Amnesia: The Bunker Review - Screenshot 1 of

After effectively pioneering a new type of horror experience in 2010's Amnesia: The Dark Descent, developer Frictional Games hasn't shown much willingness to create something wholly authentic all over again. Two sequels followed the revolutionary original — with a few years of production set aside for SOMA — but with little in the way of gameplay alterations to separate them, this new third follow-up had to make somewhat of a change. Amnesia: The Bunker is undoubtedly a better game than its predecessor Amnesia: Rebirth, and while it never fully shrugs off that sense of "been there, done that", it feels like a better direction for the series.

Just like the previous three entries, though, Amnesia: The Bunker is still more about hiding in the shadows and creating distractions rather than engaging with the enemy. A clunky control scheme allows you to pick up and interact with almost anything in the environment, opening and closing doors (of which there are a lot) is still a chore, and one wrong move will probably spell your demise. That may sound familiar to series veterans, but there's just enough here to set it apart. One example would be the fantastic setting: the bunker itself.

Amnesia: The Bunker Review - Screenshot 1 of

The game takes place in an underground bunker during World War 1. Having awoken to find yourself abandoned and trapped inside, you need to find a way out while avoiding a monster that's on the prowl. Tight, barely lit corridors connect each section of the bunker, highlighting the unsanitary conditions soldiers had to live in during the 1910s. Shooting off those passages are living quarters, kitchens, and machinery designed purely to help the war efforts as human life is left to waste. It's an utterly dreadful place, and Frictional Games has captured that brilliantly.

Even without a monster on the loose, the bunker is just as scary a place as it is dark, damp, and decrepit. This is a haunting, uncomfortable setting that has you on edge at all times — even in the seemingly safe haven of the administration office. Heightened by creepy audio and a chilling atmosphere, just walking the main corridors is a task you'll have to psych yourself up for.

What makes things all the more daunting is you're never quite guaranteed to be completing objectives in the light. Main character Henri Clément is equipped with a wind-up torch, but powering it creates noise which attracts the monster stalking the hallways. Separately, the bunker has its own lighting fixtures, but whether they're powered or not is entirely down to you. Next to the main save room is a generator demanding fuel to power the overhead rigging. You must venture out into the bunker to find that gas and bring it back to sustain a reasonable level of visibility. With extremely limited inventory space, though, you'll quickly start to question whether you should even engage with the mechanic and instead try to thrive in the dark.

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All-round, it's a brilliant backdrop that really drives home the appalling conditions of a World War 1 bunker, from its dingy, filthy rooms to the efforts needed to keep the lights on for a few minutes. It's terrible, and Amnesia: The Bunker revels in that. What lets it down is gameplay that hasn't evolved enough in some places.

It's impossible to get away from how dated the game can feel at times, from its clunky controls to the basic loop of hiding away from the creature when it's on patrol. Particularly on a PS5 pad, the inputs feel far too weighty; again, especially when doors are involved. It's really easy to forget what button does what as there are all manner of functions mapped to the controller, and they never feel very satisfying in the first place. PS5 players will also want to note there's only a PS4 version available, so features like adaptive triggers and haptic feedback won't be active.

Amnesia: The Bunker Review - Screenshot 1 of

What saves the package from being a retread of past Amnesia experiences is a more open-ended approach to completing objectives. While you'll be handed tasks to move the story forward, your main assignment is always to escape the bunker. The game allows you to tackle this duty in any way you like — to a degree. There are usually multiple methods of getting your hands on an item or different ways to manoeuvre yourself into a room. The revolver can play a large role in this, if you want it to. Despite the fact you're in a World War 1 bunker, ammo is extremely limited — having any more than two bullets is a luxury. As such, you must use them wisely. They can be shot at the monster when it gets too close, or the firearm can create enough of a blast to blow a padlock off a door.

It's these dynamic choices and various means of entry that elevate Amnesia: The Bunker above its predecessors, but it's not quite enough to see the entry reach for the stars. The game is still bogged down by the gameplay design of old, with those cumbersome controls and dated gameplay loops of hiding away from the monster policing the bunker. For as good as the game is, it would need to break off completely from what came before it to really start making waves again.

Graphically, the title does little to impress beyond accurately capturing the awful living spaces of World War 1. We only have a PS4 version here (played on PS5 via backwards compatibility) so there were never any expectations of graphical grandeur, but the monster in particular looks quite bad when you come face to face with it. In addition, one or two glitches popped up throughout our playthrough, such as the map disappearing completely when attempting to view it in the administration office.


Amnesia: The Bunker sticks a little too close to what Frictional Games has been doing for over a decade now, but with a more free-form approach to gameplay, the team is back on the right track again. Coupled with an excellent setting, Amnesia: The Bunker represents a vast improvement over its predecessor. You'll still encounter the same stumbling blocks of old, but this horror experience comes recommended.