Amnesia: The Dark Descent

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Tchernobog
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Amnesia: The Dark Descent

Post by Tchernobog »

As it has been a little quiet around here as of late, I have decided to post about an upcoming game I have been following. Amnesia: The Dark Descent is the latest project of the independent development studio Frictional Games who previously made the epic Penumbra horror trilogy.

I first played through Penumbra last March and was truly impressed by it. While most horror games are mainly inspired by horror films (Blood being no exception), Penumbra took on the unique approach of making one feel that they were actually inside a horror novel, such as one of H.P Lovecraft's numerous works. The result is a more immersive and deep experience than many other games in the same genre. It will not make you cackle like a maniac while blasting away evil like Blood will, but it will make you appreciate the world you are exploring more.

While being undeniably great, Penumbra was still plagued by a few developmental problems. The first game, Penumbra: Overture, experimented with a minimalistic combat system that in the end was more annoying than scary or enjoyable. The next game, Black Plague, removed the combat system and is arguably the best game in the series. The final chapter, Penumbra: Requiem, had the best puzzles of the series as it was able to fully utilized the advanced physics engine that powered the trilogy, but it was still bested by Black Plague in terms of presentation. The result is a rather eclectic mix of ideas between the three games.

This is why the prospect of Amnesia is so interesting. Assuming the developers can manage to take all of the best ideas from their previous games, such as the presentation of Black Plague, the puzzles of Requiem, and possibly the atmosphere of Overture, and wrap it all up into one product this game could be a true winner. The question is whether or not Frictional can accomplish this feat. It is with this question in my mind I will approach this game when we finally get out hands on it in September.

You can already download an engine graphics test for the HPL 2 Engine to make sure the game will run properly on your system:
http://www.phoronix.com/scan.php?page=n ... &px=ODQ3OA

Amnesia will be released for Linux, Mac OS X, and Microsoft Windows on September 8, 2010.

You can find Screenshots, Game information, and Trailers at the official Amnesia: The Dark Descent website: http://www.amnesiagame.com/

For more information also see: http://www.penumbragame.com/ http://www.frictionalgames.com/site/
Last edited by Tchernobog on Mon Aug 09, 2010 05:32 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Post by I Live...AGAIN »

Looks like a winner. Good find sir!
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Post by DustyStyx »

Kinda reminds me of Call of Cthulhu: Dark Corners of the Earth.
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Post by Tchernobog »

A rather nice preview from Eurogamer which seems to describe the game quite well, especially for those who have not played Penumbra:

"I'd previously seen something terrible. The ghastly, stretched face of a wretched creature. I'd turned from a rockfall and it evaporated in front of me before I could get a good look. So I knew there was badness out there. But stood in the tunnel, the threat wasn't visible. Its foot-splashes in the water were. But it could only get me if I was in the water too.

So it became a case of leaping from crate to barrel, attempting to clear gaps without making any splash at all. Hit the water and the invisible beast would crash its way towards me, claws slashing. Then inspiration struck. Pick up a crate, throw it down the tunnel. Yes! The creature stalked after it, offering a brief chance to run for the next safe surface. Or better, the fetid flesh of a discarded human arm. That kept him distracted for just long enough to turn the crank handle to open the next door."


http://www.eurogamer.net/articles/amnesia-hands-on
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Post by Tchernobog »

Here is a good screenshot gallery. Contains shots not available on the main website.

http://www.adventuregamers.com/gallery.php?id=1596
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Post by Tchernobog »

Sorry for being a day late in posting this, but Frictional Games have released the shareware version of Amnesia: The Dark Descent for Windows, Mac OS X, and Linux. I have not had the opportunity to try it out yet, but what I have read from those that have has mostly been complimentary.

http://www.amnesiagame.com/#demo
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Post by DustyStyx »

Cool! I'll have to see if I can get it to work.
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Post by Tchernobog »

Rock, Paper, Shotgun has done a write-up about the full game, and they seem to have improved it since it was last previewed in June. So glad they got rid of the Sanity Potions!

http://www.rockpapershotgun.com/2010/09 ... k-descent/

The game will be released for all platforms tomorrow.
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Post by Tchernobog »

Yahtzee has done a Zero Punctuation review about Amneisa. My ISP has been screwing me over for the past few years, meaning I have not actually been able to see it due to bandwidth concerns, but I heard it is fairly positive.

http://www.escapistmagazine.com/videos/ ... rk-Descent
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Post by Slink »

I friggin love Zero Punctuation.
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Post by Tchernobog »

Slink wrote:I friggin love Zero Punctuation.
Hey, I can even say I knew about Yatzhee before he was cool. First played some of his freeware adventure games around 2003/2004. ZP did not come about until 2007. :P
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Post by Tchernobog »

Well, I recently installed a fresh install copy of Fedora 14 with the latest Catalyst 10.11 drivers from AMD and did my first play-through of the Amnesia demo. First impressions are somewhat mixed. The first thing I found myself doing after just playing through the opening moments were to go to the video options menu in the hope of disabling some of the eye sore visual effects that the developers seemed to get such a kick out of. Not the greatest of starts for a game who's development I was following for so long.

The second thing I found myself learning was not to listen to almost every review or guide I had read about this game previously. Do not become preoccupied with staying sane or watching your supplies of lamp oil or tinderboxes. Doing so will just distract you from your real objective, which is solving puzzles and keeping yourself alive. And once this realization set in I discovered I could actually begin to enjoy the game. The puzzles themselves are not that difficult to learn but at the same time not that easy to figure out either, offering a nice balance between complexity and difficulty. They are not up to the same standard as what Penumbra: Requiem offered, but they are more than competitive with the ones found in Black Plague and Overture.

The new revised engine in Amnesia is definitely much more impressive in terms of graphics than the old somewhat hobbled together (by the developers own admission) engine that was previously showcased in Penumbra. High quality textures, liberal use of model bump mapping, and much more attention to detail create a much more rich visual experience. The fact that you spend so much time tripping out means that much of this detail to me does seem to be wasted though, since you are hardly going to be admiring the view when your visions hazy and you are writhing on the floor. I might be letting this bother me more than it should, but it really seems to have struck a nerve in me. Luckily as I discovered much of these effects can be lessened by a quick trip to the menu.

I started this thread by stating my hope that Amnesia would take on the best traits of Penumbra, such as the story presentation of Black Plague and puzzles of Requiem, and be able to pack them all together into a masterpiece. After playing through the demo I am not sure that my hopes are going to be truly fulfilled. But this should not be treated as a huge cross against the game, it has already proven itself to be worth playing and has the potential to get even better as time goes one. Indeed, if I am to trust the reviews I have read, they even admit that the game starts out weaker than it finishes. So I will definitely invest in getting myself a copy of the full game at some point. Who knows, in the end it might just be able to surprise me yet.
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