Amnesia: Rebirth is now available on Xbox platforms, including Xbox Game Pass as one of the service’s latest day one drops! We played through Frictional Games’ recent horror adventure when it first launched on PS4, and we’ve now dipped back into the title on Xbox Series X to see how things hold up. Thankfully, this remains a great horror experience and one that’s well worth your time on Xbox Game Pass.
Even if you’ve not played anything Amnesia in your time on this spinning rock, you may have heard about Amnesia: The Dark Descent. It has a reputation as one of the scariest horror games ever made, from the team that also developed the PC-only Penumbra series. While Rebirth isn’t quite as downright scary as those older Frictional titles, it’s still an unnerving adventure through an eerily isolated Algerian desert, with some spooky otherworldly locations thrown into the mix for good measure.
Your journey begins with an unfortunate plane crash over the Algerian desert, although it’s immediately obvious the reasons behind the accident are atypical. As protagonist Tasi Trianon, you climb from the wreckage unaware of what’s happened since the plane went down, and a fair amount of time seems to have passed since the accident. Where are your fellow passengers? Just how long have you been out? What caused the crash? These answers require some digging, as it turns out.
Amnesia: Rebirth is a puzzle adventure at heart; don’t expect this one to be quite as knockout scary as The Dark Descent. Still, once you’ve scrambled across the searing heat of the desert into the caves that lie below, the atmosphere begins to build. You’ll be fumbling around in dark corners before you know it, scouring the place for matches and any other sources of light that help keep your sanity in order.
Yep, just like older Amnesia games, Rebirth contains a sanity mechanic, at least in its original difficulty mode. It isn’t always clear how your sanity is holding up, but the gist of it is if you stay in the light as much as possible, that goes a long way to keeping you sane. It can be irritating at times to feel like you’re constantly searching for matches to stay on track, but ultimately, the mechanic teaches you to be more aware of your surroundings as you progress through the story.
That story, at times, can be vague but it’s still an enjoyable adventure all told. The game’s otherworldly elements, which we won’t spoil here, aren’t always well explained but it doesn’t put a damper on things too much. Between the protagonist and their immediate family this is a much more personal affair than Frictional usually serves up, and any mysteries beyond the family’s dealings are often left to your own interpretation.
As the game progresses, Rebirth throws up more complex puzzles and they can take some time to fully figure out. Amnesia has always been keen on the idea of interactivity within the environment; most things can be picked up and messed about with in some fashion. We recommend always giving any nooks and crannies a second and third look, to make sure you’ve spotted every piece of a given puzzle.
If you like your puzzles and that’s the main draw for you, Rebirth offers up an ‘Adventure’ mode that strips away the game’s sanity mechanic and makes fumbling around in the dark a lot less dangerous. We haven’t had chance to play through the game in this mode just yet (the dev says that normal mode is their intended way to play), but the description says that Adventure mode offers up a few extra puzzles throughout the journey. This mode might be worth a go if you’re not here primarily for the scares!
Amnesia: Rebirth is a more mature effort from Frictional Games, with an increased focus on story, making the whole experience feel more like a complete game than its predecessors. The new setting is an eerie place to be as well, even if it’s not quite as ‘conventional horror’ as the locations that make up the Amnesia: Collection. There are some puzzles we got hung up on for a bit longer than we’d like, and the story is a bit vague at times, but this is still an enjoyable adventure overall and one we can definitely recommend for Game Pass players, especially those looking for an immersive horror experience.