I tried Amnesia demo recently. I played at night, in the dark, with gamma settings as per instructions
I noticed right from the start that it looked quite poor, but when I reached darker areas it become almost unplayable. Everything more than few meters from a light source was just a one black blob. I had similar problem playing through Penumbra Collection, but there was one important difference - in Penumbra I had a flashlight. I could point it on the black blob and see what's there, so it wasn't game breaking.
To find out where the problem with Amnesia lies, I took a screen shot, loaded it into a picture editor, and increased the brightness to see if there was any detail in the blackness. And there was. So I dug up my old 15" CRT monitor, connected it, started Amnesia, and - whoa! - BIG difference! So many details where on the LCD there was only darkness!
I tried changing various picture settings on the LCD. One thing I found was that when I decreased the contrast to 80 (or less), the picture suddenly improved a little, so instead of one black blob there were several blobs of different shades. A little worse contrast, but a little more detail. Changing brightness did nothing except turning the blackness into brown mud at higher levels.
Then I found this: http://pp.siedziba.pl/tmp/nvsettings-6bpc.jpg
Changing the depth settings from Auto to 6 bpc improved the picture considerably, turning dark blobs into clearly recognizable shapes. The game is still not as pretty as on the CRT due to dithering, but it's finally playable.
So, questions to other people with bad LCD monitors:
- are bits-per-color / dithering options available for your video card / operating system?
- does it improve anything?
- any other tips for improving picture quality?
I know about a different workaround: increase gamma, play at daylight - but for a scary game like Amnesia I find it unacceptable