The Bunker: Review

WITH the interactive media boom of the ‘90s, FMV (full motion video, or essentially interactive movies) games were big business. From ??Night Trap to Hell: A Cyberpunk Thriller?, the genre died off due to the fact that these games were, mostly, terrible.Nonetheless, today, with the cheap availability of digital video, as well as the popularity of Steam, FMV games are seeing a renaissance – 2015’s ?Her Story being the prime example. The Bunker attempts a return to the cheesy FMV thrillers of old, but it fails to capture much of the kitschy charm.
Platforms: PS4 (Reviewed); PCDeveloper: Splendy InteractivePublisher: Wales InteractiveRelease date: September 20th
The action takes place in an alternative version of Britain, one where the proposed nuclear apocalypse of the mid-twentieth century actually occurs. The story centres on a thirty-something man named John, who has spent his entire life in the bunker, which is now mysteriously empty of everyone bar his elderly mother. While the gameplay involves some light puzzle-solving, it’s mostly made up of watching the activities of John as the mystery of the bunker unfolds.One of the main issues with The Bunker? is its interactivity – or simple lack thereof. Where ?Her Story took a unique spin to the genre as you trawled through hours of police footage, The Bunker instead just offers extremely light puzzle-solving alongside some pretty terrible quick-time events. The PlayStation 4 version also has an incredibly slow cursor, so most of these actions feel like a chore.The main narrative itself is relatively intriguing, but the game is at its best when it leaves you to explore and find the smaller, hidden stories of this alternate-Britain. The actual plot is basic, and the twist is obvious, but the wider world Splendy Interactive hint at is much more intriguing.The weakness of the plot is not helped by the inconsistent acting. While most of the performances range from middling to acceptable, Adam Brown’s performance of protagonist John is consistently terrible. Most of his reactions to serious events are borderline comical, and his voice-over removes a lot of the tension from dramatic scenes.While ?The Bunker is undoubtedly well-produced, it is undermined by poor acting and boring gameplay. The central plot is filled with clichés, clumsy flashbacks, and is not particularly satisfying, which is an even bigger shame considering the intriguing world the game establishes. It saves its most engaging moments when you are left to explore, but these times are few and far between, leaving The? Bunker a disappointing two-hour journey.