Amnesia: The Bunker review: Good but not great

Amnesia: The Bunker. Image courtesy Frictional Games
Amnesia: The Bunker. Image courtesy Frictional Games /

Title: Amnesia: The Bunker
Developer: Frictional Games
Publisher: Frictional Games
Platforms: PS5 (Reviewed on), PS4, Xbox One, Xbox Series X and Series S, Xbox Cloud Gaming, Microsoft Windows
Release Date: June 6, 2023

If you’re anything like me, you have had to play the past installments of Amnesia in chunks because anything longer will cause you to toss your controller at your screen like a flower girl at a wedding. While Amnesia: Rebirth was on the milder end of scary, the original game created this dark and eerie atmosphere of dark wood and heavy curtains that was almost claustrophobic at times. Well if claustrophobia is your phobia of choice, look no further than Amnesia: The Bunker. Have you always wanted to find yourself stuck underground in an old WWI bunker being hunted by a monster? Great! Me too! Let’s go!

In Amnesia: The Bunker, you play as Henri Clement, a French soldier in WWI that has awoken in an underground bunker alone and in the dark after losing consciousness from a German artillery shell. Every soldier you find is either dead or dying and you have a wicked case of memory loss. There is an exit but it has been imploded for the safety of those outside, leaving everyone inside to whatever is stalking the halls. You need to find a way to get out of the bunker, all the while keeping the generators going to keep the Beast from going hunting in the dark.

Like the previous installments, Amnesia: The Bunker feels like a PC game at heart. The controls can seem convoluted for those that are used to other survival horror games, but they become easier the more you play. The hardest part to get a hang of is grabbing and moving because sometimes the item you’re trying to grab is right next to something else that you can interact with. Most of the time it isn’t an issue, but when you’re running from the big baddie and trying to close and lock the door behind you, it can create quite the mess.

Amnesia: The Bunker. Image courtesy Frictional Games
Amnesia: The Bunker. Image courtesy Frictional Games /

Comparative to other horror releases and even indie horror releases, the graphics of this game aren’t spectacular. Truth be told, I think Amnesia: Rebirth looked better and even the inventory and notes system looked and felt a little better. Everything in Rebirth was **AESTHETIC**. Amnesia: The Bunker’s inventory system feels a bit frustrating at times. The weapons feel mostly useless against the big bad as well unless combined with flammable barrels or the like. Ammo is scarce anyway and when I say scarce I mean you are lucky if you find one bullet at a time. Shoot wisely and sparingly.

Mechanical issues aside, this game is scary as hell for the most part. As Henri, you carry around an old timey flashlight that has to be recharged frequently by pulling a string which makes a ton of noise and alerts your position to anything nearby with every pull, hence the importance of keeping the generator running to turn lights on. However, there isn’t a lot of fuel and even the light doesn’t protect you from the monster. Hell, even the “safe zone” doesn’t protect you. When I tell you to shut and lock the doors in that space, I mean it. Even the rats are jerks in this tunnel and you must light their furry butts on fire to avoid damage. There are a variety of weapons you get along the way, but it’s easier to find your hiding spots as opposed to fighting back.

The sound of Amnesia: The Bunker is where the game truly shines. The creaks and groans of the bunker, the booms and shaking of the war and the shrieks of the monster all echo down the dark halls. It’s unfortunate that the monster itself really ruins the scariness. The thought of the monster lurking and hunting is scarier than seeing the beast, which is mediocre at best. Its animations are very repetitive, especially when you are hidden and watching it. The rats also tend to be more of an annoyance than something to create tension. If the devs really want a scary rat, they should look at A Plague Tale which excels at rat fear.

Is Amnesia: The Bunker a scary game? Yes, especially in the first hour. When you are first exploring the bunker in the dark with nothing but a clacking flashlight and every door could be opening to the face of a monster that is growling in the distance, it is perfection. Unfortunately, the deeper into the game you go, the scares decrease and the frustrations increase. Perhaps it depends on how you play it. If you try to keep the generator ALWAYS running, that can create a real stressful situation of trying to get back in time to fill it with fuel. If you spend all the time in the dark, then it’s more a game of cat and mouse. At a breezy 41/2 hours, regardless of how you play, you won’t be scared for long.

Amnesia: The Bunker (PS5) Score: 7/10

With so many scary games to choose from in recent years, Amnesia: The Bunker wouldn’t be my first or fifth go-to for horror. Even though the game starts strong, it’ predecessors are fierce competitors in terms of mechanics and scares. Amnesia: The Bunker is a good game but not a great one.

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A copy of this game was provided to App Trigger for the purpose of this review. All scores are ranked out of 10, with .5 increments. Click here to learn more about our Review Policy.