It has been a long time coming for console players to experience the unsettling and surreal Amnesia games, with the first title making its way to PC 6 years ago. A collection pieced together by Frictional Games’ highly acclaimed original Amnesia: The Dark Descent, the expansion Amnesia Justine and The Chinese Room’s Amnesia: A Machine for Pigs. Despite not updating these games all that much in terms of graphics and mechanics, the true horror still stands on its own today. Braving the unsettling corridors is just as scary as it was back in 2010.
The first and easily the best Amnesia title, The Dark Descent puts you in the shoes of Daniel as he mysteriously wakes up inside an unsettling castle. Not knowing how or why you are there you will need to brave the eerie passages to piece together what exactly is going on. Armed solely with a lamp, you will need to scour the environment for oil that is used to keep your light aflame and tinderboxes, that allow you to light torches and candles throughout your environment. As you move deeper into the castle you will discover notes and have flashbacks that will reveal the disturbing nature of your story. Horrifying monsters lurk through the corridors and with nothing to protect yourself, your only defence is to run and hide. Hiding in dark places can help you throw off the scent although staying within the darkness slowly drives Daniel insane. This is where the true terror starts to develop, partnering with the worrying noises at every corner and the hideous creatures stalking you, as Daniel falls into insanity his vision starts to blur, the walls begin to swell and move as if they were alive and the even some of the paintings strewn across the walls start to disfigure. Sitting alone in a dark room with headphones on is the best way to play a game that is arguably one of the scariest games of all time. Even though the visuals and rigid gameplay can feel a little dated compared to modern games, experiencing The Dark Descent alone makes this collection worth it for console gamers.
The next piece of the collection is a standalone expansion for The Dark Descent called Justine. The player takes control of an unnamed female character. Waking within a dungeon cell with amnesia a phonograph plays a recording of a woman named Justine. Justine informs you that you are a part of a psychological test and you will be presented with a series of puzzles to solve. It is possible to simply abandon each puzzle and move on although this will result in an innocent person losing their life. This short experience is plagued with the horror and intensity of its predecessor, featuring monstrous enemies that seek you out and horrifying environments that start to affect your own sanity.
Rounding out the collection is The Chinese Room’s Amnesia: A Machine for Pigs. Featuring a number of interlocking narratives, The Chinese Room seemed set to make a game that was a lot more up their alley than the previous take on the Amnesia universe. With Frictional Games only having a small part in the production of this iteration the game suffers, becoming a somewhat disappointing follow-up to one of the scariest games of all time. The Chinese Room opted to strip down some of the major gameplay mechanics in A Machine for Pigs, making it more of a walking simulator than The Dark Descent. Shedding the inventory system, the need to search for oil for your lantern or medicine to heal yourself and even going as far to take out the sanity meter. The lack of these mechanics makes not only the encounters with enemies less intense as well as searching through the environment. Being the more recent of the titles, A Machine for Pigs less rigid gameplay and visuals do hold up a little better than the other two titles despite it being the weaker of the three.
The Amnesia Collection is a great way to experience the terrifying series that has had PC gamers reeling for years. Whether it be stalking through the dark corridors of The Dark Descent, battling the urge to turn on your lantern with the fear of not only running out of the precious oil that fuels the flame but also of what dangers lurk around each corner. Braving the disturbing trials in the dark dungeons of Justine or piecing together the weaving narrative of the tamer A Machine for Pigs. Without tweaking the gameplay or visuals in the console versions leaves some aspects of each game feeling a little dated, especially The Dark Descent and Justine, the quality still shines through as the collection becomes a must-buy for horror fans that are yet to experience it.
This review is based on a review copy of the PlayStation 4 version of Amnesia: Collection developed by Frictional Games and The Chinese Room and published by Frictional Games.
- The Dark Descent's unsettling narrative
- Trials of Justine
- Finally console gamers can experience
- No updated mechanics or visuals