Amnesia: The Dark Descent

Genre(s): Action/Survival Horror

Metacritic Rating: 85 (out of 100)

Price: Can be found for as low as $5. Low Cost for a great game.


The last remaining memories fade away into darkness. Your mind is a mess and only a feeling of being hunted remains. You must escape. Awake… Amnesia: The Dark Descent, a first person survival horror. A game about immersion, discovery and living through a nightmare. An experience that will chill you to the core.

Amnesia: The Dark Descent is a survival horror video game by Frictional Games, who previously developed the Penumbra series. Released for Windows, Mac OS X, and Linux platforms, the game features an unarmed protagonist exploring a dark and foreboding castle, while avoiding monsters and other obstructions as well as solving puzzles. The game was critically well received, earning two awards from the Independent Games Festival and numerous positive reviews. It’s also damn scary.

In a similar vein to the developer’s previous games, Amnesia: The Dark Descent is an exploration-based adventure game played from a first-person perspective. The game retains the physical object interaction used in the Penumbra series, allowing for physics-based puzzles and interactions such as opening doors and fixing machinery.

In addition to a health indicator, Daniel’s sanity must be managed. Being in darkness too long, witnessing unsettling events, or staring at monsters for too long will reduce the character’s sanity. As the sanity level decreases, visual and auditory hallucinations occur and the player more easily draws the attention of monsters. Light sources help restore sanity, and in the bowels of the castle the player character may use tinderboxes to light wall-mounted candles, or deploy an oil-burning lantern found near the beginning of the game. However, the number of tinderboxes and the amount of oil in the game are both limited. Standing in a light source also makes the player more easily noticed by monsters. The player must find a balance between the amount of time they spend in light and shadow. Sanity is fully restored once Daniel completes an objective or progresses the game’s story. It may also be restored by staying in the shadows until Daniel passes out, but this leaves him extremely vulnerable to any nearby monsters.

If a monster spots Daniel, it will chase him until he’s out of sight. Daniel’s only option at this point is to flee, as Amnesia does not give the player access to weapons. Players must find hiding places or barricade doors with rocks, chairs and other obstacles; unfortunately, monsters are very capable of tearing down doors in their path and kicking obstacles out of the way, and move extremely fast once they have spotted their prey. Players can also choose to hide Daniel in the shadows, at cost to sanity. Monsters who lose sight of Daniel will search for him for a time, but will eventually leave and vanish. At several points in the game, they are required to advance, as they will tear down a problematic obstacle in their path.

Publisher: Frictional Games

Developer: Frictional Games

Release Date: September 8, 2010 (Steam). February 17, 2011 (retail).

Players: Single Player

ERSB: M. Mature.

Cheapskate Gamer Video Review by our own Chris Saldaña (AKA “Cheapie”): Video Review:

Sample Gameplay Video(s):

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