Amnesia: Rebirth tumbles out of the dark shallows of The Dark Descent, one of the "worst horror games of all time", as some call it. Rightly. The horror experts at Frictional Games worked on the sequel for five years, and I got the chance to play it – including sadistic experiments and horrific dimensions.
"Descent" means in German descent, Decline, crossing and – in some cases – birth. It may be the title of the first game that made Frictional Games famous and infamous for horror in 2010, so be careful Amnesia: Rebirth: The first successor developed by Frictional Games itself, which is indirectly linked to The Dark Descent. And it is a descent, a transition, a birth of something new as well as something old.
You wake up alone in a crashed plane, the desert sun burns on the metal and lets you half suffocate in the machine. Your name is Tasi Trianon, and you remember the crash – but not what happened afterwards. The plane is empty. Your husband as well as the crew have disappeared and you crawl out into the desert to follow strange statues to a cave: are the others this way? And why did they leave you behind? The sun's burn on your skin will come with you insect-like crawling sound connected, which as in all frictional games cannot mean anything good. Fortunately it's pitch dark in the cave, isn't it?
DO NOT DO IT! But I can't help it …
What in The Dark Descent as well as in Machine for Pigs – which was not developed by Frictional Games, mind you – is only limited to big, dark houses, oily machines and cupboards in which you hide, is breaking new ground in Rebirth . Claustrophobic houses are being replaced by narrow caves, old English properties are tombs or Algerian buildings and then there is an amulet that will lead you into completely new, obscure realms.
If we remember The Dark Descent, it also becomes clear where Rebirth follows: The year is 1937, 98 years after the first part. If you haven't played The Dark Descent yet, I'd like to move you away from this article and encourage you to do so now. This is also followed by spoilers for the TDD story.
As became clear in the first Amnesia, the origin of all horror comes from an African excavation in which the bullet – the Orb – showed up. Connected to the orb is something evil, the monsters of which in TDD spilled over into our reality through it. Tasi crashes with the crew in Algeria and, oh wonder, enters the very tombs where the orb found its human owner almost a hundred years earlier.
You can see what Amnesia: Rebirth looks like in the official gameplay video:
It is possible to play Rebirth without any knowledge of Amnesia. But why should you miss the predecessor? While you can expect a merciless descent into horror in The Dark Descent, Rebirth offers one by far deeper, more emotional story but also one new kind of horrorwho don't hit your face quite as directly with their fists. The first Amnesia was pretty gross, sometimes.
And I sometimes miss the disgust or more of those unspeakable tasks that The Dark Descent gave us with a wink. Drilling the head of a corpse so that I could inject some of it? Naturally! On the other hand, you can also make sadistic decisions here that could haunt you even after the game. Rebirth works adult and at the same time lovecraftiger, and not only in the sense of a world that is without question inspired by Lovecraft – but also one slow, creeping horrorwhich is less splatter and instead asks you in the middle of the night what actually happened there, fuck.
Also back are the satisfactory ones Alchemy puzzle as well as the adrenaline-packed hide-and-seek games which go through a brilliant jump scare system were rounded off. Hell, the jump scares are really good.
Rebirth is good, but different from The Dark Descent
Amnesia: Rebirth is no second The Dark Descent, which has sometimes been dubbed the most disturbing and scary horror game of all time. Rebirth's goal is not just to let you squat crying in a black corner so that the monster passes by. Rather, it wants to fascinate you, bind you to the characters and teach to love them – before it then begins, torment youto send into dark corners and make decisions that are a little terrible. Or more than a little.
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If you want criticism from me, then yes, I would like to have it a little longer more blatant, wicked and bloody had. Still, I think it's fantastic, because apart from that, Rebirth shows once again how far the small development team around Frictional Games has developed. I'm shaky to see what will be served next on the operating table. Amnesia: Rebirth will be released on October 20, 2020 for PC and PS4.