Amnesia: The Dark Descent

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Amnesia: The Dark Descent game cover

ConsolePC/Mac/Linux
DeveloperFrictional Games
PublisherFrictional Games
GenreSurvival horror
Release Year2010
Purchase (PC)Click here to purchase from Amazon.
Purchase (PC/Mac/Linux)Click here to purchase from Steam.

We’re in October. Guess what that means? Horror movies, horror shows, horror games. Nothing else gives you such an adrenaline rush than having to experience something that scares the shit out of you. Literally.

So for this month, I am going to look at the Frictional Games catalog and maybe pick up a few other games. For tonight’s review, we look at one of the most popular horror games of all time. A game that is often the subject of Let’s Play videos and reaction videos.

That game is… Five Night’s at—

PFT, HA HA HA!

I’m sorry, but that game isn’t scary at all. A game with zero atmosphere and nothing but BWAAAAAAH jumpscares is hardly worthy of mention (COME AT ME, FANBOYS!)

No, we’re going to a game that has challenged popular horror series such as Silent Hill and Resident Evil. One that has proven that not all horror games need to give you a means to defend yourself. You only have your wits, reflexes and resources to lean on. That game is Amnesia: The Dark Descent.

I must be one twisted fuck because I have played over 140 hours of this game on Steam. Yeah, that much time. I have played this game longer than completing some of the RPGs I owned. I just love it that much.

And there is quite a bit of replay value too. There are endless custom stories you can play, plenty that offer new challenges and even give fresh experiences. It’s a game that has gotten the horror element down right to the tee.

So first, let’s start with the gameplay.

 

A Vacation at Castle Brennenburg

Amnesia: The Dark Descent beginning

You play in first-person view, exploring an enormous gothic-style castle in Prussia during the 19th century. The main objective is to keep pressing forward as you solve puzzles and avoid danger.

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Puzzles can range from simple tasks like pulling hidden levers or collecting keys to open new doors to doing more complex tasks like making specialized chemicals or getting a big machine to work—which can have three or four different smaller puzzles to solve. You can get hints on certain puzzles by picking up notes around the area. To this end, you will need to collect many items you find along the way such as keys and machine parts in order to advance forward.

Some of these puzzles though can be really tricky and require a lot of backtracking to complete. You have to be thorough in exploring each area, because there might be hidden areas you have missed that contain important items that are required to move forward. There are chemicals you may need to mix or special tools that allow you to bypass jammed doors. Or hit stuff with a rock. No really, that can sometimes work too.

You have a health and a sanity meter. You die when your health drops to zero—obviously. However, when your sanity is too low, it affects your vision and your ability to steer yourself. You may even collapse on the ground, making you vulnerable to the ungodly creatures waiting for you at the other end of that dark hallway.

Amnesia: The Dark Descent low sanity
My HOT. STINGING. BRAAAAAAAAAAIIIIIIINNN!!!

Amnesia: The Dark Descent low sanity
Oh dear god, get up get up get up…

There is also the game mechanic for light and darkness. Simply put, standing in darkness will allow your eyes to adjust to it better. However, your sanity slowly drops when you remain in it for too long—indicated by the crackling sound of “cockroaches in your brain” and your heart beating. You can amend this by collecting tinderboxes and oil lantern.

Tinderboxes let you provide fire to candles and torches. While these items are relatively numerous in the main storyline, some custom stories keep their supply extremely limited so it would be wise to conserve tinderboxes for when you really need nearby light sources.

Lantern oil is fuel for your lantern (derp) and gives you a portable light source. Beware, oil consumes quite fast during usage and it’s generally rarer to come across than tinderboxes.

Amnesia: The Dark Descent Grunt
Oh shit, that’s bad timing!

You may also find the rare Laudanum, which heals your wounds.

Managing these resources effectively will help you in the long run. While they are not exactly necessary to complete the game, they make it a whole lot less unnerving and troublesome to play through.

And of course, the monsters.

Amnesia: The Dark Descent first grunt
Little pigs, little pigs, let me come in.

Oh yes, they are some pieces of work.

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Beautiful. Fantastic.

Other than the looming sense that you were being followed throughout the game, there are vaguely humanoid monsters patrolling the castle. Known as the Gatherers, these hideous creatures seek out wanderers to capture them. Even if it means cleaving someone’s flesh.

While you can slow their advances by throwing a large object at them, you can’t kill them and they run surprisingly faster than you. Your best chances of survival is to crouch in the darkness or behind objects while they are not looking.

Amnesia: The Dark Descent hiding in closet
You may even take cover inside these closets, which the monsters will never look inside.

You can also try to slow their advances by closing doors on them and looking for a quick place to hide at.

There is a certain satisfaction of solving difficult puzzles by yourself and outwitting the ever so persistent monsters. Constant jumpscares in horror games… aren’t good—I’m looking at you, Five Nights at Freddy’s. The best way for you to experience fear in video games is to force you to enter places that you just don’t want to go into. While Amnesia does have its share of jumpscares, they’re few and they receive a decent amount of buildup.

Amnesia has the distinction among horror games in making you feel very helpless. Yes, games like Five Nights at Freddy’s do that too, but in a way that is artificial, predictable and cheap.

Freddy Fazbear jumpscare
BLARGH! RIGHT IN YOUR FACE!

The Storage and both Prison maps are very well done in this regard. They force you to enter through unnaturally dark areas, where you need the lantern more than ever and monsters lurk in numbers.

Amnesia: The Dark Descent torch jumpscare
EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEKK!!!

Amnesia: The Dark Descent prison

 

The Lovecraftian Tale

The story follows an amnesiac young man named Daniel, who has received messages from his past self to assassinate a man named Baron Alexander in the depths of Brennenburg castle. Along the way, Daniel learns of the disturbing occurrences of the castle and the true nature of his former partnership with Alexander. Meanwhile, he is being hunted down by a monstrous entity that seems to defy logic and reality.

Amnesia: The Dark Descent shadow
BETTER RUN, MUTHAFUCKA!

I’ll stop right there as it is better to experience the story yourself.

While one can argue that the plot makes predictable turns, it becomes more of a matter of being about the journey than the destination. You can guess on what may happen next, though one can also argue that the narrative is quite compelling on its own. The game is more about digging for backstory, finding out why Daniel had drank the amnesia potion and why he wanted to kill Alexander.

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You know a game is good when even the loading screens are interesting to look at. And the subtext of these narrative passages add quite a bit of depth into Daniel’s character.

The story can be thought-provoking in place and it does make you wonder about the human nature, blurring the line between killers and victims. What makes everyone human.

But what really sells the game is its atmosphere. Its detailed sound design and interesting environments add to the horror already present. You could be walking down a hall when you suddenly hear a pained shriek at the end. Sometimes, you can hear someone’s footsteps in the floor above you. Or maybe you can hear a monster’s growl down the hallway next to you…

The various locations really sell the dark, oppressive nature of the game. The “hub” areas give you some time to take a breather and feel safe for a while, but you still know there are things wandering about. These places are even gorgeous.

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The soundtrack also does wonders in selling the appropriate tone.

List of Tracks

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When you first start up this game, it recommends that you play it with the lights off and headphones on. It is like YOU have entered a horror story and will have to experience it directly. And that is the key word: experience. One unlike any other.

Going down dimly lit hallways.

Amnesia: The Dark Descent Archives
…While some zombie cows moan in the background.

Watching something move in the darkness.

Amnesia: The Dark Descent Refinery grunt
Chaaaaange? Anyone got chaaaaange?

Waiting anxiously as a monster comes crashing through your door.

Amnesia: The Dark Descent Guest Room grunt attack
Not by the hair of your chinny chin chin? Then I’ll huff… and I’ll puff… and I’ll blow your house in!

Watching your sanity slip, having you see things that you do not wish to see.

Amnesia: The Dark Descent Transept insane Alexander portrait
Hey, buddy. I’m glad you’re here. Can I borrow your eyes and lips? Buddy? …Buddy?

I absolutely love this game. A lot of detail clearly shows and it is well worth the effort.

Amnesia: The Dark Descent Justine
Hello, me.

And of course, there is a little more. The Steam edition of the game already includes the Justine expansion, which is a short campaign that you have to complete in one try. You play as an unknown woman and the objective is to reach the end while avoiding the three monsters. There is an optional objective of also saving/sparing three hostages locked up in the depths of the underground dungeon (by the way, this is a different location from Brennenburg Castle). Depending on how many you save, you get a slightly different ending… with an interesting little reference to another famous game when you save all three.

Even the monsters here are truly freaky, like coming straight from a Marilyn Manson music video.

Amnesia: The Dark Descent suitor
I’M NOT A SLAVE! TO A GOD THAT DOESN’T EXIST!

And ultimately, the best feature of Amnesia is the Custom Story. Amnesia: The Dark Descent is a playground for aspiring game designers, and Frictional Games had given the tools to allow people to design their own scenarios. They can create new maps, new models (and monsters), provide voice acting and much more. Later on, I will add a list of recommendations to this article based on custom stories that I find worth playing.

Amnesia: The Dark Descent is a game of losing your sanity. The “dark descent” in the title can be interpreted as a double entendre: literal and figurative. You’re entering the dark depths of the castle while you’re entering the dark depths of your fears. This game will continue to stand out in the horror game genre, as it knows how to scare you to tears.

And now that we’re about finished here, please enjoy this hilarious cartoon by FlippinDingDong.

 

Custom Stories/Full-Conversion Mods – Update 03/01/17

Alright, it’s been a while since I’ve written this review. A LONG while. I’ve been so busy with other stuff (real life included) that I didn’t really find much time to play Amnesia. So without further ado, let’s discuss the differences between custom stories and full-conversion mods.

A custom story is a downloadable fan-made campaign that you typically drop into My Computer -> C: drive -> Program Files (x86) -> Steam -> SteamApps -> common -> Amnesia The Dark Descent -> custom_stories. At least, that’s where it goes for the Steam version of the game for Windows 7. So after you drop it into the correct folder, you can select this new custom story from the game’s main menu.

A full-conversion mod is a downloadable campaign that includes new assets and a much larger scale than your typical custom story. You need to extract these projects into the root directory of your game, which in my case is My Computer -> C: drive -> Program Files (x86) -> Steam -> SteamApps -> common -> Amnesia The Dark Descent. And to play these campaigns, you have to go to the actual project folder and use its own executable file. These campaigns will NOT appear in the custom stories menu of the game’s main menu.

Let’s take a look at some of these campaigns.

Abduction

Abduction

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By Anxt
Type:

Download

Synopsis: It

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Amnesia: Rain

Amnesia: Rain

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By Kiorgaard
Type:

Download

Synopsis: It

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The Attic

The Attic

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By Everlost
Type:

Download

Synopsis: It

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Black Forest Castle

Black Forest Castle

Amnesia: The Dark Descent Black Forest Castle

By theDARKW0LF
Type:
 Custom story
Download

Synopsis: You wake up in an uninviting room with the foreboding feeling that something is lingering outside… You recall a dark figure stalking you the night before… No, it must have been your mind playing games with you. You remember tightly closing and locking the door before resting. The key is no longer in the keyhole and the door appears unlocked. Who, or what, could have gotten through from the other side? Is something after you?

This is a pretty straightforward and short custom story. While fairly generic, it has a few well-timed scares and, for me, one of the earlier custom stories that has a forest section. The puzzles are easy and the secrets are decently hidden. There is very little in regards to a story. But for what it’s worth, it does seem like the author simply wanted to try a functional short story. It’s too bad the author didn’t seem to have any more custom stories because I would like to see where his experiences with this one take him.

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A Coward's Debt

A Coward’s Debt

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By 
Type:

Download

Synopsis: It

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Destiny Rebellion

Destiny Rebellion

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By umbakarna
Type:

Download

Synopsis: It

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Deterioration

Deterioration

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By ibanezGiO961
Type:

Download

Synopsis: It

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Emma's Story

Emma’s Story

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By Evil Armor
Type:

Download

Synopsis: It

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Emma's Story Part 2 - Emma's Nightmare

Emma’s Story Part 2 – Emma’s Nightmare

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By Evil Armor
Type:

Download

Synopsis: It

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Escape: A Puzzling Story

Escape: A Puzzling Story

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By
Type:

Download

Synopsis: It

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Extraction Point

Extraction Point

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By 
Type:

Download

Synopsis: It

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FEAR Amnesia

FEAR Amnesia

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By 
Type:

Download

Synopsis: It

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Fekete Keres - Black Search

Fekete Keres – Black Search

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By 
Type:

Download

Synopsis: It

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Followed By Death

Followed By Death

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By JMFStorm
Type:

Download

Synopsis: It

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Gary - Dark Secrets (Chapter 1)

Gary – Dark Secrets (Chapter 1)

Amnesia: The Dark Descent Gary - Dark Secrets

By Team Seda
Type:
 Full-conversion mod
Download

Gary – Dark Secrets stars a young man in modern times named Gary, who was recently invited to a party at an old mansion. After having a few too many drinks, he passes out and wakes up to find the corpses of all his friends around him. So he must look for an escape route while avoiding the monsters that haunt the mansion.

This campaign contains minor elements of Penumbra in it, including the usage of a flashlight in place of a lantern. So instead of lantern oil, you need to look for batteries.

I’ll admit that the voice acting is a bit hokey at times, though I did enjoy it. This campaign utilized the sound design to its advantage to keep you on your toes. Sometimes, it’s to fake you out. Sometimes, there’s really a Grunt nearby. Speaking of which, the Gatherers in this campaign are among the most persistent I encountered, so they’re bound to pop up in inconvenient places everywhere. I also noticed some custom piano pieces, which did well in setting a suspenseful tone.

The map designs can be a bit redundant at times, maybe even too big. For example, you had to go through this large, foggy basement and look for this tiny broken lever to move forward. It’s a tedious task where you HAVE to know to pick this one lever off the ground, because it doesn’t add into your inventory. And some of the map layouts, especially later on, can get difficult to navigate.

I’ll also admit the some of the scares are well done. There is one that especially stuck out for me: the statue jumpscare. I did NOT expect that one statue to actually turn its head. It’s brilliantly foreshadowed, yet it’s somehow unexpected. Great job.

One problem I encountered is that I found very few batteries around, so my flashlight became useless for a while. This makes it rather difficult to solve certain puzzles since it’s too dark to see (such as having to weaken a lock on a door, which is hard to see without any light).

Overall, it’s a well-made campaign. The downside is that there is no chapter 2, so it ended on a cliffhanger. I don’t know if Team Seda is still working on chapter 2, since their last message on ModDB was on 02/24/16.

Fortunately, there IS another finished campaign by this team called Gary – Snowy Secrets. That particular one happens to be one of my favorites, so read on to see why.

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Gary - Snowy Secrets (A Christmas Special)

Gary – Snowy Secrets (A Christmas Special)

Amnesia: The Dark Descent Gary - Snowy Secrets Christmas special

By Team Seda
Type:
 Custom story
Download

Synopsis: It’s the day before christmas, and you’re enjoying a nice cup of tea next to your christmas tree. What could be better? Then suddenly, someone knocks on your door… Who could it be this late?

Prepare yourself for a little different Amnesia adventure!

Brought to you by the same team behind Gary – Dark Secrets, Gary – Snowy Secrets is a small Christmas-centered campaign. And let me tell you, this custom story is hilarious.

Unlike the usual flair of Amnesia custom stories, Gary – Snowy Secrets presents a ridiculous premise with a goofy execution. And it’s done so beautifully. Once again, you’re Gary and you’re apparently invited over to a castle by Santa Claus. From there on, you get this silly tale ripe with dark humor. While there are no complex puzzles, this is meant to be an evenly paced story with a dark twist.

The voice acting is actually a step up from Gary – Dark Secrets, including a great Santa impersonation. Much of the soundtrack is original, with only a couple of tracks recycled from the original game. Overall, this is a great short story to play through and one of my favorites.

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The Great Work

The Great Work

Amnesia: The Dark Descent The Great Work

By Damascus7
Type:
Custom story
Download

Synopsis: You are Charles Longden, an archaeologist studying Minneburg, a German castle abandoned due to recent cave-ins. You are sleeping late one morning when you are shaken awake by a tremor running through the castle. There is no sign of your partner, Jane. Where has she gone?

Where do I begin? Hmm. Well, how about this. THE GREAT WORK IS THE SHIT!

The quality of The Great Work is on par with professional work,  This is one of the closest to being like Amnesia’s main story you could get.

Alright, let’s go over this.  As mentioned, you are Charles Longden and you are exploring Minneburg Castle. However, you end up getting mixed up in a conspiracy involving a mystical orb and a secret society of alchemists.

Overall, the story is one of the best written as far as Amnesia custom stories go. There are some identifiable characters, and the voice acting and script are actually quite good. The plot and its backstory are quite fascinating to read.

There are also two new monsters: the Remnant and the Intelligencer. Both of these monsters are impressively detailed and well animated to look as creepy as possible. They are also very difficult to avoid and they can kill you with one hit, so screwing up is not an option with these guys.

Whoever did the voices of the Intelligencers, Haak and Hull, did… ahem, great work. Their strange voices are beastlike and have this strange ethereal quality to them.

The custom soundtrack by Python Blue is also well done. It truly feels like The Great Work is not just a custom story, but like an expansion to the original Amnesia. Everything from the atmosphere to the monsters to the soundtrack feel new.

The puzzles can range from pretty easy to difficult. There are also some memorable scares, such as the early Grunt appearances, the really dark areas before the orb, the Remnant’s first appearance, and those surreal sequences towards the end of the game.

And of course, there are branching paths in one chapter, which ultimately depends on whether you get a dagger infused with alkahest or not. This will let you play different maps but come to the same goal. And finally, five different endings.

Alright, enough of the praises. Let’s get to the flaws.

Some of the puzzles are difficult for the wrong reasons. For example, the chemistry puzzle where you must create Aqua Regia. It’s only clear for how you do the first half of the puzzle, but not the second half. Basically, you have to use two different chemistry sets (each in different rooms) to complete this puzzle. It’s not intuitive and really throws you off.

Towards the end of the game, there are three different East Wing keys you can find. They are all for the same door and are used to trigger a trippy sequence. However, only ONE of those keys will actually lead you to something important. The other two are just red herrings. It’s a cool trick but very confusing nonetheless.

And also, game-breaking glitches. Oh boy. There are times when the new monsters get stuck in a wall (and can’t get out). And some monsters come to a complete stop, giving you more problems, and only move when they chase after you. They don’t return back to patrolling. And sometimes, a monster is required to leave the area in order to trigger the next part of the game.

And also, the West Wing map is flawed. There’s a room that you have to get inside, but it’s high up so you need to get boxes to stand on to reach it. HOWEVER, the room itself has nothing of the sort. So if you get in the room, you can’t get out. The best way to avoid this is to throw in extra boxes inside the room so you can climb right back out.

I have to admit that these flaws almost made me rage-quit. Overall, The Great Work is easily one of the best made campaigns for Amnesia and you won’t regret downloading it.

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Immersion of Night

Immersion of Night

Amnesia: The Dark Descent Immersion of Night

By DarchFIN
Type:
Custom story
Download

Synopsis: Welcome to castle Richport, built in the early 16th century by old Richport family. Today is the year 1912, and the castle is owned by Cedric Richport II, loyal to his family roots and a very skilled archeologist. Near castle Richport surrounded by endless forests and mountains lies a little tow called Blacklake Town. Blacklake Town, regardless of its name, is a very peaceful town full of kind people.

Suddenly one day everything changed due the people starting to get missing one after the other. Some people even say they have seen servants from Richport castle dragging townsfolk to the nearby Richport castle by force. Rumours spread everywhere, and people started to move out of Blacklake Town. Still many people continued their lives in the village without believing any of those baseless rumours.

Now is your turn to see whether they are true or not. Dive into castle Richport’s murky depths and see it for yourself. You will realize there is definitely something wrong in there. But how brutal can things be twisted?

Judging from the synopsis, the creator did put some thought into the custom story’s plot. Sad to say, how the rest of the story plays out is pretty… meh. Immersion of Night is a fairly decent custom story, but there are some questionable instances of level design.

From the beginning of the scenario, you have to unlock a door. But there is no key or crowbar to open it. So how do you do it? Well, you have to take a prop (a screwdriver in this case) and carry it over to the door. Aside from finding broken lever handles, this is an unconventional puzzle. I tried it out, thinking it wouldn’t work. And well, I’ll be damned. Of course, that’s not the worst of it.

Unlike many custom stories, you don’t get your lantern right away. Instead, you have to look for it in some random spot in the Attic map, so it’s very easy to miss. And once you solve the elevator puzzle, you can’t come back to get it. It’s pretty annoying since a large portion of the custom story is standing in darkness, therefore causing your sanity meter to drop.

In the Prison level, there are six jail cells, three of which have Suitor enemies. In one of the Suitor’s cells, there is a key you need to progress forward. If you choose the wrong levers to open the cells, you automatically collapse to the ground so that the released prisoner kills you in one hit, which is stupidly cheap. And when you’re revived, the levers are stuck in place. However, THIS is the solution: you have to pull the sixth lever and reach for that one key over to the next jail cell. In hindsight, I should’ve known better but damn.

And towards the end of the story, you have to simply guess that you need to break through this random window in an area that seems to not have any place to exit.

The puzzles aren’t too difficult to solve and I actually do like the final puzzle where you have to pull three levers before these patrolling Grunts get you. There are few hiding places too, so you really can’t screw up.

The story probably took me a couple of hours to finish and I enjoyed it despite its flaws.

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In Lucy's Eyes

In Lucy’s Eyes

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By Red Line Games
Type:

Download

Synopsis: It

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Key to Freedom

Key to Freedom

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By MXDash
Type:

Download

Synopsis: It

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La Caza

La Caza

Amnesia: The Dark Descent La Caza

By Team Ninja Samurai
Type:
Custom story
Download

Synopsis: A scientist receives a letter from a colleague but their plans are adverted when the plane’s engines fail, stranding our protagonist in the wilds of the jungle.

Will you survive?

You are Eugene Crowly, a scientist searching for a cure-all that will treat all ailments known to mankind. So you decided to travel to South Africa but barely survived a plane crash. Eventually, you come across an… Aztec… temple…

Seriously? An Aztec temple in South Africa? Did anyone do their research here?

Okay, so the plot kinda feels unfinished (hence the poorly foreshadowed ending). There’s some voice acting, which is okay for fan content. The voice clarity is mostly good—though one recording at the beginning clearly had a lot of reverb in it. However, I feel like the voices either have no emotion to them or portray the wrong emotion for a situation.

As for the campaign itself, La Caza is very straightforward and the puzzles  are pretty much fetch quests for the right items. It also lasts a little over an hour, so you can easily complete it.

However, there are two pretty good scares. The first one is when you’re trapped in a seemingly enclosed room and you are unable to use your lantern. Though it’s scripted to last a while, the long time you had to wait and the lack of an exit does incite a feeling of panic. The second one is the infamous armor scene. This has a really good setup and the payoff is unbelievably terrifying.

Overall, La Caza is okay but not among the best custom stories I’ve played.

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A Late Night Drink

A Late Night Drink

Amnesia: The Dark Descent A Late Night Drink

By DeAngeloBear
Type:
Custom story
Download

Synopsis: You are a wine enthusiast who has recently purchased a new home. While the house itself is nice, what drew you was news o a large wine cellar left over by the previous owner. Unswayed by the knowledge that he died in a bout of insanity, you have moved in right away. Though you planned to wait until morning to peruse the selection, your curiosity has gotten the better of you. A quick peek–a quick sip–couldn’t hurt, could it?

A Late Night Drink is one of the most unusual custom stories I’ve played. And I do mean that in a good way, of course. It really does help make it stand out among the sea of custom stories.

The main portion of this custom story is that you’re exploring the memories of the previous house owner, portrayed through a variety of emotion. I gotta say that I really do like this feature and it’s a great way for the creator to experiment with all sorts of odd and unusual stuff. I will admit that I really like this custom story’s sense of humor. That Vesti la Giubba part killed me.

I’m not gonna lie though. I’m NOT a fan of these scavenger hunt “puzzles,” if you can even call them that. Basically, this is a frequent design choice in Amnesia custom stories where the creators hide important items in the most obscure places possible. However, these activities don’t really make you think. They just make you tediously search an area from top to bottom for 30 minutes. I DO NOT FIND THIS FUN. FOR THE LOVE OF GOD, CREATORS, STOP DOING THIS. That is by far the worst aspect of this custom story.

But now let’s discuss where the strong points lie. This campaign’s visuals range from average to just outright surreal. The main culprits for that are the humor memories and the confusion memories. Seriously, this campaign can get trippy.

The writing is also pretty decent. I do like the idea of directly exploring someone’s memories and how emotions can distort said memories. Of course, the campaign lacks voice acting so you have to read through all of the dialogue lines. This is okay, but just imagine if there were good voice actors for this campaign. I think it would’ve been phenomenal.

Overall, this is an enjoyable campaign but you need to have a lot of patience for all those scavenger hunt maps.

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A Late Night Drink: The Last Sip

A Late Night Drink: The Last Sip

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By DeAngeloBear
Type:

Download

Synopsis: It

Unlike its previous incarnation A Late Night Drink released back in 2013, A Late Night Drink: The Last Sip is meant to play out as an interactive fiction drama.

 

One scene I didn’t expect is that one big reference to P.T. I half-expected a jumpscare from some crazed ghost lady.

 

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Lost the Lights

Lost the Lights

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By 
Type:

Download

Synopsis: It

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The Machine

The Machine

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By Dyloo
Type:

Download

Synopsis: It

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The Mansion 1408

The Mansion 1408

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By
Type:

Download

Synopsis: It

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Nepsis

Nepsis

Amnesia: The Dark Descent Nepsis

By Homicide
Type:
Custom story
Download

Unlike most other custom stories, the author decided not to provide a synopsis and allowed you to experience the story blind. If you want to do so as well, stop reading right now, download the custom story and play it yourself.

No?

Any takers?

Okay.

Nepsis operates on a bare-bones plot involving dimethyltryptamine (DMT), one of the most intense psychedelic drugs in the world. It is naturally produced by your brain during REM (rapid eye movement) sleep and induces dreams. Because of its powerful effects, it is outlawed all over the world. Those who use it claim they have met extraterrestrial beings through their visions, even deities. It is sometimes called the “Jesus drug” or the “God drug.”

Nepsis is like one big trip for sure, sort of like a David Lynch movie. It’s not a custom story that focuses on puzzles (though it has some unusual ones), but rather simulates a surreal experience. There are also only a few moments when you’re in danger, but you’ll be okay as long as you keep moving around.

The custom story also explores a theme of cannibalism. I believe your player character might be some sort of military leader who takes live prisoners home, so he can eat their bodies and even take their DMT. This is just my little theory since it’s a little hard to follow what’s going on.

The highlight for me is getting chased down by invisible beings, which is a pretty interesting way to scare you. Running from something that you can’t really see, except their footsteps. While Nepsis is an unconventional custom story, I’d say it’s worth playing just to see how weird it gets.

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Obscurity

Obscurity

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By ElectricRed
Type:

Download

Synopsis: It

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Painful Shadows

Painful Shadows

(img)

By kartanonperuna
Type:

Download

Synopsis: It

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Penumbra: Necrologue

Penumbra: Necrologue

Penumbra: Necrologue Infected

By CounterCurrent Games
Type:
Full-conversion mod
Download

I talked about this game before in a previous review, but I think it bears repeating. Penumbra: Necrologue is a fan-made sequel by CounterCurrent Games for the Penumbra series, and an excellent one at that. It’s easily one of the best things to come out of the Amnesia modding community because it served to continue a horror series that abruptly ended and did it really well.

This is a very long campaign that faithfully imitates the look and feel of the Penumbra series. It had the dark, industrial settings and that feeling of isolation that the series was known for. It also featured voice acting (which is not too bad, considering the voiceovers were done by amateur actors), a continuation of the story (which is flawed but okay), new monsters that are actually quite terrifying, and smart puzzles (though some are way too cryptic). If you’re a fan of the Penumbra series, then you REALLY need to give this one a try.

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Penumbra: Twilight of the Archaic

Penumbra: Twilight of the Archaic

(img)

By 
Type:

Download

Synopsis: It

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Poisonous

Poisonous

Amnesia: The Dark Descent Poisonous

By Reindeer Productions
Type:
 Custom story
Download

Synopsis: The village is situated far from civilization in the eastern Europe. It is a common hearsay among the locals that something mysterious is going on in the mountains. In the last 20 years many people have been camping there, but not all of them have returned… Some of the locals says it is human like beasts others says it is wild bloodthirsty animals.

The mountain beholds a beautiful landscape with astonishing waterfalls and a rare wilderness. Therefore many adventures do not care about the hearsay, even though they been warned.

In this custom story, you’re an unnamed male protagonist and you’re on a hiking trip with your fiancée Rachel. However, a Grunt kidnaps her one night and it’s up to you to rescue her from this mysterious castle up in the mountains.

At first, this plot is promising and the environments look like they would deliver on something visually impressive. But… I’m sorry, but this custom story is filled with bad design choices.

Alright. First off, you have to climb a tree to get into the castle. In an area FULL OF TREES, there is only one you can climb, to the side of the castle. The custom story never indicated you could do this, so this came straight out of left field.

Next, you’re exploring the castle. While you’re finding notes, you have no idea what to do. But out of nowhere, you get a hint that one of the candles in the library stands out as odd. So rather letting the level design give you hints, the game just tells you what to do.

Then the pressure plate puzzle. This one makes the least amount of sense to me, because you can stack all sorts of shit on top of the pressure plate. But it will NOT keep that little cabinet open. Out of pure luck, I even managed to get a couch on top of the plate, but the cabinet doesn’t stay open. But no. You have to push down a random bookshelf on top of the plate.

Much of this custom story feels like the creators are experimenting with different, one-time use scripts, which I personally don’t think pay off. If you want to add in unconventional puzzle solutions, you need to indicate that they even exist to begin with. Otherwise, it just feels random and the puzzles don’t feel well thought out. That’s my main problem with Poisonous.

I will admit that some of the environments are visually appealing and you have something resembling FMV sequences that play every now and then.

There is some voice acting, but it sounded like the actors were talking into the microphones as if they don’t want to wake up anyone in their house. There is quite a bit of reverb in the recordings. And from the sound of them, no editing.

The story is mostly a rescue plot that conveniently throws in a “tackle the root of this big problem people had” subplot where you had to stop the monsters from kidnapping more people. It’s pretty hackneyed and could’ve been executed better.

Poisonous is not horrible, but mediocre at best. There is no harm in trying this one out, but I think there are better stories you could be playing.

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The Seed

The Seed

(img)

By str4wberrypanic
Type:

Download

Synopsis: It

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The Streets of London

The Streets of London

(img)

By 
Type:

Download

Synopsis: It

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Tenebris Lake

Tenebris Lake

Amnesia: The Dark Descent Tenebris Lake

By Boris Game Studios
Type:
Full-conversion mod
Download

Aside from Through the Portal, Tenebris Lake was one of the first full-conversion mods I played. And DAMN. It’s also one of the scariest campaigns Amnesia has to offer.

You are an amnesiac who wakes up outside during a rainy evening. Apparently, you had ingested the amnesia potion and you decided to take cover in a nearby castle. However, the castle itself is a huge crypt full of horrors. So you… go through it anyway?

Yeah, the story doesn’t start off good. But that’s not the point of this mod.

One of the differences of Tenebris Lake to a typical campaign is that you can’t quit and save. Instead, you have to use save points placed around specific areas of the maps. I’m not sure why the designers made this decision, but I guess it just makes it easier to backtrack whenever needed.

As mentioned, Tenebris Lake shines through its scares. Some of them are pretty subtle, such as debris randomly falling from the ceiling or some odd noises around the hallway. There are also some well placed jumpscares, which usually happen after a lot of tension buildup. The maps are very dark, though you’ll never be short on lantern oil.

Tenebris Lake also puts you into some unique situations regarding the monsters. This is one of the first campaigns I played that had custom monsters.

There was one scene where a prisoner is trying to break free and you need to leave the room before he escapes and tries to kill you. It’s one of the most panic-inducing moments I’ve seen from Amnesia.

You also can’t completely trust dead bodies on the ground, because there’s a possibility that they will come alive at the most inopportune time. Imagine moving slowly in a crawlspace while one of those fuckers chase you.

And of course, you can be just innocently wandering into an area, only to find that a monster has spawned right behind you. No audio cues or anything. It’s just coming out of a hallway and quickly approaching you. There is even a moment where you have to pull a level to shut a door before one of them gets you. It’s a lot of freaky shit.

The level design is also pretty good. Most of the maps have a labyrinthine structure to them, making it reasonably difficult to navigate and are long enough to keep you on the edge. Some of the puzzles are rather simple while others are more difficult to figure out. I guess you could say it’s very much like how Amnesia’s main story approaches its puzzles.

Some of the music here is recycled from different games, including the Penumbra series and a Half-Life mod known as Cry of Fear. Regardless, the campaign utilizes it soundtrack and ambiance very effectively. It makes the tone very tense and suspenseful, making you more susceptible to scares.

As much praise as I give this campaign, I do have some complaints.

The voiceovers range from bad to okay. It’s like a couple of the actors don’t care to put any emotion into their performances whatsoever. I swear, it’s like they don’t know what scared people sound like. The only good voiceover I heard was the man with the deep voice in the flashbacks. He actually sounds like someone who could be voicing a character in Amnesia’s main story.

There is very little guidance throughout this campaign overall. So for the majority of the time, you have to wander around large, dark areas with no objectives. All you can do is explore the maps and pick up whatever random item you just so happen to come across, in hopes of clearing an obstacle later on. Because of that, you’re probably likely to turn to a walkthrough.

But the main flaw with this campaign is the story. We get very little context to what is going on. Even when the protagonist is hearing voices of the past in his head, we learn very little about the castle itself and the true nature of the experiments conducted on human prisoners there. A lot of it just doesn’t make any sense and feels fragmented.

And worst of all, those endings. Ugh! By god, the endings are terrible. At the very last minute, the story just throws a wife and children at you and you’re expected to save them. However, you find one stick of dynamite. And suddenly, the Shadow from Amnesia’s main story suddenly appears to trigger a chase scene. Then you have to make a choice: save your wife (and die in the process), save your children (and leave behind the wife), or save yourself (because fuck everyone). And NONE of them are “good” endings. At least two people had to suffer, no matter which one you pick.

Overall, this campaign is one of the best in terms of scares and gameplay, but one of the worst in terms of story. And of course, below average voice acting. If the flaws don’t bother you, then this is worth a download.

P.S. That Boris bowling Easter egg is godly.

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The Things in the Night

The Things in the Night

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By doom2299
Type:

Download

Synopsis: It

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Through the Portal

Through the Portal

Amnesia: The Dark Descent Through the Portal

Type: Full-conversion mod
Download

Through the Portal is a short campaign that serves as a continuation of the Agrippa ending of Amnesia. This campaign is more experimental than trying to create a typical custom campaign, so it only contains a few puzzles that can be completed quickly.

Graphically, it looks really good as it manages to make Alexander’s world into something alien-like. However, some of the textures (mainly, the sky) don’t show up correctly for me. Perhaps it’s because I’m using a later version of Amnesia to play it?

There is also one third-party song here, which I recognize. It’s called “For Whom the Bell Tolls,” which was featured in the Donnie Darko movie soundtrack. There was also a single recorded voiceover, though nothing spectacular.

If you want to take the completionist route, you can find 11 notes and a secret room with an amusing Easter egg.

Overall, this is an interesting campaign with nice visuals but lacks any real depth and challenge.

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White Night

White Night

Amnesia: The Dark Descent White Night

By Tanshaydar
Type:
Full-conversion mod
Download

White Night is easily one of the best and most innovative campaigns for Amnesia. Its approach is more reminiscent of the Silent Hill and Penumbra series, capturing that lonely and eerie tone they were known for. It’s to the point where the sanity mechanic is removed and your eyes don’t adjust to darkness. It’s actually a lot scarier to explore areas that are pitch-black.

You are David, a psychiatric patient who had apparently committed murder and had no memory of his past life. A shady mental expert named Doctor Sofia attempts to heal David, diving deeper into his disturbed mind. The majority of the campaign takes place in David’s (nightmares?), where he attempts to piece things together on what really happened that got him into the Denver State Hospital.

White Night’s strongest point in its atmosphere, which feels like a mix of Silent Hill and Penumbra. It’s not really scary per say, but more unnerving. There are very few moments where you’re in actual danger, and most of them are easily avoidable. In a way though, you could say the absence of action kinda kills the tension because there isn’t really anything coming after you.

I think the plot is okay and I like the themes, though I feel like White Night could have done better if it didn’t explain its twists and symbolism. Towards the end, we get this series of exposition scenes where we’re told… pretty much everything. I think the story would stick better if it keeps certain aspects of the story more ambiguous and allow the players to draw their own conclusions, because this campaign also works out as a mystery story.

I’m mixed on the voice acting. The actors for David and Grace, I think, do a good job in simulating the appropriate responses and emotions during the story. Doctor Sofia’s voice sounds really stilted and uninterested, which sometimes take me out of the experience. And while I know that YouTuber Cryaotic voiced Dr. Patrick Parr, his voice sounded oddly quiet and there’s a bit of an audio buzz in his recordings.

All in all, Tanshaydar did an excellent job in putting this one together despite that he wasn’t really experienced in managing larger game projects at the time. To give White Night its distinct presentation is certainly no easy feat and I commend everyone who worked on this project for that.

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Amnesia: The Dark Descent

$19.99
Amnesia: The Dark Descent
8.4

GAMEPLAY

8.5/10

STORY

7.5/10

GRAPHICS

8.5/10

SOUNDTRACK

9.0/10

Pros

  • The game successfully captures the feeling of horror and insanity, making you question what is real and what is an illusion.The monsters are uniquely disturbing and hideously grotesque, serving as memorable enemies in the game.
  • The story is quite fascinating for the most part, shown and told well with enthusiasm and presented to us like an interactive horror novel.
  • The puzzles are fun to solve and offer a great sense of accomplishment and satisfaction when completing them.
  • Brilliant sound design that makes the game feel very much alive.
  • The ability to create and play custom stories, and the fanbase is ever so happy to provide high-quality scenarios in many different flavors.

Cons

  • While the story is enjoyable, it can be predictable at times as it seems to put more emphasis in the backstory than the present events.
  • The puzzles can be quite difficult to solve if you don't know where to go or what to collect to get to the next area.
  • The controls can be awkward at times, as the physics based gameplay may require some tedious busywork in order to progress.
  • Some people may consider the lack of combat mechanics to be a flaw, though this is the entire point of the game to begin with.
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