Amnesia: Rebirth Review

Back in 2010, developer Frictional Games set the tone for PC indie horror games with Amnesia: The Dark Descent. Focused heavily on story, it created its scares through an intensity of atmosphere and an emphasis on powerlessness. With Amnesia: Rebirth, it feels like Frictional has fully refined its particular approach to horror. You’re trapped in a deadly, smothering world, struggling against your character’s limitations and even her perceptions. Rebirth is Frictional’s best game yet, marrying a deep, mysterious story to the signature mechanics the developer has been refining over the course of 13 years of horror games.

Amnesia: Rebirth continues Frictional’s specific approach to story and horror, which emphasizes avoiding conflict, hiding, and mastering your character’s own fear. It also adds to the story told in The Dark Descent, although you don’t need to know that game well to follow this narrative of this one. (The narrative doesn’t link to Amnesia: A Machine for Pigs, the 2013 follow-up to The Dark Descent.) You play Tasi Trianon, a French woman who joins a mining expedition to Algeria in 1937. In the opening moments of the game, the expedition’s plane experiences some supernatural shenanigans that cause it to crash in the desert. Tasi wakes up soon after, alone in the plane, with few memories of what has happened and strange black tendrils creeping into her vision. As she goes searching for survivors, she discovers that the strange bracelet she wakes up wearing can open portals to a dark, ruined parallel world. Tasi goes searching through caves and tunnels for her friends, and the story often pulls her into the alternate dimension as she tries to find her way forward.

Rebirth brings back the main mechanics from The Dark Descent, and really, all of Frictional’s games deal in similar sets of ideas. You trace the survivors’ path, gathering notes and uncovering clues as to what happened. As you explore the caves, you’re quickly plunged into darkness, and as in The Dark Descent, the dark increases Tasi’s fear and has palpable effects on her psyche. You’re not dealing with a loss of sanity that changes how you perceive the world like in that game, however. Instead, Tasi’s increasing fear causes the black tendrils to reappear and her heart to start pounding, and if she gets too afraid, the blackness overtakes her entirely, causing her to lose herself and wake up somewhere else with no memory of how she got there.

Continue Reading at GameSpot

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