Amnesia: The Dark Descent gets a hard mode with limited saves and fatal insanity

Amnesia: The Dark Descent helped kickstart a new wave of horror games about meticulous exploration and heavy atmosphere as opposed to shooting monsters in the face in spooky environments. It tactfully mixed jump scares with crushing dread and looming threats, and now Frictional Games is giving it a hard mode that doubles down on these elements and makes surviving even more difficult. Per the studio's latest blog post, the hard mode update will arrive on Xbox One on Friday, September 28, and on PC shortly after. It will come to PS4 later this year. 

Hard mode makes several stress-inducing changes. For starters, it disables autosaves and makes saving manually cost four tinderboxes, meaning you'll have to sacrifice light sources if you want to save your progress. On top of that, hard mode ensures fewer tinderboxes and oil refills are available every level, so light is going to be extra scarce.

Lord knows you're going to want all the light you can get, because hard mode also sharpens Amnesia's iconic slack-jawed monsters. They'll move faster, deal more damage, find you more easily and stick around longer once you're discovered. Not only that, you'll no longer hear any warning music when the monsters draw near. The disturbingly bloody cherry on top is hard mode's change to the game's sanity meter: if your sanity drops to zero, rather than merely panic like normal, you'll just up and die. 

In other words, as Frictional put it, "the environments are harsher, the monsters more unforgiving, insanity is deadly, and death is final – unless you pay a toll." If you want to take on this challenge, you can enable hard mode when you start a new game, but you can't change the difficulty once you start. If you manage to beat the game on hard mode, you'll receive the aptly titled Masochist achievement for your efforts. 

Looking for other good scares? Check out our list of horror games that don't rely on jump scares

Austin Wood

Austin freelanced for the likes of PC Gamer, Eurogamer, IGN, Sports Illustrated, and more while finishing his journalism degree, and he's been with GamesRadar+ since 2019. They've yet to realize that his position as a senior writer is just a cover up for his career-spanning Destiny column, and he's kept the ruse going with a focus on news and the occasional feature, all while playing as many roguelikes as possible.