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RANT: Amnesia and Onlive

Excuse me while I shamelessly support Onlive in yet another article but I can't stress enough how awesome this service is. I just bought Amnesia: The Dark Descent on one of their holiday deals and I so regret not trying this game that's over a year old sooner. If you haven't tried either Onlive or Amnesia, I can't recommend them more. And there's more to it than just me liking them individually, the two actually work together to make an experience I haven't had before. Read on for more.

If you haven't played Amnesia: The Dark Descent, you're missing out on one of the scariest games ever made. And this is coming from a guy who isn't afraid of games that much these days. If you read my TOP 10 Scariest Game Moments, then you know I got all my gaming fears out of me when I was younger. Dead Space, Resident Evil, and Silent Hill don't really scare me like they do other people. Amnesia is a big exception.

The game plays kind of like Myst in hell. It's a first person adventure where you explore a creepy mansion, solving puzzles and avoiding death around every corner. What sets it apart from other modern horror games is that there is no combat mechanic what so ever. If you see one of the games many horrid abominations, you either have to sneak by it or run for your life from it. It truly is a survival-horror game unlike so many others that claim to be.

The game starts out slow but the tension is immediate. You don't see any real danger for the first little bit but not knowing when you'll face your first enemy is part of the experience. There's also so much to explore that I was genuinely terrified to go down dark hallways and open mysterious doors. The atmosphere is incredible despite the game having some piss poor graphics. I think the crude textures and models add to the experience.

What makes Onlive a great way to experience the game, besides the ability to play anywhere with an internet connection and being dirt cheap, is the feature that allows people to spectate you playing. During my first play through, I saw a notification that 3 people were watching me play. This added to the suspense because now I was pressured into being more brave than usual so not to look like a pussy in front of these spectators. God forbid one of them marks me with a "Jeer" (Onlives thumbs down rating). Now instead of being overly cautious and moving slowly, I was rapidly moving forward and missing crucial items like the many tinderboxes used to light candles and lamps to survive. When I finally faced danger, the spectators could totally see the panic in my actions as I frantically ran into stuff and stumbled on opening doors.

I don't want to ruin much more of it for you because the game is very much based on you throwing yourself in with no expectations or goals. If you want a truly terrifying gaming experience, grab Amnesia, either on Steam, in store or Onlive. If you're like Murdernator and can't stand playing horror games on your own, sign up for Onlive for free and spectate others playing. You can even turn on your mic and calm them down or panic them more with your ominous voice. If don't, you're missing out on a truly exceptional game.

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