The game was both in line with my expectations and unexpected at the same time. The horror elements and creepy atmosphere were to be expected, but the extravagant puzzles caught me by surprise. The game is very reminiscent of old adventure games like Myst, although it's a bit more linear. You're constantly trying to utilize your inventory to gain access to a new area as you uncover the secrets of your past and try to stay far away from the shadow that chases you through the halls of Brenneburg.
The game handles horror better than others that claim to fall into the survival horror genre. You are completely powerless against the shadow and your only chance for survival is to run and hide. Coupled with the simple mechanic of opening and closing doors and moving objects like chairs and rocks, this makes for a frantic dash to break the shadow's line of sight and slip into a room, closing the door and barricading it with furniture whenever you see the creature. It's a heart-pounding occurrence that doesn't get old.
The puzzles are intuitive and difficult. I felt frustrated at times, but it was the kind of frustration that drove me forward, searching for a clue or item rather than quitting the game. I felt an immense sense of satisfaction when I successfully solved a puzzle, and the castle became a series of clues foreshadowing future complications as I learned the st
The experience is tense from beginning to end and the tension drives you to think a step ahead. Going back to an area where you know the shadow could be because you forgot to gather an item or didn't read a note carefully enough is terrifying.
Overall, I loved Amnesia: The Dark Descent. It was one of the few games that actually scared me and the puzzles were rewarding enough to hold my interest for the duration of the experience. The game is a steal at $20 and it's frequently on sale on Steam. I highly recommend it to anyone looking for an engrossing horror experience.