Thursday, December 6, 2012

Amnesia: The Dark.. What?

As some of you may already know but most of you don't, I love playing video games. Last summer, when I was bored with the games I had and wanted to play something new, I came across something fabulous, Amnesia: The Dark Descent.

For people who don't know, it's a first person adventure survival horror game and to my opinion, one of the best among its genre. The story, game-play, atmosphere and sounds build up and make it a very frightening and fun game to play. 

The game takes place in a dark, spooky environment, and the sounds, such as the wind or phantom footsteps make it even more creepy. The growling of the monsters mixed up with human screams keeps you at edge all the time. The protagonist, Daniel, gradually loses his sanity if he stays too long in the dark and this affects your game-play, too. When he sees a monster or stays in the dark, his sanity starts to decrease, at that point, his heartbeat rate starts to increase and he starts panting, which makes you wait for something really scary to happen at any moment. In addition, when his sanity decreases even more, his vision, (also your vision since it's a first person point of view game) starts to get blurry, which when adds up with the creepy sounds and surroundings, scares the hell out of you. When he completely loses his sanity, he blacks out, falls down, you can even see him blinking, trying to stay awake and keep his eyes open. And if you see a monster coming to you when he tries to regain conscious, lying in the open completely helpless, just leave him there, shut down your computer and run for your life.

As for the adventure part, I think the key point of the puzzles in an adventure game is their difficulty. If they are too easy and too obvious to solve, it's not a challenge for you anymore and you get bored. If they are too hard to solve, you turn to Google or Youtube and read/watch some walkthroughs, then it's not a challenge for you anymore and you get bored, in addition to the game being spoiled for you. The puzzles in Amnesia aren't too hard to solve, in fact, we can even say they are rather easy, but still, the horror factor in the game makes them balanced. Although you get a grip of what to do next, you can't just rush to do it, because obviously, since it's a horror game, there may be monsters around any corner or behind any door or on any super-duper creepy, dark corridor. And this is one of the things that makes the game exciting, and scary. Definitely scary. No need to kid myself, there may have been times that I chickened out and played in a increased-gamma and lowered-sound atmosphere, as well as switching on ALL the lights in the house. Because I also lose my sanity in the dark, just like Daniel.

Also, the active storytelling is one of it's great features. The protagonist suffers from -wait for it- Amnesia (surprise!)  and as you progress, he slowly starts to remember things. He sometimes just hears a conversation that took place in the past, sometimes you phase out and watch an event happening as he remembers. All these allow you to gradually understand the story as you play, while still making the story very mysterious.

What I don't like about Amnesia though, is the ending. For a game so brilliant, the ending could have been better. I, myself,  have written a hundred endings to Amnesia in my mind, since I played it last summer. Still, the fact that the game being so awesome in general, makes me ignore the frustration at the end.

All in all, Amnesia is a great game and made my summer. Though it saved me from countless boring evenings,  it is not a hero. It is a silent guardian. A watchful protector. It is Amnesia: The Dark Knight. Wait.. What? 

1 comment:

  1. It is true that, this game is a silent guardian. It is playing with player's emotions with a very good style. Musics are very deep:

    For example, this (theme 9) music just feels somehow different than anything we have in our daily life. I can listen to this music for hours just to feel calm and restful. However, as in the game, when you turn off music, everything just goes away, you feel more disturbed than before.

    Amnesia gives an experience to player that is hard to gain in real life. Player experiences madness, desolation, fear, sadness and probably much more. It is like a Kafka story... just ending does not fit into whole story.

    At the end, Amnesia worths the time you put in. However, other games generally don't deserve our valuable life time. Kafka explained this idea better than me:

    “I think we ought to read only the kind of books that wound or stab us. If the book we're reading doesn't wake us up with a blow to the head, what are we reading for? So that it will make us happy, as you write? Good Lord, we would be happy precisely if we had no books, and the kind of books that make us happy are the kind we could write ourselves if we had to. But we need books that affect us like a disaster, that grieve us deeply, like the death of someone we loved more than ourselves, like being banished into forests far from everyone, like a suicide. A book must be the axe for the frozen sea within us. That is my belief.”
    ― Franz Kafka