Amnesia The Bunker Shellshocked

Amnesia: the Dark Descent from has forever changed the horror genre as an escape game developed in a certain style of hiding. It’s one that relies on a lack of action, which puts players in terrible situations that they can’t win, and requires them to run and hide instead. Thanks to countless imitators and even some sequels, Frictional Games has repeated its formula, but Amnesia: the Bunker is not the last in this series. It plays out quite differently, although it still feels like a classic Amnesia game, and it’s this combination of old and new that helps make it the studio’s scariest game since the Dark Descent.

Amnesia: the bunker is, in a way, the amnesia you may already be familiar with. You will play in the first person as a character who suffers from memory loss and has to put together his own story, as well as that of the disturbing place where he is inevitably located. In the bunker, this character is Henri Clément, a French soldier in the First World War, who loses consciousness by saving a comrade from peril, and then wakes up seemingly alone in the title bunker-although he will soon wish that this is really the matter.

Scattered notes highlight the history of the labyrinthine bunker. It is an entertaining, albeit detailed saga that seems to connect directly with other games in a profound way that some players will enjoy. But it’s just as easy to play it and not have a context for the story or consider it a standalone horror story about a man trapped in a maze with a monster. It works pretty well in any matter, but it feels like there are fewer stories to unpack than in previous games in the series.

Amnesia: the Bunker is much less predictable than previous games in the series and even contains variable elements that change from game to game. This gives it more replayability than the previous games from Frictional and works very well in this way. Important items such as a key for creating shortcuts, a lighter for lighting torches and dog tags that display locker codes can be found in different places with each new game. Even the locker codes change from game to game-sorry, guide authors-which means that every player who enters the bunker is really alone, which makes the game more difficult at a time when answers are usually found online for those who are lost and afraid.

The Variable Elements are an exciting new wrinkle, but they’re also just an accompaniment to the game’s centerpiece: its monster, endlessly hiding in the largely unscripted bunker. This makes any experience much more frightening as it tends to stay hidden unless you messed it up somehow. In this way, the monster is an enforcer to ensure that you are working at optimal performance, and in the bunker it means that different things are happening: you want to keep the generator running, which will illuminate the many corridors and wings that you will unlock and explore.

You should reduce the noise to a minimum, which means that you should not sprint through the aisles or at least hide shortly after. It also means staying healthy, as they share the dark corridors with hungry rats that bite them and make them bleed, which can lead the monster back to them when hunting.

I love these systems because they interact so well with each other. With limited inventory space, the game almost adds a management simulation element, where sometimes you have to run errands outside the vault room to accumulate a few extra gas cans, even if you know where the next important quest element is, such as a certain key or a certain note. Every time the fuel runs out, the lights go out, allowing the monster to move freely, but with the lights on, the monster usually only comes out if you have made too much noise. Theoretically, you could smack the game completely in the dark with nothing but your hand crank flashlight, but good luck to those who try. He is a ruthless, tireless and insatiable animal.

You can add new inventory places by finding pockets around the bunker, but even at maximum capacity you will not have enough space to carry everything you need, which requires sacrifice. Do I take the watch that tells me how long it takes for the fuel to run out, or do I take the healing items in matter the rats have trouble escaping? Do I throw an empty bottle to create a distraction, or do I take it to the fuel compartment to refuel the generator in the safety room? There is not a moment in a part where you do not evaluate such options and turn every moment into a thoughtful survival exercise. All resources are limited, so using one of them must have a good reason, otherwise you will doom yourself to failure.