Wot I Think: Amnesia – The Dark Descent

By John Walker on September 7th, 2010 at 6:57 pm.

Even the title screen's too dark for a good screenshot.

Frictional’s first full-length game, and a successor to their Penumbra series, comes out tomorrow. Amnesia is a combination of classic haunted castle horror with their unique first-person adventuring. Is it good? Is it scary? (Let me give you a clue: flipping yes, and oh good grief yes.) Read on to find out just exactly Wot it is that I Think.

Paint the man, cut the lines. Paint the man, cut the lines. Paint the man, cut the lines. Paint the man, cut the lines. Paint the man, cut the lines. Paint the man, cut the lines. Paint the man, cut the lines. Paint the man, cut the lines.

Help me.

Good flipping grief on a barge, Amnesia is a scary game. There is no question, not one, that it has instantly equalled with the original Thief in terms of making me feel like I’m constantly on the verge of a hideous heart attack. If it failed at everything else – and it absolutely does not – then it would still be an extraordinary achievement simply for so ceaselessly inducing ghastly fear.

However, Amnesia achieves on so many levels, from phenomenal architecture to astonishing visual design, from exquisite use of darkness to a game-changing use of physics. It has shortcomings too, and I’ll get to them, but this is an overall tale of impressive success.

But most of all, it’s the fear.

You’re walking down a barely lit corridor, bleak with shadows. You light a single candle on the wall, more to mark that you’ve been this way than to provide any respite. But suddenly everything starts shaking, a roaring crash deafens you, and in front of your is a rockfall blocking your path. So you turn around to make your- WHAT THE HELL IS THAT?

Stood in front of your is the horror of a mutant, its face in a ghastly, deadly yawn, arms twitching, staggering toward you. It hasn’t seen you yet, but the music has, and it’s become discordant, threatening. Daniel’s breathing picks up, his vision stretches out thin, before swimming slowly back to normal. But you’re lit by that candle, and it’s going to-

It’s seen you, and the screech begins. It’s not a scream, not a roar, something between, one tone, horrendous. It speeds up, charges, and you can only run. Darting past, it clips you with a talon-finger, a slice of blood ripping across the screen. Daniel staggers, his sight goes red, but you keep your finger on sprint and you just run, in darkness, no idea where you’re going. Finally there’s a door. You race in, and slam it shut behind you, and run into the darkest corner, crouch, and face the wall.

It’s growling moan still grows louder, and then you hear it slam against the door. Its fists batter at the wood, and you turn around to see splinters flying off, then a hole punched through. Face the wall. Just face the wall.

Whether it comes in to find you, or loses you in the darkness, is up to the moment. But you can’t turn around to find out what it’s doing – see it, and Daniel will react, perhaps make a noise. That’s death. So you stay there, panicking, panting, staring at stones, unsure if it’s even in the room any more.

While the idea of a player character who’s lost their memory may induce a groan, here’s the game that’s allowed to do it. This allows a narrative of gradually revealed horrors to seep back in as you progress through the first-person adventuring.

And it really is adventuring, but in a way that – if only any other developer in the world had had the sense to copy from Frictional’s previous Penumbra series – should be the genre’s new direction. Taking Penumbra’s technological reigns, once again this is a collection of large, complex physics puzzles, combined with exploration and inventory application. However, unlike Penumbra, there’s no combat whatsoever. That there’s still deadly enemies is in a large part why this is so damned scary.

You play Daniel, an explorer who apparently discovered some sort of magical orb. The only knowledge you have of yourself are the notes you left behind, and the memories that assault you as you enter certain locations. Why you’re stuck in a giant castle, and where you’re going, are unknowns. And because the narrative cleverly doesn’t come together in a meaningful way until the final acts, I’ll not say a word more.

So your objective is progression. Get away from where you are, because it’s bloody terrifying, and try to move on. And you can’t stick around, because the building itself is corrupting around you, the rocks growing horrendous pulsating flesh and exploding pustules.

Or more often it’s because you’re running for you life, too scared to turn around, racing until you can find a door to slam shut behind you. Really, having the character make yelps and frightened breathing sounds is completely unnecessary – I was making plenty of my own.

Running is the last resort. Ideally, should you hear the guttural groans of the grotesque mutant creatures that stalk the castle’s halls, you hide. Anywhere. Turn off your lantern, run toward darkness, and crouch. If you can find a wardrobe, climb in it and close the doors. Because you cannot fight back, and any attempts would be hopeless.

Running to darkness is quite the opposite of your usual intent. Darkness leads to fear, and fear leads to insanity. To maintain your mental acumen, you need to seek light, and it’s in extremely short supply. The building is inevitably plunged in black, and too long without being able to see properly causes Daniel to begin losing his already fragile mind. You discover a lantern early on, but the game’s rarest commodity is lantern oil, and you’re going to want to ration it for emergencies. The other option is finding tinderboxes to light lamps, torches, candles or fireplaces. These offer a faint glow in the gloom that can allow you to keep a grip on reality. But again, tinderboxes aren’t in wide supply, and you’re going to have to think carefully about where to create light.

The loss of sanity can only be restored by progression. (An absolutely fantastic improvement on the preview version’s Sanity Potions, that really made no sense at all). This is either geographical, or completing puzzles. It makes sense. These moments provide calm, offer satisfaction. It allows you to believe you’re having an impact, making a difference, and not just the victim to this horror show.

But insanity is rife, and you will be subject to it. The portrayal is splendidly evocative. The screen contorts, bellows, and woozily twists. Colours bleed, the world blurs, and you lose full control of your movement. At worst your legs give way from underneath you, and you’re left dragging yourself across the floor by your arms. And the sound. God, the sound. The screeching, screaming, wailing. The tinnitus drone, the whispering voices, the distorted, atonal instruments. Help me.

Every moment of sound is a masterpiece (with the exception of the voice acting, which is mostly decent, but rarely brilliant). The thumping machinery, colossal chains and cogs, dripping viscera, unholy moans, and swelling tunes constantly conspire to terrify you in even the most gentle moments. Add to this Daniel’s frantic breathing whenever he’s scared, and his little yelps of terror when surprised, and you’re left a gibbering wreck.

Those enemies – it’s not just a case of hiding from them. You can’t even look at them. Their sight is too frightening for Daniel, quickly tipping him over the edge.

It’s crazy how affecting it is, every time. I found myself chanting, “Only a game. Only a game.” But it didn’t work. And I think at the point where a horror game has anyone tell themselves, “It’s only a game”, it’s unquestionably a success.

One particularly horrendous (in the good way, you understand) sequence involves negotiating flooded chambers, stalked by an invisible beast. You can see its footsteps splashing in the water, and it can only detect you by yours. I’ll not ruin a moment of that bit, as it’s possibly the game’s greatest scene, but wow it inflicts terror.

The sense of urgency to get back onto a box, out of the water and onto the safety of a crate, is insane. The whole of my body tensing as the click of my mouse becomes more intense, more frantic, leaning forward in my chair as if that will help me climb to safety more quickly, my spine and chest tingling with urgent fear.

Things are so much more effective for the remarkable way you interact. It’s similar to Penumbra, except without the key to have the mouse become a cursor. Instead you use the central reticule to interact, pointing it at objects. When you can interact a hand icon appears, which lets you click on something to manipulate it. And you manipulate it in a tangible, real way. Opening a drawer isn’t clicking the button to initiate the drawer opening. It’s gripping the handle of the drawer, and then pulling it toward you. It moves as a drawer moves, as quickly as you pull it. Should there be an object inside, it will slide forward if you give the drawer a sharp tug. It’s so simple, but crikey, it makes such a difference.

The same goes for opening and closing doors, which makes that earlier description of slamming doors behind enemies literal. You can gently creak them open, just a crack, to peer through. Or slam them against the wall behind in a mad rush. Objects can be picked up, and sort of magically float in front of you – you have to imagine your arms for yourself. They can be rotated, and thus stacked into improvised structures. You can build ramps, or impromptu staircases to reach areas, from any local furniture.

It’s utter lunacy that more games haven’t mimicked this, but if Amnesia is the success it deserves to be, perhaps it will finally be noticed. For adventure gaming it’s the ideal solution to 3D, letting you apply inventory objects in the real world.

What I found most remarkable about this was the nonchalance with which I applied it. Stood by a balcony in the gloom, I wanted to know how high up I was. So I picked up a stone from the floor and dropped it over the side, and waited for the clatter. It wasn’t until I’d done it that I realised that no game had ever needed me to do this, let alone made it so instinctively possible.

There's quite a lot of winkies in the game.

There’s some silliness in there too. An unfortunate side effect of having puzzles be solved by improvising with the surrounding items is highlighting how daft it is when it requires a specific object in a specific place. One scene needs a rope to lower a container into a hole in the ground. The room is decorated with non-interactive spools of rope, but you have to find the correct bit of string in another location to get anywhere. A normal oddity for gaming, but here it stands out a little bit more. The hammer and chisel in your inventory is used to get past quite a lot of challenges, but there’s many where they’d clearly work but the game just says no.

The script isn’t perfect. There’s some broken English in a couple of places, and a huge number of very long letters you find aren’t voiced. Stopping to read a missive that doesn’t make narrative sense yet doesn’t really fit into the panicked theme of the game, and often things are so obscure that it’s hard to pull it all together in your head. By the end the core plot does come together extremely well, but there’s a lot that’s left confusing because you didn’t do your comprehension homework properly. Daniel’s voice veers between competent and a bit overly pantomimed, often quite mood-breaking. But Alexander’s – and you can learn about him yourself – is great.

But so much more is done so well. There’s an almost Valve-level of smartness with visual cues, and I cannot think of a game that uses audio cues better. Most times I got stuck anywhere were because I was forgetting to listen.

And did I mention it’s scary? I was inventing new swears by the end of it. “Fucking cocksticks, what the shitstack was that?!” And I confess I yelped on more that one occasion. One of them might be considered, by some, to be a squeal. But more often I’d find myself rigid with fear, my stomach pressed against my desk as I leaned into the monitor trying to reach the next illusion of safety more quickly. I think it is safe to say that Amnesia is the most successfully frightening game to have been made. It feels perhaps a slightly over-obvious observation, but the compliment is utterly valid: It’s Thief III’s Cradle as a full game. Unrelenting in its scares and jumps.

That this was made by a five-man team who built their own engine is bewildering. At around ten hours long, that it’s £13 (and discounted currently to pre-order for tomorrow’s release on Steam, GamersGate, and presumably elsewhere) is amazing value. If you pre-ordered it, you can start pre-loading now via Frictional’s site. I cannot recommend it enough. So long as you don’t mind being utterly bloody terrified.

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225 Comments »

  1. Oozo says:

    Ah, boggers…
    It sounds like this game does so, so many things right, not only in a “scariest horror game ever”-way, but in a “gosh, why do not ALL games learn their lessons from that?!”-way. The thing with the progression as a remedy for insanity… all the way they are dealing with power-ups and -downs, it all sounds so completely utterly RIGHT.

    And still, I am so, so not able to deal with horror in games. I never finished the Cradle. (Proud enough of having finished Thief – The Dark Project). I never even tried to play the Penumbra-games, even though I got ‘em in the Humble Indie Bundle. And still… the demo is being downloaded right now. Sanity, we had a good time together.

  2. akemichan88 says:

    Oh dear God.
    When I first found out about the game I kept bugging my boyfriend to buy it for me. And finally he did. Then he send me in the direction of the demo.

    I nearly shit myself, I was so scared. And I can’t believe I actually have the game now. I feel like I have to play it, if I don’t I will never live down the mockery my boyfriend will give me.

    He better hold my hand throughout this game, cause I fear I will have terrible nightmares.

    But HELL, it is so AWESOMELY made

  3. Jim9137 says:

    I probably won’t survive the main menu, then. I didn’t get past the first intersection in Penumbra. I’m happy to be happy to happily pass this happiness by?

  4. wrathfirex says:

    Oh the Horror! I pride myself as being an experienced gamer that can handle any type of game but one genre that I would rather be a spectator than player is the survival horror genre. Oh I have played some including the Resident Evil series, Doom III, Dead Space, but every time I play these games, my adrenaline goes through the roof and I usually get exhausted after playing just 30 minutes! Did I mention that I only play these games at day time and have friends / family around? The games I could stand playing at night is Killing Floor and Left 4 Dead. But then again these are online games and you have team mates.

    First time I saw the trailer, I knew that this game would turn out to be great… but I won’t be buying it because I’d be too damn scared to play it! The trailer already scared me shitless! Especially when you can’t fight back which just intensifies the scare factor. In many of the games that scare me, at least I can blast them ghosties in the face but games like Amnesia make me feel so helpless! Heck bring on the zombies because I know at least I can get some payback. Looks like another gem of a game I will miss because of my yellow streak.

    To all you guys who play this and finish it, I salute you! You guys have some cajones! I know of only one person, a very good friend, that plays these types of games at night, lights closed, headphones on… and still laugh during the game!

    Oh by the way thief wasn’t scary at all by the way.

    • wrathfirex says:

      Woot! Puzzle Quest 2 is on sale in Steam! Just bought it to sooth my aching heart at not able to play amnesia. Still waiting for Recettear to release too.

      Forgot to mention that Thief: Cradle never existed in my play universe (hehe).

    • kenoxite says:

      Did you play “The Cradle” level from Thief: Deadly Shadows?
      Until I played the two first Penumbras it was up there as the scariest game/level ever, along with a couple Silent Hills.

    • kenoxite says:

      Oh, ninjaed me you have.

      I see, then forget my reply.

  5. JB says:

    I downloaded the demo yesterday. At around 1am this morning I fired it up, played about 2 mins and shut it down. Fricitional recommend you play it in a dark room with headphones on for best effects.

    The sadistic bastards.

    Maybe I’ll try again tonight, maybe.

    Also, cocksticks.

  6. ErikM says:

    Great review on a seemingly great game that I will never ever touch.

  7. Berm says:

    I’m going to purchase this and play this and NEVER EVER SLEEP AGAIN!

  8. vader says:

    Ok I bought it. It’s only a game right? Right?

    911 on speed dial just in case of a sudden heart attack. Cocksticks

  9. Sonic Goo says:

    This sounds good, but I don’t like scary games. Any news on whether their next game will feature flowers and bunnies?

  10. Kid A says:

    I’m not sure what depresses me more – that I can’t afford this right now, what with moving into a new flat and starting at uni soon; or the fact that a certain imageboard’s videogames section is already gleefully pirating this, whilst calling PC a dead platform.

  11. Mechorpheus says:

    Oh god I loved the bits of Call of Cthulu when it wasn’t being a horrible broken game. There’s apparently a patch which sorts some of the game-breakers out, but it doesn’t work with the steam version.

    Regarding Amnesia, I ummed and arred a bit as I wasn’t immediately taken with the medieval setting, but I loved Penumbra, and after reading John’s and Quentin’s words, an order was placed. Now need to mount a windscreen wiper to my desk chair in preparation!

    • Mechorpheus says:

      That was meant to be a reply to Warth0g…. helps to log-in!

  12. blargh says:

    You know, I was hugely disappointed with how Overture turned out. It was an utterly boring and disappointing experience for me, and that largely had me completely uninterested in Amnesia since I first heard about it. It was so excruciatingly boring (save for the few good parts), that I neared the end of it over a year ago and only felt compelled to come back and finish it last week.

    … and then I played Black Plague.

    I, now, have no doubt that these people have made an even better game with Amnesia, and while I won’t be purchasing it just yet since I’ve exceeded my game budget for the month (and I literally just finished BP earlier today!), I’ll definitely keep an eye on it. It sounds too good to pass up, and if the massive improvement in Black Plague over Overture is anything to go by, then I know I will not regret buying it when I do.

  13. Jimmy Jazz says:

    Well, the first time I played Penumbra was honestly my first encounter with a game set out to terrify you.

    while a few months later I found it just as you described, or at least the first one.

    The second one is tense, and has a few *shit your pants* moments. such as running down a hall way, slamming a door shoving a barrel in-front of the door and keep on running praying like hell that you don’t turn the corner and find another one of *THEM*. running from what I’ll not say.

    But yes, Penumbra is tense and scared me, but Black Plague more so.

    • Jimmy Jazz says:

      Frig, that wasn’t supposed to be there, ignore this please, my mistake.

  14. AlexB says:

    I know I am! This is EXACTLY the kind of game I’m looking for. I absolutely adore horror movies and loved the penumbra series. I LOVE waking up in the middle of the night, being terrified by strange sounds, and not being able to fall asleep again! I pre-ordered amnesia months ago and can’t wait for tomorrow night.

    You guys need to grow a pair and experience something you’ll never be able to experience in real life :)

  15. Quintesse says:

    Hey, I always liked that you could at least kill those annoying dogs (if playing on Normal that is).
    Too much running around to do which already takes long enough without the dogs!

  16. Austin says:

    I saw a trailer for this game and it managed to scare me in the 2 minutes that I watched it; I’ve since downloaded and played the demo and am working my way through Penumbra (I bought the collection ^-^)… Saying that a game is like the Cradle from Theif III is possibly the most terrifying thing you can say…

    • Rich says:

      At least there were only 3 or 4 bad guys in the Cradle, and you had holy water at your disposal.

    • Hidden_7 says:

      There were nine weren’t there, not counting the memories. Or was it thirteen?

  17. WombatDeath says:

    Oh god, I can’t play this sort of thing. I had to stop playing a certain level in Vampire: Bloodlines because I genuinely feared that I was about to have a heart attack, and that wasn’t particularly scary. I’m only buying this if it comes with a free kitten-snuggling simulator.

  18. Sunjammer says:

    My natural reaction to this kind of game is to cackle madly. I just played the demo and I absolutely loved it, invisible water-jerk and all. Like you say John, things you’d naturally try, like tossing diversions into the water to throw the monster off, are absolutely instinctive.

    Judging by the demo though, I must disagree somewhat with you that this is scarier than the cradle; Amnesia is too over the top. It goes out of its way to be scary, and as a result I just sat there giggling (with delight). It certainly gave me chills and made me nervous to go around corners or open doors, but nowhere near the same way games like Condemned 2 or even Aliens vs Predator 2 did.

    But god damn am I into it. As soon as my clients pay me (grr) I’m picking this up

    • Hidden_7 says:

      At what point was the Cradle particularly subtle with its scares?

      This was a level that had a ghost story told about it involving a skin stealing witch before it even started.

  19. Tacroy says:

    The game sounds awesome, but there’s no way I’d be able to play it – I couldn’t even finish Shadow of the Colossus because it was too frightening.

  20. Kast says:

    Can’t wait to play the game and really want to read this review but I don’t want it to influence my reaction to it or my own analysis. Will definitely come back to read this at a later point, though.

  21. drewski says:

    I’m scared just reading about it.

  22. feighnt says:

    why do people (including John) keep saying that *this* is the game that fixes the problem of combat in Penumbra, when *Penumbra* was the game that fixed the combat problem. ie: Penumbra: Black Plague.

    there’s zero combat in Black Plague. the only vaguely “combat” part of the game – the only part i recall where you can actually kill something – is actually just a puzzle (and a great scene, btw, if anyone knows what i’m talking about).

    hearing people talking like this makes me think that they didnt play Black Plague…

    if that’s the case…

    GO PLAY BLACK PLAGUE. the game is fantastic on a number of levels, and has one of the most interesting ideas for a villain that i’ve ever seen in a video game.

    • Mereli says:

      Yeah that scene was great, it came to a complete surprise for me.
      Black plague was pretty scary at first but after you find out you can simply run past them… well.. then it isn’t any more.

  23. jvempire says:

    I have found the game to play this Halloween. (Of course with my friends over, invisible monsters while walking through flooded chambers? You think I’M insane?)

  24. Urthman says:

    Those enemies – it’s not just a case of hiding from them. You can’t even look at them.

    That right there is a genius idea for a first-person horror game. Such a neat implementation of the “don’t show the monster” rule of horror.

    I won’t buy this game. It sounds like exactly the kind of adventure game I’d love to play, but I don’t enjoy horror at all. I sure hope they decide to branch out into other genres.

    • bill says:

      That’s exactly what I was going to say.

      Just like movies, the more you can see of monsters, the less scary they become. And many horror games fail for this exact reason – we can run up to the monster, strafe around it, take a good close look, spot it’s AI flaws and polygons. And even if we die we can reload.

      Plus, games tend to repeat – and monsters that were scary the first time tend to be dull the 10th time you see them. But if you can’t see them….

      genius.

  25. Shadram says:

    I invented swears too, playing the demo. My personal favourite was “*yelp* You shitcocking wankbastard!” Although I guess that’s less inventing swears, and more chaining swears together.

  26. Mereli says:

    I´ve always loved these games for being so unique nad getting the scary bits spot on. I also hate them for it.
    I´ve had moments in games like this where it gets really scary where I was just: Why am I doing this to myself? Fuck this.

    I still end up going back.. eventually.

  27. Item! says:

    Well this wasn’t on my radar at all, but in the last two days your WIT and Quinn’s Eurogamer review have me completely sold.

    Purchased, downloading and I have my surround headphones ready and a long weekend ahead of me.

  28. Huggster says:

    Sorry but there is one, and only one, king of swear chains, Mr LD:

  29. bleeters says:

    You brave, brave people. I’d never be able to stand something like this without suffering catastrophic organ failure. Hell, I was afraid of the covenant from Halo the first time I played that.

    Yes. The bouncing, brightly coloured aliens who squealed like jawas. I was afraid of those. Never will you find a bigger wuss.

  30. Butler` says:

    I get scared playing Oblivion.

    Should I play this?

  31. bill says:

    This sounds great. It reminds me that i think i got penumbra in the Humble Indie bundle… so i guess i should play that one first…

    But this sure sounds like one for the “to buy” list. Good for them!

    • Rich says:

      I have the same bundle, but I can’t even bring myself to play Penumbra. It’s icon is a trap door, that frankly I have no intention of going down.

      One thing I would say, is that I see no reason why you shouldn’t be allowed to throw objects at the nasties in Amnesia to slow them down.

  32. IM19208 says:

    Are we pc gamers? So this game its a must have, and no sales and shit like that xD

    BUY IT RIGHT NOW

    • Hmm-Hmm. says:

      Nope. :P

      It just so happens I’m not fond of games which consist only of ways to scare you a lot. Scary parts in games which have other stuff? Fine.

    • Lilliput King says:

      Unique (and excellent) interaction mechanics, ‘flight’ rather than ‘fight’ gameplay (who else but Frictional is brave enough to do that?) and a use of audio cues so brilliant it may even surpass Valve.

      Exactly what kind of “other stuff” are you looking for? I’m not challenging your right to do what you wish with your cash, but to say Amnesia consists only of ways to scare you is just plain wrong. In terms of design it’s easily the most adventurous game since the Void.

    • Hidden_7 says:

      I don’t think he was deriding Amnesia’s design or technical accomplishments, simply lamenting its tone.

      Horror can be a very draining genre, and for some people a level or so of horror in a game that otherwise has a less than frightening tone is more than enough. 10+ hours of horror can just be too draining.

      Personally I’m an hour in and loving it so far, but then, I haven’t met any monsters yet,

  33. Ovno says:

    Just played the demo at lunchtime at work and it was scary enough in the middle of a light office surrounded by people playing cod4, so I’ll definately be getting this…

    Though really as I never even got passed the first room on penumbra it might be a while before I complete it…

  34. Subject 706 says:

    Preordered this, glad to see that it is great. (Also made by my countrymen). Great thing is, this game will keep me from playing overlong sessions on weekdays, when i really should go to bed. Unless I want to go insane, or suffer a heart attack, that is.

  35. airtekh says:

    I am an absolute sucker for these kinds of games.

    Thief, System Shock 2, Stalker – all of these are among my favourite games ever.

    Buying this is a no-brainer for me.

  36. akemichan88 says:

    Only 4 hours till the release.

    I just know I will be a mess at work tomorrow. Either I play it and I can’t sleep all night, or I stay up contemplating if it’s a good idea to play it or if it’s better to wait till its light outside.

  37. Rick says:

    I played the demo and liked it. Thought it was a pretty kewl game and all. But I did not like the fact that there are all kinds of weapons lying about to be used to help defend yourself like a hammer or a cleaver and you could not use them. Kind of lame, no one in a situation like this game places you in would not use those to defend yourself. Not trying to knock the game because it is a really nice game, but a little defendable combat would not have hurt.

    • Hidden_7 says:

      I don’t know about the demo, but in the game proper you’re warned that whatever’s after you is otherworldly, invincible, and told that it would be pointless to try and fight it well before you actually meet anything. Given those circumstances I think I wouldn’t be too likely to start swinging at the monstrous horrors advancing on me with whatever poorly improvised weapon I had found lying around. I’d be far more likely to just run as fast as I can, and more likely still, collapse into a gibbering ball.

  38. Knef says:

    Aaaand it’s native for Linux.

    One question, though: how is the saving system? Is it possible to save the game everywhere or are there fixed savepoints as in Penumbra?

    • Ignorant Texan says:

      We’ll know shortly. The demo says to allow yourself to become immersed and not worry about saving, the game will handle it for you. Sounds like fixed savepoints to me.

    • elyscape says:

      It saves whenever you enter a new area and whenever you quit. Don’t worry, there’s an option to quit without saving. It may save under a few more circumstances, but those are the ones I know about.

  39. Nero says:

    Arrgh, the game seems to have problems with Radeon Xxxx cards which I of course have. I’m sad because of this fact that I won’t be able to play it at this moment. I want it :(

  40. OldRat says:

    I got it. I started playing it. I thought I’d be a big and manly man and have a blast. Now I’m goddamn scared. Now I’m telling myself it’s just a game. Just a game. It’s just a programmed monster model programmed to OH GOD I HEARD IT OH GODS IT’S COMING RUN RUN GET OUT

    Wardrobes are a friend. Wardrobes are a friend. Wardrobes are a friend. Leave the doors open. Leave all the wardrobes open. Just run.

    This is just horrible. I kid you not, I’m afraid. I visibly slumped down on my chair after I managed to rush away and get out of the area. Now it’s all safe OH GOD NO IT’S NOT

    And yet, I will play this lights off, all the way through, at night, awake alone and with headphones. I have to. This is the strongest reaction a game has gotten from me in a long time. I just hope nobody will wake up from the screams.

    Yes, I am indeed impressed. Very, very impressed. I thought Black Plague was the real horrorshow. Turns out it’s just the appetizer.

    • akemichan88 says:

      You are a brave man!
      I just made into the central hal thing or something and I was happily exploring when I heard a woman scream.

      I don’t want to go take a look what’s going on :(

  41. mcwizardry says:

    Just played the first section up until the refinery, the sound and visual design are very impressive. I hope I can make it all the way to the end.

  42. Sunjammer says:

    Very tense, but played methodically for about 3 hours I’m still not feeling the abject terror. Hoping that will show up soon ;-)

    But I’m loving the gameplay. Something about Frictional’s understanding of physics in games. How come pretty much nobody else do physics like this? As in this good? Hell, i’ll just randomly toss boxes around because it feels right.

  43. A Punctual Nord says:

    Made it to the fourth paragraph before stopping to buy it.

  44. CaLe says:

    Not understanding those saying they can’t play it because it’s too scary. The game scares the shit outta me but that just hugely enhances the experience.

  45. Earl_of_Josh says:

    God DAMN you John Walker. God damn you. I swore excessivelyand then alot. And then I said I would never buy some silly game just because RPS made it sound cool. Downloading.

  46. Earl_of_Josh says:

    God DAMN you John Walker. God damn you. I swore excessively and then alot. And then I said I would never buy some silly game just because RPS made it sound cool. Downloading.

  47. Huggster says:

    Okay, this game oozes atmosphere.
    To those European readers – try and make a visit to your local stately home before playing it, just to get you in the mood.

    • Fred Wester, CEO of Paradox says:

      I like the way you presume we’re all living next to grand stately homes, drinking tea and eating jam scones on immaculately mowed lawns, followed by a game of crochet and yet more tea and possibly cake.

      Well as it goes I do live within walking distance of at least five stately homes (should count and see sometime) But don’t stereotype me god dam it! *sips tea*

  48. Sarlix Wester, CEO of Paradox says:

    Funny, I could of sworn I changed my name back. It must be a sign!

  49. Arnold says:

    Wait.

    So you mean I am NOT a space marine with a big friggin’ gun?

  50. XY says:

    If this is how much manly-men we have left on this planet, then woe is us.
    You can’t even get through a PC game without poopie-pants, how are you going to remove hueg living crawly spiders of death in absolute darkness from the corners of your flat to rescue your wimminfolk?

    Wimminz, this way!