I actually do reviews for games on Giant Bomb and PC Gamer... and one game I have trouble reviewing is Amnesia Dark Decent. It's not that I'm indecisive it's just, I can't find the proper words to ever describe this game. You couldn't possibly understand what this game means to me. You might like it and the horror genre would say it's a great game but to me it's more. This game single handedly restored my faith in horror games and got me playing them again. After Resident Evil 5/6 and after Silent Hill Homecoming and Downpour I stopped. Stopped playing, stopped reading up on, stopped caring about horror games. Resident Evil I saw coming but Silent Hill too? This mass appeal mindless action ♥♥♥♥♥♥*t needs to stop. Survival horror was the genre that got me into gaming and then I saw the genre just up and leave us fans for more sales from the Call of Duty players. Action is where it's at? As the head developer for Resi 6 said "Survival Horror games are no longer popular, we needed a new direction and new ideas" well guess what... Amnesia proved Survival Horror still has plenty of new ideas to bring to the genre and proved that the genre is not dead.
Amnesia is art.... it's artwork crafted by brilliant minds. Look past all the fun scary chases and the jumpscares, just look at the game. A first person game that doesn't have weapons? Yeah imagine that. You hide and run from monsters, much like people would do in real life. But if you break down the level design, the choice of imagery, the methodically detailed environments. You will see true beauty within. If I may quote some negative reviews here "water monster wasn't all that great of an enemy, he doesn't even have a character design. It's lazy...." yes they had limited resources however this isn't lazy design choices. The fact that you cannot see the water monster is more terrifying than any other creature in the game. It plays off your imagination, the fear of the unknown. Your mind subconsciously filled the blank with your worst fear which gave this monster so much memorability. The water monster is one of the most memorable moments, everyone talks about it and that's the reason.
After such a horrifying experience with the water monster, what happens? You walk into a well light room with a fountain that supplies the calming sound of running water, a hole in the ceiling with light seeping through (one of the first times you see the light of day in this game), beautiful music plays softly in the background and the room has a tint of blue in the air. This is no randomly designed room, no this is a reward. This is saying "Hey you made it through that horrible experience, breathe relax a bit. You deserve it" and that is something I haven't seen before. No stupid achievement unlocked, no legendary loot, no high score and no misspelled CONGRADURATIONS. In a game that plays on your fear and emotions, they reward with such. They made you crap your pants, now they're making you feel relaxed. And that means more than any achievement.
The story is rich and it plays along with the tension in the game. The enemies aren't scary on the level of a jumpscare but rather the fear of being chased. Jumpscares are cheap thrills, true fear is much harder to achieve in a gamer and much more satisfying for the gamer. They accomplish this in many ways. Never knowing what danger lurks beyond the glow of your lamp, the dark abyss continuously hunts you down, the monsters are not just some scary looking monsters for the sake of "boo look at me I'm scary" they're people you tortured and sacrificed for your own safety against the darkness, their disfigured bodies are representations of the guilt you bare in the deepest parts of your conscious despite suffering Amnesia you still feel it, led astray by someone you thought you could trust, no escape or easy way out the only path is down and it's bathed in darkness as you descend slowly into your past with each step you lost sanity, walls are shaking, the crackling sound of your own mind is louder than your beating heart as you're chased by a horrifying disfigured creature you created, the sound of screeching can be heard when they're getting closer letting you know how close you are to death.
Oh... jeez I... I can go on and on about this game. Hell I want too... but if this gets any longer it will be considered a novel. The best thing I can say about this game? Play it... please. I beg you if you're a fan of horror games, if you like being scared, if you like a good story or immersion or hell if you just want to play a damn good game; play this game!
This is without a doubt my favorite game of all time. The favorite game, not one of. That's hard to say, but it's true. I never game 10 out of 10. I always made fun of other reviewers who did, saying no game is perfect. 10 out of 10 is saying it's the masterpiece of all gaming and cannot be improved in any way, shape or form. However, I've seen my mistake. You don't give it a 10 based on some score that means nothing to anyone else other than you. You're giving it a 10 based on the experience the game gave you. And based on that, Amnesia The Dark Decent was given my very first 10 out of 10.