This is a custom story to Amnesia: The Dark Descent I made with Leon Kennedy(in Frictional Games Forums).
I'm going to hit every point in the order of story, level design, sound, progression, conflict, and conclusion.
The story by itself had an alright theme. Everyone likes a good "The monster is me" twist, but it is a bit cliche in Amnesia custom stories.
The level design was a bit choppy especially dealing with lighting, and the elements of areas such as the cellar and the upstairs area. The commons area was designed well enough, and the downstair hallways and bedrooms were alright, but when I walked into that cellar, it wasn't truly believable as a cellar. A good level will convince you that you're in the place that it tells you.
At first I applauded the choice of music as being subtle yet creepy. Sound in horror games make or break them, and though I applauded the track as a means to start a game, the map lacked any variety, and it quickly became stale and meaningless. The one other track used was just a repeated striking of a piano key poorly looped in the "cellar." Not only was it not frightening but it was the most mismatched choice of sound that I've ever seen in an Amnesia custom story.
Progression was difficult. There was only a single sole memento, which failed to assist in any way. Items and door keys went unmarked or not described, as were the doors themselves. I will however commend the use of notes to assist in the detection of items or the solving of puzzles.
This game lacked conflict. It was more a story of a man trying to open every door in a house than a man trying to escape a monster. There were two monster appearances, and they were both extremely predictable, and unfulfilling.
The conclusion was rather dull. You had your exposition, and the falling action consisted of finding the correct unlabeled door for your new key.
Overall I give this custom story 4 out of 10, as it is playable, but not really enjoyable.
Enjoyed it, but it didn't rock my socks off.
Great story, and nice atmosphere but it's not scary at all.
There is a lot of tension and a threat that just doesn't climax.
Allthough I enjoyed it because you never know when you may get jumped by a monster or be taken by surprise. And that gives the mod +points.
Since this placed in the original Frictional Games contest I went in with high expectations, which may be part of the problem. The atmosphere is really effective and the house shows a lot of effort and detail. The basement is super creepy with the one repeating piano note. The big problem is that the mod is way too short and the ending, while surprising, isn't very original. Ending with "The Beginning" is really tacky too. I feel like whoever designed this is capable of making a superb mod because there are so many good ideas here, but unfortunately this isn't it.
I must admit that the start is a bit of a key hunt but after the momentary annoyance I find that the mod is slower paced, with a intriguing storyline. The few scares it has are not really note worthy, I commend the authors attempt at something new though, its fairly long to so expect there to be some solving and reading.
- Not many puzzles.
- Rather short, depending on how quickly you figure out the puzzles.
- Had the potential for being a good story but fell flat.
- False sense of tension near the end.
- Abrupt ending.
- That fire.
- Good grammar and spelling.
- Eerie environment, yet believable at the same time.
- Great scares and scare progression, especially with the basement (could cut the tension with a knife).
This was a CS that I really enjoyed, all the way up until before the end. Prior to the conclusion, my score would have bordered more on a 9 than a 7, but the problem was that so much anticipation was built up just to have the game come to a sudden halt. There seemed to be a lot of potential in this map, but an ending with a lack of a conclusion can cripple the experience, leaving questions unanswered and fans disappointed. I'm fully open to stories that get players thinking and leave the story open to discussion and interpretation, but when I opened that final door I felt like the experience was just beginning, rather than coming to a close.
- Story: 5/10
- Length: 6/10
- Puzzles: 6/10
- Scares: 8/10
- Environments: 7/10
- Originality: 7/10