Amnesia: The Bunker Review – Hide and Don’t Seek

Amnesia: The Bunker Review

Amnesia: The Dark Descent almost singlehandedly boosted some YouTube personalities to fame while simultaneously elevating the interest around the now inescapable Let’s Play videos. The following chapters from the series devised by Frictional Games failed to hit the same standard, but could Amnesia: The Bunker deliver on the chills and the stressful cat-and-mouse gameplay once again?

The Sound of Dread

Amnesia: The Bunker is set during World War 1, as the player steps into the weathered and bloodied boots of a French soldier named Henri Clément. Armed with a revolver but mostly your survival skills, you will briefly escape the nightmare of war only to descend into an even more terrifying reality, a hellscape that is going to both hunt and haunt you in the darkness.

This is a game of cat and mouse, an uneven battle between man and an unknown beast, a creature that is more resourceful and skilled in its sleep than you are wide awake. The bunker has tunnels connecting nearly every room, shortcuts that this entity won’t refrain from using when it hears the faintest sound. Your goal is to escape this hell on Earth, but for that, you are going to need some items to blow up the wreckage blocking the way out.

The first steps inside the bunker are of reconnaissance and sheer dread, as the darkness and the occasional noises remind you of your mortality. Your best friend is your worst enemy as well – a dynamo flashlight that can be heard all over Europe as you wind it up, only to do it again a few seconds later. This mechanic is brilliantly implemented, forcing you to balance your need for light with the risks of alerting the creature.

Amnesia: The Bunker Review

Everything about Amnesia: The Bunker seems designed around lighting and sound, created as a playground that isn’t quite the sandbox we would desire, but offers enough liberty for you to explore and experiment. Your steps create this echo that gets even louder as you run, pushing doors abruptly and stepping on various types of materials are just a few ways of drawing attention to yourself. When the creature draws near, you will hear your heartbeat throttling like no soldier ever managed to do to you, and the screen will blur slightly. Silence is golden here, so every time that you plan on throwing a heavy brick to break a wooden door is a great time to run like hell or to hide under a table if you’re lucky to find one.

Still, the creature isn’t exactly dimwitted, and apparently, a mix of dynamic AI and scripted actions. Take too long to hide and it will enter the room and look for you, including under the table; doors won’t stop it from barging in, destroying them in ways that may sometimes be surprisingly useful to you. Play with noise to divert it from you, in the same way that it gets attracted by every sound you make.

Darkness will tire your eyes, and the flashlight won’t be very reliable, and neither will the lighter that you may soon discover. Fuel is a crucial resource in this bunker, as it powers the generator and gives you enough time and light for a run into the farthest sectors, but it may also be used to create petrol bombs. There are some inherent bunker gadgets to find, such as grenades, flares, or the ever-dangerous tripwires that may be helpful or harmful, depending on your actions towards them.

It Follows

Amnesia: The Bunker Review

The non-existent UI in Amnesia: The Bunker – during the normal gameplay, that is – is a massive contribution to the constant feeling of dread and spine-chilling atmosphere. You are solely looking at light and shadow, mostly staring into the darkness, and it’s up to you to use your wits in every aspect. Do you want to see how much ammo you have? Check your pistol or shotgun chamber for bullets. Wondering how badly hurt you are? Open the inventory and look at your hand – that blood running down is a good sign that maybe, just maybe, you could use a health item, especially considering that a trail of blood is another way to attract the creature. It may not be groundbreaking, but it surely is welcome and a little push towards frightening immersion.

The same could be said about the map system, another immersive feature that may be responsible for some hair-pulling but of the good kind. The Administration room will serve as a safe haven of sorts where you can save your progress, store items, power up the generator, and consult the map. Initially missing quite a few sectors and pushing us to blindly explore them, you may unlock these specific areas if you manage to find a room with a map of the place, dutifully noting it down for future endeavors.

This map is going to prove very helpful for some puzzles, as Amnesia: The Bunker isn’t just about stealth. Finding codes from dog tags, using a bolt cutter and a wrench, and turning the electrical current for a specific goal, among other things, are some of the activities that you will face alongside the relentless creature. These aren’t remarkably clever, except perhaps for the last one of these examples, so it’s a shame that there isn’t more originality and variety involved in the puzzles.

Some randomization is at play, with things like codes and important items such as a key changing from game to game. You may give in and try to check an Amnesia: The Bunker walkthrough, but some of the mandatory parts will require you to fight for it, read the soldier logs to make sense of a fairly predictable story, and inspect every dark corner of the place to find the missing pieces.

Henri, Do You Even Lift?

Amnesia: The Bunker Review

One of the things that Frictional Games has loved since their times of Penumbra and Amnesia: The Dark Descent is to play with physics. Again, this care is visible throughout the adventure, with many items to tinker with, rotate, throw, and so on. Interactions based on real-life movements are common, from pulling and pushing doors to rotating a valve wheel. It’s the kind of detail that immerses you into this restricted but realistic world, as realistic as one with a supernatural predator can be, but that wasn’t fully developed into some more interesting challenges.

But not everything about Amnesia: The Bunker is worthy of praise. There were several moments where the creature’s behavior didn’t feel consistent with its pacing, even considering the cheats (a.k.a. tunnels) that it uses to move around. I felt like there was no way it could have appeared near me so quickly, as if teleporting, along with other moments where it seemed to have some sort of supernatural intuition to find me inside a cubicle, quiet as a mouse – not the devilish ones in the game, mind – for nearly a minute, but still apparently enough to draw attention to my location for whatever reason.

The duration of the main story is another issue up for debate, as this is by no means a lengthy game. Your first playthrough may take you between five to six hours if you take your time to soak in the nightmare, but the random nature of some aspects may encourage you to go for additional runs if you enjoy doing so. For the asking price, this is a reasonable playtime, and you will only feel cheated if, for some reason, you rush through it. We’ll see how the community builds on this through custom stories.

Despite looking good overall, Amnesia: The Bunker has some seams showing if you look closely. The biggest offender is the star of the company, the creature itself, a fairly bland model that is underwhelmingly generic and, quite frankly, scarier the less that we see of it. The way it clips through doors, walls, and other obstacles is another immersion-breaking sight, a far cry from the threatening creature that preys on us in the dark.

Skipped a Beat

Amnesia: The Bunker Review

This is a successful foray into survival horror, a game that generates great tension and occasional chills as you explore the labyrinthic bunker. It doesn’t boast any moment of genius, and it may even pale in comparison with any of the Outlast titles, but the atmosphere of dread is consistent and intimidating, with great use of light and sound to convey the feeling of loneliness and of being trapped in a larger-than-life grave.

Amnesia: The Bunker does what it sets out to do, and after finally completing your mission, you may look back and realize that every chill, every shiver down your spine was absolutely worth the price of admission, no matter the fate of our hardened French soldier.

Score: 8.5/10


  • A terrific atmosphere of dread
  • Great use of light and sound
  • Minimal UI and clever map system
  • Some randomization invites further playthroughs


  • Not the lengthiest adventure ever
  • Somewhat dated and ineffective creature design
  • Creature clipping issues

Amnesia: The Bunker review code was provided by the publisher. You can read MP1st’s review and scoring policy right here.

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Henri Clement
Henri Clement
3 months ago

Every bad thing that was said in this review was literally said because the editor and writer were scrounging for polarization – minor clipping issues, the length of the playtime, and the monster design? Those are all subjective personal OPINIONS not undeniable objective fact. Amnesia has yet again proven that their team and their games dominate and gave birth to every horror game after it, you can look at any survival horror in the last ten years and look back to Penumbra and Amnesia and see the inspirations through and through. Seriously such a disservice to such a great team that amkes such great games to try to rag on them online about their own monster. Its a giant monster, moving around interactable objects – theres gonna be some clipping, I dont know a single game Ive ever played that doesnt have minor clipping issues – stand too close to a wall with a gun in any FPS ever made, you might have a brain aneurysm. And the design? Terrifiying, and unique, a jaw that unhinges, wearing tattered french clothing, misshapen with a sword through the chest, its pretty damn unique and I am a huge fan of horror media, games, and books – never seen anything quite like it or similar, the closest thing that comes to mind is the Hunters from Prototype, but even they look very different. And the length of time? Im sorry, did you want 100 hours of playthrough on a game meant to be replayed again and again? The timeframe of the story fits perfectly with the details of the story, and the game was never meant to be very long, it was meant to tell a haunting story about a mans struggle to survive while being hunted by his own dear comrade, and reaching an end that was always meant to be for people in war.

Pretty uninformed and dissapointing review, its obvious you guys were looking for scraps of negativity to add for contrast.

Henri Clement
Henri Clement
Reply to  Henri Clement
3 months ago

No wonder Im the only person to comment, everyone loves this game through and through!

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