Ten years ago it seemed that the survival horror genre of games was primed to take off. While it had existed for quite a few years previously, the advent of blockbuster titles such as the first 2 Resident Evil games and Silent Hill gave this terrifying genre a push into the mainstream audience. Using a minimal action, exploration based gameplay mechanic pitting players against unknown lurking evils with limited supplies and their wits as their best line of defense, these games scared the crap out of us all, and we loved it. Then when the PS2 era of consoles came around a little sequel named Silent Hill 2 found its way into horror fans homes. This game took the core mechanics of its predecessors and built on top of it a more twisted, cerebral tale and took the game’s atmosphere into an even darker territory. Everything about the game was perfect and a truly terrifying game was born. Born from its wake were some excellent games such as the Fatal Frame series as well as the re-invigoration of the Clock Tower series. Times were good for survival horror fans.
But on the other side of the survival horror genre there was a game making even bigger waves than the twisted worlds of Silent Hill and its like. I’m sure that just about all of you are well aware of the Resident Evil franchise. While its initial entries were great survival horror games they did have a deeper focus on action and using cheap ‘jump’ scares to make their games scary. You could say they were the Aliens to Silent Hill’s Alien. Their popularity became a huge influence in the genre and before long many imitators were found, even my beloved Silent Hill series which began to take a more combat focused approach after the 3rd entry in the series. Since then I have yet to find another game to go back to survival horror roots and make an attempt to match the tension and fear that Silent Hill 2 had done so eloquently. Then I caught wind of a little independently developed game called Amnesia: The Dark Descent.