Amnesia promo image aiming revolver at The Beast

Amnesia: The Bunker Review

Amnesia: The Bunker Review


need to know

what is it? First-person horror game where you must use every tool at your disposal to escape from terrifying beasts
release date June 6, 2023
expect to pay TBA, maybe $30
developer friction game
publisher friction game
Reviewed on RTX 3070, Core i5 12600K, 32GB RAM
multiplayer game No
steam deck not verified, not tested
associate Steam, GOG

I vividly remember every encounter with Amnesia: The Bunker’s main antagonist, an ape, the beast thing Henri Clement, the protagonist who lives within the walls of a World War I hellhole, finds himself trapped inside. Whether I’m peeking out through the slats of the confessional in the company of a mutilated priest, or firing my last precious revolver cartridge knowing I’ll return to the wall even more angrily, every Every escape from this creature feels painful and deserved.

Amnesia: The Bunker is like a fresh start for the series, retaining a unique sense of powerlessness and foreboding while incorporating that vulnerability into a fully immersive sim. You’re not just hiding in a bunker: You’re planning adventures outside your Resident Evil-style safe room, exploring a labyrinthine, non-linear world that ranks among the best horror games I’ve ever played.

I found it hard to keep myself seated for the first few sessions

I keep thinking about the version of the mansion in the GameCube remake of Resident Evil, where you can shuttle back and forth looking for keys while saving precious resources, and the threat of hard-to-kill “crimson head” zombies never comes to mind. Like the Spencer Mansion, my almost painful familiarity with the bunker’s layout ticked a rare level design box for me: “I remember this place like a house I used to live in, only full of indescribable fear.”

One criticism I have of the bunker is that its spokes are completely isolated from each other and only connect at a central junction with the safehouse management office. The wings themselves are great, with twists and turns in each level, but after finishing the game, I’m impressed that a more Metroid (or mansion) style world that folds itself and includes shortcuts between areas would take this even further Already an excellent setup.

crawling doom

The Bunker is truly one of the scariest, most stressful video games I’ve ever played – it’s so intimidating and depressing, I found it hard to sit still for the first few games – when the lights When the rant went off, I had to let myself escape to my happy place and fiddle with the Zonai device on my Switch. But The Bunker stayed in my skull like nothing, and even days after finishing it, I couldn’t stop thinking about the experience.

Frictional’s sound design is very good at creating a sense of dread and signaling a monster’s alert level. The Bunker fills with an ambient, cavernous hum, punctuated by the squeal of rats, the occasional howl of beasts and the earth-shattering thud of German cannon. Every new sound made me jittery, and one of the worst jump scares came not from The Beast, but when I fell into a booby trap set by a deceased comrade and detonated a grenade next to my head.

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Get used to seeing empty revolver chambers. (Image credit: Frictional Games) The Bunker’s inventory screen doesn’t have a lot of space to work with. (Image source: Frictional Games) Great atmosphere! (Image credit: Frictional Games) I always feel the pressure to run out of fuel. (Image credit: Frictional Games) I love Executive Office and the “light archive room music” it delivers. (Image credit: Frictional Games) You have to go down before you can go up. (Image credit: Friction Games)

The noise you make while exploring increases the odds of a monster appearing, gradually attracting it with actions like running, shaking a flashlight, or scaring away rats, while aggressive, loud actions like blowing open a door or actually picking a lock guarantee that it’s coming. There’s always a less obvious option like smashing the door with cinderblocks (strangely, they become one of the most valuable resources in the game), or finding a hidden vent in the next room, but these take patience and A keen eye can take advantage when you’re playing under a constant time crunch.

It’s devastating to finally piece together exactly what happened and the role played by protagonist Henry Clement in it.

Running the bunker’s generator (located in the safe room) and keeping the lights on will generally reduce the risk of the Beast, making it less likely to track you and less aggressive when present. Bunkers are at their scariest when all the lights are out and the beast is hunting.

Certain puzzles on the critical path require power-ups, and your fuel economy is limited not only by The Bunker’s random item placement, but also by limited inventory and storage space. Maximize atmospheric fear with this crazy spinning board exercise of managing fuel, healing consumables, grenades, and key items, all of which take up only one inventory slot and don’t stack.

Every option in The Bunker feels like a carefully calculated puzzle. Blasting a door will get you where you need to go quickly, but you’d better plan for a hideout when the beast inevitably comes. Endemic mutant rats that feed on corpses with valuable locker combinations can be repelled with fire (flares or homemade torches), poisonous gas, and frag grenades, but each action drains resources and risks attracting beasts. Your World War I revolver—with its excruciatingly multi-part loading, where you hold a button to keep the cylinder open and press another to load a single bullet—when you When cornered, it can be a card to escape from prison, but the Beast will eventually return to your neighborhood, fighting for your blood and able to take more hits before retreating. Also, what if you need that bullet later when facing a padlocked door?

I lure the beast into traps, deal with it with gas grenades (once I find the gas mask), hide in closets and under tables until it keeps going, but most of the time I just want to drive it back to the safe room for a second I heard the center of the bunker nearby. You have all these immersive simulation freedoms as you explore and react to beasts, but it’s in the service of cat-and-mouse games with top predators, not the sneaky power fantasies of Thieves or Dishonored.Alien: Isolation is the only game I can think of that offers similar depth of simulation and strategic choices, consistent with this very special sense of presence pursued.

But, unlike Isolation’s lengthy campaign, The Bunker is a perfectly compressed diamond, just you, the beast, and the horrible, scary place you’re stuck together.


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During my time with the game, I had to become very familiar with the layout of the bunker. (Image credit: Frictional Games) A ​​brief trip to a bunker under fire is one of your few chances to catch a glimpse of sunlight. (Image credit: Frictional Games) The lighter can be very useful if you can find it early in the game. (Image credit: Frictional Games) Early diaries speak of Roman ruins adjoining the bunker. (Image credit: Friction Games)

Unlike the ever-expanding psychedelic plot of Amnesia: Rebirth, the story of the bunker is a deliberate contraction—it feels like a side story of Amnesia, an episode in a larger context, and only hints at The series’ disturbing lore and other Lovecraftian aspects of the story. While I love Frictional’s stab at Philip K. Dickian’s mind-bending, The Bunker’s more straightforward yarn is elegant, and the eventual accurate piecing together of what happens and protagonist Henry Clement’s role in it is devastating .

At this point, I have to commend The Bunker for its use of musical notes. Dutifully writing diaries and tape recorders for horror games and immersive sims is one of the most overused tricks in gaming, but the bunker implementation feels fresh. I think it comes down to the storytelling being done so well: the riveting mystery of waking up in an empty bunker, the sprawling expanse of now-dead French soldiers, the uncharacteristically likable cast, and the tight timeline of events that unfold in The crucial days between May and July 1916 unfold in a matter of hours. You can sort notes by date or author, I feel like a petty detective cycling back and forth between the two to figure out who did what to whom when, with distractions and investigative dead-ends that got me guess.

For all the stress and fear of the bunker, I already want to replay it – system-driven survival combined with random item and trap placement makes every adventure out of the safe room unpredictable and exciting, no matter how familiar you are with the game. Unsettling. The Bunker’s difficult, dangerous, and suffocating atmosphere adds to the stress and potential of an immersive sim. Mastering my tools and discovering hidden paths would make me feel like a bolt-action French MacGyver, while a minute later the lights go off and suddenly I’m a terrified little boy pointing a gun with a single bullet and doing nothing The facility emits a disturbingly loud emptiness.

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Bart Thompson
Bart is's List Writer . He is from Houston, Texas, and is currently pursuing a bachelor's degree in creative writing, majoring in non-fiction writing. He likes to play The Elder Scrolls Online and learn everything about The Elder Scrolls series.