Editorial: Four Great Horror Video Games
To Enjoy This Halloween.
Project Zero/Fatal Frame.
Project Zero, developed by Koei Tecmo, is a bit of a slow-starter, but the brooding, tense game about exploring a haunted house armed only with a camera that can damage ghosts by taking pictures of them is a surprisingly good horror game.
If Silent Hill leans heavily into psychological horror and a healthy amount of gore, and Resident Evil jumps back and forth between action and horror with a sci-fi twist, then Project Zero finds its mileage in traditional Japanese horror -- ghosts of kimono-wearing aristocrats, Shinto monks, and shrine priestesses haunting a massive traditional mansion.
It ramps up the horror slowly at first, sending ghosts at you only infrequently and making it pretty easy to defeat them or get away, before the game swerves onto a difficulty spike that borders on unfair at times, but is never impossible, and eventually ends with a really quite stunning ending set-piece.
Deadly Premonition is the best game ever made, and also the worst game ever made. It occupies a quantum superposition in which it simultaneously possesses the qualities and flaws of every game ever made. Also, you can go fishing, and the soundtrack is composed predominantly of sinister banjo tunes.
A game which is purportedly a satire but is actually too genuinely scary to be one, while also being too silly to actually be a serious game, Deadly Premonition also boasts graphics that were five to ten years out of date for the year it was released, controls that are nearly unusable (including the most needlessly complicated driving controls of any game ever), and voice acting which is just weird.
It's so good.
Alien: Isolation, or 'the only good Aliens game' as it's known, has a pretty simple concept: You are on a spaceship, and so is a Xenomorph. You can't fight it, and you can't run away from it. The only thing you can do is use an echolocation device to know if it's nearby, try to predict its movements, and hide.
What sets it a step above other games of its ilk is that Alien: Isolation manages to build suspense with almost no scripted scares, and with just the simple idea that there's a (usually unseen, as it can be hours before you get a good glimpse of the titular alien) monster out to get you. What's more, the alien learns your tricks, so if you have preferred hiding places, it'll start checking in those places, and lingering in spots you prefer.
Arguably the game's biggest flaw is that the
Killer7 is generally classed as an action game, on account of how it's an action game, but its disorienting levels, unsettling and mysterious storyline, strange and unnerving enemies, and the way it plays with player perception to put them on edge tips it over into being at least quasi-horror.
From Suda51 (the developer who had previously made several pure horror games with no action elements at all, and would later go on to create several pure action games with no horror elements, making Killer7 an odd transitional point in his career), Killer7 puts you in the shoes of seven assassins as they attempt to thwart a conspiracy by the bizarre Heaven's Smile cult of suicide bombers.
Reviews of the game are very mixed, with some reviewers going as high as 8.5 out of 10, while at least one other reviewer gave it one and a half stars, but there's no denying that it's an interesting game. There isn't really anything else like it.