Amnesia: Rebirth (Xbox Series X)
Also available on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Linux, and Windows
Amnesia: Rebirth is both a sequel and a reboot of sorts of the series. It's a sequel in that it directly follows The Dark Descent and A Machine for Pigs chronologically, and it directly references some of the characters and events mentioned in The Dark Descent; but it's also a reboot in that it requires no knowledge of the previous games to enjoy and understand, and looks and plays significantly more like a modern game. That makes sense considering it was released in 2020 whereas The Dark Descent was released in 2010.
It takes place a few decades after A Machine for Pigs and follows Tasi as she wakes up alone and confused in the Algerian desert following a plane crash. As she searches for her companions, she finds evidence of their having passed through but seems always to be a step behind them. As you make your way through the game, you'll uncover some of Tasi's memories as well as notes and journal entries left behind, both of which serve to uncover the truth of the game's story. Pay attention to these, too, as the characters and their development via these memories are a major part of what gives the game its dramatic impact.
Each of the Amnesia games seem to have a different focus. With The Dark Descent, the focus was very much on mood, ambiance, and an atmosphere of horror. With Justine, it was on moral choice. With A Machine for Pigs, it was on the overall narrative and the message of that narrative. With Rebirth, it seems to be on characters, although there's sort of a blend of the others, as well. Some parts of the game don't feel like a horror game at all, like wandering through the desert, but other parts feel just as scary as The Dark Descent if not more so. Like Justine, what determines your ending is a key moral choice in the game. Like A Machine for Pigs, the story - in this case, the characters specifically - are given supreme importance. As far as storytelling goes, I think Rebirth is hands down the best of the four. As far as horror goes, it still falls short of The Dark Descent, but it's a solid #2.
Amnesia: Rebirth is a solid follow-up to The Dark Descent and A Machine for Pigs, and it's definitely worth playing for fans of the series. I, personally, don't care for the desert setting for the most part, but some of the interior environments you explore - a French fort, for example - are EXCELLENT and supremely creepy. Enemies play a much larger role in the horror than they did in A Machine for Pigs, and I honestly think the use of enemies to enhance the horror experience is executed better in Rebirth than it was in The Dark Descent. Overall, the Dark Descent is a scarier game, but Rebirth is still a fantastic experience, and given that it's a decade newer, it looks and sounds significantly better, and those are both improvements and enhance the player's fear. The price point is fair considering that it's the longest game in the series, at least based on my playtime, and it's on Game Pass as of the time of writing, so definitely check it out there if you've got a horror itch that needs scratching.
My Rating - 4 Neps
I'm a teacher.
And I like to play video games. I like to collect video games. I like to talk about video games, and I like to write about video games. During the day, I teach high school history; during the night, I spend my spare time gaming. Then I write about it.