Halloween Releases

Steam’s Halloween Sale has plenty of discounted games.. spooky, creepy, scary and eerie.. perfect for Halloween!

Painkiller: Hell & Damnation was released for the PC last night, including exclusive Halloween DLC consisting of a unique Halloween map, themed enemies, decorations, rewards and even an exclusive achievement.

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More Amnesia

I didn’t complete Amnesia at the recent i-event, despite the previous plan to play it with a friend and scare ourselves silly with it late at night.
It turned out that there were usually too many people around that I wanted to talk to, and when I did start the game, attempts by a couple of friends to make me jump while playing actually made me less scared by the game as I wasn’t so focused on it.

I loaded up my last save to find I had obviously run on without looking where I was going.. I was in a dark room with absolutely no clue where I was.  Not only did I have no idea where I was, my lantern was out of oil.. I tried to find a torch or candle to light, when I heard something behind me..

I turned and was confronted with this.

I’m only slightly ashamed to admit I screamed out loud..

Having no weapons (I believe there are none, anywhere in the game) I attempted to run away, a whimpering wreck trying to find somewhere to get away to, but still being hopelessly lost.  This hideous thing caught up with me and smacked me to death, and I realised I should probably load up an earlier save so that I at least knew where I was to start with.

This was much nicer looking.. but I know what’s coming! :'(

i-42

Where i-40 was cold and windy, especially in the temporary structure we were seated in, i-42 was sunny and hot almost the whole way through.. 😀

I drove half the way down, with a death-grip on the steering wheel (I’ve not done very much motorway driving), past a ridiculous number of lorries and one place where an accident on the other side of the road caused our side to slow to around 10mph.  Tim took the last part of the driving.. we were hoping to catch up with another friend at this point, as text messages had shown we were only 5 minutes behind, but with a stop-off at Sainsbury’s we were never going to make it. 😀

Check-in was again nice and quick thanks to arriving early, and instead of waiting around to take our PCs in at 6, we headed to the pub for food and drinks first.

All in all this was far better than the cold and wet start to i40 last year.. we hadn’t been able to go into the site as the internet hadn’t been set up for our temporary structure!  Our group were seated in B1 this time, away from the loud and annoying people who think roaring for every reload is ‘atmosphere’.  Although it was still hot, there was a balcony to escape to, and it was a lot quieter and nothing was being thrown around.. definitely going to be pushing for this spot next event.

One of the first games I played here was the awesome Portal 2, which I had started earlier but lacked the time to finish.  Plenty of other people were playing, with some on co-op, so I had to get a move on to avoid being spoiled..

I loved GlaDOS’ malicious comments in the earlier part of the game, though I wondered how I was going to end up making a break for it as she seemed happy to test me endlessly.  Wheatley was quite funny up until his change, which I think I should have spotted.. but I was rather gleeful when he turned GLaDOS into a potato even if he did still have me trapped.

The different coloured gels were a lot of fun.  On my first encounter with the white goop though, I wasn’t entirely sure what to do and ended up covering as many surfaces as I could in frustration, before spotting the little ledge I was meant to go to.  I loved evil Wheatley, especially when he tried to kill me in stupidly obvious ways.. 🙂

The second day of LAN involved a barbeque with the rest of our group.. we had the weather for it this time at least.  I’m not sure if we’re technically allowed to have BBQs on-site, but no security turned up, so no matter 😉

We also took a look through the exhibition hall, where we tried out a few games on the Nintendo 3DS, including Dead or Alive: Dimensions, Kid Icarus: Uprising, and a Zelda game which made me feel quite ill trying to focus on the screen while moving it around to aim the catapult.  While I love the idea, I’m going to be staying away from the 3DS.. if I feel bad after a few minutes use, it’s just not for me.

Aside from this, the only other real point of interest for me was the Demon stand, where they had an amazing car simulator running DIRT 2.  The fastest lap was to be rewarded with a year’s free internet, and of course I came nowhere near the quickest time though I loved the experience.  The seat, pedals and wheel come to some crazy price.. I think £24,000 was mentioned..

Elsewhere in the hall it was surprisingly quiet.. no freebies, and very little attempts by staff to draw people in to the various stands either.  There were people playing on what might have been some kind of tournament, but with no real interaction, we wandered through and back out again.

There are usually a number of flyers on the desks, and this time there was a 50% discount for the EA Store.  After trying out Bulletstorm on a friend’s PC, I bought both that and Crysis 2.. so much for not buying any more games.. 🙂

I made a start on Crysis 2.. but there were too many distractions to concentrate on it during the day and I was playing Amnesia: The Dark Descent when it got late.  There were a few changes to the sections I’d seen in the demo, with a bit more puzzle in the form of the chemicals I needed to find and mix.  The part where I had to avoid an invisible enemy in the water made me just as jumpy as when I’d originally seen it, which was probably amusing for those near me in our row.

Other games which saw some action were Beat Hazard on a friend’s computer while he played GRID on mine, some Killing Floor, an attempt at League of Legends (seriously out of practise) and a round or two of Unreal Tournament 3.  I had also brought along my Xbox 360, so there was a quick look at Stacking, and a bit of the co-op Zombie Mode in Call of Duty: Black Ops, as well as an all-too-brief look at Homefront for a friend who hadn’t seen it yet.  Maybe next time!

Tim made some use of his 30 day trial of WoW, though it was hard to tell if he was enjoying it or putting up with it for the sake of saying he’d had a go.  I also managed to get a little bit of time in WoW, and started off collecting bits for the Noblegarden Easter Event.. there were plenty of bunnies hopping around, including a pet.. 😉

I also pestered a friend to show me where to get the rather interesting Venomhide mount.. a pet which turns into a mount!

Unlike my Warrior friend, I had no trouble in being poisoned the required number of times.. he had to take off all his gear and use the most useless weapon he could find, whereas I just hit the Ravasaur with the basket I was collecting eggs in 😉

Eventually I had been poisoned enough and I was given my own Hatchling to take care of..

Our last night of LAN included some non-gaming hijinks as one friend started falling asleep in his chair.. this meant he got plastic cups balanced on his head :>
There was no chance of an all-nighter this time either.. all too tired, maybe from the heat, and we headed back to the tents at around 4.30am.

The last day didn’t include the usual CFMN vs inv TF2 match; instead we had a big game of L4d2 versus.. for which I had to switch to Tim’s PC as my copy of L4d2 had managed to corrupt itself.  Awesome game.. will have to make sure that we get more of this played from home too 🙂

Amnesia: The Dark Descent

Amnesia: The Dark Descent is a first person horror survival game from Frictional Games.  You take the part of Daniel, a man who has lost his memory, or as an early note tells you, has drunk something to make him forget..

Daniel must find the Inner Sanctum and there kill a man called Alexander, but is warned of the “living nightmare” which is chasing him..

After starting the game, you get a few flashbacks.. Daniel trying to remember what he’s doing, who he is.. struggling to walk down a corridor and eventually collapsing at a dead end.  Daniel is afraid, which makes me afraid too.  The fear is added to by the panicked breathing, visual distortions and noises of unseen enemies.. as well as the knowledge that you have no weapons!  You can interact with objects.. light candles, open doors, pick up objects and throw them.. but all you can do to save yourself from enemies is run and hide.

The castle is rather dark; there are candles here and there, and early on you find out you need to stay in the light.  This goes a little against my will to explore, as I don’t want to run out of oil for my lantern, and tinderboxes for the candles are in short supply.. so I take small peeks into unlit side rooms, tensed up and expecting something to jump out on me!

The more scared Daniel becomes, the more he loses his sanity.  Low sanity results in hallucinations, making it harder to see and move.. when I let it drop too far, there was a piercing noise and Daniel fell to the ground.  Looking directly at enemies also scares him.. the on-screen hint suggested that later enemies might also see you!

The demo gives what I assume are the first couple of levels in sequence; enough to try out a few simple puzzles, such as removing an obstruction to a pulley so you can open a trapdoor.  While letting Daniel scare himself silly reduces his sanity, solving puzzles restores it.

The cellar level.. boxes scattered around, and knee-deep water, with some horrible unseen enemy splashing his way towards me!

I failed at jumping across the boxes the first time I tried this level, and didn’t make it out of the water before he slashed at me.. two hits and I was dead.  I fared better the second time as I was barely in the water, and was able to distract the enemy by throwing books into the water.  The gate to the next part of the cellars was opened by a lever way back at the start, which meant a careful trip back and then a mad dash to get back before the gate shut again, all the while expecting the monster to slash me again.

This room didn’t seem to make Daniel any more frightened, maybe because he couldn’t see the enemy.

In the next room, there were body parts instead of books..
If you waited around after throwing one of these, you could hear him eating it, and see the blood mixed in with the water.  Nice..

As soon as I made for the next gate, though, he was right back after me.. and this time the gate didn’t shut in time to trap him on the wrong side and I had to run for the next door hoping to beat him to it.  Here’s where the door interaction frustrated me the most; trying to open the door towards me meant I had to stop, else I would push the door shut again with my body.  The monster ended up getting rid of the door for me, in the end.

The game reminds me very much of Korsakovia, an experimental mod for Half Life 2 which I played last year.  The fear in this game.. mod.. is created from the sounds and anticipation of what might happen, especially with enemies you can only run and hide from, though in Amnesia’s case the player character’s own fear comes through as well.  As with Korsakova, I think I’d get very frustrated once there were harder enemies to deal with.  Despite the game being as atmospheric and scary as it is, and being on offer on Steam, I’m still not sure whether to get it.