Posted: October 26, 2014
Similar to the Penumbra games, Amnesia: TDD is all about atmosphere and storytelling. The biggest difference between the two series is that Amnesia does include more of the classic horror induced moments of being chased and hunted. Not that Penumbra didn't have a bit of that, but I'd say in Amnesia, there were specific moments designed to inject some action.
Overall however, the game is paced similarly. I could wander about, sip some coffee, read my notes and mementos and take in my surroundings.
This may sound casual but what Amnesia succeeds in doing is creating a sense of dread. Brennenburg Castle is a miserable place and rarely do you find yourself feeling too comfortable. When an enemy does discover you and then gives chase, it is probably one of the more scary moments I've experienced in a game. The music, the blurriness of your view, the sound of the monster chasing you...not to mention, when you do finally get behind a closed door and find a hiding spot, you then get to watch as the door is violently brought down into pieces. All you can do is hope you're not spotted as you stare at the wall (there is a "sanity" element if you're new to these games). IRL, I am guilty of some audible "gasping" during these moments. During one particular chase I couldn't find an adequate path to get away from my pursuer and let out a frightened yelp that I am ashamed to even admit. Though, it is important to mention that I allowed the game to get under my skin purely because it was better that way. I could have played it and completely steeled myself from letting it get to me (e.g. left the lights on, lowered the sound, casually approached the objectives), but what's fun about that? For me, nothing.
As far as the story is concerned, I felt compelled to move forward to find the next clue. I could feel a bit of excitement (or perhaps it's better described as relief) every time I saw a new note to read or completed a puzzle. Naturally I won't reveal any spoilers just in case someone does read this review.
I must emphasize that this is not a game full of jump scares and over the top gore. With that being said, there are some very disturbing scenes that you come across. I walk away from this game still thinking about some of what I experienced. Not just from the imagery but the story in general. Per the recommendation from the developers when you first start the game, play with the lights off, don't worry about saving and allow the story to drive you forward.