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.


A Machine For Pigs?

Frictional Games, creators of horror game Amnesia: The Dark Descent, have another game in the works, and over the past few weeks a few details have been released.. the game may be set in China, and will be another first-person survival horror.

The teaser site, www.nextfrictionalgame.com now reveals a possible title: “A Machine For Pigs” as well as a release date of Autumn, 2012.

As always, people have dug through the clues and found a little more information, gathered on the Amnesia ARG Wiki.. and they have uncovered the possibility that The Chinese Room are involved in the making of this game too.  The Chinese Room were responsible for Dear Esther, as well as Nestlings, an experiment in story and mood, but they also created Korsakovia, an experimental horror mod about madness and the end of the world.

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.