For the first time since 2020, the Amnesia series has once again returned with a new entry, Amnesia: The Bunker. With the first game, Amnesia: The Dark Descent, released in 2010, the series quickly became a horror phenomenon and a viral sensation through YouTube lets-plays. Though the last few games were worthy successors to the original, it can be difficult to trust that every new entry will remain high-quality. However, Amnesia: The Bunker is extremely satisfying and terrifying, with well-crafted tension and a worthy atmosphere that shows that Amnesia isn’t losing steam four entries in.
Amnesia: The Bunker Evolves the Series’ Classic Horror
Amnesia: The Bunker is a first-person, survival horror game tasking players with withstanding a horrifying monster called the Beast. The game is set in World War I, where players must take control of French soldier Henri Clement. After being trapped in a bunker, Henri must stay alive using limited resources, as well as maintain generators that power the lights of the bunker. Unlike previous games, Amnesia: The Bunker is more open-world in design, featuring less scripted events, and more freedom of exploration. Instead of having specific sections of the map where monsters lurk, Amnesia: The Bunker’s Beast is an omnipresent threat that players will need to keep at bay at all times.
Although not every change is a good change, adding the open-world design to Amnesia: The Bunker is a worthy addition. One of the scariest parts in past Amnesia games has been the looming threat of monsters. Amnesia: The Bunker instead takes that tension and makes it a constant throughout the game. If players aren’t careful and start running out of power and resources, they will have to face the Beast. Additionally, due to the procedural generation, the game itself becomes much less predictable and linear than previous entries. While previous Amnesia games like The Dark Descent lose a bit of replay value after seeing each jump-scare and moment, Amnesia: The Bunker stays consistently fresh and scary, even after multiple playthroughs.
Amnesia Shifts Focus from Story to Gameplay
Still, Amnesia: The Bunker includes some of the previous hallmarks of Amnesia gameplay and storytelling. For example, despite Amnesia: The Bunker‘s worthy push toward the future of the series, journal entries scattered around the map are still the main source of the story in the game. Although some have found that the story that unfolds throughout this game isn’t as good as previous games, the sacrifice of story and writing quality is not in vain. It may be a little upsetting to see a shift in priorities from story to gameplay. However, the new Amnesia game benefits greatly from the changes. Whether or not this takes away from the original spirit of the series is up to fans, though seeing a series adapt and innovate is always welcome.
Though these changes may make the new entry feel less like an Amnesia game, it makes up for it in quality. At this point, the survival horror genre itself was getting a bit stale, and even though Amnesia was one of the earliest, it was not immune to the burnout that players were feeling. To some, the Amnesia series was starting to stagnate. Overall, the quality of each game was kept up. However, very few adjustments were made to the formula. Amnesia needed to find some way to adapt or fade into obscurity amidst a sea of other survival horror games. With the addition of an open world and tense gameplay, Amnesia: The Bunker stands out from other titles in the genre, while a game more similar to previous entries wouldn’t.
Amnesia: The Bunker’s Innovation Makes It Worthy of the Series
What makes the Amnesia series so special is its ability to innovate and stay ahead of the horror genre. This is what made Amnesia such an acclaimed series in the first place, and it’s that innovation that makes Amnesia: The Bunker such a worthy entry. Whether some may consider these changes to take away from the original spirit of the series, hopefully, the tense gameplay and terrifying monster will transport players back to their first time playing Amnesia: The Dark Descent in 2010. In the end, not only are things looking good for Amnesia: The Bunker in the present, the new game shows that Amnesia has what it takes to survive in the future of the survival horror genre.