REVIEW – The new installment of Amnesia follows in the direction of psychological terror set by the franchise’s previous installments. The basics (first-person exploration, careful resource management, escape) remain in Henri Clément’s story. Still, this time, the setting is a World War I abandoned military bunker, which would be nothing without the usual creature chasing us, so Frictional Games have delivered what you’d expect.
Amnesia: The Bunker is a first-person horror game set in a WW1 bunker. A relentless, AI-driven monster stalks you. Survival depends on finding tools, crafting items, and keeping the lights on.
So, amid the First World War, our protagonist has been locked inside, and now, it’s not matches or oil he has to collect, but fuel for a generator with only a tiny dynamo lamp for light. It’s pretty relentless, but you’d expect authenticity from the franchise, and this time, it’s taken a few elements from other games. Our main four-legged humanoid adversary follows us around like a Xenomorph from Alien: Isolation reimagined, but he’s not the only one who can make a move on Henri. It’s not worth fighting him directly because the results could be painful. Therefore, it is better to look towards narrow corridors and tunnels that are not recommended for claustrophobic people. The sanity bar seen in previous episodes is not present here. Instead, you can hear Henri’s heartbeat, which may not result in everlasting fascination, and those working with audio may quickly notice the repetitive sound pattern. Our monster attacks about as soon as our generator is empty, and the giant rats only add to the problem. We may also run into people.
Everything has to be considered carefully in the end, including using a revolver, because sometimes, Henri doesn’t load the ammunition properly, so if we’re not careful, using our weapon will be ineffective. The grenade makes a sound, just as even using a medkit can attract the attention of our opponents. Atmospherically, Frictional Games’ game brings the level of gameplay we’ve come to expect from them, but the style has been slightly modified gameplay-wise. It’s modernized, but it’s changed in the process, and that might not be to everyone’s taste. This time, it’s up to the player’s steel nerves to decide when the mistake will be made, which ultimately causes Henri not to survive the adventure. Sometimes, it can be a tiny error: for example, throwing away something you might need later, and survival depends on it. For this reason, the importance of properly managing resources is underlined. This brings us to another element that can have a divisive effect: some will like it, and some will not.
In Amnesia: The Bunker, you can also craft, which doesn’t always result in valuable items. For example, the torch doesn’t keep the monster away because it ignores the light source in your hand and ends up clawing you. Instead, more cautious players should consider medkits, and those with a more aggressive approach should look into making petrol bombs, as these will be much more effective in gameplay and often require similar materials. The game’s graphical presentation is not outstanding, but it should be added that the previous games in the series were not known for their beauty. The sound design is mostly good, sans Henri’s heartbeat, which can be annoying and illusion-destroying, as it draws attention instead of cowering in fear. So although it’s cozy to hide under a bed, it’s possible that we tend to focus on what’s more disturbing over time.
And while we are on the subject of distractions, we can also apply the term to the game’s length. It may have taken someone 8-9 hours to play through or 6-8 for someone else, but 3 hours is a realistic playtime, and you can already see one-and-a-half-hour playthroughs on YouTube. Nothing is more indicative of the increasingly dire state of the gaming industry than the emergence of products like it. Despite repeated postponements, it is still prone to throwing the error message of an unsuccessful loading of the configuration file seen in previous installments of the franchise, so the foundation of the house, while mostly stable, is very much shaking during strong windstorms.
If Amnesia: The Bunker had been a little longer, it would have deserved an eight out of ten. If it had been more assertive in sound, it would have been worth an eight-and-a-half out of ten. It’s not bad, but as has been the case more and more lately, some things have come up that prevent it from getting a high enough rating. If you like the franchise, feel free to play it because it’s not a bad product. Those looking for psychological terror are also recommended to try it in a dark room, of course. But looking further afield, Frictional Games’ title is not a big hit. While the war is going on outside, the sense of confinement is quite well portrayed, and for that, the developers deserve congratulations.
+ Wears the player down
+ Appropriate representation of confinement
– Not strong in sounds
Publisher: Frictional Games
Developer: Frictional Games
Style: Psychological terror carried out in a World War I bunker
Release: June 6, 2023.