Amnesia: Rebirth is a re-imagining of the world of the original Amnesia: The Dark Descent. A desert expedition goes horribly wrong and a lone survivor is left to piece together clues and her own fragmented memory in a search for what really happened.
As a horror game, Rebirth has great set pieces and sound design. The places look incredible and the sound design is constantly building a sense of tension and anxiety. As you search around for clues and ways to go forward, the game creates a sense of constant unease that never really leaves you.
The previous game’s main mechanic of darkness and fear has returned as well. Players must use their lantern and matches to create areas of light as staying in the darkness will increase your fear meter and your imagination will start to haunt you, quite literally. I found this mechanic to be a little underwhelming as the fear meter increased too quickly for my tastes and the light sources did not last long enough. The lantern used up fuel too quickly as well and the candles and lamps you lit along the way were blown out by random gusts of wind minutes later. This resulted in a more hurried fashion of exploring.
Overall, Amnesia: Rebirth is a solid horror game with some minor flaws. The game does a great job of building the world and the atmosphere. There’s always a sense of unease and tension that never leaves you as you are exploring the environment. However, in my own personal experience the light mechanic as is tended to create more frustration than fear. Having the fear meter go up so quickly is a source of annoyance. Being free to explore in the dark with a slower fear meter, and having the player’s imagination be the source of fear would have been more effective.
The monsters are another matter as well and that is also just my own personal preference. In any horror game where getting caught by a monster ends in a fail state, the veil of horror is torn away to reveal just another game mechanic that the player can beat. In that sense, it loses its ability to create fear after failing a certain number of times, and simply becomes another game mechanic to defeat.
That isn’t to say I wasn’t sufficiently scared while playing the game and I did enjoy my time in the world of Amnesia: Rebirth.