A new part of the cult horror series, in which the gameplay reaches a new level, but the plot recedes into the background.
Frictional Games is one of the most famous studios that releases exclusively horror games. The latest game in the Amnesia series, Rebirth, was strong but not at all frightening, and the story was weak against the backdrop of the resounding success of SOMA. From the new part called The Bunker, they expected the return of the frightening atmosphere of Amnesia: The Dark Descent and a fascinating story to match SOMA. In fact, the game turned out to be an experiment, which, although it has many shortcomings, will still appeal to fans of the genre.
- Developer: Frictional Games
- Publisher: Frictional Games
- Release: June 6, 2023
Amnesia: The Bunker takes place in 1916 during World War I, before the Rebirth story. The protagonist is the French soldier Henri Clement, who needs to get out of the bunker filled up after the explosion, finding dynamite and the fuse handle. The only obstacle will be a monster – a lanky creature resembling a ghoul from the last part of the series.
The gameplay of The Bunker combines elements of a survival simulator and a roguelike. Each new passage will be different due to randomly placed items and codes that open doors. At the same time, the player is not distracted by the “fear” and “reason” systems that were in the previous parts. This is the right decision, because such mechanics are suitable for classic Frictional Games horror, but here they would only be annoying.
The first thing that catches your eye when passing through The Bunker is the central hub, where the player can save, explore the map and turn on the electric generator. The latter is the main tool that will help you quickly complete the game. The monster is afraid of light, so every journey into the tunnels will have to start by turning on the generator. To do this, you will need fuel canisters, which can be found both in the hub and in the tunnels. Luckily, Anri doesn’t panic in the dark, so you can try to play the game hardcore without light.
In addition to the hub, another novelty of the series is firearms and grenades, which can be used to scare away the monster. However, a revolver will rarely have more than a couple of rounds, and even those will be needed to destroy a castle, blow up a barrel of gunpowder or scare away a creature.
In order not to make the passage too easy, the developers gave the player a small inventory. It can be increased by only one cell, looking for bags. Given that along the way you will meet a lot of useful items (from a lighter to a wrench and even a gas mask), something will have to be put in a safe in the hub. In general, the inventory is another “flexible” element for horror fans. If desired, the game can be completed at maximum difficulty without selecting additional cells, complicating your life.
The game also has a craft that was not previously in the series. You can create Molotov cocktails, a torch, and even bandages that will heal the wounds of the hero. However, crafting here is more of a tool to simplify life than an element that you cannot do without. The game is definitely more interesting to play, trying not to get injured and using only a flashlight, grenades and a revolver.
When creating The Bunker, the developers were clearly inspired by Alien: Isolation. Now the monster roams the entire bunker, tracking every sound coming from the hero, and in rare cases can teleport near the character. Otherwise, you can predict its appearance by the existing holes in the walls. In some cases, the hole can be blocked with a box or barrel, which will give a couple of precious seconds before the creature crawls out and runs after the hero. Fortunately, the monster does not know how to break through walls and make new holes.
In addition to the monster, the player will be hindered by dachshund-sized rats blocking the path. You can drive them away by force or cunning – make some noise so that a monster comes, devours the rats and clears the way. If you try to run past these enemies, the hero will get injured, which, in turn, will allow the monster to quickly smell its location.
This time, Frictional Games managed to create a tense and frightening atmosphere, but not due to the appearance of the monster, but thanks to the successful combination of the monster always nearby and the almost complete absence of hide and seek, as was the case in previous parts. There are only a couple of cabinets in the whole game that you can jump into.
Separate praise is worthy of the sound engineer, who combined the rumble of battles on the surface and the sounds of the monster, not allowing you to relax for a second. This makes going through the game without headphones a pointless exercise, given that the monster is always around.
The worst moment of Amnesia: The Bunker is the story. It was made as if for show – to immerse the player in the context, and then let go to have fun with the creature. If Rebirth had a clear beginning, middle and end, then The Bunker has only an introduction. The middle tries to reveal the essence of what happened with the help of the notes found, but does not give the player almost anything that he would not have guessed or already knew about. The ending of the game is completely irritating and disappointing.
Amnesia: The Bunker will delight fans of horror with immersive gameplay and a new take on the genre, but it’s unlikely to appeal to every gamer due to imperfect detail and a monotonous “seek and hide” process.
- Scary horror
- Accurate entry into the atmosphere
- Immersive gameplay
- Thoughtful level design
- High-quality visual and sound effects
- Weak detail
- Missing some animations
- Unfinished ending