Friday, October 26, 2012

Full Review: Amnesia ~Justine~ (PC)

Amnesia ~Justine~ is a free expansion of sorts for Amnesia ~The Dark Descent~ and is included in pretty much any updated version of the game you download.  The game also comes with a 52 page PDF book titled Amnesia ~ Remember.  But, today we're here to talk about The Dark Descent's little sister, Justine.

Instead of a standard "full review" as we've done in the past, because everything that I would normally say "game-wise" I've already covered in my main post about Amnesia ~The Dark Descent~, so here I'll just cover aspects of Justine, and try to not give away any spoilers, but just generalizations.

The atmosphere in Justine is very similar, one might even say "identical," except that it isn't.  Yes, you're in castle-esque surroundings and you start the game in a groggy haze not knowing anything about who or what or where you are.  In the first room, a cell, your door is locked with a rope tied to it.  There's also a phonograph (kind of like a record player for you youngsters....... okay, like an MP3 player) that the rope from the door is tied to via a pulley in the ceiling.  You're first objective: get the door open.  

The game is brilliant in that once you figure out how to open the door, your mind will be ready to solve puzzles.  The "point" of this short (although still equally scary) game is to either "save" a person in a potentially deadly torture device by figuring out a way out of the room, or have them killed and you have an easy way out.  Some of the puzzles are a bit difficult to figure out and require trial and error, although in this case, a failed attempt means either someone else dies or you do.

There's the catch.  Death.  In Justine, you only have one life.  If you die, you're kicked out of the game, no helpful game text to encourage you on.  You have to start a new game now.  This was only somewhat frustrating as there was one particularly wet area that I couldn't figure out how to evade a fast moving monster through waste deep water.  My tactics became too elaborate, such as piling up boxes around doors, climbing up onto machinery only to have the creature hunt and fox guard the area.  Conklederp even freaked out when the creature screamed/growled/garbled "I can see you."  The frustrating part being that I was trying different ways I thought I had to evade the monster and it took me 10 minutes to get to that point in the game each time I failed and died and wanted to try again.

However, once I made it past that area and all the "scary" stuff that I'd been going through was no longer scary, the game gave me the finger and scared the poop out of me all over again.  Justine does a very good job of scaring you, letting you calm down long enough to realize that you're about to be in danger and then you are again and you only have time to run!  There's one puzzle, after completing the game twice that I don't have the balls to figure out what to do as I'm just too frightened.  Too frightened to stop and look behind me, to stop and look about the room, to figure out how to possibly save the man who I've killed each time.  Each time I've said "Sorry dude, you're going to die so I don't have to."  I wonder what that says about me?

I also want to quickly add, that the story in Justine fits into the world of The Dark Descent with a couple of items that connect the two story lines, which is nice and at the same time made me think, "Oh fuck I'm in the same world."  So yes, Justine's a really fun game that will take you maybe 30 minutes to complete, maybe an hour if you're like me and like to look at everything and maybe longer if you're a lot like me and have to inspect, read and ponder over every little thing.

Objects In The Mirror Are Closer Than They Appear

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