Dead Space, Resident Evil, and many other “Survival Horror” games never seem to make me jump, and definitely don’t seem terrifying to me. What happened to this genre anyways? We don’t have horror games anymore; they are all “Survival” horror games now. For that matter what games do make you jump in your seat? Or are so scary you aren’t exactly sure you want to play this game? In this post, we take a look at the scary games and what makes horror games truly horrific!
I’m not assuming nobody is scared by games like Dead Space or Resident Evil. However I know for sure that there are many like me who play these games expecting scares and instead all we feel like we’re getting is an action packed adventure game. That’s not a bad thing mind you, rather it’s like having a bag of kettle corn and when you have a piece you realize you just have popcorn. I love popcorn but sometimes I need a change.
Dead Space is a series I feel started out with the right footing and slowly went from scary to badass. If anybody remembers the very first part of the first Dead Space game. Right after arriving at the space station, and the team first encounters the necromorphs. Isaac is forced to run through a set of corridors with the necromorphs right behind him. Giving no clue where the player is going, no way to defend yourself, and no idea how close the monster is from tearing you to shreds. This was exciting, crazy, intense, and most importantly, scary! This feeling was lost throughout most of the following game after Isaac acquires the tools to defend himself against these monsters.
Now let’s use this idea to envision a scary game, a game where the player has no or little way to defend themselves. A game that incorporates many disturbing elements can also add many scares. Finally add a hint of darkness, lots of mystery, and a ton of intrigue and you know what game you get?
That’s right, I think Amnesia is one of the scariest games I’ve ever played. I know not everyone thinks this is scary but in my personal opinion it is a hell of a lot scarier than Resident Evil 5. This game does a great job of eclipsing the player into a mystery that pulls him into the game, despite the fear or horror inside the dark descent.
Even if you don’t like this game, the style of fear behind this title is something I would love to see replicated onto the PlayStation Network in something other than AMY which was also in my opinion a very underwhelming game. The horror genre on consoles would benefit greatly from a game like this.
No I am not saying that “Amnesia: The Dark Descent” is the scariest game on earth. Rather that it feels more horror and tension than any of the “mainstream” games of today. To make a truly scary horror game, heres what I think games need to do.
Step 1. Remove almost all forms of self defense.
Step 2. Create a solid amount of intrigue and mystery top keep the player delving deeper into the game.
Step 3. Disturbing stories that mimic some of today’s “Creepy Pasta”
Step 4. Psychological approaches are quite helpful
I don’t claim that this will always work, but those four aspects seem to get the most reaction out of players. I don’t mean to knock on Dead Space either, in my opinion Dead Space is one of the scariest games out there and Dead Space two was also very scary. My issue is that Dead Space looks to go more towards the way of Resident Evil. Resident Evil also started out as a very scary game which slowly became an action adventure third person shooter. From adding Co-Op to tons of action elements, Resident Evil 5 just was not scary. Dead Space 3 doesn’t look scary either but I haven’t played that game so I am in no position to judge.
Horror as a genre of anything could benefit from this too. Games I believe are the single best form of entertainment due to the immersion and time factors. Horror movies and books are all nice and well, and some of them are VERY scary and I believe games are now getting to the point where they can scare people immensely by putting players in control of their own survival or giving them the objective to solve mysteries and the like. If you are like me and want to see more games like this please comment and give us your opinion.