Amnesia is a truly horrifying experience, and it definitely deserves the title for the best horror game of the decade.

User Rating: 10 | Amnesia: The Dark Descent PC

After beating Amnesia: The Dark Descent (which wasn't an easy task to accomplish), I was speechless, terrified, and amazed. It was hard for me to believe that an independent game company made of only five people was able to make the scariest game of the decade- a game that not only blew many of the 2010 releases out of the water, but also set new standards for the survival horror genre. Amnesia is, without a doubt, one of the most horrifying experiences you'll ever have. It sucks you in its dark and twisted world, and will never let you go.
Story: A+ (10/10)

A young man named Daniel wakes up in Castle Brennenburg, an old castle located near London. He has Amnesia, thus he has no recollection of who he really is or why he is trapped in this castle. Remembering only his name, he begins his terrifying journey by following the trail of a mysterious liquid on the ground. The trail leads him to a room where he finds a note written on piece of paper. This note tells him that there is an old man named Alexander hiding in the castle and he needs to be killed. It also says that killing Alexander is the only way for Daniel to be free from the "shadow" that has been following him for a long time.

Waking up in a dark place and not remembering who you are might not be the most original opening for a videogame, but it's been done in a really affective manner in Amnesia, and it is probably the best way to begin the game.

The haunting atmosphere of the castle starts to scare you from the second you take control of Daniel. Doors open randomly, you constantly keep hearing creepy noises, and you are expecting something to jump at you all the time. All these elements create suspense and fear in your mind, and you can really feel Daniel's loneliness and confusion.

As you go through the game, you'll find notes scattered in different rooms of the castle and you keep having all these flash backs that give you more background information, helping you to reveal the horrifying past of Daniel. Again, it isn't the most innovative way of storytelling, but it's been executed really well in Amnesia, and it definitely fits the atmosphere of the game (adds to the scare factor and suspense).

All in all, the storyline of Amnesia is brilliant, scary, and heartbreaking, and it gets more terrifying as you progress in the game. The dialogues are very well written, and overall the writing of the game is excellent. Congratulations to the writing team of Frictional Games (the company who made this game), they have done a fantastic job.
Gameplay: A+ (10/10)

The gameplay of Amnesia consists of three simple, yet engrossing elements: PUZZLE SOLVING, SEARCHING all the rooms to find keys and items that you need in order to solve the puzzles, and RUNNING AWAY from the disturbing creatures called Gatherers who wait for Daniel in the darkest corners of his living nightmare.

There are two types of puzzles in Amnesia: the first type consists of old-school riddles (very similar to puzzles from a typical point and click adventure game) where you need to search for different objects and combine them in order to make the key item that you need, and the second type contains riddles that require you to mess around with the awesome physics engine of the game. To a hardcore adventure gamer, some of these puzzles might seem too easy, but personally, I think all of them are very logical, meaning that they are neither too hard nor too easy. Another neat thing that I noticed is that due to the very realistic physics engine that Amnesia uses, there is more than one way to solve couple of the puzzles in this game.

The game is a pure survival horror/ adventure experience that is being shown in a first person point of view. The reason that I'm saying "pure survival horror" is because in Amnesia, you don't get any weapons to fight the Gatherers. You only have two options: you can either escape (which is very risky since they can kill you with only two hits and in some cases one hit), or you can find a dark corner, press the crouch button, and pray for them to go away. Not being able to fight your enemies is the main reason that Amnesia feels like a true survival horror game, you are defenseless against all the dangers that await you in the castle.

Darkness is a key element in Amnesia; you need to stay in dark places to remain hidden from the enemies, but at the same, sitting in a dark corner for a long time will reduce your sanity. Once your sanity is down, your visions get blurry, you'll start hallucinating and seeing bugs crawling on the screen, and most importantly, controlling Daniel becomes a lot harder, making it almost impossible to escape the enemies. You'll get tinderboxes to light the torches in the castle and you have a lantern as well, but lighting a torch or a lantern is like calling a Gatherer and asking it to kill you! Yes, light will attract Gatherers to Daniel. So, you can either risk your life and light all the torches and use your lantern all the time, or you can stay in darkness and let your sanity to go down.
Unfortunately, darkness is not the only thing that reduces your sanity. If you encounter a Gatherer wondering around in the dark, your sanity will suddenly drop. Remembering a really bad memory (which will happen a lot in the game) will also cause your sanity to drain.

The last thing that I would like to talk about is the physics engine of the game. It is basically an improved version of the engine that was used in Penumbra games (two previous horror/adventure titles that were made by Frictional Games). If you want to open a door, you have to get close enough until a hand icon appears on the screen. Then, you'll have to hold the left mouse button, and after that you need to drag the mouse up or down to slowly open the door. This option is really useful because there are parts in this game where you actually need to see what is going on inside a particular room. This game mechanic will allow you to open the door a little bit, and then peek inside the room without being seen.

Same type of controls apply for picking up and moving stuff. Once you are close enough to a particular object (an object that is not too heavy for Daniel to pick up or move), the hand icon will become visible on the screen. If you want to pick the object up, just hold the left mouse button and move the mouse upwards. If you want to put it back down, gently move the mouse downwards. You can also drop the object that you are holding by letting go of the left mouse button. Or you can rotate the item that you are holding by pressing and holding the R button, and then rotating the mouse.

In order to move an object (there are obstacles that are really heavy for Daniel to pick up so he is only able to move them), you have to hold the left mouse button and then use W,S,A,or D (the same buttons that you use to control your character) to move the object up, down, left, or right.

There were couple of times were these mechanics were buggy a little bit, but it wasn't something frequent and it only happened twice during the game.
Sound and Graphics: A+ (10/10)

The overall visual design in Amnesia is brilliant and it adds to the creepy atmosphere of the game. Probably the strongest aspect of the graphics in this game is the lighting. It is simply perfect. Yes, the textures might not be as detailed as other next gen games like Uncharted or God of War 3, but we need to remember that Amnesia is not about fancy visuals. These simple, yet really well-designed textures and the great lighting effects are enough to make the atmosphere of the game really haunting, and this is definitely what the game developers were going for.

The sound design is what makes Amnesia absolutely horrific and creates so much suspense in player's head. There are parts in the game where you are walking in a dark hallway, and you suddenly hear foot steps that are not yours.These foot steps might be the foot steps of a Gatherer waiting for you right around the corner (if this is the case, be ready for the growling sound of the Gatherer that will definitely scare the hell out of you!), or they might just be the creaking noises of the wooden floors.
There are other disturbing sound effects as well. For example, in some rooms of the castle you can hear women and children screaming and begging for their lives, or you can hear men yelling and shouting because of pain. What makes this more disturbing is that fact that none of these people are even there....
All the other sound effects (water, burning coals, etc.) are excellent as well, and overall, the sound design of this game is flawless.

Amnesia: The Dark Descent is the best survival horror videogame out there. The terrifying storyline is brilliantly written, the gameplay is excellent, putting the player in a lot of tense situations, and the sound design is perfect, making the atmosphere of the game scarier.

It may not be a revolutionary adventure game, but it definitely raised the bar for survival horror games. And something tells me that no matter how hard other game developers try, they will not be able to make a game as scary and haunting this masterpiece.
Final Score: