It’s been awhile since developer Frictional Games has released a game to horrify us with the last being SOMA in 2015. Before that they of course made Amnesia: The Dark Descent. The developer has now decided to return to that franchise with the release of Amnesia: Rebirth which takes ideas from both of those previously mentioned games to create something new to hopefully terrify and unsettle the player. Was it a success?
The story in Amnesia: Rebirth is set in the 1930s and takes place in the Algerian Desert. You play as a pregnant woman named Tasi who is on a flight along with her husband and other companions. All of them are on an archaeological dig but things go very wrong when their plane unexpectedly crashes. When Tasi wakes up she is alone in the desert, without memory, and has to wander off to find where everyone else went. This beginning part of the game is kind of funny as you have to get in the shadows to avoid the light of the beating desert sun. I say it’s funny because normally you’d be wanting to avoid the darkness but we’ll get to that. Once she comes upon a cave, things go from bad to worse as she finds out the fate of some of the missing crew. Over the course of the game Tasi slowly finds things that trigger some of her memories letting her piece things together. I don’t want to touch on more of the story other than the opening section because it’s one of the most important things to the experience of this game. It’s good though and I was captured by it for the 8-9 hours that my playthrough took me.
The first thing I want to mention about the gameplay in Rebirth is that if you have grown tired of the horror games that require you to hide then you probably won’t like this. This game very much employs that same mechanic again. I don’t mind it but I know some gamers out there don’t find it interesting anymore and don’t enjoy games that use it so I wanted to point it out early on in this review. Running, hiding, and interactive with objects to solve puzzles are the main gameplay mechanics at play here. Puzzles are well thought out and employ some nice physics in order to solve. Light also plays a big part in this game again as you’ll constantly be on the lookout for matches to use and oil to keep your lantern running. Matches can be held to light your way but moving too fast can put them out. You can also use them to light other lights along your path giving you a safe spot to wait for a minute should you need to.
If you find yourself in the darkness then Tasi’s sanity will start breaking down and if you stay there too long then the monsters will find you and you’ll have to restart the section. If you keep struggling in a certain spot though you’ll respawn and find that the creatures are gone which removes some of the challenge in return for letting you move on in the story. I kind of feel like this should’ve been an option that you could toggle on and off though as some players may not like the challenge being taken away from them.
The visuals in the game weren’t a big step up over their previous work but I thought they looked good on my PS4 Pro. Lighting is very good and I was constantly on edge from the atmosphere. The game has excellent audio design which further heightens that tension and I highly recommend you play through it wearing headphones as I did. Just listening to the sound of Tasi’s heavy breathing or the sounds of the creatures is enough to give anyone chills. The voice acting was also excellent as every actor delivered a very convincing performance. They even gave their game a Platinum trophy this time around to please the trophy hunters out there like myself. There are 41 trophies in total to unlock but it won’t be an easy list by any means. There are missables along with some pretty challenging trophies to earn so be prepared.
Amnesia: Rebirth is yet another excellent horror title from Frictional Games as it blends a very memorable narrative with some great puzzle design and plenty of scares. Those who have grown tired of the run and hide mechanics likely won’t enjoy it though. Tasi is a character who they wrote so well and seeing her go through everything that she does in this game is something I won’t soon forget.
*Amnesia: Rebirth is available now on PlayStation 4 and PC. Reviewed on a PS4 Pro. Review copy provided by the publisher for this review.