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    dkirschner's Amnesia: Rebirth (PC)

    [May 31, 2022 05:31:00 PM]
    Just got through with this. Not a great horror game. It's very slow, very dark (visually), and very "trying to be scary but since nothing can really happen to you, it's not." I thought the story might save it since the premise of being alone, "heavily pregnant" (the game's description of Tasi), and following your surviving expedition through an alternate dimension is intriguing. However, the story just gets really convoluted and I found myself walking from puzzle room to puzzle room solving easy challenges (except when I had to look up a couple things online because I didn't see the objects I was supposed to be interacting with) waiting for the thing to end.

    Finally, it does end. The final sequences are some of the more interesting in the entire game though. One prior honorable mention is the extended encounter with Leon, trying to find your way through a maze while being hunted by a former expedition mate. But at the end, you get some answers. All the cryptic "wtf" notes and audiologs, the fragments of flashbacks, the mysterious alien light, the answer to this other dimension and their civilization, the mystery of what happened to the civilization, to your plane, to your crew, to you is revealed...sort of. There is a lot unexplained, a lot that doesn't make sense. Why was Tasi's kid sick in the first place? What started this whole thing?

    I put my sociologist hat on and started seeing themes of the abortion debate at the end, which I did not expect (and I don't know if that was intended). Tasi wants to choose what to do with her body and her child, but most everyone else (including a god) wants to restrict her choice. It's really important to her that she do what she wants to do based on a prior loss; other people don't understand it. Enacting her choice brings a (moral?) sickness down on everyone; however, relinquishing control to a god may give her child a good life, but she isn't herself anymore to know the outcome anyway. Anyway, in the end, you can choose one of three endings. But again, none of the choices really have great outcomes.

    I started thinking about abortion toward the end because this game gave me a unique experience. This is the only game that has ever cast me in the role of a pregnant woman, that has given me a button to check on my baby (hold x to talk to it and calm yourself), that has had my character give birth, and that has had POV breastfeeding. I'm not going to say that it was "worth playing" for these novel experiences, but it was definitely thought-provoking, eye-opening, and is the main thing that made the horror element pop, especially at the end, when Tasi is having contractions. As a man, this is not a perspective I often get to take. It really makes me wonder about gendered experiences during gameplay, or experiences of mothers/parents and people who have not had children. Since most of the stuff related to pregnancy, birth, and an actual baby happens toward the end of the game (or the latter half at least), and that's what I found most interesting, by far, then it feels like Amnesia: Rebirth was a whole lot of nothing for a little bit at the end.
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    [May 22, 2022 05:32:47 PM]
    I've sat down to play this a few times. I almost quit after the first time though! I was getting super frustrated going around in circles in the dark trying to figure out a puzzle. There is a room with a radio, but there's no obvious way inside. On the second floor of the building, there is a weak floor (you know this because your character, Tasi, comments on it and says if it collapses, that would be a quick way down to the radio room). Well, I found a huge, heavy barrel and rolled it to the weak floor. Nothing. I jumped up and down. Nothing. I wandered round and round in the dark, my eyes getting more and more tired. I wasn't scared. I hadn't been scared the whole game. It was just dark and I used all my matches and I couldn't make this stupid floor break.

    So I looked it up online. You have to roll a cannon onto the floor. There is a cannon nearby, but it's on a concrete block and missing two wheels. I didn't think I could move the cannon because it was on a concrete block and I couldn't remove the concrete block. But, I learned you have to find two wheels and put those on first. Putting wheels on the cannon makes it so you can move the concrete block. (You can't move the concrete block from under the cannon, but you can somehow lift the cannon enough to fit wheels on. Okay.) This is how I learned that Amnesia: Rebirth uses physics puzzles and that (as usual) I need to be more patient!

    I wanted to quit out of spite. "Pshh, this isn't as scary as The Dark Descent." But I decided not to be petty and forge ahead. Good decision, I think. The story is intriguing, even if the gameplay is a bit bland. You play as Tasi, a pregnant woman who is part of an expedition to the Algerian desert. The plane goes down and the rest of your expedition is missing when you wake up in the wreckage. The game is very much a "walking simulator." You'll read a lot of notes and solve some (so far) easy puzzles. The most challenging thing is navigating in the dark, but when you are in pitch black and becoming afraid, the environment turns this grey-blue color so you can see a little bit. Without light (matches, with which you can light candles and things in the environment, and your lantern, which requires fuel), you will miss interactable objects that you need. So what I usually do is try to navigate my way around in the grey-blue, and if I get stuck, I start lighting candles to see if I missed anything. It's methodical and kind of fun to know that I'm progressing mostly in the dark.

    The intrigue is that, it being the desert, and there being a Muslim influence in Northern Africa, there are djinns, spirits in the desert. An older civilization buried under the rocks and sands maybe worshipped one of them, or some goddess. They could travel back and forth between two planes of existence, and Tasi can too when she finds herself in possession of a mysterious amulet. So, as you journey beneath the desert on the trail of your expedition comrades, you also journey back and forth through these planes, following a spirit (and avoiding ghuls and whatever other nasties are out there). The stakes aren't high though. You can't die. You "respawn" feet from where you "died" and it's like nothing happened. So hiding from the ghuls, taking care not to jump from a ledge, none of it matters.

    Once I learned the appropriate frame for the game, I began to enjoy it. I now see it as a story game more than a horror game, and that's fine. My expectations were off. But now I'm looking forward to unraveling this mystery and finding out why Tasi is maybe both alive and dead, and what's up with her fetus. I feel like they're going to throw some weird curveball at me!
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    dkirschner's Amnesia: Rebirth (PC)

    Current Status: Finished playing

    GameLog started on: Wednesday 18 May, 2022

    GameLog closed on: Tuesday 31 May, 2022

    dkirschner's opinion and rating for this game

    Keep yawning. It's not as intense as I remember the others being. ----------- Some interesting stuff at the end. Pretty dull overall though.

    Rating (out of 5):starstarstar

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