REVIEW / The Bunker

Beauty and mystery lurks in the depths

Is The Bunker one of the best horror experiences I’ve had on PlayStation? Yes. Is The Bunker one of the best horror games i’ve played on PlayStation? No. There’s no denying that at times The Bunker increased my heart rate, shortened my breath and had me clinging to the edge of my seat. However, I never really felt ‘in control’ of my actions, but more of a spectator, which isn’t necessary a bad thing.

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The Bunker is an FMV game, developed by UK based indie studio Splendy. The game is set in a nuclear bunker, hidden within the English country side; it was a bizarre pleasure seeing reference to small villages close to where I grew up. You play through the story as John, the last survivor, who has spent the majority of his life living in the bunker. Not long into the game you come to realise that there’s a lot of untold history hidden within these thick cement and steel walls.

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As you progress through the ever darkening story you come across audio messages and various pieces of documentation, all of which shed some light on the dark history through some brilliant voice acting. Not only is the quality of the voice acting very high but the variety was a pleasant surprise, the 12 different pieces of backstory I found were all delivered with a engaging different voice, making me feel like The Bunker really was populated with a host of individuals.

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Finding the different sources of media is a way of uncovering more intricate parts of the hidden story; uncovering the main narrative comes through various cutscenes. These cutscenes seamlessly start as you progress, adding to the captivating experience and building the story in a jigsaw like manner. One big issue I did have on the PlayStation was reacting to the quick-time events. During some cutscenes you are required to rapidly tap an icon that suddenly appears. With the sluggish cursor movements on the console edition I often found myself not getting there in time, sometimes resulting in death and restarting the section. To move pass some points I found myself trying to remember where the icon was, which, on some occasions still wasn’t enough. I’m sure this isn’t an issue on the PC version as the movement of a mouse will make the cursor a lot quicker.

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As you’d expect from a live-action game the acting is of a very high standard. There has to be a mention to Adam Brown (The Hobbit) who plays delivers an excellent performance as John. His consistent engaging performance really helps you sympathise with John, and at times, feel for whats he’s going through. Although other performances don’t match that of Adam Brown’s, they are still consistently good and help add to the larger story.

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One area The Bunker sold it’s self short was the lack of exploration. As you delve deeper into the underground settlement you uncover new rooms and locations, each with mysterious corridors and doors leading to luring areas, unfortunately, you can only interact with some of them, creating a feeling that you are being forced to follow a rather linear path. There are some collectibles to look out for along your haunting journey. These come in the form of miniature wooden figures; all of which John created as a child in The Bunker.

The Bunker provided  a memorable edge-of-seat experience that was mostly enjoyable. The seamless piecing together of live action gameplay, along with some excellent acting performances really helped to create a  captivating experience. Unfortunately, some linear gameplay and the lack of exploration make you often feel more like a spectator that a participant.

This game was review on a retail copy provided by the Publisher.

Lewis started Indie-Credible in the summer of 2016 after struggling to find a website that justifiably covered indie games. Although he can't deny his love for some AAA games (especially the Final Fantasy series) his true love lies in the indies - people say he plays too many indie games, but we all know that's not possible.