Having never played the previous installments of the Amnesia games, I was keen to start my journey through them with the latest entry, Amnesia: The Bunker, which is the fourth game in the series. Developed and published by Frictional Games, who are a Swedish independent video game developer, Amnesia: The Bunker is available now on Windows PC, PlayStation, and Xbox. It is also available for both Windows PC and Xbox as part of Microsoft Game Pass. For the purpose of this review, I was playing the Xbox Series S version, with a review key that was very kindly supplied to us by the amazing folks over at Terminals (Evolve PR).
Set during World War I, Amnesia: The Bunker puts you in the shoes of a French soldier called Henri Clement, and after a short opening sequence that allows you to familiarise yourself with the game's controls, you awake to find yourself trapped inside an underground bunker, and you appear to be the only person left alive. As you make your way through the bunker, trying to find a way out, you will discover information via documents and notes that have been left behind. These will help to piece together the missing parts of the story that you are now a part of. You will also discover that there is something else trapped inside the bunker along with you. A creature roams the tunnels, a beast, sensitive to light, that can navigate through the bunker via a series of passageways that it has created behind the walls. As if all that was not bad enough, you also start off the game with an empty inventory and not a lot of knowledge about the bunker or the creature. If you are to survive and escape, you will need to use literally everything at your disposal that you find along the way. And by that I mean, it's not always going to be a key that you require to open a locked door, for instance.
Amnesia: The Bunker is played in first-person, and after waking up in the bunker for the first time, it won't be long before you get hold of a wind-up torch and a revolver. The creature is attracted to sound, so the the more noise you make, the more chance you have of drawing it to your location. Yes you will find grenades and explosives all lying around, but do you really want to be making all that noise... NOPE! Also, the little wind-up torch that you get in-game also makes some noise as you pull on the cord to charge it up, so that needs to be used sparingly. You won't be required to used the torch all the time though, as there are lights throughout the bunker, and these are all powered by a generator. But wait... it's not all good, as you will need to keep the generator topped up with fuel, and this is found in canisters that you find throughout the bunker. Thankfully though, the generator is located in a 'safe room', which you can lock yourself into. There is also a chest in this room, allowing for the storage of items, to free up some slots in your inventory, and as you make your way through the game, inventory slots will increase, as you discover upgrades. The game allows you to make manual save points here via a lantern hanging from the ceiling. Just switch it on to save your game.
Both the atmosphere and the sound in Amnesia: The Bunker add to the overall experience. I was playing the game using the official Xbox Wireless Headset, and every now and then a huge explosion would be heard, as artillery shells exploded over the top of the bunker. You could be creeping down a dimly lit hallway, then all of a sudden... BOOM, and the artillery would go off above you. It gave me quite a jump on a number of occasions. Another time, I accidentally tripped/activated one of the traps in a corridor, which produced a toxic gas cloud. I then noticed the beast at the end of the hallway in front of me, so I ran backwards through the gas and found an alcove with a locked door. As I stood in the doorway looking up the hallway and through the gas, to see if the beast was going to attempt to chase me, there was a sudden and almighty crash, and as bits of wood flew past me, the creature burst through the locked door next to me, and that was the end of that run.
The inventory system is fairly easy to manage in the game, and the controls are fine. There are two different options for mapping the controls in the settings. Talking about the settings, I did find on the Xbox Series S, that every time I loaded the game up, I would have to re-do my settings, as they had not saved from my previous game. Hopefully this is a little bug that will be sorted with a patch in due course. It's not a big issue, and it does only takes a minute or two to sort them again. Visually, the developers have captured the look and feel of the bunker perfectly. It can be like a maze at times, with passageways and corridors, upper and lower levels. There is a map in the game, located in the 'safe room', and you will add more and more to this as and when you discover new areas. One other little minor thing I should point out is that when you go from one large area to another, there was a short lag, where the screen froze, as the game loaded in the next area. Again, this is no big deal, just thought that it was worth mentioning.
I found Amnesia: The Bunker to be a very atmospheric survival-horror. Fans of games such as Alien: Isolation will absolutely feel right at home with the style of play on offer here. If you're like me, and have not played any of the previous Amnesia games, you can jump right in here, as you do not require any previous knowledge of the series to play. There is a lot on offer in Amnesia: The Bunker. It's tense, it's atmospheric, there are moments in the game that will require stealth, and other times, you'll just need to go in with all guns blazing. I thoroughly enjoyed my time in the bunker, and I think it might just be time for me to go and try out the other previous games now. Amnesia: The Bunker is a game I would definitely recommend to survival-horror fans, and if you're on Windows PC or Xbox, it's available now on Game Pass. g1a5w3g1an's Rating: 4 out of 5.
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Many thanks to Terminals.io for supplying the review code.