“Just breathe” was a constant phrase that I found myself saying as I traversed through the horrifyingly dark new story by developer Frictional Games. 10 years after making waves in the gaming community with Amnesia: The Dark Descent, we have returned to the survival horror game that had put some streamers on the map. Amnesia: Rebirth serves as a frightful sequel to Dark Descent, and is the third game in the franchise.
We all know fear is subjective, but with a rich narrative, this story preys on all your senses and really puts you in the firing line of anxiety. So if you’re a thrill-seeker looking for an immersive game that plays on every emotion in your arsenal, I think this game will make your heart race more than this past election.
The game takes place in 1937, about 98 years after the events of the first installment. You play as French engineer, Anastasie “Tasi” Trianon, as she wakes up in the wreckage of a plane crash in the middle of the Algerian desert. Tasi, her husband Salim, and a group of others were on the verge of an expedition when their plane went down. Tasi is delirious and most of her memories are lost, but she tasks herself with finding her missing husband, and the rest of her crew. This journey leads her on a path through ancient caves, a fortress, and dark ruins all while being followed by supernatural forces that stand in her way of escape.
Much like its predecessors, Rebirth is a first-person horror survival game. With all the feels of a walking simulator but with more environmental interactions, the gameplay depends on your decisions and movements. Much of the environments are well detailed and the mechanics are pretty simple to navigate. Walk up to an object and hold R2 to pick it up. You can even use the D-pad to move the item around and further observe it. Picking up items around your environment is important to your survival and also to the story. You will find pieces of notes, pictures, and other items that will cue flashback sequences so be sure to lift all that you can. One of the most important items you will find are matches and any items that will provide momentary light. This is a very dark game so make sure that your lighting is on point.
All of your items and memory sequences will be logged into a journal menu. You can access this by hitting left on the D-pad. Some items could be combined as well, so make sure to hold on to your resources, because they are limited. Much like Dark Descent, your character cannot spend too much time in complete darkness. Without light, Tasi is sent into a fear mode that could be gauged by the screen getting darker with a black symbiotic layer and foggy vision closing in.
During these situations, you will hear voices, hear Tasi’s heart racing, see visions, and hear a gooey sound as you become consumed by some dark force. You can travel through the dark for a bit, but do your best to have some kind of light source, because if you stay there for too long it will cast you back to a checkpoint. Use L2 to run and R1 to peer around corners. These skills will be useful when you interact with supernatural forces.
There are 3 types of creatures to look out for during the game. Each one has a specific approach of attack, and make note that you cannot defeat any of them, so your best options are to hide or to run. Wraiths are floating creatures that attack you once they look at you. They are basically like the dementors from Harry Potter. The second creature type is a Shadow that chases after you and leaves a damaging red substance so avoid it if you can. Lastly, and probably the most annoying, are Ghouls/Harvesters. They are smart and will follow you so it’s best to try and use stealth around them. All of the supernatural entities above will try and mess with you as you solve puzzles and navigate dark spaces as a means of escape. It takes about an hour or so to come across these things, but the games heightened level of anticipation is probably the scariest aspect.
Some might find the jump scares a little predictable, and the problem solving a bit repetitious but I always felt incredibly nervous while playing. The sound quality of this game really adds to the overall feeling of dread as you try to navigate Tasi’s memories. You will hear all sorts of things around you so maybe put your headphones on for a more immersive experience. I wanted to avoid spoilers at all costs but I really do feel like this game consumes your attention with its narrative. The story feels like a cross between a sci-fi horror, a bad acid trip, and a weird pregnancy (if that sentence alone doesn’t entice you to play this then I don’t know what will). If this game was re-released on VR it would be legendary, hint if you’re a developer reading this review.
With a playthrough time of about 7 hours, Amnesia: Rebirth will leave you constantly on the edge of your seat. I don’t think it’s the scariest game of the series but it honestly depends on what you find scary, and for me, trying to find an exit in the dark while a monster is looking for you is my personal hell. I found myself even having dreams about the game, so yeah it’s incredibly immersive on the senses.
Also, if you’re a new streamer, I think this game would make excellent content for your channel so that’s always a plus. Please if you haven’t already, do yourself a favor and experience this game, I promise that you will not be disappointed. Amnesia: Rebirth is now available on PC and Playstation 4.