atmosphere.

Your characters state of mind in game of course plays an important role, and is probably one of the most exiting mechanics used to nurture your personal state of mind. The problem with staying in a abandoned castle filled with evil is that your mind doesn't always handle what you see and hear very well. The atmosphere is just too indulgent in many cases, and the more you're exposed to it, the more of your sanity you lose. And the more of your sanity that you lose, the more strange and terrifying things will happen in your environments. "Amnesia" is more "close to earth" and realistic, and rather uses excellent perspective and sound to really convince you about panic and terror. It's not a coincidence that it will be harder to navigate and get around as a result.

Check how your in-game character reacts to the monster that attacks. Does he need glasses, or is he fleeing in true terror?

So what do you do when that indescribable terror suddenly crashes over you there you're sitting, hidden, behind a dark crate with your thumb well-placed in your mouth? Do you run? Will you lit your oil-lamp for a slight light-source?

It's questions like this that creates the really memorable and horrifying moments in "Amnesia".

"Amnesia" is a really subjective experience, that is mostly based on how easily your scared. I often brag about how I can easily withstand most of the horror released in these days, but when it comes to Frictional they manage to manipulate me in a very unique and instinctively level.
How each and everyone handle the different situation then varies severely. Some use their entire game-time on running away from shadows and scary sounds, while others can't even get past the menu.

The biggest challenge in this game is without a question is to keep cool. If you keep in the dark to long this has severe consequences for your sanity (in-game), so the entire stay becomes a desperate hunt for matches and lamp-oil. The most satisfying reward is to be able to calm down your nerves - even when you know that the game is just waiting for another opportunity to tear you down.. Limb by limb...


May be inappropriate for children, or people with a faint heart.