I hope none of you has forgotten about Frictional Games because they’ve brought us Amnesia: The Bunker. This new addition to the Amnesia franchise will have players explore a World War 1 bunker. Using nothing but your wit and whatever resource you can find to survive. If you’re interested in this new horror experience, It’s out now to pick up on PlayStation, Steam, or Xbox Store for £20.99.
Forgetting doesn’t change the consequences
Amnesia: The Bunker piqued my interest as it brings the new addition of fighting against whatever lurks in the darkness. I played the first instalment, called Amnesia: The Dark Descent and enjoyed the fact that players could interact with various parts of the surroundings like barrels, crates and candelabras. I also enjoyed one of Frictional Games’ other series Penumbra which played quite similarly. Both had a great atmosphere and suspense that kept me on the edge of my seat and my heart beating fast.
Did you enjoy Amnesia: The Bunker or any other titles by Frictional Games? If so, leave a comment below and let us know your thoughts.
The beginning starts with players dropping into the middle of a battle in World War 1. You play as a French soldier called Henri Clement as he tries to survive the trenches. This area is the tutorial, and it shows you how to take care of yourself and teaches players how to craft and use items and how to check how hurt they are in Amnesia: The Bunker. After Henri reaches the end of the trench segment, a fellow soldier aids Henri after he gets stuck by mustard gas that knocks him and leaves him in a coma.
Now the game truly begins. Henri wakes up a few days later to find that he is alone. The story is told mainly through notes found throughout the bunker. One of these notes explains that something has been going around, killing the current squad stationed there. The only way to escape is through a collapsed tunnel that Henri needs to clear. Thus begins the hunt for some dynamite and the detonator. Combat new to the Amnesia series as Henri gets given a revolver to help fend off the oncoming threats ahead. Ammo is scarce, so don’t go in guns blazing.
There is a main room that will serve as a safe haven from what lurks in the dark. Here Henri will find a map that shows the different areas of the bunker, such as the Prison, Arsenal, Soldier’s Quarters and Maintenance Tunnel. These areas each have a sub-map for players to find and will give a more detailed version of the respective areas they are in. The map back at the base will also update and circle key areas for Henri to check out. Even though the bunker itself is small, I found it easy to learn and creepy when looking down a pitch-black corridor.
While exploring the bunker, be careful. As there are traps scattered around that will definitely catch players who aren’t paying attention. Several times I found myself activating a tripwire on the floor or opening a door only for a grenade to blow my face off. You can find several items in the bunker, such as grenades (standard or gas), med kits, meat and cloth. Crafting items together can make useful stuff. For example, two cloths will make a bandage for healing or finding a stick can using a cloth will make it into a torch for more light (though it doesn’t stay lit for long).
What lurks in the darkness
There are two main ways to light the way. Firstly, the trusty flashlight players will get very familiar with, unlike in previous Amnesia games where oil is needed. Players will need to wind up the flashlight a few times, but this comes with its own risks. Secondly is the generator found back in the main base area that needs filling up with fuel found around the bunker. Be sure to grab the stopwatch, which tells you how much remains before the lights go out. The panic I had when rushing back from the prison to keep the generator topped up felt great, adding fear to the game.
Now let’s talk about those risks with the flashlight; the noise it produces. Any noise generated will alert the biggest threat in the game, and what I will call from now on “The Beast”. At the start of the game, The Beast is simply skulking around in the walls making noises. I had a good fright when I was walking around and witnessed a large set of claws protruding from a hole in the wall. Though The Beast is large, it moves fast when it needs to. One feature that impressed me was that A.I. adapts to what the player does. If you block entryways, the beast will find a quicker route. When you make noise in one area, it will use that information to try and hunt you down. I was surprised when this happened after I threw a grenade into another room. It tracked me down by what I assume is the trajectory of my throw which impressed me.
Graphics & Audio
The atmosphere was wonderfully unsettling and captured the feeling of desperation and loneliness very well. The dark corridors always filled me with dread, making me cautious and treading lightly in fear of The Beast, traps, and rats. The lack of music homed in on how alone Henri is, only accompanied by his heartbeat when The Beast was near. Nothing put a pit in my stomach more than seeing the dust particles fall from the ceilings or the holes in the walls, and the flickering lights, indicating that it’s indeed stalking you.
The voice acting is stellar. Henri’s voice acting, in particular, is brilliant, and the character’s accents were enjoyable and well-executed. I also particularly liked that Henri only reads his journal entries and his friend Lambert’s aloud.
I finished Amnesia: The Bunker in under five hours on my first playthrough. After completing the game, players can replay with traps, items and collectables, being placed in random areas with even the game stating, “No two playthroughs are the same”. The main menu shows players can make custom stories (none are available right now), just like in Amnesia: The Dark Descent. These will definitely add more to this game, with the community making their own stories.
Playing Amnesia: The Bunker was a great horror experience that scratched a long-time itch I’ve had for a while. The game ran smoothly, only stuttering when entering a new area like the Arsenal zone. The notes found around left me wanting to learn more about what happened in the bunker. The new combat was fun and worked well, with no silly swaying getting in the way. I was happy that Henri actually had great stamina, unlike other horror games where players can only run for four seconds. The flashlight and lighting in the game are great. And also unlike other horrors where it doesn’t do much. The map is tight and compact, making players cautious when running around. The ending was bittersweet and reminded me that the evil was not only inside the bunker but outside too.
Frictional Games went out on a limb introducing combat and they nailed it.
I give Amnesia: The Bunker the Thumb Culture Platinum Award.
Disclaimer: A code was received in order to write this review.