In our Amnesia: The Bunker review, we take a close look at the new game of the horror series that entered our lives in 2010.
Although horror games do not appeal to some people at all, the emotional changes created by some people offer a different experience and enjoy the feeling of being afraid. On top of that, discovering, solving and surviving something in this experience further maximises this feeling.
Amnesia achieved this as a horror series with old-school survival elements. On the other hand, Frictional Games’ last game Amnesia: Rebirth did not please some fans who have been following the series since the first game. Let’s see how Amnesia: The Bunker is?
Amnesia: The Bunker review / PC
As soon as it starts, we find ourselves as a French soldier in the First World War. We are looking for our direction in a ditch while bomb sounds are coming. Then, when we reach our friend, there is an explosion and we wake up in a German bunker. In a report we find in the infirmary of the bunker, we learn that we have memory loss due to our head trauma. This is where our real story begins. We have to get out of the bunker, but there is also a frightening presence in the bunker that tracks us.
For those who will start the series for the first time, the game offers an interesting story beginning. Will he regain his memory, what is this creature, I can say that it increased my motivation to continue. On the other hand, the game is not narrative-centred but gameplay-centred. If you want to learn something about the narrative, you should read the documentation.
Our Enemy: Darkness and Sound
When we look at the game in terms of its purpose, it is also reminiscent of an escape room genre. We are in a labyrinth-like shelter. Everything is dark, we have a flashlight with a dynamo. Our pursuing enemy is triggered by darkness and noise. Therefore, we have to be as quiet as possible, switch on the generator, and find our way in a limited time before the generator switches off. Speaking of orientation, we also do not have a map that we can open from the menu, there are maps in certain rooms. This can cause us to get lost many times.
The game plays itself with a bit of trial and error. After fuelling the generator, I looked at my watch to see how much time I had left and while I was trying to figure out the surroundings, the generator expired. As soon as I was in the dark, the creature appeared and jumped in my face. After that, wake up again from the last save in the map room, look around again… Actually, the progress of the game slows down in this way, but you increase your chance of discovery every time by trying different places, different interactions.
You can move around without switching on the generator, but you need to know your target. Since the flashlight is a dynamo, it makes noise while charging, which again triggers the enemy. I can say that almost everything triggers the enemy, from activating the booby trap to running.
Immediately to the Recording Room
The registration system is manual when we switch on the gas lamp in the map room. For this reason, as soon as I solved something, I found myself rushing to the lamp in the map room. We can also access the last three saves from the main menu. That’s nice too. For example, if you saved in a troublesome place, you can go back to your previous start one or two years ago.
The game has three different difficulty levels. But I should point out that since the game has elements of the survival horror genre, it already has a difficulty. Limited ammo, manual saves, and a not-so-large inventory are just a few of them. The inventory is not big, but we have a chest. This feature offers a nice strategy to the player. Survival players love calculations such as whether to take this health with me, if I leave this in the chest, two slots will remain empty.
When it comes to Amnesia, environmental interaction is one of the first things that come to mind mechanically. In this game, we can interact with many objects. Sometimes these objects can also be the key to our progress. For example, we can break a door with a brick, pull the barrels forward and explore the passage behind them.
The main reason for this is that we can find passwords from some objects we interact with and this becomes a key to our progress. Sometimes even a photo we find can shed light on our discovery. It is also possible to access the passwords from the inventory section and see which ones we use and which ones we don’t.
New Feature: Now We Have a Weapon
In the old Amnesia games, we didn’t have a weapon for self-defence. This time we do. However, we use it mostly for environmental interaction. For example, we can break a lock or blow up an explosive barrel to clear our way. I’m emphasising this so that you don’t think that it directly turns into a shooter when it says we have a gun. Still, it’s a nice innovation for the series.
I liked the visual designs of the game more, especially when compared to Rebirth, it has the flavour of the old games. It made me feel like I was trapped in a bunker during the war. I should also mention that the space design may be disturbing for those who have indoor phobia. There is almost no wide space and almost all of the game takes place in a closed and dark area. The sound design also increased the atmosphere of fear. As someone who played with loud sound, I jumped out of fear in many places.
The biggest plus of this game for me may be the fact that passwords or items change their location with each playthrough. Apart from this, there are also alternatives. For example, you triggered the creature in some way. You can go into the cupboard to hide, or you can escape to the last save room. You can break a door with a brick, but you can also throw a grenade. But in any case, you need to manage your resources well because, as I said, resources are not abundant due to the nature of the genre. We can also produce new vehicles with resources collected from the environment. This also offers an alternative.
A Little Annoying
The game can be frustrating with some of its highlights. On the other hand, it is clear that these are deliberate. For example, the noise made by the dynamo flashlight, the fact that it runs out of charge in a few seconds, or the fact that it asks for a button for each bullet when reloading… All this slowness and limited time are actually made to add a challenge dynamic to the game, of course, these elements may not appeal to every player.
The game does not offer a linearity like the old Amnesia games. There are multiple pieces of the same area that you can explore. At this point, the game does not really help you where to start and what to do. As I mentioned in another part of the article, randomness and alternatives change your progress on this path.
Even though I was scared of this unseen creature until the first encounter, it became less scary for me after the encounter. Especially after the creature smashed my face a few times, I felt like I was immune to it. In general, this is inevitable after a point in games with escape-chase dynamics.
I experienced the game with both keyboard/mouse and DualShock. Especially when charging the flashlight, the DualShock’s vibration support was appropriate and added realism. I didn’t have any problems with the controls, I did experience some minor stuttering in some of the game’s region transitions, but other than that, I didn’t encounter any optimisation-related problems such as crashes.
In order for me to recommend this game to you, you need to really like both the exploration genre and the survival-horror genre. As a horror fan, I found it replayable with a high randomisation factor. Due to the difficulty of the dynamics of moving in limited time, it requires you to be a player who likes to be challenged, otherwise it may not appeal to you.