Final Impressions on Amnesia [Spoiler-ish]
I just completed Amnesia, and wanted to share some of my thoughts about the game - and see if there are any others out there that feel the same.
What I liked about the game:
1. No ability to fight back added a new gameplay mechanic.
2. The setting (castle) was great for this type of mystery game.
3. Environments were (for the most part) well crafted.
Where I think the game has an opportunity to be better:
1. Gameplay mechanics. My biggest disappointment with this game were the monsters. In almost all cases, in order to get past a monster, all one had to do was wait until a monster showed up, then run into a room behind you and crouch in a corner for 1 minute. Then *poof*! The monster would be gone.
I was hoping this would be more like the old Thief title where you would need to observe monster patterns and behavior, and find clever ways of sneeking around them. Instead, they really only existed for the "pop out and scare you moments". All in all, I found the gameplay mechanics to be pretty weak.
2. Puzzles. The puzzles were simple, and catered more to running around looking for glowing blue items than actually using your head. Most of the time, the puzzles were quite obvious so long as you read the notes that were lying around. In the case where they weren't obvious, the difficulty was always in finding a random item or the place where the next piece of the puzzle was to be solved (i.e. the gear room next to Agrippa, above the trap door... yeah, that took me like 45 minutes to find).
I was hoping the puzzles would be more like the puzzles of the old Riven and 7th Guest titles (if anyone here remembers those...). The puzzles in those old games really required some thinking on the part of the player - and they felt more rewarding to solve.
3. Environments. Certain environments felt really "cut-paste". There were a few times where I walked into a new room and felt it was meticulously designed (some of the great halls, for instance). But then there were other occasions (sewers, prisons, etc) where I felt I was running down the same hallways and environments repeatedly.
Also, there was nothing in the game that "blew me away". Most games with first-person orientation have *something* that gives the player a sense of awe. This game had a few nice scenes, but nothing that really took me back.
Finally, the torture scenes were overdone. Really overdone. It would have been better had it been simpler, with a few key torture techniques that were consistantly used and spaced in a dungeonesque type environment. The distance between each room and the variety made it unbelievable (i.e. the bronze bull... I'm pretty sure that was Babylonian or something, and most of the others were from the middle ages).
Overall I thought the game was decent - and well worth the $20 it cost. I must admit, though, that I would have been disappointed if it had cost me $50.
I understand that it was a small development team, and must commend them for delivering a product that I can "critique" at the level of a major production.