Amnesia: The Bunker Review (PS4): The Horrors of War

It roams the claustrophobic halls round you. Relentless. Bloodthirsty. Desirous to eviscerate any dwelling being it hasn’t already disemboweled or decapitated. Fueled by malice and warped by eldritch sorcery, the fanged monstrosity took extra of your males than the enemy combatants. The German troopers have been predictable, mortal. However this factor isn’t human. It’s one thing extra — one thing worse. And it’s after you.

Tense unpredictability defines Amnesia: The Bunker. Paranoia lurks in every pocket of shadow, because the unspeakable terror stalks and torments gamers into submission. This ambiance of mistrust and concern elevates the sequel to must-play survival horror.

A lot of The Bunker’s rigidity is derived from its spontaneity, which retains gamers in a relentless state of unease. The creature embodies this design ethic, as a malevolent and unkillable antagonist that relentlessly pursues the participant. This can be a widespread trope seen in most of the greatest video games within the style. However not like well-known examples, reminiscent of Resident Evil 2‘s Mr. X or the regenerator in Dead Space, The Bunker’s beast is ever-present and never relegated to scripted “stalking sections.”

Amnesia: The Bunker Review (PS4): The Horrors of War
It’s all the time lurking.

It lurks across the tunnel system, ever-present and stomping in regards to the barracks. If the participant is wounded, it materializes and tries to snuff you out. Barbaric snarls and thunderous footsteps are tangible reminders of the menace that double as eerie methods to maintain free tabs on it.

There are instances the place the creature is occupied in a distant space, however these treasured respites are all too transient. Gamers spend most of their time ducking, hiding, and punctiliously tiptoeing round, which is chilling due to the way it will get gamers to lean ahead and keep engaged. It’s not even any much less scary due to the added defensive choices since they take talent, luck, and a sizeable period of time to make use of successfully.

By being largely unscripted, The Bunker asks gamers to frantically keep away from a grisly dying at a second’s discover. That is not like previous Amnesia video games, the place the monsters solely patrol sure sections. It’s a superb strategy that unshackles scares from scripting. There’s extra concentrate on mechanics and immersion versus consolation in rote memorization, which is the place some horror video games lose their luster.

Future runs will all the time differ, too; locker combos, traps, and a few merchandise places are procedurally generated. Even the ultimate encounter has a number of layouts. Shifting gadgets round displaces the participant, and ensures not even a information or prior data can save them. Key gadgets are nonetheless stored in the identical locations, nonetheless, which undercuts the in any other case considerate randomization.

Amnesia: The Bunker Review (PS4): The Horrors of War
Many halls are pitch black.

Regardless of being a labyrinth of claustrophobic corridors, nonetheless, The Bunker is extra open than its friends. Usually, the sport borders on immersive sim with the sheer selection by way of exploration. Not like earlier entries, this Amnesia provides gamers instruments that work together with one another and the world in numerous methods. When mixed with Frictional Video games’ signature physics engine, The Bunker provides gamers a handful of how to unravel issues. Picket doorways will be unlocked or blown open. Rats will be distracted, burned, or shooed away with a makeshift torch. Not each door or goal will be cracked in quite a few methods and that retains it from being actually open, however there’s nonetheless sufficient variation.

These decisions additionally power gamers to all the time weigh dangers and rewards. That is greatest embodied, maybe, within the loud flashlight gamers crank to activate. Blowing up a door or killing rats with a grenade cuts out on crawling round, however the racket will entice the beast. Leaving traps untouched is harmful, however may also be used towards the monster.

Particular, resource-heavy rooms gamers should loudly open are the epitome of this astute design. They’re alluring mouse traps for gamers, with a candy chunk of cheese smack-dab in the course of the catch. The Bunker is a difficult expertise with only a few computerized checkpoints, so packing the sport with all these selections makes it as participating as it’s tense. Each selection carries weight — the mark of nice survival horror.

Amnesia: The Bunker Review (PS4): The Horrors of War
Rats will be handled in just a few methods.

Frictional makes it clear that widespread sense options will work in most conditions, and that freeform basis is liberating. Combining a bottle with a rag, some gasoline, and a lighter to make a Molotov cocktail doesn’t have to be spelled out. A rickety wood door ought to crumble after a shotgun blast (and it does).

Aims are additionally organically applied and don’t require annoying beacons, obtrusive HUD parts, or lunar logic. Gamers aren’t led by the nostril and should assume and analyze the sport world to be able to progress. It’s a refreshing philosophy that reinforces how The Bunker is constructed round submerging the participant in its world.

The all-encompassing immersion makes just a few technical shortcomings extra evident. The Bunker has jarring load screens that kick in when transitioning to a brand new part. It locks the entire recreation up for just a few seconds, and sometimes turns off the participant’s flashlight because it boots within the subsequent space. It’s unclear why these segues are so turbulent, as the sport is neither massive nor a graphical showpiece. Occasional crashes are additionally shocking and elicit an affordable form of concern this recreation doesn’t want. The Bunker is way from a glitchy mess, however these hiccups are much more apparent when the whole lot else round them has been meticulously crafted to suck the participant in.

Amnesia: The Bunker Review: The closing verdict

Not even an intermittent crash or clunky load display screen can decrease what Amnesia: The Bunker does so nicely. The intimate world, splendidly interwoven mechanics, and semi-random nature make The Bunker a nerve-racking expertise that’s a pure evolution of its landmark first entry. On a floor stage, it’s nonetheless about creeping via a dimly lit hellhole and evading unspeakable horrors, however Frictional has spent the final decade advancing that formulation to create the perfect model of it to date.

  • Crushing ambiance shrouded in thriller and darkness

  • Open design, clear guidelines, and lack of handholding let gamers give gamers freedom in how they resolve issues

  • Terrifying creature design

  • Randomized gadgets, traps, codes, and unpredictable monster A.I. make it extremely replayable and persistently scary

  • Jarring load instances, occasional crashes, and slight body charge dips are obtrusive

Disclaimer: This Amnesia: The Bunker overview relies on a PS4 copy supplied by the writer. Reviewed on model 1.41.

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