The Frictional Games development has created some of the best computer horror games ever, and they are best known for their Amnesia series. Perhaps their best creation of all is Amnesia: The Dark Descent. It was released in 2010 on all PC platforms, now including Steam.
Not only is Amnesia: The Dark Descent probably Frictional Games’ best creation because it is basically almost perfect, many gamers refer to it as probably the most terrifying computer game ever made. The only reason that I do not consider it the most terrifying game made on all platforms is due to the infamous Silent Hill series (specifically the second title) and PT, the fetus-filled bloodbath that was briefly offered on Playstation 4 before being cancelled. So due to my experiences with the games that were just named, I’ll call The Dark Descent the third scariest game ever.
Anyway, the title you are reading about now is one that you must play if you call yourself a horror game fan. The storyline is brilliant, and the accompanying features are awesome. The story follows a man who goes through an ancient castle, trying to kill off an evil force that is rampant. It is stunning to connect all the pieces together, and something I love about it is that it incorporates no modern technology in the gameplay, considering the fact that it takes place several hundred years ago. This is a unique element of Amnesia, as most involve current times.
Following the storyline is somewhat difficult, but it can be done. Playing through Amnesia several times myself, I can confidently claim you will need some sort of help (unless you are a pro gamer with lots of experience). The castle is huge, literally being thousands and thousands of square feet. Almost every single room is playable, and the game follows a specific series of instructions you need to follow if you want to proceed. This means searching every room, placing books in a specific order, lining up shadows perfectly, among many other things. Personally, I had to look up a walkthrough or two on YouTube several times, just because some were so tricky that I could not figure them out myself.
No other horror game has ever immersed me in it like Amnesia: The Dark Descent did. It literally molds to what your character is thinking and feeling. I mean this in the sense of in a situation where an enemy (who are referred to as Gatherers) sees you, your character will start breathing heavily (also meaning you will run slower) and your eyesight will slowly get blurry. You will feel the tense environment in your character, and if you stare at an opponent for too long you will get too fatigued to move or even live. It incorporates a plethora of real-life aspects, meaning that the character you play as has human features. This is basically the opposite of every other horror game, considering in others you’re able to camp unlimitedly and for as long as you want, and even sprinting for as long as you want. Amnesia enemies are disgusting and vile creatures that always seem to know where you are headed, so beating the game takes some strategy.
There are some very gory and graphic parts of Amnesia, so beware if you have a light stomach. Most of the game is concentrated on figuring out each clue you get while avoiding the Gatherers. The other scary aspect, which can be paralled to Outlast, is the lamp feature. You have to scavenger for lamp oil and other supplies if you want to keep the lights on. Another necessary key to surviving is to know if there are any Gatherers besides you, and turning off the lamp if so.
Playing through Amnesia will take a great deal of time, so dedication is necessary. There are a good proportion of jump-scares to normal horror scares, and the overall environment is so tense that I actually was unable to play this at night in some spots. Heck, some nights I even saved the game mid-action and put it off until the morning. The experience offered by Frictional Games is one that you can not miss, and is a staple for any gamer of any genre. Personally I believe it could also be classified as a strategic game, but that’s just me. Overall, it is definitely terrifying enough to be called horror. It is a diverse game with so many features that would be spoilers if revealed here. Do yourself a favor and go buy Amnesia: The Dark Descent now. But be aware, you might need a buddy by your side at all times!