|Release||October 20, 2020|
Amnesia: Rebirth is a 2020 survival horror video game developed and published by Frictional Games. It was released for Microsoft Windows, Linux and PlayStation 4 on October 20, 2020. It is the third installment in the franchise and serves as a sequel to Amnesia: The Dark Descent (2010). The game received generally favorable reviews upon release.
Like The Dark Descent, the game is played from a first-person perspective. The player assumes control of Tasi Trianon, who must wander through desert caves and ancient tombs in order to find the whereabouts of her companions. The game is dimly lit, and players must use light sources, such as Tasi's own fuel lamp, to see clearly and find ways to progress. Players can also scavenge matches, which can be used to light up mounted torches and candles. Players also need to solve various puzzles to progress in the game, and read the notes left by non-playable characters to know more about the story.
Like the first game, Tasi's fear level would build up gradually. Fear would overwhelm Tasi when she walks completely in the dark, causing her to hallucinate and hear whispers in her head. Grotesque images will also pop up in the screen. Solving puzzles, hiding from monsters, and managing light sources can control her fear, preventing such from happening. The game does not feature any combat system and when Tasi encounters a supernatural creature, she could either run or hide. Unlike the first game, when the player is killed, the game would not reload an earlier save point. Instead, it will bring the player a bit forward, allowing the player to skip the monster encounter entirely during the player's second attempt.
The game is set in March 1937, approximately 98 years after the events of The Dark Descent. The story follows Anastasie “Tasi” Trianon, a French archeologist on an expedition in colonial Africa. After her plane crash-lands in a desert in Algeria, she wakes up to discover that all of her companions have gone missing and that she has no recollection of what happened immediately after the crash. Determined to find her husband Salim, Tasi braves the dangers of the desert to follow the trail of her expedition. As she navigates a cave, Tasi realizes that she had somehow come into possession of a Traveler's Amulet, an alien device that allows her to travel through Rifts to a dead alien world. She also discovers that she is pregnant. Tasi eventually finds Salim's corpse, having already succumbed to the mortal wounds he suffered in the plane crash. Distraught, Tasi continues on to try and find the rest of the expedition.
Upon exiting the cave, Tasi comes across an abandoned French fort and quickly discovers the entire garrison had been slaughtered by some unknown force. She manages to get into contact with an expedition survivor, Dr. Metzier, who instructs her to head to a nearby village he had managed to find. Tasi travels deep under the fort to find an exit, and soon encounters grotesque and mutated ghouls that stalk the tunnels. She is able to make her way out of the fort, but is caught in a cave-in and falls into ancient ruins that once belonged to a highly advanced but now extinct society. As she studies the ruins, Tasi learns that the facility was built by an alien race dubbed the Gate Builders, who had the ability to traverse worlds and extend their lives thanks to the power of vitae, a substance which they obtained by torturing humans on a mass scale. However, an experiment caused the Gate on their homeworld to malfunction and destroy itself, wiping out the Gate Builders and spreading the Shadow, a dangerous force that manifests in red tumor-like growths. Tasi also comes across signs of a previous expedition led by Professor Thurston Herbert, where Daniel broke the Orb and incurred the Shadow's wrath. She also discovers to her horror that one of her expedition members, Leon, was turned into a ghoul, and later rescues another expedition member, Richard, but ends up killing him in a rage when he betrays her and attempts to leave her to die.
Tasi is able to activate a teleporter to transport herself to the village, though she begins to go into labor due to the stress of her journey. She then encounters another expedition member, Yasmin, who is in the process of turning into a ghoul. She admits that she lost control of herself and slaughtered all of the villagers, and warns Tasi to run away from her. Dr. Metzier arrives and shoots Yasmin dead before she can attack Tasi, afterwards helping her deliver her daughter, who she names Amari. However, he then takes the baby away, claiming she is needed to reverse the ghoul curse placed on them. Tasi chases after Dr. Metzier, who uses the Traveler's Amulet to travel to the Gate Builder world.
During the pursuit, Tasi begins to recover her memories. Shortly after the plane crash, the Empress of the Gate Builders approached Tasi and the expedition. The Empress, longing to be a mother after vitae treatment for an unknown affliction rendered her infertile, gave them the Traveler's Amulet and promised to save them if Tasi handed over Amari. However, Tasi, still traumatized by the loss of her previous daughter Alys, refused the deal. Before sending them back to Earth, the Empress tricked the expedition into drinking from a special fountain that inflicted the ghoul curse on them, which would make it easier for her to control them.
Tasi is able to catch up to Dr. Metzier and kill him. The Empress then warns Tasi that Amari is afflicted with the same illness that killed Alys, and is doomed to suffer the same fate. She pleads with Tasi to allow Amari to stay with her, as she can provide an endless supply of vitae to Amari to suppress her illness and allow her to live a full life. Tasi is then left with the choice of leaving Amari behind, fighting the Empress, or fleeing with Amari.
- If Tasi leaves Amari behind, the Empress commends her for making the right choice and fully turns Tasi into a ghoul. As a ghoul, Tasi roams the ruins of the Gate Builder world with only fragmented memories of Amari.
- If Tasi decides to fight the Empress, she injects Red Flesh into the Empress' vitae supply, killing the Empress and destroying what little is left of the Gate Builder civilization. While this euthanizes the humans being tortured for their vitae, both Tasi and Amari are swallowed by the Shadow's growth and perish as well.
- If Tasi decides to flee with Amari, she is able to activate a teleporter that sends her and Amari to Paris and beyond the Empress' reach. Tasi and Amari then emerge in Paris, with both of them facing an uncertain future.
Amnesia: Rebirth was developed by Frictional Games. It was their first Amnesia game since The Dark Descent in 2010 and their first game since Soma in 2015. While in development, the team attempted to identify the strengths and the shortcomings of The Dark Descent and Soma, and decided that Rebirth would keep Soma' focus of having an overarching narrative, and Amnesia's "lower-level gameplay". The team chose to return to the Amnesia franchise because they felt that it would shorten the game's development cycle, as the team only need to refine the franchise's established elements without having the need to start anew. The team also felt that Amnesia could expand to many other settings, as indicated by the in-game notes in the original games. Despite this, the game is not a direct sequel to The Dark Descent. Players do not need to play the first game in order to understand the stories, but the game would have a lot more connections with the original game than A Machine for Pigs, which was developed externally by The Chinese Room.
According to Thomas Grip, the game's creative director, the game explores the idea of "survival". Instead of relying on short-term scares, the team believed that the game's overarching theme and narrative should be what haunts the player. The team chose a desert setting as the game's main setting, as it allows the team to create more diverse environments, and allows players to appreciate moments of beauty and spectacle, which can then be used to contrast the more claustrophobic areas and the sense of dread the game hopes to deliver. Skeletons on the Zahara served as a major source of inspiration for the team. Learning from their experiences creating Soma, the game story unfolds as the player progresses, unlike in The Dark Descent whose story is mostly delivered through text-based collectibles and focuses entirely on the past.
Amnesia: Rebirth received "generally favorable" reviews, according to review aggregator Metacritic. Ben Reeves of Game Informer noted that "Praising Amnesia: Rebirth as a horror experience is easy." specifically noting the "superb environmental design and sound work". As a game, however, it comes up short in a lot of areas" specifically noting the puzzles ruined the tension of the game and that the goals of the game are often unclear with maze-like rooms that make you easily miss your target. Phil Hornshaw of GameSpot echoed this statement, stating that "none of the puzzles are especially difficult, it's definitely possible to get stalled here and there as you search for a solution that's not immediately intuitive." Hornshaw declared that the game was "at its best when Tasi's personal journey intersects with the supernatural goings-on as it explores the responsibilities of motherhood." while noting "the game delivers the illusion of more agency than it actually offers--there are only a couple of big choices along the way and it's not clear they actually make much difference in terms of how the story unfolds." Rick Lane of The Guardian described the game as "an ambitious tale that invokes body horror, cosmic horror, and themes of colonialism, as well as mental-health traumas such as bereavement and loss of sanity" but found the story suffered from thinly drawn out secondary characters, specifically noting that "Tasi’s maudlin relationship with Salim is a particular weak point." The review concluded that the game's combination of "light puzzle-solving with evading the twitching creatures who lurk in the game’s oppressive darkness, and though the puzzles are intelligently constructed (a lengthy sequence set in an abandoned Foreign Legion fortress is a highlight), they lack the elaborate tactility of Frictional’s masterful sci-fi horror, Soma."
- Reeves, Ben (October 19, 2020). "Amnesia: Rebirth Review – The Fine Line Between Fear And Frustration". Game Informer. Retrieved October 20, 2020.
- Klepeck, Patrick (October 19, 2020). "'Amnesia: Rebirth' Has the Scares, But Buckles Under the Weight of History". Vice. Retrieved October 19, 2020.
- Bolt, Neil (October 19, 2020). "[Review] A Stellar Sequel Ten Years in the Making: 'Amnesia: Rebirth' is Frictional's Best Game Ye". Bloody Disgusting. Retrieved October 20, 2020.
- McWhertor, Michael (September 15, 2020). "Amnesia: Rebirth arrives just in time for Halloween". Polygon. Retrieved October 20, 2020.
- Wales, Matt (October 13, 2020). "Amnesia: Rebirth is more than a decade of horror gaming refined". Eurogamer. Retrieved October 20, 2020.
- Ramee, Jordan (May 21, 2020). "Amnesia: Rebirth's Setting Will Offer A "Different Kind Of Horror" For The Franchise". GameSpot. Retrieved October 20, 2020.
- Robertson, Adi (March 6, 2020). "There's a new Amnesia game, and it's probably terrifying". The Verge. Retrieved October 20, 2020.
- "Amnesia: Rebirth". amnesiarebirth.com. Retrieved 22 October 2020.
- "Amnesia: Rebirth for PC Reviews". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Retrieved February 14, 2021.
- "Amnesia: Rebirth for PlayStation 4 Reviews". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Retrieved February 14, 2021.
- Reeves, Ben (October 19, 2020). "Amnesia: Rebirth". Game Informer. Retrieved February 28, 2021.
- Hornshaw, Phil (October 20, 2020). "Amnesia: Rebirth Review". GameSpot. Retrieved February 28, 2021.
- Campbell, Kyle (October 19, 2020). "Amnesia: Rebirth Review". IGN. Retrieved February 28, 2021.
- Lane, Rick (October 29, 2020). "Amnesia: Rebirth review – A Horror Game Pregnant with Dread". The Guardian. Retrieved February 28, 2021.