Amnesia: Rebirth, developed and published by Frictional Games for PC and PlayStation 4, is the third installment in the Amnesia series. Excelling as both a tale of survival and horror, Amnesia: Rebirth easily blends genre upon genre to create a truly unforgettable, spooky experience.
Amnesia: Rebirth takes place in 1937 after a plane crash strands Tasi Trianon, her husband, and the rest of their archeological crew in Algeria. After waking up in the wreckage, Tasi realizes she has amnesia (wink wink, nod nod) and can’t remember anything after the initial collision. Following the trail her companions have left behind, Tasi discovers horrific monsters and a mysterious, seemingly related inner struggle. The gameplay in Amnesia: Rebirth is a mix of first-person adventure and puzzle-solving. Each area, especially those indoors, is dark, and Tasi needs to find matches and lantern oil to light her way. Otherwise, she’ll become too afraid, triggering jump scares and hallucinations, which makes the game scarier and harder to play on top of the already limited visibility.
Amnesia: Rebirth isn’t liberal with the number of light sources you can find, either. Much of the game, especially indoor areas, requires checking behind objects and inside cabinets to find matches. Of course, not everything hidden in strange places is always favorable, and I was spooked by a loud falling skeleton from time to time. However, this management aspect of Amnesia: Rebirth was engaging and incredibly immersive. I would often find myself low on matches and have to make a stressful decision—should I try to push through in the dark and hope the passage is short, or should I light a match and frantically light as many torches as possible, potentially wasting it and screwing myself over in the future?
It’s easy to accidentally waste matches exploring unimportant nooks and crannies, too. Amnesia: Rebirth has a linear story, but offers few hints about how to progress. Because of this, I would often use a match to light torches, explore a room, and realize there was nothing helpful inside. Even worse, sometimes I would run out of matches completely because I made a mistake, leaving me to complete puzzles in the dark surrounded by monsters.
The puzzles in the game are clever and don’t feel shoehorned in, each making logical sense given the environment. For example, early on I found an elevator that was missing its winch. After wandering the surrounding rooms and finding a serviceable replacement, I then had to brainstorm and create a solution to the elevator’s missing floor. This didn’t feel out of place at all since I was in an abandoned, obviously haunted fortress and I needed to get to the second floor. Each puzzle was realistic enough to not pull me out of my immersion, but still complex enough to be difficult when fighting for light and running away from monsters.
The monster themselves are terrifying. I started the game a little too cocky, thinking the monsters wouldn’t get to me much since aesthetically, I don’t think they’re anything special. However, Amnesia: Rebirth does a fantastic job of making you stop and wonder if you actually saw a monster in the rafters above you or if you’re just paranoid. I would often get glimpses of monsters through tiny cracks in doors or hear things being thrown around behind me in a room I’d just left.
The scariest thing about Amnesia: Rebirth (other than the darkness) is that, for the most part, if you get caught by the monsters you’re just out of luck. Tasi doesn’t have weapons so all you can do is run and hide. If you’re caught, you are given the option to struggle, but I was never particularly successful at fighting back.
Thematically, the game is incredibly interesting too since there are essentially two struggles, one external and one internal. Externally, the struggle is obviously the monsters and the objective to find your crew. However, Tasi is also tormented by a physical illness that she doesn’t understand, which appears to be connected to her spooky situation. Additionally, Tasi is a mother and pregnant with her second child. Because of this, much of her character motivation is driven by memories of her first child and the desire to survive and deliver her second.
Overall, Amnesia: Rebirth is a fantastic, terrifying experience. The story grapples with not just fear of the supernatural, but fear of failure, survival’s guilt, and a plethora of other challenging emotions. At every turn, I was confronted with a murderous monster or a remnant of my crew that made me question what happened and if I, with my lost memory, had somehow been responsible. Amnesia: Rebirth delivered on every level, cementing itself as a must-play for horror game fans.
Amnesia: Rebirth is available now for PC and PlayStation 4.
Overall, Amnesia: Rebirth is a fantastic, terrifying experience. The story grapples with not just fear of the supernatural, but fear of failure, survival’s guilt, and a plethora of other challenging emotions… Amnesia: Rebirth delivered on every level, cementing itself as a must-play for horror game fans.