Amnesia: The Dark Descent 1.2

By: Derek Yu

On: May 17th, 2011

Amnesia: The Dark Descent, by Frictional Games

I’ve been meaning to talk about Amnesia: The Dark Descent, but truth be told, it’s taking me a while to complete the game. It’s not the puzzles that are causing me to balk, but the terror of traipsing through another of the game’s dark hallways, anxiously checking my lantern oil and wondering if I’m being stalked by something horrible. Amnesia is one of the few games where item-gathering puzzles are genuinely thrilling, if only because it’s scary just to walk across a room.

Thankfully, the game’s update today gives me a good reason to make a post. On top of the bug fixes, 1.2 adds five short stories to read, as well as the DLC titled “Justine” that was created for Valve’s Portal 2 ARG and has been retooled for the update. Additionally, the Amnesia OST is now available for purchase through the Frictional Games online store (or as a free download for players who pre-ordered the game or bought it directly from the creators).

The update does not, however, come with the fortitude to see you through Amnesia’s constant thrills, which are well-crafted with various subtle and not-so-subtle cues. Frictional Games has really outdone itself with the graphics, and especially the audio, which are both top-notch, as well as the physics-based interaction that they’ve been refining since the Penumbra series. Survival horror fans and the morbidly curious should definitely check it out.

Released: September 8th, 2010
Price: $19.99
TIGdb: Entry for Amnesia: The Dark Descent

  • Phubans

    Another one of the few indie games I'm actually considering buying… But I'm a cheap bastard, so any chance of this going on sale or being included in a “pay what you want”? I'd drop $10 on it for sure… $20? It would have to be a pretty solid game (I'd expect twice as many hours from a $20 game, which is why I haven't bought Portal 2 yet)

  • AChineseAmericanDude

    It's been on sale for $10 many times buddy.

    Anyway I didn't think it was so scary, but I played all the old Thief and System Shock games where the AI actively searched for you, so Amnesia's illusion of a pursuing AI came up short for me.

    But hey don't take it as a slap to the face, I just don't get scared by games.  Bogeymen don't scare me.  To scare me it's gotta be some kind of existential fear…like in Call of Cthulhu: Dark Corners of the Earth.

  • Guest

    You mean the short stories in PDF form which aren't playable, but just written stories?

  • Derek Yu

    Oh shit, thank you! I'm not sure why I interpreted it that way.

  • AGuy

    number of hours is definitely the best determinate of a game's quality

    this is why nethack is horribly underpriced, should cost $100+, and is possibly the most “solid” gaming experience yet

  • Tiganon

    CoC is one of the very few “horror” games to ever make me feel tense.  It's still amazing to me, the little touches, like looking down from a great height making you more insane.  I wish more games went for psychological horror rather than sudden loud noises and low gamma settings, because I honestly don't find that sort scary at all.

    I've read so much good about this game but I'm just not sure if it'll be a letdown in the same way that every Resident Evil has been, and every Silent Hill after 3, and Doom 3, and every other game I can think of that gets recommended as “scary”

  • AGuy

    well, you don't have a gun for starters

  • Devain

    I was actually quite unimpressed by Amnesia. The way the screen swam in the beginning of the demo made me nauseous and didn't add anything at all to my experience of the game. I did like some of the visual effects — but that particular one only annoyed me and made me skip out on buying it.

  • Briker Ed

    I'm not scared by monsters, and not particularly fond of any curses dealing with totems or such artifacts that originate from Africa or some other 'exotic' country (if I remember Amnesia's story well enough). However, this game did get me scared cause of controls. I was so damn afraid of falling into the damn water or slipping off those crates part cause of my clumsiness, part the game's physics and FPS controls. 
    It was fun but I don't feel like I wanna get back to it again….

    I think the only horror that I can really get hooked-up on now is the one rooted in the psyche and by 'monsters' it throws at you. Just easier to make a connection that way for me. 

    The whole, there's a curse and I'm a tormented soul, a living corpse or a ghost who can still give advice or such just don't do it for me any more. Not after Waxworks, the Elviras, Shadow Of The Comet, Shivers, Alone In The Dark(s), Undying and a bulk of poin&click adventure games along way. Love them all to bits still though. Just don't fall for those particular storylines any more that easily. That's why the Amnesia ending, for me, was quite anticlimatic and gave that 'Oh…. ok' sort of a 'meh' feeling.

  • Spaniel

    Woah, woah, no spoilerz, I haven't finished it.

    Playing through it at the moment, and anyone who's all like “well actually I wasn't scared at all, Realms of the Haunting was way scarier and it actually had proper AI” can jog on because this game makes me poo my figurative pants.

  • Phubans

    Yeah, I get your sarcasm. That wasn't quite phrased right. Quality != number of hours, but I've played a lot of high-quality “solid” games that get great mileage. Fallout 3 GOTY = $50, 250+ hours. Left 4 Dead 2 = $50, 700+ hours. Bioshock, I only got 20 hours out of (mostly due to a crash that prevented me from being able to save) but I only paid $5 for it. Batman: Arkham Asylum was $13 on sale and has at least 20 hours of gameplay and triple-A, top-notch polish with plenty of side tasks.

    Again, these are just examples of the kind of purchases I'm used to making. I'm not really inclined to buy a game for $20 if it's going to be 4 hours long. If I wanted that kind of experience, I'd go see a movie.

  • Guest

    No worries dude, spent ages trying to find them when the update hit and found out they were literally just short stories and not “custom stories”. Hehe.

  • Briker Ed

    'Figurative' as in – your playing pantsless? :O ….. :D <3 
    (sorry if I my post spoiled anything -_- )

  • Yougiedeggs

    I just woke up and all I read was Amnesia: The Dark Descent 2.
    I need a change of pants.

  • Cypress_dahlia

    Pacman can last over 700 hours if you want it to. Lol. Left 4 Dead 2 is not really a good standard for replayability because it's essentially an arcade game: you do the darn thing over, and over and over and over again without ever actually seeing anything new. You just try to do a little “differently” or “better” than last time. Also, Fallout is a game where, if you follow the plot, it is roughly 10-12 hours of playtime. Now, if you spend your time wandering around like a dunderhead, it can reach 250 hours. But that applies to any RPG, really. I could put 250 hours into FF: Mystic Quest (shudder) if I spent all my time wandering around the landscape killing random shit or, in Fallout's case, gathering random items for people I care very little about.

  • Cypress_dahlia

    System Shock was pretty tense, but turned into straight run-and-gun after the Assault Rifle. Amnesia loses intensity toward the end, but not because you become a cybernetic Hulk. Different breed of game. I still think amnesia tops SS. And I have no idea where peoples' love for CoC (hah) and Thief come from. Neither were scary to me. The atmosphere lacked entirely and consisted of little more than low gamma and “creepy wind” sounds.

  • Cypress_dahlia

    An Amnesia thread, great. Now the comments section will be fully of autobiographical blurbs about how “Amnesia is not scary, [x] was scarier because [y] makes me [z].”

    But item collection in Amnesia was never really tense for me. What they should patch is reducing the sheer number of Tindahbawkses. I finished the game with 130+, I believe. For the item-hunting folk, there is just plain too much excess.

  • SSSss

    This is a great game. Probably one of the scariest (in a jumpy way) games I've played since Half Life – but I don't play too many games of this nature.

    Feels very Lovecraftian.

  • Spaniel

    Hmm, yes that came out wrong, I can assure you I always play games wearing adequate attire. Unless I'm playing Hentai tentacle porn games (j/k).
    Your post didn't spoil anything (I'd head that the ending/plot was a bit of a let down), I was just worried people were gonna start discussing it… I do like how you collect the notes and journals to build up the story in Amnesia, working for me anyhow.
    Shadow of the Comet has the best FAQ I've ever read (yeah I needed help, that game was hard :( )

  • Daniel

    Let's just say it's the most intense and “meaty” gaming experience I had in years.

    I'll be honest: This game is barely 8 hours long. Maybe add an hour or two for the new free DLC (which is quite decent!). But it kept entertaining me through at least 2 months by being so fucking scary that I could barely get myself to play more than 30 minutes at once. Play this game in the dark, alone with a good pair of headphones. LET it scare you, don't fight it, don't see it as a competition, dive right in and role-play that character as if you're really there (it's easy, the game is incredibly dense in atmosphere). If you do that, I guarantee you that you won't regret your investment. If nothing else, you just supported true originality in how to move the whole horror genre forward. It's worth it.

  • 4mica1

    It looks great, but it runs so slowly on my fairly new PC that I can't get past the first few screens without an almost total freeze. Does anyone know of any adjustments that can be made? I already tried some in-game adjustments with graphics but to no avail. Thanks—