These are the words at came out of my mouth as I nearly crapped my pants while playing “Outlast” late into the night on my Playstation 4. I paused and laughed right after my heart stopped pounding and saw myself standing in front of my TV (I really wasn’t expecting that moment in the game and I’m not going to spoil it for you either) and realized that its been years since a game made me do that.
That first time for me was “Resident Evil” for the original Playstation back in 1996 when I was still in grade school. during the scene where you’re walking through a quiet hallway, and right after the camera changes you see and hear with great fear the hell hound break in through the window leaving you there unable to move due to the panicked state you feel as it takes the first bite out of your face. Thinking about it now I have come to the sad and quite scary conclusion that:
Horror games may have lost their touch with what makes them scary.
It seems to be the same pattern through some of my favorite horror games. For example: Resident Evil. The first 3 I considered to be be on the right path until RE4 came out for the GameCube which don’t get me wrong was still a great game but seemed to be a little more action orientated. Resident Evil 5, lets face it, was all action and not once did I hesitate to open a door. I guess the new format was add a partner, more ammo, and less ink ribbons; I won’t even bother mentioning Resident Evil 6… Moving on.
Another surprising example of this was Dead Space: a game that started out great with its “I’m a chief engineer not a soldier” protagonist and cut the limbs not the head gameplay that made you think on your feet whenever you encountered an necromorph. Sadly by the third game it was pretty much side by side with Resident Evil in terms of becoming less horrifying and more run and gun action. Please Capcom and EA, stop adding a partner to your games if you’re going to categorize it as horror; they do nothing but take away the feeling of helplessness.
Fear not my fellow gamers, for Dead Space and Resident Evil are not your only choices when it comes to filling that shit your pants moments late into the night. There are several overlooked choices out there that will make you feel like you need to put the controller down and reflect on the things you have just seen and experienced.
These games are…
Amnesia: The Dark Descent
Fatal Frame (series)
Silent Hill (Series)
Outlast (a must, trust me)
Just to name a few.
So, real talk:
Do I worry that a horror game’s success eventually leads to its downfall? Yes I do and that is truly sad cause as gamers we buy games to fill out taste with different varieties depending on what we want at the moment. I personally don’t want to be let down over an expectation that was slowly changed for me over the course of each upcoming sequel.
Oh Outlast DLC you can’t come soon enough!