Whenever talk turns to the best Horror games ever made, it is usually agreed that Frictional Games’ Amnesia: The Dark Descent is one of them. Released on PC back in 2010, and finally available on consoles bundled with its expansion, Justine, and semi-sequel A Machine for Pigs (developed by Dear Esther devs The Chinese Room) Amnesia: Collection is a must-buy for any horror fan.
Often celebrated as the series that made the Survival horror genre scary again, Amnesia is a series that delights in creating oppressive atmospheres and an unrelenting sense of dread, rather than just attack the player with jump scares. Set in the 1800’s, Amneisa: Collection tells three delightfully macabre, Lovecraftian tales that take players from empty Victorian mansions, to eerie catacombs and even the heart of a curious and terrifying machine (for pigs). Brilliant level design and story- telling is paired with sublime sound design (I’d recommend playing with 3D headphones if you have them) resulting in some of the best survival horror games ever made.
While not particularly old, the whole series core gameplay holds up very well. Though Amnesia: The Dark Descent wasn’t the first game to Present players with a completely defenceless protagonist whose only option is to run and hide when something terrifying lurched out of the darkness. It is the game that ultimately codified the idea to make the mechanic a staple of the genre. Even the better part of a decade later, it remains one of the most unsettling games I have ever played.
Though mechanically still sound, the titles in the collection could use a facelift. Though, they don’t look bad per se, the textures do look a little flat at times, and a true remaster, would have added far more to the package than a simple port.
Though admittedly Amnesia was never a ‘pretty’ game, even when it launched. It’s sound design was a masterclass in how to scare the shit out of a player and completely wreck their nerves by assaulting their senses with minimalist soundscapes that kept players on edge even when there was no outward sign that anything was wrong. And I’m happy to say nothing has been lost on its journey to modern consoles, all the creeking, moaning and what the fuck was that moments remain, uncut and intact. It makes my skin crawl just thinking about it.
Amnesia remains one of the finest horror series of recent years, and the fact that console players can finally experience them is a massive boon. The hide and seek gameplay is just as thrilling as it was back in 2010, and although the visuals haven’t fared quite so well, the sound design remains some of the best, in any game, ever.
The Amnesia series is one of the best horror franchises the medium has ever known. And the fact that the entirety of the series is now available on the PS4 is a win. The hide and seek gameplay holds up well, and while more could have been done with the visual presentation, the sound design is top-tier, and with the whole series present in one complete package, there’s no reason for horror fans not to snatch up Amnesia collection. Just be warned: you may be sleeping with the lights on for a few weeks afterwards..