I suppose I should start this review with a brief retrospective: Amnesia: The Dark Descent came out way back in 2010, and it became a big hit among horror game fans, streamers, and “let’s players” before ending up with a Metacritic score of 85 and 8.6 user score. Amnesia: A Machine for Pigs was not received that well (72 and 5.9 scores respectively), and Amnesia: Rebirth was just slightly better (80 and 6.3 scores respectively). I have high hopes that Amnesia: The Bunker will be received significantly better. And, let’s not forget SOMA, one of the best horror game stories I have witnessed, that kept me thinking and discussing it for weeks. After conducting two consecutive playthroughs (one for the immersion and the other for guides I’m writing for you all) and allowing the dust in that godforsaken bunker to settle after managing to escape it, I am ready to deliver my impressions about this novel horror game.
Just When You Thought World War 1 Couldn’t Be More Horrific, There’s Amnesia: The Bunker
The game is set around the middle of World War 1 (The Great War). You are a simple French soldier, trying to fight off the attacks of the Central Powers (namely Germany, since this is the Western Front we’re talking about) while fighting for your life to defend the French land behind you.
After the tutorial/intro story passes, you collapse and wake up in the infirmary of a bunker you were stationed in. You have little to no information about what’s going on, and the last surviving soldier you manage to meet gets dragged away by something you couldn’t even properly take a glimpse at. You just hear savage and unnatural, or rather, supernatural roars, and your comrade’s screams. You have no idea what you are up against, but your survival instinct kicks in.
“As if it was not enough to get constantly shellshocked by an artillery barrage, being shot at by German snipers, being oppressed by the lack of fuel to maintain the upkeep of the Bunker, there’s this supernatural creature that’s out to get you, and those blasted mutated rats.”
The war just got a lot scarier. So many questions pop into my head. What is this creature? With the Return to Castle Wolfenstein vibes present throughout the game, I wonder if it’s a German-made experiment we’re dealing with. What does it want? How can I stay safe from it? Can I kill it? So many questions, but no answers, and information is given to you in very small increments as you wander through the Bunker. It was a crazy-as-hell experience, I’m telling you.
You will always be afraid of what’s coming next, and that’s the good kind of fear that comes from these horror games. Fear of the unknown. The fear keeps you engaged and pushes you until the end of the playthrough. You’ve no idea what you’re supposed to do next, so you do things step by step, as there are not a lot of opportunities to skip ahead in the main story, but you’re unaware of when this agony will end. Gradually, you learn how things function, and soon, your confidence in problem-solving increases. When you figure out the threats and how to mitigate them, it becomes a lot easier.
In terms of story-telling and immersion, Frictional Games did a decent job. You’ll be able to collect journals, notes, and pictures around the bunker, telling you the story of what you’ve gotten yourself into. After completing the first playthrough, you may find it enjoyable to do another one; aiming to improve your gameplay by strategically allocating the limited resources and mastering combat techniques against the supernatural entity that wanders around the bunker. Playing again also allows you to enjoy the game with more freedom.
Best of all, you do not need to play any of the previous games to enjoy Amnesia: The Bunker. The game is probably set in the Amnesia universe, but there are no critical relations between the other Amnesia titles and this one. You will have a good experience if you like horror games.
Is Amnesia: The Bunker Good? Should I Buy It?
I definitely had a good time playing it, and I would recommend it for sure if you are an Amnesia fan. Developers could always use the support in order to keep delivering new games. I hope that the next Amnesia will be even better than this one. Hopefully, Frictional Games does not run out of inspiration.
What is This Vicious Supernatural Beast That’s After You, Anyway?
It’s the type of villain that you can try to blow up with grenades, burn it, or shoot 9mm bullets through their heart and brains, but it will just keep coming back, like the worst villains in horror movies. It’s basically unkillable; you’ll even see swords sticking out of it if you manage to get a good look. You can just delay it and scare it away, only for it to come back for you way more pissed, with a big Revengeance 2: Electric Boogaloo. It will listen to your footsteps, it will listen to your frantic winding up of the dynamo flashlight, shots, explosions, and it will come to haunt you.
Are There Any Problems With Amnesia: The Bunker?
Not a lot of problems, actually. I played the game before the release and didn’t have any issues. No crashes, and no noticeable bugs. It performed well on my old rig, albeit some players complain that the game is capped at 60 FPS. What more do you want out of a slow-paced horror game? We’re not playing a competitive FPS game here. Such critics are deeply unfounded. After all, your eyes cannot see more than 24.97 FPS (/s).
The problem I have with it is that the story is kind of short. A lot of potentially amazing stuff could have been explored and added to extend the story a bit, and perhaps more elaboration should have been added around the ending of the game. Sadly, it’s mostly left up to the interpretation and imagination of the player, which is fine in some regard, but I’d like to hear what the writers imagined. I’ll talk more about these in separate articles which you will be able to find linked here when they are done, or on the game tag under this review. And finally, the summary of the review and the rating. Keeping SOMA in mind (that’s a 10/10 in my book), I couldn’t go more than the rating you will see below.
AMNESIA: THE BUNKER
● Immersive Story, achieves the horror effect through the atmosphere and constant tension, rather than through cheap jump scares.
● Well-polished game, ready to ship.
● Custom Stories will probably extend the game’s lifespan when the community starts providing new content.
● The Story could have been longer
● 60 FPS cap will be a problem for some
A copy of this game was provided by the publisher for review. Reviewed on PC.