Back in 2010, a little game developer called Frictional Games blew the lid off of horror game conventions with their sleeper-hit, Amnesia: The Dark Descent. Infamously, they generated thousands of YouTubers with annoyingly goofy thumbnailed videos, trying to guide people through the game in Valley Girl accents.
Their ultra-conformity aside, The Dark Descent as a game, was exceptionally unique and offered a new way to play horror games. Instead of being able to harm monsters/spirits/entities in a horror game, you were powerless against them—your best bet was to run and hide (and hope not to be discovered).
The Chinese Room was handed the development reins in 2013 and released Amnesia: A Machine for Pigs; a direct sequel. This second game diverted from the extreme sense of dread that the first game instilled and instead focused more on the series’ lore. This seemed to split fans since some wanted a return to the super-creepy atmosphere of The Dark Descent, while others enjoyed the more horror-lite, narrative-driven experience that Machine for Pigs offered.
Frictional came back in 2015 with their underwater horror game, SOMA. The game was similar to A Machine for Pigs in that it was more story-centered, rather than a scare-fest. To fans of the original game, The Dark Descent, this signaled that perhaps gamers would never again be treated to the uniquely terrifying experiences that they experienced in 2010.
Frictional caught everyone off guard when they announced their most recent effort, titled: Amnesia: Rebirth. People were wondering if this new Amnesia game would pay homage to The Dark Descent or if it would be another narrative-heavy game with a horror-lite coating. I’m happy to report that Rebirth is a solid return to form while retaining some of the deep narrative aspects.
Things kick off with a plane crash that leaves the main character, Tasi Trianon, stranded in the deserts of Algeria. When she awakes from the crash, she finds that her team of fellow researchers, along with the plane’s crew, have gone missing. Tasi has a case of amnesia (get it…”Amnesia?”) and can’t quite remember much. Over the course of the game’s 10 to 12 hour game time (depending on how creeped out you are to advance in the game), Tasi will begin to recollect bits of her memory here and there. For the sake of not ruining the story, I’ll just say that the stuff that went down was pretty brutal.
Like any great horror movie, Rebirth slowly builds up a sense of dread that makes you wonder if you’re seeing things out of the corner of your eye. Along with the phenomenal sound design, even the game’s first half-hour had me looking over my shoulders constantly. Here’s a brief rundown of my first hour or so with the game…
After waking up from the plane crash, I guided Tasi around in an attempt to find as many clues as I could amid the wreckage. I learned that Tasi’s loving husband and some of the other researchers had probably sought shelter within some nearby caves. After walking for a bit, I discovered the cave entrance and cautiously walked in.
After a quick loading screen, I was welcomed into a large cave chamber with some bloody rags and a makeshift triage area. A series of haunting flashbacks occurred that detailed some of the passenger’s and crew’s lives.
I discovered that Tasi would become more fearful if she lingered in dark areas of the caves for too long. In order to mitigate this, she had to light matches that she’d come across from time to time so that she could at least partially illuminate these dark areas.
I eventually came to a particularly dark and narrow passage that headed downward. I gulped (in real life) and began to guide Tasi down the passageway. All of a sudden, the match she had in her hand went out and I began to hear some odd grumbling and hissing noises in the pitch black. I immediately turned her around and began to run back toward the small rectangle of light that was the passage’s entrance. Would I make it?
Amnesia: Rebirth is a fantastic return to form for the Amnesia series. It features some fantastic sound design, excellent graphics, and lots of tension and scares. Try it out for yourself with a good pair of headphones.
Amnesia: Rebirth has some pretty good looking graphics that make its horror gameplay truly shine. However, you want to have a pretty beefy gaming PC or gaming laptop in order to play it at a decent framerate. So, you may just want to invest in a decent gaming rig:
Visit CyberpowerPC’s website to check out all of the other great deals as well!