What Makes a Good Horror Game?

Horror games make you feel fear the way nothing else can. But what makes a good horror game? The Zombie Chimp looked into it, and I came up with a few answers.

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2745d ago
game4funz2745d ago

No health regen, Resource management, Deadly enemies, no bullet sponging, save zones like the typewriter in RE

r3f1cul2745d ago

imo its all about the tension and atmosphere ... get those right and you can have any type of game mechanics you want, you can have jump scares like an outlast, slight action and survival like a good old RE game, or even full on action like say a dead space ... all about tension and atmosphere ;)

JHippy50002745d ago

Dark atmosphere, deformed grotesque creatures that make you squinch and ask what the hell is that, creepy ghost children that show and disappear when you blink, weird echo noises(moaning,growling,crawli ng,etc), creepy music, loud jump scares, glowing eyes in the dark, low ammo

NapalmSanctuary2744d ago (Edited 2744d ago )

Considering that the two greatest horror games ever made, Resident Evil remake and Silent Hill 2, defy almost every point this article makes, I have to strongly disagree.

The ability to fight back does not hurt a horror game. Making the player kill everything or forcing the player to run and hide every time something shows up typically does. Its the choice, and its affect on resource management, that matters. In SH2, if you take the time to check the whole place out, you will find enough ammo to kill almost everything in the game. But even if you did kill everything, it doesn't detract from the horror, cause you're still in Silent Hill (plus its not really worth the trouble finding all the ammo). Thats the real horror. In REmake, you get enough ammo and kerosene to keep certain hallways clear. It becomes a puzzle in the sense that there are efficient means of traversing the mansion and you have to figure out which enemies are wise to kill and which ones are better to risk a bite to get around. The combat in REmake is strictly a means to an end, de-empasized by the camera angles and only really relevant to resource management, hence the survival aspect of the survival horror genre.

On the "seeing isn't believing" section, the mistake being made here is in confusing priorities. Horror games are games first. The gameplay is most important. Enemies, along with puzzles, present a necessary challenge to progression. This paragraph, along with the verdict, makes me think that what the author is looking for is a good horror movie, not a horror game.

I agree with the section on jump scares. The key with jump scares is that they remain a strictly once or twice used device and they cant be fake. There has to be a real threat behind the scare.

REmake & especially Silent Hill 2 engage through empathy, not outright self projection. Self projection is a crutch for indie devs who lack the proper funds to put actual playable characters into their games and have to settle on a first person camera. To me, games like this feel incomplete, like most indie titles I play, for one reason or another. The immersion argument I keep hearing just strikes me as a poor excuse for the developers inability, be it lack of funds or lack of skill, to create characters and scenarios that could generate adequately empathetic experiences.

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The Proper Pace of Horror Games: An Examination | Real Game Media

Like many of you, I love horror games. They bring out a primal instinct of survival, prey on our fears and manipulate our actions in ways many other games simply can't. Truly, they are among my favorite genres. However, this also means I'm bound to be fairly critical about them. In this examination, I'm going

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Why Too Many Horror Games Rely on Isolation for Scares -- But Shouldn't

Successfully using the feeling of isolation is a staple of the modern horror genre with games like Amnesia, Alien: Isolation, Outlast and even the new Resident Evil using this dynamic to its full effect. All of these games go out of their way to make you make you feel truly alone, and with this feeling naturally comes fear. Humans as social animals seek comfort in others for support and guidance. Exposure to prolonged isolation can make us uncomfortable, and a good horror game capitalises on this by putting the player in potentially dangerous and creepy surroundings.

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Kyosuke_Sanada2716d ago

Great article and great choices to show that horrors can be just as scary with people than a lone protagonist. Another game that should be mentioned and can even be rebooted was The Thing for Xbox and Playstation 2. Even though some parts was scripted, having to not only keep the sanity of your team but preventing from being infected was an awesome game mechanic that was ahead of its time. It's biggest flaw was the weird control scheme and the story which was great at first but becomes very predictable after the 1st half........

Chaos_Order2716d ago (Edited 2716d ago )

My personal experience with The Thing wasn't a good one, unfortunately. I was extremely interested in the trust mechanic, and being unsure if your teammates had been infected while you were absent. This was the one big thing that made me want to play the game. But at one point early on in the game I did the blood test on my two companions just before entering a corridor, and they came up clean. I took literally just a few steps into the corridor and BOOM, a scripted scene hit and they both turned into monsters. That single moment completely obliterated my immersion and pretty much ruined the entire game for me. From then on I would just coerce everyone and shoot them when I was annoyed or bored as I didn't even trust the blood tests. I gave up on the game pretty quickly after that. (And like you said, the controls sucked)

Kyosuke_Sanada2715d ago

I can pretty much guess the area where it happened because that event occured twice on my playthrough. The game does garner alot of well deserved cons so I am never surprised when someone said their experience wasn't a good one.

Kombatologist2716d ago

Isolation is a staple part of horror games, so I don't think that will ever be a reason for the genre becoming stale. When playing a horror game, no one ever thinks to themselves, "Wow, another horror game where I'm alone." What people do notice is stale game play mechanics. Prior to RE7, there were too many FPS horror games on the market that relied heavily on hide and seek game play. Hopefully we've moved past that. Another important aspect is the environment. RE7 featured one of the most realistic settings I've ever seen in a horror game. The attention to detail was phenomenal. But most important of all is the scares. This is where I feel most horror games have become unoriginal and unimaginative. The occasional jump scare is to be expected, but I miss that feeling of dread that only a handful of horror games have been able to deliver (the P.T. demo is a great example). The only part in RE7 that made me feel extremely uncomfortable was the first Kid's Room.

That all being said, I do agree that there's plenty of room for the genre to grow. I'd love to see a Friday the 13th (or some other '80s slasher license) game in the style of Until Dawn.

Summons752716d ago

Um, isolation is the foundation of horror. We are our most vulnerable when we are alone. Much like "horror" games being over-reliant on guns and jump scares, being with a large group of people will kill the atmosphere. There is strength in numbers. Until Dawn did a wonderful job of having a group of people in a horror setting and still getting you freaked out but then again Until Dawn as fun as it is, is nowhere as scary as Resident Evil 7, Fatal Frame, or Amnesia.


Sylvio Review (The Gamers Lounge)

Love horror games? The award winning Sylvio makes its console debut. Join The Gamers Lounge and see if the scares of this game are are worth it in this review.

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