Oh it’s that glorious day where it becomes acceptable to dress like a whore and mentally destroy the youth with images that will make their skin crawl for years to come and cement your position as the creepy uncle. I’m talking of course of Halloween, one of my favorite holidays that I never celebrate outside of watching the Alien movies for the 900th time. Of course, when you watch as much horror as I do, you tend to stop finding things scary. In fact, nothing is scary anymore in gaming! But this is more than a short thought as I have a few things to say about this subject.
First of all, horror games don’t work anymore because everything is expected. Every major horror game being released is either part of a series or a direct tribute to them. Resident Evil has done zombies to death (oh puns), Fatal Frame has made ghosts boring, and even Silent Hill’s weirdness is formulaic weird and not scary weird. You know things are bad when a series designed to make you fear something new can’t provide anything new. I would say Silent Hill: Shattered Memories is the sole survivor of this run of new horror games, but the game performed so miserably both critically and in the market, I doubt Konami will want to give that style a chance again. And It really is a shame. Shattered Memories wasn’t scary at all, but it was a work of narrative art.
Okay, so I just acknowledged that good horror games have come out, but that doesn’t change the fact these games aren’t scary. They all have more in common with a big budge Hollywood film than a dark and gritty scarefest, and there’s nothing Hollywood does worse than gritty. That said, a few games have came out with some good scares in them, many not even in the horror genre, so check these out and have a very happy Halloween!
Alien Infestation – A horror game on the DS O_o Now this I gotta see! Okay, so it’s not exactly a scare factory, but it has an element of survival usually lacking from modern games. You have a limited number of unique marines. If one gets injured, you have a short time to find them in the alien hive. If one dies, they’re gone for good. With each one having a unique and fun personality, it’ll make you want to survive, even though you wont.
Amnesia: The Dark Descent – This game looks like shit, but someone ate a diamond, and I feel really bad for them as that must have been very painful to pass, but I’m getting away from my point. This game is one of the finest horror experiences you can find, because the game mechanics have a wonderful push pull dynamic. If you’re in the dark too long, your sanity drops, but you’re most vulnerable in the light. This game isn’t exactly “scary” as you will never have that fear translate beyond when you shut the game down, but you’re bound to have a great time.
Batman: Arkham Asylum – Scary if only because no one expected it, the Scarecrow sections of the game used the dark atmosphere and took the player by surprise. These segments highlight that Arkham Asylum is not only one of the best games ever, but Scarecrow is also one of the best villains of all time.
Metro 2033 – Make no mistake, this is a balls out action shooter, but unlike every other game in the genre, Metro knows how to build tension. When your bullets are your lifeline, supply is limited, every battle could be your last, and you’re suffering from seemingly random horrible visions, Metro 2033 is even a cut above what the F.E.A.R. series can deliver.
And if you haven’t yet, be sure to check out some old classics like Resident Evil, Silent Hill 2 & 3, Fatal Frame, and Clocktower! Sure, I just wrote an article ripping on these games, but it doesn’t mean they’re still not a great time.