• Publisher: THQ
  • Release Date: Feb 17, 2011
User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 1017 Ratings

User score distribution:

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  1. Sep 17, 2010
    This game is amazing...-ly frightening. The game takes advantage of all the little details of human nature not usually included in video games, and by combining heavy breathing with dizziness and eerie creaks, I practically became the person in the game. In fact, some times I would hear something to the left, and I would look away from the monitor myself. And more than just being creepy is the realism of the game, although some things are designed unrealistically on purpose, it just makes you feel like you're going crazy. I must admit I was scared many times, and the subtle revealing of the plot as you advance gives you more understanding of the situation, yet makes you feel even more scared. It doesn't require much puzzle-solving, but its goal is to scare me stiff, and frictional games did an excellent job of that. Expand
  2. Dec 13, 2010
    There are things this game does fantastically. The sound is amazing, the atmosphere is incredible. The monsters are scary as hell. There were a couple times when after a few minutes of hiding from a monster, listening for his footsteps and creeping little by little out into the light, trying to figure out where he was; only to have him appear and charge me: The second or two before he killed me, my skin actually tingled and I involuntarily drew breath. I felt the feeling of actual terror.

    The puzzles were another high point. They were intuitive and fun, you needed just enough brainpower to solve them that you feel satisfied afterward without just guessing randomly until you get it. The story, while standard spooky fare was more than adequate and the voice acting was better than most AAA titles. Won't win any oscars, but it wasn't bad enough to take you out of the story, like some games that cost 10X more to make.

    The graphics were Average at best, but the lack of visual POW never took you out of the moment. My big issue with the game was the mechanics. You have to constantly manage your light sources, which seems like an afterthought. Since you have no weapons in the game, they can't add challenge by making you manage ammo, so they just use light. Which was distracting because you have a lantern that burns out faster than Gordan Freeman's flashlight (and doesn't recharge) and a bunch of tinder boxes. These appear to be as big as beer cans, but for some reason can only be used to light ONE light source each. And as important to your survival that a single candle is... you can't pick it up and take it with you, even though it is obviously just sitting on a table. It feels like they decided that the game was too easy and needed something to make it more of a challenge.

    And I get why you can't have weapons, the feeling of sheer horror as some abomination sees me from across a dark cellar is something I have never felt in a video game before... but... there are weapons literally everywhere. In your puzzles, you use huge wrenches, fireplace pokers, metal rods, flammable lamp oil, shovels, BOMBS. but your character never thinks to use one on the roughly man-sized monsters that are wandering all over the place. The last thing that really bothered me about the game is one of the first things you see when you fire it up: Some tip of advice that says something along the lines of "don't play this game to win, instead, let yourself become engrossed in the story" or something to that effect. Just because you're an indie studio, don't ask me to give you the benefit of the doubt. Just make a great game. In closing: This game has some really mind-blowing elements. You can tell the creators really love electronic gaming and bring a level of craftsmanship that a lot of the mega-titles can't touch. The sound is some of the best I've ever had the pleasure of experiencing. But in the end, a lot of the game play mechanic is contrived and serves only to artificially add complexity. To everyone who gave 9s and 10s:Lets hold indie developers to a HIGHER standard, not a lower one. Because they have the passion and innovation to truly create the next great games: not the EA team working on the latest Nazi Shooting FPS ported from XBOX.
  3. Sep 9, 2010
    Tense beyond anything you've ever experienced in the gaming world. Manages to top the Penumbra series by a mile...and that's saying something. Great graphics, eerie ambient sounds and a deep psychological story. Don't miss this one!
  4. Sep 10, 2010
    This is by far the most haunting and eerie game i have ever played. The graphics are decent, but the game itself doesn't completely rely on the graphics to create such a scary atmosphere, it's the brilliant sound design and narration. This game will have you jumping in your seat when even the slightest odd thing happens, let alone the real scares, some of which created a genuine feeling of terror for me. Seriously, this game blows the Penumbra (up until now my favorite horror games) completely out of the water. Ten times over. Bottom line: if you loved the Penumbra series, get it. If you did not play them, get it. The 15-ish euro price tag is just stealing the game, because i would have still bought it if it where 40 euros. Frictional Games, you truly outdid yourselves. Already can't wait for a new game from you. I love you Frictional Games!! Expand
  5. Sep 17, 2010
    The "Survival-Horror" genre is losing its touch. These days, games that carry the title are much less about horror and more about things jumping out at you for a cheap scare. Even the survival aspect is often pushed to the back burner in favor of making an easier game accessible to a more general audience. As a result survival-horror fans are getting action games with a few scary moments shoved down their throats.

    Amnesia isn't like that. Amnesia focuses on three things: atmosphere, survival, and, above all else, horror. Before players start the game, a warning is given that the game should not be played to win. It should be played to allow one's self to be absorbed into the world of Amnesia. Those that follow this advice will be in for the ride of their life. From the very beginning of the game, Amnesia's immersive and completely unsettling world will have you questioning if that sound is something moving, or if you're just going insane. You'll be afraid to go around the next corner, lest something horrifying is there. But you won't be able to stop.

    With the recent release of the same development tool kit that the creators used to make the game, players can make their own stories. With a bit of creativity and just a bit of that sadistic love of horror, we'll be seeing good things come from Amnesia for a time to come.
  6. Sep 27, 2010
    Where Amnesia differs from other horror games is that you have absolutely no weapons whatsoever, creating this feeling of complete and utter helplessness as you are stalked around Castle Brennenberg by an unknown shadow. "Survival horror" games such as the Resident Evil series are no longer "survival horror"- they are 3rd person shoot-'em-ups. Amnesia: The Dark Descent is a truly terrifying game due to the atmosphere created on your computer screen. I personally can't play it for more than five minutes without having to stop and tell myself "It's only a game"- definitely the horror element doing its job. Expand
  7. Sep 16, 2010
    You thought Dead Space was scary? It doesn't even hold a candle to Amnesia: The Dark Descent. Believe the hype, this is the stuff nightmares are made of.
  8. Apr 28, 2011
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. I bought this game with because of all the acclaim it got and I figured, hey it's only 20 bucks for a great game. Wrong. Wrong. Where do I start? How about the really boring story. It seems they made the game and all the puzzles and then thought man, I need a reason to do all this. So uninteresting I've already checked somewhere in the water part. How are the creepy/scary qualities? It was creepy for all of 20 minutes. Then it was just stupid. Losing your sanity consists of a few more scratching sounds and a dumb filter put on the scree. Then sometimes the screen flashes and becomes a little more red while your lose control. Ah yes, control. The controls suck. Think Minecraft and you'd be nearly spot on. The only fun I started having with the game was running (which is more like fast walking) and jumping. Usually I tried to glitch the game and monsters. By the way, the monsters are not scary. Once again see Minecraft. Except sometimes they are invisible and can hurt you... but you can jump through them. Seriously don't be suckered like me by all these reviews. Compare this side by side to a serious game title (Dead Space) and it'll knock it out of the water. Lastly, I have a good graphics card and the settings are at the highest. Yeah, the graphics still suck. Is this company stuck in 2001? Thanks for reading. Summary: Unless you're 3 and have never played a half-decent video game before, don't waste your time. It's not fun, scary, creepy, a good story, or a cool experience. Expand
  9. Sep 9, 2010
    Just finished one (of three?) endings tonight. The way the game presents itself - atmosphere, pacing, even the ambient sounds all add to a tension-filled session of gameplay. This is a *must have* for anyone that's a fan of Atmospheric horrors, such as Penumbra and Silent Hill. The story was just as enjoyable for me, revealing why the player-character, Daniel, willingly took a tonic that gave him amnesia. The climax of that story made my jaw drop into my lap for the first time since BioShock's twist. Collapse
  10. Sep 10, 2010
    Best horror game since the Penumbra series themselves. Do i need to say more? Well put it this way, within about an hour of playing i was TERRIFIED of playing any further and i was enjoy ever second of playing it at the same time. Just simply amazing experience.
  11. Sep 28, 2010
    A beautifully crafted game that makes great use of sound to create a tense, horrifying atmosphere. As others have suggested, if you'd played any of the penumbra series, you will certainly enjoy this game. My biggest recommendation for players is to do what the game says, turn your lights off and use a really good pair of headphones; be aware however... you may have nightmares.
  12. Sep 9, 2010
    Amnesia: The Dark Descent is a must have for survival horror and more specifically fans of the Looking Glass Technologies style of gameplay.

    Amnesia is a wonder of minimal gameplay mechanics. The pacing of the game is much more fluid than similar titles within the genre - Thief, System Shock, Bioshock, Penumbra, etc. Puzzles for the most part are logical and most of the time come natural.
    This is what sets the game apart from the packs. Using an inventory system taken from classic adventure gaming - combining objects, yet the puzzles that utilize the inventory objects are never nonsensical in the way many other adventure games use the mechanic. Since the levels are heavy in atmosphere the level design is fairly simplistic which only benefits to keep the player engaged and helps to move the puzzle solving along.

    The sound design is top notch. The sound designer took field recordings were really well recorded; feels very real, atmospheric, foreboding. Amnesia is just as much an aural experience as a visual experience, sometimes the sound is so intense with the gameplay that I've taken off my headphones just to continue. It can be that intense. The story is actually very well written and sinister. Though, largely the environments are seemingly empty they are alarmingly alive with past atrocities.The 'find-documents-along-the-way' game mechanic has been done so many times in this genre. But, never has it been done so well. The story is very well written and will capture your attention unlike in other games that deploy this element. They are somewhat reminiscent in tone with the Thief series and it definitely helps that some are very well voice-acted.

    The visual insanity mechanic is wonderful. I don't want to spoil it but it is visually much like tripping on LSD. Which is swirling textures, disorientation... it's pretty neat.

    The physics mechanics, the atmosphere, the story, the pacing, the presentation. It's immaculate. It's very polished and much more fluid than Frictional's previous endeavors and that is saying a lot. This game is simply a must buy for those into Looking Glass type games, horror, or innovative games in general.
  13. JFF
    Sep 8, 2010
    One of the best indie games of the year. The puzzles are clever, the sounds is magnificent and the atmosphere... wow boy, the atmosphere. You can play this game at 12:00 PM in a sunny Sunday and still the game will scare The hell out of you. A must buy for horror fans.
  14. Sep 15, 2010
    I thought Penumbra was scary, but this is best horror game so far. Playing at night in dark quite room can get you a heart attack! I love the atmosphere, story, puzzles and the physics in this game.
  15. Sep 13, 2010
    An unimaginably scary experience with an unimaginably terrifying and philosophically questionable story, hiding/running from monsters is terrifying and puzzles are often intuitive. Sound is brilliant, with just plain amazing ambient noises that make you scared to move on for fear of encountering a monster in the next room, and nightmare fuel music.
  16. Sep 10, 2010
    I would've liked to spend $60 and had a game with graphics worthy of 2010. It's a scary game, with simple controls and inventory (a plus in my book), but certain things just kept taking me out of the experience. A spider web you can walk through and stays fully intact for example. I hid in a cupboard, and it wasn't dark inside the cupboard, despite there being no light source. I give it 8/10 for the concept though. In terms of fear factor, I put this below Dead Space. Expand
  17. Oct 2, 2010
    Penumbra is one of my favorite horror games, but this is even better. This game really shows how a psychological horror is supposed to be made! It's really worth buying, especially because it's so cheap.
  18. Sep 10, 2010
    Amnesia: The Dark Descent is simply the best survival-horror game which came out in a while. It's a 'must-have' for all horror-survival fans and, of course, PC owners.
  19. Dec 11, 2011
    This game is not as great as everyone says. It's not scary or "immersive". People love to throw that word around, but the thing is, you can "immerse" yourself in ANY game - The question is why did you choose to do it with Amnesia, as opposed to any of the other games in the world? And honestly, I couldn't tell you. You spend a large portion of the game walking around in an open room, nothing to fight, nothing significant to do. When you first encounter an enemy, you can't fight it. Your character is apparently afraid of them, so I guess you have to be too, even though they're not actually scary. And I mean what's the worst thing that can happen? You would die and have to reload the game? That is the worst possible case scenario. It's not like something is going to come out of the screen and torture you if you do badly or something. I know I'm mostly talking about the philosophy behind the game, and not the gameplay itself, but that's because there's really not much to talk about as far as gameplay. You just walk around doing insignificant little things, like finding matches so that you can light torches, so that you don't have to watch the annoying screen effects when your character starts to go crazy because of the darkness. This game simply has no appeal to me. If you aren't into horror related games, don't buy in to the hype. It's just a very generic, typical horror game. Nothing more, nothing less. Expand
  20. Aug 12, 2011
    The most intense and immersive game in recent memory. Throughout this entire game, terror and suspense had me edging constantly through the world, carefully managing my lantern and tinder supply, and apprehensively peering around corners into pitch black darkness hoping nothing was waiting for me ahead. That is, until I realized how easy it was to dodge monsters. The reason I only rate it a 5 is because once you figure out the enemy AI and once you understand how to conserve tinder boxes and lamp oil by not lighting every candle you come across, the challenge (and more importantly the terror and anxiety) largely evaporates. If you're cautious, it's super easy to avoid enemies without them ever seeing you even when the game punishes you for being in dark areas near monsters for too long as your sanity drains, vision blurs, and stealth level decreases. Monitoring your sanity does not require you to constantly light your lantern. All you need to is maneuver through natural light sources or light an out of the way candle to rest near. Monster AI and pathing seemed odd. Too often I would be spotted by a monster and forced to duck into a small room with no way out or no place to hide. All I had to do was crouch in a corner near the door. The monster would open the door or bash it in, stand in the door way for a few seconds, and then leave never actually entering the room. After a while, this got really old, and monsters felt more like an annoyance to sit through rather than a threat. Exiting the room into a narrow hallway or dead end with only one way out, the monster simply vanished, no where to be found. I even went so far as to look for trouble, finding no monsters. Monster appearences seemed to me to occur only after steps in a puzzle for a certain location were completed. For example, gaining an item needed to advance or unlocking a door would trigger an event which I would unfailingly avoid through the method described above. The only challenge left in the game were the puzzles themselves which were excellent. They required just enough thought that you felt accomplished solving them and they weren't so difficult as to feel tedious or mind numbing and forced. The pacing and placement of these puzzles was also excellent. The story was also engaging though the three endings leave a lot to be desired. Unlocking the different endings is as simple as reloading save to the final minutes of gameplay. Nothing you do throughout the game affects which ending you will receive - only what you do at the very very end of the game. If you're a horror game fanatic, you'll enjoy this game more than I did. Otherwise, it'll feel like a puzzle game with a half baked stealth mini game of avoiding monsters thrown in the break the flow. Expand
  21. Sep 8, 2010
    this game is great , very similar to penumbra but is much scary , it should be more games like this. I give it a nine because storyline could be better
  22. Sep 9, 2010
    The complete vulnerability evokes the most intense emotions while also adding adrenaline to your fright fed furnace like no other game currently available today.
  23. Sep 15, 2010
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. One of the best games I have ever played. The atmosphere is gorgeous. The game play is very straight but in its simplicity it's perfect. Add freaky monsters, entertaining plot and great ambiance and you should have no dilemma about buying this game. It's absolutely outstanding and miles away from other survival horror games. I can ercommend this game to everyone who like to be scaried. Expand
  24. Nov 2, 2010
    A truly remarkable horror experience, you won't find cutting edge graphics or Hollywood voice-acting but what you will find is true fear and tension that even sometimes you would want to quit just because you're too scared to carry on.
  25. Oct 15, 2010
    This game itself has to be the best game I've ever played in a long time, including the scariest game for me too! The atmosphere, story and artistic environments all add up and present a game with a deep, spooky atmosphere, a complex yet interesting story, and the most cleverly designed environments in a game. Frictional Games have managed to impress many and scare the hell out of people yet again. Good luck and a thanks to Frictional Games. Expand
  26. Oct 17, 2010
    I think Amnesia : the dark descent is one of the scariest games ever made. We can see a very few mistakes, but we can understand that because the game was made by an independant developper. I really love Amnesia because all the games that qualify themselves has "horror-survival" are not scary at all, I think about Left 4 Dead or Resident Evil 5 (even if I love these games too), when you see a zombie, you kill him with a shotgun and that's all. In Amnesia, you run and hide, the only answer to the encounter between you and a monster is to escape. The fear is omnipresent, when you hear screaming voices, when you open a door, when you go into the darkness of a room without light, your heart is going crazy. This is one of the game I will remember all my life as a game of quality. Expand
  27. Sep 15, 2011
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. It certainly is a creepy game, that can get the best of you at times. The level design, in some places anyway, is pretty solid, and you actually feel like you're in a massive castle. And then the horror elements come in. At first, they are genuinely scary. Monsters are intimidating in every way, be it by the growls they let loose to let you know of their presence, the tell-tale footsteps and grinding noises, and the possible rage they get into when they spot your sorry behind. They've definitely roused their fair share of scares from a number of players. But I'm not really one of them.

    For starters, the AI in this game is almost non-existent, following a seemingly on-rails methodology. This is ALWAYS the case in the game. Yes, there is pretty much one monster that doesn't follow this system, but it's for the only genuinely scary part of the game which doesn't last. When a monster appears, simply hide somewhere, wait for it to go out of sight, and it'll disappear from the level outright. The trend never dissipates, which is disappointing in the very least. This definitely makes the monsters more of an obtrusion than an actual enemy that could pose a threat to you. Even sadder is the fact that Penumbra did a better job in this regard.

    Music is pretty good, though. Mikko Tarmia is the composer, and he knew what he was doing with the game's soundtrack. Rather than give a sense of total isolation like Penumbra did, this one makes you feel like the walls are closing in. Graphics are mixed. There are solid effects here, like the SSAO lighting and higher-than-average polygon count, considering the low budget at work. Monster designs are a plus, so Frictional did a good job here. However, you can't help but feel like it is outdated. Hardly to the fault of the developers though, who may have earned enough cashola to warrant an improved engine.

    Physics is sort of important here. You can interact with pretty much anything in the game world, but other than opening doors, flipping levers & switches, and picking up items or notes, you don't do much of anything that makes you want to interact with the game world. While they did add the ability to fully rotate some objects, there isn't really a reason to. It could have been used to better effect, like say, to investigate an object that might have a nook or cranny containing a key or some other thing. Story is alright. There's little to involve you in the game, and there's no narrative. Every bit of the story comes from the notes and mementos you come across in the game. Plus, you might find yourself wanting some kind of landmark to come around to break the monotony you happen upon. You only come across one character that kind of interacts with you, but it's kind of creepy and you would have to have a suspension of disbelief to cope with it.

    You can play custom stories, even with things you make yourself, because the developers added features to elongate the game's replay factor. At least they accomplished that.

    It's a disappointing title, considering that Penumbra (sans 'Requiem') was a solid series of horror adventure games. This one is convoluted, gets predictable quite fast, and could have been improved in so many ways (don't make the enemies so pointless, for starters, as they are only there to give you the chills or scares for a few moments). Hopefully, though, they've learned their lesson and they try something better next time.
  28. Nov 1, 2010
    A lot about the game-play is said already in the reviews. It's one of a disturbing game ! Frictional guys really invested themselves in making a very original gameplay. I just love the visual effects slightly distorting the first person view.
    But what I'd like to add about this game, and it's an important thing is the intercompatibility between windows, mac and linux. The penumbra games
    were restricted to a specific os from a purchase. So I'm happy they followed 2dboy in doing this way. However there was very annoying bugs in the first version and the linux patch were published much later than the windows one...

    Also about the story I'd like to say the end was quite frustrating. Some ends kick you to the credits only with a small comment. It's more like a game over... So I feel like it's a shame and it would have deserved more.
  29. Nov 2, 2010
    They hype around the game's fear-factor is well justified until later in the game when much of the fear is replaced by horror of a different kind....
    I'd also say the use of sound is the best I've come across in all my years as a gamer and only wish my headphones had not broken days before I got the game. Still, played at high volume in the dark had the desired effect.

    Graphically very
    strong with well implemented sanity and disorientation effects.

    The story is decent, certainly daring (I think the Devs have read the same disturbing book as I: The Roots of Evil). At times though, the lead actor hams it up a bit too much and if I was reaching to find more weaknesses I'd say it was on the whole a bit too linear and the clues often obviate the need to think too much. The ending also left me wanting thought I predict that was deliberate.....

    So while nothing is perfect in this world; since this game cost me just £7 and appears to have been created by a team of about 4 people, it scores a solid 10!

    An absolute triumph for Indie Development and I look forward to their next offering!
  30. Oct 13, 2013
    A horror game that is ACTUALLY scary.... I mean REALLY scary... allow yourself to be immersed and then terrified and be stunned that a level that was essentially a platformer became a stress inducing terror.
  31. Sep 9, 2010
    Just finished one (of three?) endings tonight. The way the game presents itself - atmosphere, pacing, even the ambient sounds all add to a tension-filled session of gameplay. This is a *must have* for anyone that's a fan of Atmospheric horrors, such as Penumbra and Silent Hill. The story was just as enjoyable for me, revealing why the player-character, Daniel, willingly took a tonic that gave him amnesia. The climax of that story made my jaw drop into my lap for the first time since BioShock's twist. Collapse

Generally favorable reviews - based on 44 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 42 out of 44
  2. Negative: 0 out of 44
  1. Apr 19, 2011
    Amnesia: The Dark Descent is the scariest game in years. You'll get an extremely creepy vibe from the castle and all of the mysterious things that are happening there. The voice overs and the ending of the game aren't great, but this shouldn't bother anyone seeing how you'll be extremely scared when you play this on your own in a dark room.
  2. Jan 31, 2011
    Amnesia offers an experience so rich that we're willing to forgive its weak ending, imperfections of the engine, and low-bugdet production values.
  3. Jan 29, 2011
    At times it's a struggle to play purely because of how scary it can be, and it's not often you can say that about a video game. Just remember: lights off, headphones on, and try not to go insane.