Holy mother of shitting crikey that was horrible. Paul and I just played through the demo of Amnesia: The Dark Descent, and it has to be the scariest demo I’ve ever played, and quite honestly I don’t know HOW I managed to finish it. It’s by the maker’s of Penumbra, but its undoubtedly better… Major demo spoilers below, but go play it for yourself right now.
If you look at the enemies in this game, your character starts to go INSANE. Like, literally. That’s the sort of game this is – you are physically encouraged to stare at the walls in order to stay alive. You have no weapons. You are completely alone, an ordinary man trapped in a hellish castle dungeon, and according to a letter written and left by your former self, wherever you go, you’re being hunted by a “living nightmare”. You can’t fight it, all you can do is run and hide.
Luckily, you can hide in cupboards – something I wish more horror games would allow me to do – and frankly it’s one of the safest places you can be. Light and dark play a significant role, in that the things hunting you apparently can’t see very well in the dark, making you safer. Yet linger there for too long, and Daniel (you) will start getting blurry vision, his teeth will start to tremble together loudly, and he may even lose control of his legs. You have a lantern, which requires oil to light. Save it for when you really need it, please… Don’t do what I did and have it on permanently, only to watch in horror as the oil runs out and you’re left stranded in a pitch-black wine cellar, huge cobwebs hanging from the ceilings, and…what was that!? SOMETHING just opened that door…but there’s nothing there!
The sounds! Good grief the noises. And the water… the final section of the demo has you knee-deep in murky water, apparently some sort of flooded cellar. And something is down there with you. You can’t see it, only hear its heavy, sloshing footsteps. KEEP OUT OF THE WATER! Thank god for dismembered body parts… no other game has made me even consider using a torn-off arm as a distraction… There’s a key moment in this demo which cemented my decision to buy the full game – the thing in the water couldn’t see me… all I could see of it was the splash of water every time it took a step, and I realized that’s exactly what I looked like to it. We were the same. Only difference was I was smart enough to stand on the crates. KEEP OUT OF THE SODDING WATER!
This game is out today, however, BcR may not be reviewing the full version of Amnesia: The Dark Descent, because Matt does not own enough underwear.