Although I've been pretty vocal in times past about my console-gamer-only preferences, I've finally encountered a game that is beginning to change my mind... maybe. A friend was kind enough to give me his old PC graphics card and extra RAM, and after some procrastination, I finally installed them a few days ago into my PC.
One of the very few PC-exclusives that have really interested me over the years is a game called Amnesia: The Dark Descent. For those unfamiliar with the premise, here's a quick rundown -- you wake up in a castle, with no memory of who you are, or how you got there. You quickly learn, through taking in your surroundings, that the game takes place in the past -- a few hundred years, actually. It's an interesting premise to start a game because there's really no explanation or backstory needed, and Amnesia's setting and background are best left unexplained anyway. It has been said that Amnesia is the most terrifying game ever made -- not from a few select p**sies, mind you, but from a great amount of hardcore, seasoned gamers. This definitely piqued my interest.
The game, when first installed, stops you and gives you a lecture -- a few sentences of text that I found to be pretty cool. I thought these tips would be something like "Left Click to open doors! Reload your gun by pressing "R"! Switch weapons by pressed the directional keys!", but NO. Things are laid out before you rather bluntly, as the game tells you "Do not try to win. Take in the enviroment. You are vulnerable. Do not try to fight. Run whenever possible".
Well, sh*t! Okay. Nothing like a warning like that to make you realize you're in for a different experience.
I really can't write a great deal about the game, as I'm only about 90 minutes in, but I will say that I went in with a macho attitude. "Pfft, stupid game can't scare me" I thought to myself. The first thing I noticed about the game was the rediculously rich atmosphere. You hear wind blowing through a crack in a window. You hear cockaroaches scurry on the ground in front of you. You hear your own breathing very loudly when you witness something "disturbing", whether it be a door opening on it's own, or a anamoly in your vision which makes it look like part of the room is melting before your eyes. Amnesia has a "sanity" system, which is interesting. If you stay in the dark too long or witness something strange, you begin to lose your mind. Your vision fades, your heart rate increases (which you can hear in the most deathly silent moments of the game). You even see things that aren't there. Or are they?
So as I sit writing this, coming off a 1-hour long play session in broad daylight, I feel strangely uneasy -- and no, it's not the lunch I ate. But I also feel a strange sense of curiosity about what else the game could hold in store for me. Right now, I can't wait for work to be over so I can continue my experience how it was meant to be played -- with a tired head in pure, and utter darkness.
Someone hold me. Please?