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Old 09-18-2010, 11:52 AM   #1
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Amnesia: The Dark Descent (Or, How Horror Games are Done)


If you guys haven't played this, you should be playing it now. Watch the video below because it really quickly sums up what Amnesia is all about:

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And that's no staged video, I've purchased the game (and some of you know how rare that is), and the game is actually that immersive and terrifying.

Amnesia is Penumbra perfected, and since Penumbra was a great horror game, that makes Amnesia an amazing horror game. A sense of discomfort pervades the game as you constantly flit between light and darkness. The light is soothing, it illuminates, but it also leaves you exposed. The darkness may hide you and keep you safe - but drives you insane.

The game instructs you early on that it's not to be played to win. It's more like an adventure game, where you go with the flow and solve puzzles to advance the story, which, gothic tropes aside, is told fluidly in a way that would make Lovecraft proud.

This is a genuinely scary game that actually creates an atmosphere of fear, and most importantly, it is really a survival horror game. All you need to do is survive. Anyone who calls Dead Space a survival horror game, or even a horror game for that matter needs to get his throat filled with that Dead Space alien vomit... or he needs to play Amnesia, whichever works.

Buy the game (cheap at $20) and play it at night, with headphones/7.1 and help genuinely great developers like the folks at Frictional!


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Old 09-18-2010, 12:42 PM   #2
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The light is soothing, it illuminates, but it also leaves you exposed. The darkness may hide you and keep you safe - but drives you insane.
Ah, that old chestnut. Cthulhu rip-off then?
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Old 09-18-2010, 12:46 PM   #3
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I'll buy it next week. The game is that good.



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Old 09-18-2010, 01:13 PM   #4
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Ah, that old chestnut. Cthulhu rip-off then?
Actually, it's borrowed from their previous game, Penumbra, which was developed around the same time as Cthulhu's release. But I don't know, I haven't played Cthulhu.


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Old 09-18-2010, 02:23 PM   #5
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I wasn't talking about the Cthulhu video game (Dark Corners of the Earth - which was garbage), but the Mythos in general and the PNP RPG in particular.

The PNP was the archetypal "true" survival horror where you struggled to stay sane and weren't some unstoppable Rambo-like killing machine. You would struggle in combat against humans. Just looking at anything else would be enough to make you curl into a ball and your brains boil out your ears, much less survive a stand-up fight with it. It was really more of a detective game in some respects - just with giant tentacled horrors beyond human comprehension. The original was by Chaosium and came out in the early 80s. Last I heard it got bought out by WOTC a few years back and was bastardised into the d20 system.
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Old 09-18-2010, 02:33 PM   #6
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If you guys haven't played this, you should be playing it now.
But Halo


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Old 09-18-2010, 03:09 PM   #7
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But Halo
is a pretty cool guy, eh will **** his pants in this game and does afraid of it


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Old 09-18-2010, 08:04 PM   #8
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Played the demo; loved it. It's the definitive horror video game, in the sense that it's not just a shooter in a horror-based environment, but the gameplay instinctively enforces the feeling that you don't where you are, and something is trying to kill you, and you just can't help it or fight back. You must run, you must hide in order to survive; you can't just kill the demon with a rocket to the face.

I also thought that the mechanic of light (or the absence thereof) was perfect, and how light and making progress was tied into your mental welfare; you really do feel like you're hopelessly trapped, about to go mental at any second. F*** everything considered "horror" before Amnesia; this raises the bar to new heights, and should make every developer at every pitiful attempt at "horror" games.
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Old 09-18-2010, 09:16 PM   #9
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I played (part of) Penumbra; I stopped partially because I was too afraid to play more.
And now that this is out, I know what I won't be doing...


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Old 09-19-2010, 06:32 AM   #10
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I was kinda thinking about buying it, but I hate the today´s horror game trend: The guy you play is always a pathetic whimp who can just scream and run away...


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Old 09-19-2010, 07:53 AM   #11
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I was kinda thinking about buying it, but I hate the today´s horror game trend: The guy you play is always a pathetic whimp who can just scream and run away...
...compared to, what, exactly? Yesterday's space marine that could vanquish behemoths with a single bullet? Is that what horror is really about?
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Old 09-19-2010, 08:49 AM   #12
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I hate the today´s horror game trend: The guy you play is always a pathetic whimp who can just scream and run away...
Tell me two games that are like that.



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Old 09-19-2010, 09:10 AM   #13
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I was kinda thinking about buying it, but I hate the today´s horror game trend: The guy you play is always a pathetic whimp who can just scream and run away...
I would think most recent horror games would be the exact opposite - you get a bunch of weapons and wade through hordes of monsters, destroying everything in your path. That was one of the problems with the aforementioned DCOTE, which made it the antithesis of the source material it claimed to be based on.
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Old 09-19-2010, 10:52 AM   #14
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Tell me two games that are like that.

The newest Silent Hill.
THIS game.

Yes I know that lately "horror" games tend to be just about wasting 2000000 monsters with chainsaws and miniguns, but those aren´t scary ffs I want a horror game where my character isnt a superman but not monsterfodder either. Being able to smack the monsters with a pipe or something would be cool, as long as it doesnt turn into a hack n slash game...

Also less would be more, just having a few monsters tag along the entire game would make it much scarier. Like you can sometimes hear them or see a familiar shadow or something, but actual fights are rare, and should be more about survival than killing.


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Old 09-19-2010, 01:48 PM   #15
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Being able to smack the monsters with a pipe or something would be cool, as long as it doesnt turn into a hack n slash game...
It would stop being scary if you knew you can just smack the monsters down with a pipe. Video games work on the simple premise of possibility - if it's possible to kill the monster with a pipe, players know they can do that a hundred times over to continue the game and kill the monster. That's the reason games like Half-Life or BioShock aren't scary at all, even if they have their jump moments.

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Also less would be more, just having a few monsters tag along the entire game would make it much scarier. Like you can sometimes hear them or see a familiar shadow or something, but actual fights are rare, and should be more about survival than killing.
This game is really more about survival than killing and monster appearances are rather rare. The problem is, the game's atmosphere means that you can never tell when a monster is going to come out of nowhere and when he does, you have to get on your heels and run like crazy to a good hiding place.

Something I hate about most games is how every boss encounter has to be "foreshadowed" by such subtle techniques as a giant bellowing sound or a crumbling ceiling or a note explaining the monster and its weakness.


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Old 09-19-2010, 02:17 PM   #16
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Something I hate about most games is how every boss encounter has to be "foreshadowed" by such subtle techniques as a giant bellowing sound or a crumbling ceiling
The demo video appeared to feature both those things.....
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Old 09-19-2010, 03:19 PM   #17
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This is a genuinely scary game that actually creates an atmosphere of fear, and most importantly, it is really a survival horror game. All you need to do is survive. Anyone who calls Dead Space a survival horror game, or even a horror game for that matter needs to get his throat filled with that Dead Space alien vomit... or he needs to play Amnesia, whichever works.
Dead Space is more akin to the "horror" of Aliens (the movie), monster based, than it is to the more psychological horror genre. There are many sub-genre levels to the whole horror genre and saying that one thing is and one thing isn't is just stupid. Just because a monster horror movie doesn't give the same feel as a more psychologically driven horror movie or game or whatever doesn't make it any less "horror", just different.

I mean, I played Silent Hill: Shattered Memories on Wii a week or so ago and it has more of a psychological tone to it. It's very different from previous Silent Hill games too and the difference between Resident Evil and Dead Space is night and day, but both are horror games in their own different ways.

Some people like their horror to be left in the dark recesses of their minds, others like the cold industrial, desolate environments and the unknowns of space... who's to say one is less valid than the other?

Also, just to add... Dead Space uses these sorts of techniques shown in the video too. The is a lot of "quiet time" to have these sorts of moments between the action moments that get popularised by the trailers and reviews and advertising.

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Old 09-19-2010, 11:29 PM   #18
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The demo video appeared to feature both those things.....
Except you can't tell when or where the enemy is going to spring out of. This game features plenty of what I've mentioned, along with cries and weeping sounds, but it's all about building the atmosphere and leaving you confused. What I meant was that in other games, you have clues explicitly cut out for you: did you hear a large bellowing sound? In the next wide open area you see, a giant monster with sixteen nipples is going to attack you. And that's exactly what happens.

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Dead Space is more akin to the "horror" of Aliens (the movie), monster based, than it is to the more psychological horror genre.
Amnesia is more a monster horror game than anything, because the psychological aspect is negligible. What makes it scary however, is that you can't defend yourself against its monsters and so you **** your pants when you see them.

In Dead Space, the necromorphs have less chances of survival than you do, because Isaac seems to just clean through the the assembly line of monsters with his I don't know nine thousand weapons and then kill bosses as large as the LHC. I can't imagine anyone being scared by a game like that.

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There are many sub-genre levels to the whole horror genre and saying that one thing is and one thing isn't is just stupid. Just because a monster horror movie doesn't give the same feel as a more psychologically driven horror movie or game or whatever doesn't make it any less "horror", just different.
But what's the point of a horror film/game? It's to terrify the audience and give them a high out of an environment of fear. "Psychological" horror media work well because their protagonists are often vulnerable and the means out of their problem aren't readily visible. Monster horror works if the monster is incomprehensible or unbeatable (Lovecraft smiles).

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Some people like their horror to be left in the dark recesses of their minds, others like the cold industrial, desolate environments and the unknowns of space... who's to say one is less valid than the other?
It's hardly about location. System Shock 2 managed to be a scary game even in space, because even though you could beat the enemies and seem well on your way to getting out of the space station, SHODAN was always bearing down on your back and you couldn't tell when she was going to kill you in the blink of an eye.

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Also, just to add... Dead Space uses these sorts of techniques shown in the video too. The is a lot of "quiet time" to have these sorts of moments between the action moments that get popularised by the trailers and reviews and advertising.
Lynk, you forget I've played Dead Space. And my point is, that Dead Space is a shooter before everything else - it's all about chopping down your enemies and killing them, which makes Isaac look more savage and powerful than anything on the ship, really. While the first hour or so of the game was done well enough, as soon as you realise that Isaac is a Gordon Freeman and Samus Aran's lovechild, it stops being a scary game and goes closer to a flavoured action movie.


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Old 09-20-2010, 03:59 AM   #19
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There are plenty of horror movies where the main characters shoot down a bunch of monsters/zombies/aliens/whatever... doesn't make them less of a horror movie, just one where the characters are able to give as much as they take.

You and I may not have been very afraid in Dead Space... hell there's not a horror game I've played that's actually scared me. The most a horror game has done is give me a little anxiety because I either have no weapons or have run out of ammo to defend myself. That why I like Silent Hill: Shattered Memories... you have no weapons...

...but there are people who do get scared, even in Dead Space. One of my friends refuses to finish Dead Space because I lent him my game and he played it then gave it back to me saying "Jesus, I can't play that man, I started ****ting my pants!" Of course, unlike the two of us, he doesn't play much in the way of horror games.

We've both been desensitised to this stuff... some people haven't. So yeah, doesn't matter if we get scared or not, they're designed to be horror games so that's what they are whether you personally **** your pants or not.

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