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Amnesia: Bunker Review – Shellshocked

2010’s Amnesia: The Dark Descent changed the horror genre forever as a breakout game crafted in a particular hide-and-seek style. It relies on a lack of combat, putting players in terrifying situations where they can’t win, instead requiring them to flee or hide. Through countless imitators and several sequels, Frictional Games has repeated its formula, Amnesia: The Bunker is not the latest in its lineage. It’s played quite differently, but in important ways it still feels like a classic Amnesia game. It’s this combination of old and new that makes it the scariest game since the studio’s Dark Descent.

Amnesia: Bunker is, in a way, amnesia you may already know. You play in first-person as a character suffering from amnesia and must piece together their own history and that of the unsettling places they inevitably encounter. In The Bunker, the character is Henri Clément, a French soldier during World War I. He falls unconscious while rescuing his fellow soldiers from harm, then wakes up alone in a titular bunker, but he’ll soon wish it were real.

Take it out of the frying pan…

A labyrinthine bunker story emerges through scattered notes. It’s an interesting story, albeit one with a lot of detail, and it seems to tie directly into the rest of the game in a way that some players will appreciate. But it’s just as easy to play without any story context, or to see it as a stand-alone horror story about a man trapped in a maze with a monster. In both cases, it works well enough, but it feels like there’s less narrative to unfold than past games in the series.

Amnesia: The Bunker is far less predictable than past games in the series, with variables that change from playthrough to playthrough. This makes it more replayable than Frictional’s past games, and it does a pretty good job at that. Key items such as wrenches to create shortcuts, lighters to ignite flashlights, and dog tags to reveal locker codes can be found in various locations in each new playthrough. Even the locker code changes with each playthrough (sorry guide writers). This means that each player entering the bunker will truly be on their own, making the game even more challenging in an age when answers are often found online for those who are lost or scared.

Variables are exciting new wrinkles, but little more than appendages to the game’s centerpiece, the monsters that are constantly lurking almost unscripted throughout the bunkers. This makes every encounter even scarier, as they tend to stay hidden unless they fail in some way. As such, the monster is the enforcer that ensures you are operating at peak performance, which means there are a few different things going on inside the bunker. You’ll need to keep generators running to provide lighting for many corridors and wings. Unlock and explore. Noise should be kept to a minimum. This means you should avoid sprinting down hallways, or at least hiding right after you run. It also means staying healthy. Because you can share dark corridors with hungry rats, rats bite you and make you bleed, and monsters can follow you as you hunt.

I really like these systems because they interact so well. The limited inventory space adds an almost management-sim element to the game, and even if you happen to know where the next important petrol is, you’ll have to collect a few more bottles of petrol. Sometimes you just have to escape outside the safe room. Quest items are things like keys and notes. When the fuel runs out, the lights go out, allowing the monsters to roam freely, but when the lights are on, the monsters will most of the time only come out if you make too much noise. It’s theoretically possible to beat the game in complete darkness using only a hand-cranked flashlight, but good luck to anyone trying. It is a ruthless, tireless, insatiable beast.

You can find bags around the bunker to add new inventory slots, but even at max capacity there won’t be enough space to carry everything you need, and sacrifices will have to be made. Should I bring a clock that tells me how much time is left before I run out of fuel, or should I bring some healing items in case the rats prove difficult to evade? Throw an empty bottle to create a diversion, or bring it into the fuel room to refill the generator in the safe room? It will be a thoughtful exercise. All resources are finite, so there should be a good reason to use them. otherwise you will fail.

Solutions also have multiple correct answers, with wise decisions being rewarded and thoughtless decisions being punished. For example, a locked door can be pried open by throwing a brick at it, shot with a gun, or opened with a key if you happen to stumble upon it. Yes, Amnesia now has guns. If you’re worried that the best part of the game will be removed, don’t worry. Guns cannot kill monsters and have very limited ammo. At best, momentarily stunning a monster gives it a chance to run around a corner or drag a barrel in front of a door to thwart pursuit. You can simply slow the movement of creatures, but doing so will only make them angry.

...and into the fire.
…and into the fire.


I was also surprised at how well the settings worked. In the previews, I was worried that the mundane hallways would quickly become obsolete, but the game not only diversifies the setting in interesting ways, but also recreates the original image of a standard military bunker hallway. Even, shortcuts and hiding places, tools are stored in each. In a centralized supply room full of locked lockers, it’s nice to spend time looking for combinations to unlock them, but as always, these considerations burn fuel and create noise. There is always a risk because it is likely to happen. Every room feels very intentional and there is no wasted space in the game.

All these variables combine to give Amnesia players more control than ever before, and not because of tough scripted moments, but because they created their own problems. There is a life-or-death tension. – This makes The Bunker the team’s scariest game since his 2010. Despite his impressive year of horror games so far, I believe his Amnesia: The Bunker is his scariest game of 2023. It works incredibly well during quiet moments, such as when you’re hiding. Under your bed, in your closet, hoping the monsters don’t find you, and in every heart-breaking chase scene.

The feeling of being chased is very unsettling, especially in first-person view, with inhuman yelling looming through a pitch-black hallway. I often found myself back in a room that was barely safe even though I had enough time to slam the door and lock it behind my back. It was intense, and I could feel my heart rate slowly return to normal and my body loosening up after each survival. Having played horror games for 25 years, I’m worried lately that I’ve become desensitized to them. Amnesia: Thanks to Bunker, I’ve found the inescapable thrill again. It’s scary and I love it.

The element that ties this all together is the game’s fantastic audio design. In such a lonely and haunted space, Amnesia: The Bunker is the quintessential headphone-playable experience. Each footstep sounds like a betrayal. Sometimes the monster is breathing on the other side of the wall as we pass a swarm of rats and hope it doesn’t bite us. Even turning a flashlight is enough to echo off the apocalyptic wall, sometimes enough to throw yourself in the vicinity of the creature. It’s such an atmospheric piece that even if you don’t understand the light story details, you’ll still be drawn into the world.

Despite these numerous thrills, it’s worth noting that they’re not all. Overall novel. Monsters roam the ceilings and walls around them, and if they fail, they emerge unscripted from cracks with lion-like momentum, similar to Alien: Isolation. This makes the game different from his Amnesia games in the past, but a little more familiar to horror lovers. Still, I feel like the variables that build on that mechanic and the dizzyingly haunting setting elevate Bunker’s monsters to something more terrifying than that particular Xenomorph.

With a reason to return to the game even after hitting the credits, Amnesia: The Bunker is the longest running game in the series to date. And with a great atmosphere, opportunities for player creativity, and an inventory that makes successes and failures entirely yours Thanks to his metagame, Amnesia: The Bunker proves his Frictional still has it. doing. This is a team that continues to refine the horror genre, and while I found each of their games interesting in different ways, it’s been a long time since a game scared me like this one.

https://www.gamespot.com/reviews/amnesia-the-bunker-review-shellshocked/1900-6418075/?ftag=CAD-01-10abi2f Amnesia: Bunker Review – Shellshocked

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