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Disclosure: the author was provided with a review copy by Wales Interactive
Publisher: Green Man Gaming Publishing
Developer: Splendy Games, Wales Interactive
Platforms: PlayStation 4 (review platform), PC, Xbox One
The Bunker is a modern FMV game which follows a lonely man living in an underground nuclear bunker in England. This is the hero – John. He’s pathetic. He lives out the same check-listed routine every single day; never leaving the small rooms by the remains of his mother; reading the same three books over and over; and eating nothing but an endless supply of beans. Pity him, because he’s going to awaken to a torturous ordeal that will change his sad little life.
Even by genre standards the gameplay here is very basic, with progress gained by finding key items to open simple locks and move on to the next area. The game design doesn’t push the genre forward, but The Bunker’s modern production values can certainly be appreciated. John and the characters he reminisces about are all played by proper screen actors who turn in good performances. The video quality is crystal clear, the soundtrack is well executed and while the transition between shots can at times be far from seamless, the experience is engaging on the level of a one-off BBC short film. It’s especially helped by being shot on location, with no reliance on CGI, even if some of the props aren’t all that convincing. It’s a good thriller, though not the horror game it’s being sold as.
The Bunker isn’t very long. A single sitting under 2 hours is enough to reach the end where there’s an obligatory player decision between two brief ending sequences. It’s really lacking as a video game, with little in the way of player input, but as a film it manages to be quite intense in the second half, even if the story is nothing exceptional. The elements that work well in The Bunker sadly don’t have to do with its design as a game or an interactive experience. The stuff that works like the acting, the music, and the filmmaking are all handled to a degree that I would actually recommend you check out the game for yourself, whether it’s on sale, in a bundle, or watching somebody else play it. The Bunker’s value as a video game isn’t impressive, but it’s worth seeing this story if the concept and execution interests you. Head down into The Bunker one time at least, but don’t expect to want to revisit it.