Amnesia: The Bunker – Steam Deck Review

In the realm of psychological horror games, the Amnesia series stands out as a chilling and renowned franchise. With each installment, the franchise has consistently pushed the boundaries of fear-inducing gameplay, captivating players with its immersive storytelling and heart-pounding experiences. The latest addition to this spine-tingling saga, The Bunker, takes players on another harrowing journey through the depths of terror and the human psyche.

Amnesia: The Bunker presents a haunting narrative set within a claustrophobic underground facility. Stepping into the shoes of a tormented protagonist, players are thrust into a realm of darkness and mystery that relentlessly tests their courage and sanity. The game excels in delivering a compelling mix of psychological horror, atmospheric exploration, and strategic problem-solving, drawing players into an abyss where the line between reality and nightmare blurs into oblivion.

For the first time in the series, guns have been put at our disposal, so we are not completely defenseless. However, ammunition is scarce, and every bullet fired comes at a price. Combat takes a backseat to slow exploration and puzzle-solving. Almost every action we perform generates a sound that can lure a monster. Each clash with it arouses great excitement and panic, because despite access to weapons we are still incredibly weak and vulnerable to instant defeat, intensifying the sense of danger.

Of utmost importance is the mechanics of the flashlight. Constantly weighing the decision of whether to charge it for several seconds and risk encountering a monster or venture into the depths of darkness adds to the game’s immersive tension. Each charge takes a moment and generates a sound, while its duration feels too short. 

The second option is to use a power generator, but fuel – like ammunition – is scarce. If we add to this quite a lot of backtracking and the ability to save the progress of the gameplay only in one place, it can be a bit annoying. This aspect could have been better balanced to enhance the overall gameplay experience.

The puzzles are not very complicated and usually involve finding the right code in another part of the location, or using your imagination and unlocking a passage for yourself with the help of a number of non-standard items. Playing with physics, as in previous titles from Frictional Games, plays a very big role here. We can use almost every element visible on the screen to our advantage by, for example, blocking the shaft in which the monster is moving. 

Some simple solutions will make it easier to survive here, but the monster has a fairly developed artificial intelligence and can adapt quite well to the player’s actions. As a result, each game is slightly different, and the feeling of horror here is constantly present. The first playthrough took me about 4-5 hours, and I am sure I will return to Amnesia: The Bunker at some point. 

Amnesia: The Bunker – Steam Deck Performance

While the sound design is the absolute first league of horror films, the quality of the graphics is very average. Of course, the atmosphere and darkness pours out of the screen, but the quality of textures leaves much to be desired, as does the lighting system. Really, after so many years, I would like to see a new graphics engine in this series.

On Steam Deck the performance is quite solid – in the initial stages in the open area the framerate drops to around 40FPS, but already in the bunker the game offers a fairly stable 60 FPS. From time to time there is an annoying stuttering, which I have not been able to fix and does not seem to be related to the shader cache – it always occurs in the same places. 

In addition to this, the game has a strange problem with graphic artifacts occurring on our hero’s hands – I’ve tested all settings and Protons, but it can’t be fixed at this point. Probably the problem is on the side of the graphics chip drivers.

Fortunately, there is full gamepad support and the ability to save gameplay progress to the cloud. The interface is well adapted to smaller screens and reading the numerous notes causes no problems. The battery playtime is around 2 hours.

As you can see it’s a very intense and highly specific game. Amnesia: The Bunker offers an unparalleled atmosphere of horror and can be extremely overwhelming at times. Some of the gameplay solutions I didn’t quite like, and the graphical problems are annoying, but if you like this type of game you will probably be delighted. 

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