Amnesia The Bunker Review: A new nightmare in the First World War

We have been trapped in a bunker and hunted down by a relentless creature in the new chapter of the acclaimed horror series Amnesia.

Amnesia The Bunker Review: A new nightmare in the First World War

Frictional Games boasts a respectable curriculum in the field of videogame horror, which ranges from the Penumbra saga to the splendid SOMA, passing through the famous Amnesia series, which has been able to attract the attention of fans of the genre thanks to guessed settings and some especially brilliant gameplay tricks.

From the gloomy architecture of Brennenburg castle (here the review of Amnesia The Dark Descent), to the chilling story of A Machine for Pigs (in the review of Amnesia The Collection you can also find A Machine for Pigs) up to the expedition in colonial Africa of Rebirth, the Amnesia brand proposes itself as a kind of horror anthology with always different settings and stories but linked by a common thread made of nightmare atmospheres and a play structure designed to make the player powerless in the face of the infernal creatures that lurk in the darkness. In this aspect, Amnesia: The Bunker is no exception, although Frictional has decided to enrich the classic formula with a plethora of interesting innovations, which we are about to tell you about.

The horror of the First World War

The plot of The Bunker puts us in the shoes of the French foot soldier Henry Clement and plunges into one of the most tragic pages in the history of humanity: the First World War. The initial part of the campaign, which also serves as a tutorial for the new mechanics introduced by Frictional, sees Clement attempting to survive enemy assaults in a trench hit by pouring rain while the terrible noises of battle follow one another in the distance.

After a few minutes, our protagonist is wounded by a bullet in the leg while trying to bring a companion to safety and collapsed stunned to the ground but, fortunately, he was rescued by the allies and taken to a bunker to receive the necessary treatment. Upon his awakening from a short period of coma, however, Henri finds himself in an apparently uninhabited place, in which an eerie silence reigns. Having come into contact with one of the few soldiers left in the area, he discovers that the battalion officers have abandoned the fort in a hurry, even blowing up the entrance behind them with dynamite. almost as if they wanted to stop something from chasing them.

And indeed, just below the soil of the bunker, a violent, ferocious and bloodthirsty creature roams, which does not seem to like the light and which has literally decimated the regiment, leaving poor Henri as the only survivor.

The only way to be able to escape from this terrifying situation and find the warm embrace of the Sun is to find sticks of dynamite somewhere in the maze of corridors twisting in the depths and trying to break through the rock face. A far from simple undertaking: as per tradition in the Amnesia saga, players will have to orient themselves in a hostile territory, find keys to gain access to closed areas and find useful objects to save their skin while the Beast will not miss an opportunity to make his frightening presence felt. It’s certainly not an experience for the faint of heart. The new setting born from the minds of Frictional for Amnesia: The Bunker is probably the most successful since the first and memorable chapter. The layout of the map is made in a rather legible way and, thanks to an intelligent positioning of signs and reference points, it is quite easy to navigate in the labyrinthine scenography designed by the Swedish studio, while nature limiting and claustrophobic of the bunker contributes to the construction of a truly oppressive climate.

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We also point out some good game design choices, which allow you to handle the resolution of certain problems differently. To open a blocked door, for example, you can opt to knock it down with one of the large bricks scattered throughout the levels, or decide to blow it up with explosives. Be careful though: the monster has formidable hearing…

Forget, therefore, the calmer gait of Rebirth, which had caused some discontent among fans of the genre. The new incarnation of Amnesia immediately makes clear the desire to intimidate usersnot only thanks to an exemplary management of sounds, lights and shadows but also due to the constant presence of the creature, which manifests itself much more often than seen in the previous episode of the franchise (giving frequent jumps from the chair).

Face the nightmare

In terms of gameplay, Amnesia: The Bunker starts from the solid first-person horror travel foundations laid by the saga, but embellishes them with a series of gimmicks related to the peculiarities of the protagonist and the setting. Our Henri, in fact, is not a helpless character like his predecessors: he is instead a soldier, trained in the use of weapons, grenades and tools useful for military life. In fact, from the beginning we will be equipped with a powerful revolver whose presence, in the economy of the game, implies several new implications for an Amnesia title.

Using the gun we will be able to destroy the padlocks that hinder the opening of specific passages or to shine explosive barrels suitably positioned in front of wooden doors to gain access to new areas of the bunker. We will also have the opportunity to temporarily injure the beast, earning precious seconds to escape its clutches. In any case – it should be clarified – we are not dealing with a horrific reinterpretation of Call of Duty. The Bunker will provide you with a very limited number of ammunition and resources, which you will need to manage carefully to maximize your chances of survival.

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One wasted bullet it could really make the difference between life and death. As if that weren’t enough, the sound produced by the shots could attract the entity towards your position, while the weapon’s reload was being deliberately made slow and cumbersome. It forces players to manually insert every single shot into the revolver’s cylinder, leaving them exposed to the evil attentions of the opponent. Analogous speech for the torch which, contrary to what happened in the previous iterations of the series, can be used without particular limitations to illuminate environments (but is activated by a dynamo that generates noise every time it is recharged).

Also from this point of view, choosing the right moment to stop and feed this instrument will be of vital importance if you want to avoid being identified by the monster. The latter, however, does not represent the only threat that lurks in the bunker: even the numerous rats with bloodshot eyes that live underground could attack you and quickly consume the health of the unfortunate protagonist. Thankfully, Henri’s arsenal includes fragmentation grenades, gas bombs and Molotov cocktails with which to try to disperse the rodents, which wallow in the unhealthy rooms of the refuge. Needless to say, the inventory owns a very small number of slots and many times you will find yourself forced to choose which objects to transport and which to leave on the spot, in a climate of tension and uncertainty which is essential for the success of products of this type.

Finally, the flow of gameplay is based on the presence of a safe area in which it is possible to return at any time to save the game, consult the map, have access to the deposit useful for organizing the tools found on the field and, even more importantly, refuel the local electric generator with the fuel cans scattered everywhere in the scenario. In doing so, for a limited period of time, we will be able to explore some areas of the fort without worrying about the pitfalls that may be hiding in the dark. Really a great find. More generally, the solutions conceived by the creatives of Frictional have allowed this nightmare journey to never let us let our guard down to catch our breath, to the advantage of the involvement rate of the events narrated.

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Technique and design

It remains to deal with the technical side of Amnesia: The Bunker, perhaps the aspect that convinced us the least of the entire production. The polygonal models of the protagonist, of the objects and also of the enemies, do not reach today’s high standards of the genre. Unfortunately, we extend the discussion to the texture sector and to the visual effects, which often result in low resolution.

Mind you, the general glance is good, also thanks to the darkness that permeates the places we are going to visit. On the other hand, the work done in terms of sound is excellent, with an excellent dynamic reproduction of the noises of footsteps, the cries of the creature and the lamentations of our alter-ego: these attentions increase the immersiveness of the experience and make it possible to orient yourself in the dark by relying on your own hearing.

The behavior of the Beast, on paper, resembles that of the xenomorph of Alien: Isolation, although it cannot compete with the creature of the Creative Assembly title in terms of artificial intelligence. While wandering in the corridors of the bunker it is possible to see our lethal adversary who it emerges from holes in the walls to launch after us or to break down closed doors to try to track us down.

It is as if it were a deadly game of cat and mouse where the user has the unfortunate role of the rodent: you can run away, you can hide, you can even try to fight back but the enemy is clearly superior to us in terms of physical strength and refinement of the senses. He could have benefited from a greater variety of offensive solutions, but all in all that’s okay.

Amnesia The Bunker
Amnesia The BunkerPC Analyzed VersionThe playful formula of Amnesia: The Bunker is configured as the most articulated and varied in the entire history of the brand. The introduction of weapons proved to be pleasant, because it was far from a risky action drift. Even the fascinating setting chosen for this new iteration confirms the indisputable talent of Frictional Games in crafting digital nightmares. Ultimately, if you are a fan of the series or are simply looking for a horror that thrives on tension, characterized by a valuable level design and well-crafted gameplay, you have come to the right place: the Amnesia bunker is a place you will never forget easily.