Amnesia: Rebirth – Review
Follow Genre: Survival Horror
Developer: Frictional Games
Publisher: Frictional Games
Platform: PS4, PC, Mac, Linux
Tested On: PC

Amnesia: Rebirth – Review

Site Score
8.3
Good: Nice puzzles, grown-up story, exciting environment
Bad: Lots of flashbacks take some tension away
User Score
8.7
(3 votes)
Click to vote
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Rating: 8.7/10 (3 votes cast)

Amnesia is one of those game series you just can’t get around. The very first game, The Dark Descentcould be described as ground-breaking for horror games. As thousands of streamers took the game to a bigger audience, it’s a title that everybody heard of at some point. Add that there was support for custom stories that the community went wild with, and you got yourself a cult game with some stamina. While the second part, A Machine for Pigs, wasn’t received with great enthusiasm, there’s still hype for the new Amnesia: Rebirth. And justly so.

Story

Once again, your protagonist has lost her mind, just like the guy in The Dark Descent had. After a plane crash in the desert in 1937, Tasi Trianon seems to be the sole survivor. At the same time, no other bodies are found and you start questioning your surroundings as you (re-)discover some of your memories. Survival is of most importance, as Tasi is bearing a child as well. While the hot sun is your first enemy, weird creatures and alien-like environments quickly show themselves as well. All of this while Tasi is fighting her fear and something seemingly evil brewing inside her…

While the story is generally good, this is mainly noticeable as you get further ahead in the game. Especially in the beginning, you are hopping from one place to another by using a mysterious portal-opening bracelet, and there are many flashbacks involved. Trying to figure out what the hell is going on is messy, and it’s better to just enjoy the environment while trying to uncover what new surprises Rebirth has ready for you. Later on, everything will slide into place more and more, and the story, as well as the gameplay, gets better.

Graphics

While the polish on Rebirth might not be the best you’ve ever seen in a game, the environments are really great. Starting off in the desert, the rocks and sand go to cave formations and towns. Seeing Arabic-themed locations is already something you don’t see often unless it’s another “USA versus the rest of the world” shooter. So actually playing in imaginative Arabian locations feels fresh in a way. Combine this with alien-like environments and dreams, and you got a lot to see while you are running around progressing the storyline. These different locations also bring different styles of puzzles, which as a whole feels a bit like the old Myst games, where there was also a combination of mystery-themed puzzles with more realistic objects. Only this time, you know, you run away scared for monsters chasing you and such.

Sound

Sound has always played a big role in the Amnesia games, and this time around it’s no different. Depending on how the protagonist is feeling, you might hear slithering up close when fearful, or growling in the corners of your eye. Like these sounds, any music and sound effects are generally a bit mysterious. While a growl is a growl, you never know for sure if it’s also a monster. The music is perfect for puzzling and searching, and it switches at the right moments to something more frightful. Listening to the sound and taking the game as a whole, Amnesia might not exactly be as terrifying as playing The Dark Descent for the first time, but it sure feels more grown-up in a way. It improved as a carefully constructed game.

Gameplay

Amnesia: Rebirth plays like a horror survival game, though it’s linear enough to not worry about the survival part too much. Sure, there are things to pick up and notes to read, but in the end, it’s all about creating light sources. Tasi gets fearful when staying in the dark for too long, or when looking at disturbing images too much. Being fearful means starting to hallucinate and eventually possibly “death”, though you can’t really die. Luckily, doing a quick search in your surroundings generally gives you some matches or oil for your (later acquired) lamp, so while your items might run low, it never really feels like you are out of options to create light.

The combination of not dying permanently with still getting just enough light sources is nice, as it doesn’t interrupt the gameplay while still letting you feel the urge to find more items. The match mechanics are a great addition as well, as you can see they work as a timed light source, with the flame running its course and all. If you want to run away from something, the wind actually makes your current lit match useless, which is also some cool note of realism added. If you are not trying to create some light in the darkness, you are probably running away from a creature or doing a puzzle. As Tasi is pregnant, she can also put her hands on her baby to calm herself a bit. This is an original mechanic, even if it feels somewhat useless for the general gameplay. Then there is your mysterious compass, which you mainly use to find your way to the next goal at certain moments in the game.

While some puzzles might seem simple, most are a bit more elaborate and require you to backtrack or collect items. Some require wit and common knowledge by i.e. using surrounding objects to create new objects, while others are a puzzle on a location that simply require all items to be present. You can also pick up multiple objects such as cups and planks when they are available, which aren’t added to your inventory but just dragged along. You can mess around with these, or use them to complete a puzzle. Dragging them with you works as it did in the original Amnesia: The Dark Descent, by clicking and holding the button. When playing with a controller, it’s not as easy to throw items as quickly moving your mouse. There is a button though that allows you to throw instead, so this is a nice solution. Overall, the puzzles have cool twists and enough variations to keep you interested for sure. It’s a fragile balance between multiple mechanics and game elements, including the puzzling, that makes Amnesia: Rebirth work.

Conclusion

Amnesia: Rebirth works. While starting out a bit slow with too many flashbacks, the game picks itself up later on and gives you some great moments of shock and fear, as well as proper puzzles. The combinations of delicate (new) mechanics, such as realistic matches that can easily be wasted, are smart, and Rebirth does justice to its name. It’s fresh, evolved, and a great addition to the Amnesia series if you like tension and mystery combined.

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Rating: 8.7/10 (3 votes cast)
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Amnesia: Rebirth - Review, 8.7 out of 10 based on 3 ratings
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Find me on youtube to see some playthroughs! https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCuBrlulGywcb0EiYWBnA1ng

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