Amnesia: Rebirth from Frictional Games is a psychological horror adventure with mature themes and some incredibly tense moments, set during the aftermath of a plane crash in 1937.
The game sets its tone quickly, as an expedition goes horribly wrong when a plane carrying Tasi, her husband Salim, and several other members of their crew goes down abruptly in the desert. Tasi awakens alone and scared, left with no memory of the events which transpired and no idea where her husband and crew mates are. She sets off through the desert in hopes of finding answers.
Players are quickly acclimated to the games central themes of survival and lighting. Tasi is scared, vulnerable, and weakened from the crash. Her fear plays a huge role in the game as she encounters disturbing locales filled with death, disheartening letters, and grotesque monsters that may (or may not) be real.
Darkness covers most of the locations, forcing Tasi – and in turn, the player – to constantly search for matches and oil for her lamp to keep areas bright enough to explore. Being in the darkness too long will quickly cause Tasi to lose her senses. The more frightened she becomes, the louder the whispers get, and the more likely she is to be seen by one of the grotesque creatures hidden throughout the harsh landscapes.
Frictional Games has crafted an exceptionally frightening game, where fear consumes players as much as it does Tasi – the sound design and settings are enough to keep players sufficiently frightened, yet still curious, as they head deeper into the unknown.
Tasi and her crew’s back story is mostly told through letters found scattered throughout, left by members of the crew. Time doesn’t seem to flow correctly in the desert – Tasi learns that her team had been through multiple weeks worth of torture before she awoke at the plane crash – although she doesn’t remember any of it.
Amnesia: Rebirth is a puzzle game based around survival, with players spending much of their time finding the various items necessary to progress and figuring out how to use them. While there is no combat to speak of, there are scary moments and a large variety of locations and puzzles to solve which prevent Amnesia: Rebirth from ever becoming stale during its 8 to 10 hour campaign.
From deserted villages to underground advanced societies, players will explore a deserted world where life has seemingly been eradicated – aside from the occasional spirit which may or may not be helpful – and beasts which stalk Tasi throughout.
The fear that stems from entering a new location without sufficient lighting is something not often felt in other games and lends a real suspense to what otherwise could be a routine exploration game. I found myself constantly debating on whether to use a match and stave off Tasi’s fear, or delve deeper into the unknown, allowing Tasi to lose her sanity as I hoped to conserve my meager supplies for a more suitable location.
Without spoiling the story, the game deals with life and loss in a rather profound way, putting Tasi through far more than most characters endure in even their worst campaigns. It is a mature story, filled with moments of shock and horror, with images and chase scenes which will stick with some players – especially those faint of heart – for long after the credits roll. With three endings to discover and an incredible amount of notes and memories scattered throughout – there is quite a bit of replyability.
Amnesia: Rebirth was a welcome surprise. I had never played an Amnesia game before and thoroughly enjoyed my time with this one. I found myself scouring each area for bits of lore as I was genuinely interested in the events which had transpired. Fans of the Amnesia series or fans of slow burn horror should definitely check this game out.