Move over, Amnesia.
This game combines the best elements of Penumbra, Call of Cthulhu, Amnesia and forges a whole different monster of a game. The voice acting is outstanding, the level design is impeccable, the level of gore and nudity is unparalleled. This game does not attempt to scare you with cheap scares, it succeeds in terrifying you. There is necrophilia, torture, beheading, impalement, hanging, disemboweling, you name it - Steven King would stain his pants if he played this.
The graphics are outstanding. Especially the realistic furniture design coupled with rich textures - a remarkable feat with the Unreal Engine.
The gameplay: very few games from a first person perspective nail the concept of playing as a human, and in this game it FEELS like you are playing as a human in every sense of that concept. First off, you see your legs and you cast a shadow, THANK YOU. You cannot punch or kick, you are practically defenseless, you can climb up, climb down, you can crawl, you can peek from the behind corners while holding the wall with your hand, you can look behind you when chased, you can jump just far enough to be able to get a hold of that ledge 2-3 yards in front of you, you can hide under the bed or inside the lockers or inside the stalls and you can lurk in the dark corners waiting for your foes to pass by, you can hear your character's heartbeat as well as his erratic breathing and scream from sheer horror or pain and you can be wounded, permanently... No other game was able to capture this amount of atmospheric survival tension.
Just when you think you grew enough balls to be able to withstand the next encounter the game proves you wrong, lest you are able to think quickly on your feet, discern boarded up doors from the unlocked ones and be able to run and not get cornered. When encountered by a brute, you get one freebie - a slight knock around. Second time you get caught - you die. Most asylum residents are docile and oblivious, some are frightened more than you are, some strut around with their junk hanging like they own the place, ready to punch you and gut you if necessary. When you play the game without dying for 30 or 40 minutes you truly feel that payoff - as if you yourself were able to avoid a brutal death and the game provides you plenty of opportunity to live long enough without reloading if you are patient and agile enough.
The game is hard but it is also fair. Stealth is essential, noise is death and your ears are just as important as your camcorder. You won't always be able to see your enemies, but you should be able to hear them approach. The game tries its best to differentiate between locations, puzzles and succeeds in doing so for the most part.
When hiding you sometimes have to guess which one of the hiding spots the enemy won't check out. Sometimes you get lucky and sometimes you don't, but it's always best to get the hiding spot as far away from the door as possible.
The only few things that stand out is that you cannot turn the music off, which, actually fits in pretty well and helps build up tension although I'd prefer total silence when it comes to these things. Your character is pretty much mute when it comes to dialogue. Also, I would add the option of playing the game with permadeath mode.
I am happy to be living in an age when these types of games can be made. This is the first time when I tried recording my reactions while playing this game much like those youtubers do with Amensia, Horror House 2, etc. And this is the first time in years that I feel sorry for console-only gamers who cannot experience such a game.
We don't get too many well-made horror survival games and this is definitely it. Go buy this game now, it's only $ 20 on Steam !!!