Horror can come in many shapes and forms. People can be scared by their creatures, horrible images, bloody violence, jump scares, psychological terror, and much more. However, the simple fear of not knowing what lies ahead usually is what hits people the hardest. Amnesia: Rebirth is a fantastic example of testing one’s ability to stare into the darkness and proceed forward.
Like previous Amnesia games, players will take control of a character who doesn’t remember anything or only remembers very specific parts of the past. Then they must focus on revealing the missing parts of the story through investigation, exploration, and puzzle-solving. Rebirth continues this tradition of the other Amnesia games in a new setting and with some new mechanics. It felt a little funny starting with someone with amnesia again, but the story justified it very well and dove players in a good direction so quickly that you’ll hardly remember you don’t know who you are.
As a survival horror (to some extent), I was always impressed by how little gear I would have, maybe five matches at most at any time with only a few key items or things to round out my entire arsenal. And yet, the game would balance scarcity and availability perfectly so I was always on edge if I should use a match and light something or should just wander in the dark a little bit longer. Debating when and where to use light along with complex but never annoying puzzles created this world that felt very tangible and affected by me and my choices. It would’ve been nice to have some more deep puzzles throughout and maybe some more genuine scares, but lacking those never distracted from my enjoyment in general.
The actual story piques a player’s interest from the first moment, driving them to continue learning more and more about what happened even in the face of great fear. It also delivers some really great surprises and mostly original twists. But even if the story itself is not all that complicated, it doesn’t make it any more meaningful. Also, the way it is told through notes, voiceovers, pictures, and striking imagery makes the journey of the story almost better than the story itself.
To not give anything away, I’ll keep this review brief and to the point. If you enjoy the exhilarating and terrifying nature of the first Amnesia game, then Amnesia: Rebirth brings to life that same terror, dread, mystery, and suspense. I didn’t think I could be so scared of an open courtyard in daylight, but the developers at Frictional Games know how to create an atmosphere. The slightly shorter length, less than impressive graphics, and some jittery and buggy movements hold this game back from being truly impressive and groundbreaking. But if you like being frozen with fear and strong storytelling, you’ll like this game. If you got nothing else to do then be home during this spooky time, this would be an excellent way to spend your evenings.