Amnesia: Collection PS4 Review
Publisher: Frictional Games Developer: Frictional Games, The Chinese Room
Genre: Horror Players: 1 Age Rating: 18+ Other console/handheld formats: N/A
I thought that I had become very desensitised to horror; I’ve watched tons of horror films and have played lots of horror games and over time I’ve become rather accustomed to what they offer. But with the introduction of VR, horror games have been instilling a sense of fear in me that I haven’t felt for a long time; I’ve long thought that no horror game could ever scare me again, at least when played the usual way. That was until I played Amnesia: Collection.
When it was originally released on PC back in 2010, Amnesia was the Five Night’s at Freddie’s of its time; every big YouTuber was playing this game and singing its praises, with most stating that it is one of the scariest games they have ever played. Unfortunately for us console owners though, we missed out on what all the fuss was about, but thankfully that all changed upon this collections release in November 2016.
Amnesia: Collection includes Amnesia: The Dark Descent, its expansion, Justine, and the sequel, Amnesia: A Machine for Pigs. Each game consists of you exploring a dark and claustrophobic environment in first person, solving puzzles and evading the inhuman creatures that lurk the many hallways, all whilst hunting for snippets of information leading to the unfolding of a hauntingly sadistic story.
Having now played through all of the games, by far the best one is The Dark Descent, every aspect of the game – from its music, to its sound effects, to its claustrophobic atmosphere, to its story-telling and characters – all coming together to create one of the most chilling experiences. I hadn’t experienced fear and tension on such a level since playing the Resident Evil remake for the GameCube, one of my earliest experiences of horror gaming before becoming rather desensitised to it all.
The Dark Descent manages to keep you on your toes throughout, keeping the tension cranked at such a level that it neither drops nor increases throughout; it’s a very well paced game, one that keeps you hooked and on the edge of your seat. The Dark Descent has a lot to offer and was in some ways a pioneer with some of the mechanics it introduced, such as managing the protagonists sanity through the use of light and darkness, and evading enemies rather than combating them. Even when confronted by an enemy, the tension never ceases, as is the case with a lot of these types of games. The Dark Descent is truly a game that needs to be played, especially if you are like me and are looking for something that will instil a sense of dread in you once more.
Unfortunately The Dark Descent set a high bar that its follow-ups failed to match. In Justine, you only have one life and cannot die, and if you do, you have to go right back to the beginning and start all over again, with this leading to a lot of annoyance and frustration; you end up feeling exasperated and like you just want to complete the game already. Mercifully Justine can be completed in one hour, but it can become mighty repetitive if you are unfortunate enough to keep dying and this does take away from any sense of dread that the expansion tries to evoke.
In A Machine for Pigs, it does have a strong start, but the ending feels very dragged out and the story overall is predictable. More disappointingly, it is also a much more simplified and linear game with the removal of many essential elements that made the first game so scary, such as the sanity management, inventory and has limited interactivity – but its graphics look better, so I suppose that’s something.
As one of the most popular horror games on PC, if you are curious as to what all the fuss was about, then it is still very much worth its current price of £23.00 on the PlayStation Store UK. Whilst upon completion there isn’t much in the way of extras, or much incentive to go back for a second playthrough, in total the average play time of the whole collection would be around 13 hours at minimum, with perhaps 4-5 hours extra if you are an avid completionist, and maybe even more time than that if you are a slow-paced player that likes to explore every nook and cranny.
Amnesia: Collection is still worth a playthrough and even though The Dark Descent is the best game in the series, there’s certainly some substance to be had from its expansion and proper sequel. Whilst I find they aren’t both as scary and do feel more game-like as opposed to a gradually unravelling experience, the Amnesia games are now an iconic part of horror gaming history and so should still be on your list of games to play before you pop your clogs.