Nov 15, 2013

Horror games

Steam Halloween sale had some interesting games at very affordable prices. The first one I played was Deadlight, a side-scrolling zombie apocalypse. I actually managed to finish it as it's often easier to just run and avoid the zombies or to lure them into traps than to actually try shooting them (I'm a slow shooter and really bad at aiming). The story isn't spectacular, but interesting enough, and the limited movement of a side-scroller makes it easier to figure out what to do next, because there aren't too many directions available.

The ending was a surprise, although it felt a bit hasty, like the developers thought "Okay, we need to wrap this up so we can release the game. Quick, somebody come up with an ending!" Although, you must admit that it isn't easy to have a zombie game that ends in something else than "and then there were none."

I also checked the alternate ending in YouTube and... (spoilers, select the paragraph to read) it was really bad, because it made no sense. I can't imagine how the girl could immediately draw the conclusion that the guy was a murderer, just because he had her sister's necklace. They left him in the warehouse with the sister's body (as he had shot her when she had gotten infected), so he could have just taken the necklace at that point, before moving on.

Next, I started Amnesia: Dark Descent and that is nerve-wrecking. The character wakes up in a manor with a total memory loss and needs to figure out what's going on. There's nobody around, but soon it becomes clear that there is something badly wrong, and a little later you start encountering monsters. You can't fight them so you just need to run and hide, while at the same time exploring the place and performing certain tasks. Pretty basic horror stuff, in other words, but the atmosphere is anything but basic.

The distorting view when your sanity starts slipping away is very effective, especially combined with the sounds of the game, and you start valuing sources of light very quickly. This is definitely the creepiest horror game I've played so far. I haven't progressed very far, because I just had to stop and try something less stressful.

I'm not sure if Silent Hill: Homecoming can be called that, but it is what I started next. I've played Silent Hill 2, 3 and Downpour, so I knew what to expect. I like the parts where you explore buildings, because it is usually easier to figure out what you need to do in that sort of environments. My main problem with these games is just that, figuring out what to do and where to go, and so the game gets frustrating and I resort to gameplay guides to get me on the right track. I haven't progressed very far in this one either, but plan to continue playing later.

One I will not continue is Black Mesa. It's free, so I decided to give it a try. The premise, a secret research center where a sudden disaster takes place, is nothing new, but the place looks interesting. There are the usual fights with monsters and trying to find and do stuff. Then the military shows up and... I start losing interest in the game. My main problem with the game is that it feels like the makers tried to cram everything into it: monsters, malfunctioning equipment, collapsing structures, hostile soldiers, you name it. At least the game was free and I did enjoy the beginning (before the soldiers appeared).

Another free game is Haunted Memories. I read some reviews and there were lot of references to Slender Man, but I'm not familiar with that one. I suppose it's the boogeyman that's after you in the game. The game isn't finished yet and I hope the final version will be less frustrating.

To begin with, it's much too dark. I mean, literally dark, as in "I can't see a thing." It's also very hard to figure out what needs to be done. I gave up after some aimless wandering around, wondering where I'm supposed to go and what to do. Still, I managed to get an achievement – by falling and killing myself. I didn't even see what happened. I just got stuck, it was all dark, and then there was a text saying I fell, and the achievement popped up saying I had killed myself. Wasn't that fun?

After this kind of games, Dear Esther was a nice change, as was Gone Home, but more about those later.

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