Jul 22, 2017 Last Updated 4:51 PM, Jul 22, 2017

The Bunker Review

Published in Adventure
Read 928 times
Rate this item
(0 votes)

An intriguing concept that bridges the gap between filmmaking and video games, creating an interactive movie-like experience.

In the early 90s, developers experimented with full motion video (FMV) in place of expensive 3D rendering; at the time, that was the way to introduce realism into an otherwise pixelated universe. The end results weren't all that glorious: games like Dragons Lair, Mad Dog McCree, and many others featured some of the cheesiest acting in video game history, despite representing the pinnacle of what technology could offer at the time. 20 years or so have passed, and FMV has largely fallen out of popularity for 3D rendered animations.

The Bunker, however, made the technology their tour de force, and complemented the visual style with a complex plot written by agile writers behinds big titles like Broken Sword, The Witcher, and SOMA, They didn't stop at story-telling either. Much like movie producers, they valued an expensive cast. To draw you into The Bunker world class actors Adam Brown (The Hobbit), Sarah Greene (Penny Dreadful), Grahame Fox (Game of Thrones), and Jerome St. John Blake (Star Wars) lead the cast.

The Bunker is a psychological thriller, with choose-your-own-adventure mechanics.

You take on the role of John, born in a bunker simultaneously with the city's first bombings that devastated everything outside of its shelter. 3 decades later and much like others apocalyptic premises, John finds himself as a lone survivor, to aimlessly follow a lonesome existence.

Until the lower levels of the shelter warrant signs of changes.

John’s journey takes him deep into the darkest recesses of his mind, and bizarrely, the bunker's, as he tries to restore its order and make sense of his own purpose in the process. As John delves deeper into its dark corners, he will be faced with haunting memories of the past, which he’s fought hard to forget but can't avoid, the truth revealing itself, shedding a light on his condition as the last man standing.

Gameplay

Essentially, the Bunker is a point-and-click adventure á la Myst, with an environment that wasn't coded but filmed in a very real but thankfully decommissioned nuclear bunker. Combined with The Bunker's impressive visual effects and its stunning photography, filming created an ominous environment that will spook you beyond your most psychological aspirations. What a daring and, ultimately, outstanding product. The Bunker succeeds where so many others have failed using standard tools in game development. Immersion works, and before you know it, John’s situation will be yours.

Like movies, The Bunker is a short-lived experience.

Plan for 2 hours to complete. That may be insufficient to some, but you ought to take the purchase as a movie outing with, oddly enough, game mechanics. If that even makes sense... Yes, $19.99 at retail price is asking too much for such a short flight into the psychological horror, yet frankly, if you're into story-rich subtleties, there is enough in emotions and human interactions to justify your expense. Note that this is not an action game, and traditional triggers are few.

It's an interactive film, with gaming twists.

To encourage exploration, The Bunker features collectibles such as notes and toys. They add an incentive to discover each area a bit closer, they don’t influence the story and they don’t provide reason enough for a second playthrough. There are 2 endings though, worth experiencing, especially since the game is only a few hours long.

Though the recipe as a whole is a success, minor issues with FMV should be noted. The first few scenes drag on, as you are to watch John’s unexciting routine. Once the story picks up, interaction feels to few. Every aspect of had to be filmed and edited, which explains the sense of limitation comes the player's impact on their environment. In fact, the majority of gameplay is limited to mashing a button as quickly as possible or clicking on a circle within some time limit. On the other hand, it's done well and transitions are seamless. The Bunker has a natural flow to it, and avoids the clumsy scenario almost inherent to choose-your-own-adventures, you know, that feelings that progression is the result of some Frankestein-like thread because of the options you picked.

8

The Verdict

The Bunker is a heart-pounding journey through the mind of a lone survivor as he struggles to come to grips with a complicated past. It does an excellent job at drawing attention to what many have cast off as a forgotten genre in gaming. It's unlike any other experience you'll have.

Mark Klink

Mark is a self-proclaimed nerd who has an undying need to take anything and everything tech related apart at the seams and break it down to the basics. His interest in video games reaches all the way back to his early days of playing Road Rash on the Sega Genesis. Games like Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater and Unreal Tournament only fueled Mark’s desire to get his hands dirty in video game design by offering in-depth level editors and a budding modding community. But alas, Mark was never a very good programmer, so when he’s not playing video games, he delves into information security and network engineering including Capture the Flag Tournaments and writing on current cyber security issues.

Latest from Mark Klink

Related items

  • The Walking Dead: A New Frontier - Episode 5 Review

    The Walking Dead: A New Frontier – Episode 5 is a gripping, emotional ending to this chapter in the series, but it's also one that doesn't quite hit the mark as well as the prior seasons of this successful franchise have. When it comes to the grand finale, players simply deserved a bigger, more satisfying resolution to Javier's story and the outcome facing him and his loved ones. And, while I did enjoy Clem's ending – again, I'll keep it vague – Clem's presence alone isn't enough to carry this piece of The Walking Dead: A New Frontier to the heights that prior episodes in this saga could reach.

  • Yonder: The Cloud Catcher Chronicles Review

    For an open-world, immersive experience replete with quests, fishing, farms, and more, look no further than Yonder: The Cloud Catcher Chronicles. The design is apt to please any gamer interested in what Yonder has to offer, while nightfall and the gloominess of a heavy rain ensure that players who might otherwise avoid overly bright hues don’t feel left out -- a sure recipe on Yonder’s part for broad appeal. However, as an exploration-heavy title, especially one that does not offer combat, the allure is counteracted in part; ultimately, though, all -- save the hardcore -- can enjoy Yonder.

  • Late Shift Review

    Late Shift is interactive storytelling at its finest, a Full-Motion Video (FMV) title where Choices Matter. This gripping "crime thriller" puts players in the hot seat, allowing them to make decisions that drastically affect the course of events that take place in the London night. With seven different conclusions and choices that are genuinely difficult, Late Shift delivers on what it promises: An "interactive, cinematic experience."

More in this category: Gal*Gun: Double Peace Review »

Latest Shows

PREY - AAA Anony…

With AAA Anonymous, we discuss our latest AAA game addiction, until the next one replaces it. This episode covers Arkane's anticipated 2017 release: PREY.

Empathy: Path of…

Empathy: Path of Whispers is an atmospheric and story-driven adventure game where you explore a seemingly abandoned world through the emotions and memories of the people who once i...

Out Soon

PC Gaming Incoming

The Inner World …

The flute nose dynasty has been watching over Asposia for centuries on end. In secret, they fill the...

Pyre

A New World From the Creators of Bastion and Transistor, Pyre is a party-based RPG in which you lead...

Fortnite

Fortnite is described as a co-op sandbox survival game and is about exploration, scavenging items, c...

Neverwinter: Tom…

Neverwinter’s Harpers seek to end the wickedness of a new death curse on the jungle peninsula of Chu...

The Walking Dead…

The Walking Dead: A New Frontier – Episode 5 is a gripping, emotional ending to this chapter in the series, but it's also one that doesn't quite hit the mark as well as the prior s...

inVokeR Early Ac…

inVokeR is, by far, the best spell-casting virtual reality experience that I’ve played, thanks in large part to its immersive controls and exciting combat. If more modes and featur...

Late Shift Revie…

Late Shift is interactive storytelling at its finest, a Full-Motion Video (FMV) title where Choices Matter. This gripping "crime thriller" puts players in the hot seat, allowing th...

Baobabs Mausoleu…

Seemingly an anomaly on the Steam store, Baobabs Mausoleum Ep. 1 Ovnifagos Don’t Eat Flamingos is a weird but worthwhile play.  It presents a unique and twisted world and a story w...