With Halloween having just happened, we are reviewing these iconic scary and thrilling video games with the help of our in-house game expert Phil Smith, who is also our Recruitment Consultant.
First on the list is Dark Souls. It was remastered for the Nintendo Switch earlier this year and, even though it doesn’t have any new game play, reviews say, “it’s still among the best of the best,” and on the plus side, using the new console gives the game a fresh feel.
Set in a world where essentially everything is trying to kill you, your aim is to scavenge, buy or forge weapons in order to complete your main objective: get out without being killed. If you achieve this, you have won the game.
In the game you will die a lot, and in a plethora of ways too. You could be killed with a sword, poisoned, pushed to your death, assassinated, the list goes on. For this reason, the relief of finally surviving at the end of the game is a feeling of relief not matched by much else.
Phil: The spiritual successor to Demon Souls and known for his brutal difficulty, Dark Souls is the genre bending action RPG game where survival itself is an achievement and where any victory feels significant, firing those dopamine receptors like nothing else.
Unlike Demon Souls, this is an open world game with no central hub or safe space (did I mention it’s hard)? Bonfires are instead dotted around to rest and recoup from the throes of battle; however, this is not without a catch. For each time you rest, ALL the monsters in the area respawn. Now strategy takes hold, do you rest and fight again, or do you keep ploughing on into the unknown?
You may wish to keep fighting - combat is a joy in this game. You are never forced into a certain play style and learning all the monsters moves and counters are what make the payoff of victory even sweeter.
It’s not just about solid gameplay either; story telling is sharp and engaging, with players piecing together clues to understand what is going on, as opposed to the traditional snooze-fest of cutscenes and blatant plot dumps via dialogue.
Are you prepared to die? You owe it to yourself to find out.
6/7 – Amazing
Dead by Daylight
The next game we are reviewing is Dead by Daylight. Designed to feel like an interactive horror film, you are faced with moral conundrums and problems to solve giving the player complete control over their survival.
The aim of the game is to win by making your way out of a cabin-in-the-woods-like enclosure by repairing five generators and two exit doors. It is not this simple though as throughout the whole game, you are hunted by a killer who is informed of your location whenever you make a noise like clattering into something or disturbing a crow.
In short, it is like a game of hide and seek; except it is compelling, riveting, and full of suspense. And you don’t have to take our word for that, the game received a 4.2-star average rating and was hailed “one of gaming’s most surprising success stories of the past several years.”
Phil: Now four years old and better than it has ever been, after a mediocre launch the game has evolved into one of the best horror experiences around. Setting one killer to hunt four ill-fated survivors, this game of hide and seek OR DIE will test even the best players. Advantage is clearly put into the hands of the murderer, ramping up the sense terror even more for the impotent and castrated powers of the victims.
The cast includes iconic characters such as Freddy Krueger, Michael Myers, and even Ghost Face, setting the scene for maniacal hilarity. With plenty of killers to choose from, the option of playstyle is flexible enough for continued exploration and to make the task of surviving even less predictable.
Kudos goes to the developers, Behaviour Interactive for one of the turn arounds of the last 5 years. What was once an average game has turned into a tour-de-force, showcasing what an interactive medium can do best for the Horror genre, if in the right hands.
There is nothing else like it on the market right now and is not to be missed.
6/7 – Amazing
Resident Evil 4
Resident Evil 4 is the next game on the list, and some would say, most iconic. Despite coming out 15 years ago in 2005, people still love the game and the graphics, which were well ahead of their time. Boasting a 4.5-star average rating, Resident Evil 4 has clearly stood the test of time.
In this third person shooter game, the player controls Leon S. Kennedy, a US government special agent, who has been sent on a mission to save the US President’s daughter who has been kidnapped by a cult. Leon fights a horde of villagers overcome by a mind controlling parasite and reunites with the spy Ada Wong. To win, the player must protect the President’s daughter from being kidnapped as well as himself and the President’s daughter from dying of infection all the way throughout the game. On top of this, there are twists and turns that come from betrayal so completing the game isn’t an easy feat.
The game was a head and shoulders above other games of its kind when it came out and even now, even though it is dated, it is still extremely exciting to play.
Phil: This is the Resident Evil game to convert even the most ardent non-horror game fan (I know for I was one once!), and for those patient/retro gamers is also the Nintendo Wii game to show off the Wiimote controls (a sentence I never thought I would read).
With the current trend of Resident Evil remasters, RE:4 was an obvious candidate. However, it is also the entry in the series that least needed it. It truly is a masterpiece - to this day gameplay is sharp and rewarding. The quick time events feel good, unlike similar offerings from counterparts and even future instalments. The AI feels advanced, but never unfair. The story, albeit cliché, makes sense and keeps you tense.
If you have never played this game, stop what you are doing right now and get it. Whatever version you can get your hands on (Wii is best). Heck, even if you have played it, stop what you are doing and seriously think about why you shouldn’t be playing it again…
7/7 – Masterpiece
Outlast: Bundle of Terror
Next up is Outlast: Bundle of Terror, a thrilling first person game where the only aim is to make it out alive. In this first-person survival game, the player controls an investigative journalist investigating a remote psychiatric hospital in the mountains. Easy right? The twist is that the hospital has been overrun by homicidal patients and the player has no visible health bar. If this wasn’t already tense enough, the hospital is also unlit, and the player uses a camcorder with night vision to see. None of these factors make the aim - to make it all the way through to the end of the hospital without dying – any easier, which is what makes the game a lot more thrilling to play. And we are not the only ones to think this, as the reviews average out at 77% positive! The game is heavily stealth based and uses traditional jump scares and audio cues to enhance the suspense.
Phil: Who doesn’t want to play detective in a remote psychiatric hospital full of evil bast**ds? Also, where is the nearest underpants store? These are the kinds of question you must ask yourself before picking up this game. For this is frighteningly good.
Arriving on the Switch seemingly out of nowhere – rather appropriate for a game chock-a-block full of shocks and jump scares – you are thrust into the “action” with no weapons whatsoever. Calling upon the obvious influence of Project Zero/Fatal Frame, you are armed only with a trusty camcorder to get the latest scoop on the reports of the weird goings on with the patients in the asylum.
Instead of ammo, the limited resource here is power. Batteries are the life force that stop the dark creeping in and your own sanity waning. This game of cat and mouse is tense from the word go and doesn’t let up throughout the whole experience.
Dripping with atmosphere, this is worth checking out if you want to explore a different side to survival horror.
5.5/7 – Great
The last game on our list is Bioshock Remastered, a first-person shooter game set in the 1960s. After a plane crash into the Atlantic Ocean, the player controls the protagonist – Jack – through the underwater city of Rapture. The city was built with the intention of being a utopia, but with the discovery of ADAM, a genetic material which can be used to grant superhuman powers, the city declined turbulently and rapidly. The player can defeat ADAM obsessed enemies by using weapons, turning Raptures defences against them, and using powers granted by plasmids. Doing this is not only what makes the game more exhilarating but is what eventually leads to your victory.
What makes this game interesting is the fact the outcome of the game is decided by what moral decisions you make earlier on in the game. Overall, an exciting but tense game impacted by the players decisions.
Phil: Upon release in 2007, Bioshock was rightfully hailed a masterpiece and revolutionised the story driven FPS genre forever. Exploring the dystopian themes of Orwell and Huxley with a peppering of objectivism á la Ayn Rand, this sounds like an art house project that should never have been the smash hit it was. However, 13 years later the game is still held in high regard and has hailed numerous sequels and remasters.
The incredible gameplay and storytelling are still here, however some may be disappointed with the lack of ‘shine’ that a remaster typically promises. There are frame drops across all editions and audio issues with the PC version. Do not let this detract you though, there are fixes and patches that restore it to its deserved former glory and make this the best way to experience Rapture for newcomers.
6/7 – Amazing
(This would be a 7/7, unfortunately the remastered version has some basic issues.)
We hope you liked our reviews of these spooky games! Any games you want to see reviewed? Just let us know! Give us a comment or drop us a line!