Developer Frictional Games has been perfecting its brand of horror for some 17 years now. Beginning with 2007’s fascinating Penumbra, their hands-on, super-claustrophobic games have only grown more frightening, throughout the ongoing Amnesia series, as well as 2015’s Soma. With 2023’s Amnesia: The Bunker, this reached a terrifying zenith, where all your actions threatened attracting its ever-present monster—so you should be very pleased to know that a new update has ensured that at least the rats are now non-aggressive. Oh, and a swathe of other new accessibility options that open up the game to a huge number of new players.
Arguably, other accessibility options that have just been added are of more wide importance than the behavior of the rodents, so let’s focus on those first. A lot of these are features you’d hope a game would launch with these days, rather than seven months after it first appeared, but they remain very welcome.
Amnesia: The Bunker now features closed caption subtitling, along with a way to preview how subtitles will appear, and the very brilliant optional feature of adding directional arrows to the subtitles, so hearing-impaired players can know from which direction the ominous noises are coming.
Read More: Amnesia: The Bunker Might Be This Year’s Scariest Horror Game
Buy Amnesia: The Bunker: Humble Bundle
There are now also options to reduce camera motion and video distortion effects, which certainly change how the game was originally intended to be presented, but also allow many people to play without experiencing nausea. Input options have also been given a litany of toggles, meaning players no longer need to hold down mouse buttons in order to interact with physics, sprint, aim, reload, charge flashlights, and check health. This is crucial for those with restricted mobility, or weaker joints, meaning the game becomes much more accessible.
The final selection of new accessibility features are geared towards making the game more playable for those struggling with finer details. There’s an Aim Assist slider, with five settings, for the default “Off” up to “Very High,” while weapon sway is now also optional. There’s a toggle that lets you reduce enemy perception, which is, in essence, an “easy mode” version of the game, meaning it’s less likely enemies will spot you while you slink around. And then, finally, you can make the rats non-aggressive.
It’s funny how some patch notes just grab your imagination, and seeing “Non-Aggressive Rats” appear in Frictional’s update list certainly grabbed ours. According to the setting, this toggle “determines whether rats can track and attack the player or not.”
Rats are pretty key characters in The Bunker, their presence often a problem, especially when they munch down on corpses that have information you might want to loot. Oh, and they bite. Leave a trail of blood behind you when injured, and the little buggers will follow it, their noises attracting unwanted attention. Scaring them off is always possible, but doing so can attract the monster, and you don’t want that. Also, you know, they’re aggressive. When Gamespace reviewed the game, on their list of “Bad” elements about the game, they included, “Rats (you’ll see what we mean…)” Eurogamer said, “The rats themselves are more irksome than frightening.” The Sixth Axis also featured them in their “Bad” list, with, “Those bloody rats.” And a particularly fine website called Kotaku said of the beasties, “I find myself wishing I had at least one less thing to worry about. Like, maybe we don’t need the rats.”
So there you go. These wishes have finally come true, and the rats can now be toggled to leave you the hell alone. And if you live in New York, there’s a pretty good chance that’s a toggle you’ll wish you had available more generally.
Buy Amnesia: The Bunker: Humble Bundle