Niche fans of both World War 1 and horror ought to rejoice because Amnesia: The Bunker is nearly upon us and is set to be released on June 6, 2023. Amnesia: The Bunker will be available on the PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Xbox Series X and Series S, and Microsoft Windows on the aforementioned release date.
Sadly, those itching to secure themselves a copy of the game are out of luck, as Amnesia: The Bunker isn’t available for pre-order. Likewise, there’s no Collector’s Edition available. Its publisher and developer, Frictional Games, also haven’t publicly disclosed a price yet for the release copy.
It’s also worth noting that the game was initially slated for a March 2023 release but was pushed back to May 23, 2023. A week before its second release date, it was then pushed back again to June 6 so that developers could iron out some rare bugs and crashes.
The studio itself was adamant about avoiding “crunch” at all costs; their alternative to the June 6th pushback was weekend overtime for their employees, but that’s not something they do in their studio, according to creative lead Fredrik Olsson.
What is Amnesia: The Bunker?
Amnesia: The Bunker is a sequel to the long line of Amnesia horror games developed and published by Frictional Games. This time around, the game delves into a unique setting, namely World War 1, where the players are stuck in a haunted bunker along with its supernatural denizens.
Players assume the role of the protagonist who finds themselves stuck in the said bunker and must now solve the mystery behind their extreme and deadly circumstances while also uncovering the mysteries of the bunker and its creepy, predatory monsters.
Those who are familiar with the Resident Evil games– particularly Resident Evil 7 will feel right at home here.
A huge part of the gameplay is exploration, meaning looking for keys, documents, and information that might help players unlock doors and remove roadblocks, all the while being chased by inexplicable, shadowy monsters.
The story is about a French soldier
The player character is named Henri Clément, and he’s a French soldier who must survive his tricky situation after finding himself alone in an extensive but desolate World War 1 bunker.
The goal, as in most Amnesia games, is to either escape or get to the root of the predicament. However, Amnesia: The Bunker is now embracing a more sandbox approach to its horror and survival elements. That means it’s not as linear as the other games, and players are free to make their own mistakes, whether costly or not, in their plight for survival.
And despite the claustrophobic bunker setting, the game apparently has a semi-open-world structure with its vast labyrinth of industrial hellscapes in every nook and cranny.
It has overt horror elements
Amnesia: The Bunker puts players in a first-person perspective, allowing them to immerse themselves into their character’s horrific struggles inside the bunker. The game also makes clever use of its lighting and puzzle-like environments to provide both a sense of progress and most of its nerve-wracking frights.
Despite the horror tag, the Amnesia series is well known for its more intricate and classier approach to horror– often, its developers don’t like to resort to jump-scares in order to frighten the players. The horror here is either a slow-burn dread that builds up to a chase or the players’ apprehension and imagination contributing to most of their anxiety.
Like in previous Amnesia games, players will also have to ensure that they maintain a certain level of luminosity for their surroundings lest darkness consume them. Darkness is a mechanic here as much as the real enemies are since basking in the darkness increases the risk of monsters manifesting and outright killing the player character.
The monsters here in The Bunker are also afraid of light.
In previous games, torches, candles, and lamps were indispensable for survival. Here in The Bunker, the archaic light tools were replaced with a more modern kinetic-energy dynamo flashlight. That doesn’t mean the game is safer or easier, as the flashlight has a small power capacity and will need to be charged often with a press of a button. This will disrupt players’ combat readiness.
The game gives players a chance to fight back
Speaking of combat, Amnesia: The Bunker is more generous with its players since this time around, they’re given a standard issue Webley revolver from World War 1.
That’s a good fighting chance compared to the helplessness players were presented with in previous Amnesia games.
Still, the gun doesn’t mean players can just run around trying to kill enemies; ammunition is scarce, and the monsters are a lot tougher than humans.
A big part of the game also now revolves around crafting; The Bunker plays into its established themes and settings. Being set at the start of the modern age, players can craft some ingenious dynamo tools to improve their quality of life in-game and help them be a bit less vulnerable.
The monsters are as clever as always
One thing that sets Amnesia apart from other horror games is how the monsters themselves are integrated into the game world better. They’re a part of the environment as much as the players are, often reacting to the player’s progress and having randomized appearances and interactions.
As always, the game won’t outright explain the nature of the monsters in order to keep their air of mystery and their inherent danger.
Players will have to fend for themselves here as multiple documents and hidden ledgers can detail what transpired in the place and what led to the bunker’s desolation.
It’s a standalone sequel
Now, despite being the fourth game in a series, Amnesia: The Bunker is only loosely connected to the previous games and their storylines.
You don’t have to have played the previous games in order to understand what’s happening in The Bunker. Hence, you can treat it as a standalone experience, though having played the previous Amnesia games will certainly help you with the general gameplay and with what to expect in this indie horror game.