Xbox Series X/S Review: Amnesia: The Bunker

Can you survive the bunker?

Left all alone in a desolate WW1 bunker with only one bullet remaining in the barrel, it’s up to you to face the oppressing terrors in the dark. Keep the lights on at all costs, persevere, and make your way out alive. In the shoes of the French soldier Henri Clément, you are armed with a revolver gun, a noisy dynamo flashlight, and other scarce supplies to scavenge and craft along the way. With randomization and unpredictable behaviour, no play-through is the same. Hunted by an ever-present threat reacting to your every move and sound, you must adapt your play-style to face hell. Every decision will change the outcome of how the game responds.

Amnesia: The Bunker is an isolated hellscape that takes place in a WW1 bunker. You have to constantly wind up a flashlight that attracts unwanted attention from a creature skulking around the place referred to as “The Beast”. It hates the light so you need to keep on finding fuel for the bunker’s generator and keep flipping light switches as you try and find your way out of there. There are “save rooms” of sorts that have a map that pinpoints your location and you can store items there, but there’s one catch…turning on the light here will save your progress, so only do it if you are definitely sure.

Puzzles vary from finding dog tags with codes on them that open doors and lockers to laying traps for the monster and so on. There are plenty of hazards around besides The Beast including tripwires for grenades that are set-up, explosive barrels and gas canisters to name a few. You do get weapons like a revolver and a shotgun, though ammo is scarce and each revolver box you find will contain literally a single bullet, which you have to load in manually. Item management is incredibly important as you progress, so you’ll need to plan ahead accordingly if you wish to survive.

The isolation and the fear of the unknown is incredibly unsettling even before you lock eyes with The Beast for the first time. Having to micromanage exploring further and running back to fill the generator is a clever idea, though because of the time limit itself, you’re more likely to make a mistake as you scramble for clues or for more fuel. I guess the point I’m making is that it’s tense and stressful, but clever and rewarding when you get a bit further.

The visuals are horrifically good, though I did notice a few visual bugs here and there that will hopefully be patched. The framerate was solid throughout, though random loading did occur when moving to a new section now and then. The voice acting is decent, while the isolated sounds of the bunker and hearing The Beast moan and scuttle around is eerily brilliant. You always feel on edge from start to finish.

The Verdict

Amnesia: The Bunker is a deeply unsettling, claustrophobic game that doesn’t let up. You will feel tense and paranoid constantly and despite a few technical issues, it’s the best horror game of the year so far. Using WW1 as a horror setting is a clever concept and the team at Frictional Games have delivered on it. Highly recommended.

Score: 8.5