Horror game classic Amnesia returns, bringing open-world mechanics, player-driven gameplay, and guns to the creepy Steam hit, as Soma and Penumbra developer Frictional Games introduces us to The Bunker, its new, terrifying vision of World War One.
Playing as a lone French soldier during the First World War, Amnesia: The Bunker throws you into a “semi-open world” where you must survive against an ever-present, stalker-style enemy while exploring, solving puzzles, and making decisions that will impact the gameplay.
For the first time in the Amnesia series, you have a weapon – a creaky old revolver with a single bullet in the chamber. Apart from that, your only tool is a decrepit, dynamo-powered torch. Threats and obstacles alter with every playthrough, with Frictional promising “hardly any scripted events” combined with “emergent gameplay.”
Gut instinct might tell you that adding a gun, or a weapon of any kind to Amnesia, might spoil the horror and the monster’s sense of threat. Likewise, a sandbox setting where you’re free to make choices sounds like it could undermine the atmosphere, untangling the tight claustrophobia that made previous Frictional Games scare so well.
But if a game is linear and leads you along level by level, you know, intrinsically, that you can’t really do anything wrong. The worst that can happen is you die and restart. An open-world setting driven by choice offers the opposite, where you might decide something, and come to regret it later. That adds tension, and the possibility of real consequences.
Similarly, in horror games where you have no gun, you know for certain that you won’t ever have to confront the monster. The game wouldn’t make you, since you have no weapons. A rusty revolver with one bullet, though – that creates a dilemma. You might have to take this horrible thing on, and it’s not going to be easy.
Slow and oppressive, Amnesia: The Bunker’s first trailer, coupled with all these initial details, contains a lot of promise. It’ll be out on Steam and the Epic Games Store sometime in 2023.
In the meantime, check out some of the other best war games. The season has passed, but if you want a spooky night in, the best Halloween games might do it for you, too, or perhaps the best stealth games, to pack in some training for avoiding The Bunker’s terrors.