Greatest Survival Horror Video Games Of All Time
Since the likes of Sweet Home and Alone in the Dark – both games or franchises that have since fell completely by the wayside – survival horror has been one of the most consistently enjoyable and popular genres of them all. Whether it be the corridor-crawling delights of Resident Evil, the cerebral psychological mind-f*ckery of Silent Hill or the jump-scare delights of Slender Man, there’s something quintessentially enjoyable about being ‘inside’ the genre itself.
Resident Evil 7: Biohazard
Despite its relatively low levels of hype considering, well, it’s a Resident Evil game, Capcom’s reinvention of what Resident Evil ‘is’ feels like a glorious return to the design ethos of the first two instalments.
Scavenging for items, carefully considering how to tackle enemies and conserving ammunition is paramount to survival, the entire “Find your presumed-dead wife” setup being perfectly paced to slowly turn the tables on your oppressors.
Sadly, without going into spoilers, RE7’s final third does veer heavily into the sort of blob-monster boss battles we’d grown plenty tired of across Resident Evil 5 and 6, but when taken as a whole, there’s a level of confidence and forward-planning – and, y’know, making a game about evil in a residential area – that plants a firm foot in the next generation for the franchise overall.
Here’s to Resident Evil being back on top, because man that feels good to say again.
It may be a tech demo – a cancelled one at that – and it may all be over in under an hour, but I defy anyone who’s played the mighty, potential-filled P.T. to deny its effectiveness at being outright terrifying.
Set in a repeating L-shaped corridor where a number of subtle environmental clues, potential enemies or clues as to what’s happening change, P.T. is on its way to becoming a bonafide gaming legend. Being Konami cancelled Silent Hills and removed it from the PlayStation Store in the end, this Hideo Kojima/Guillermo del Toro collaboration can only live on in the hard drives of those who downloaded and kept it at the time.
As such, its various unlockable details and bone-chilling scares can only be experienced if you really do your research, helping add to the mysticism of this once-beautiful project that shall never be.
Silent Hill 2
Unlike in Hollywood, where attempting to redo the same elements of a first instalment can only lead to disappointment, video game sequels are often infinitely better than than their predecessors. In the case of Silent Hill 2, Konami bolstered the original’s brilliant ‘a town made of nightmares’ setup with one of the most emotionally affecting and oft-debated narratives of all time.
With a handful of endings and occasions where the game was almost playing you instead, the eery, Japanese horror feel of exploring the various dilapidated buildings and environments provided the perfect counterpoint to Resident Evil’s more action-focussed appeal. Case in point: When a Silent Hill game is firing on all cylinders you’ll be a quivering wreck, whereas a Resident Evil game’s most horror-focused moments are often short-lived.
The way the game plays with our preconceived notions of video game ‘heroes’ and agency within in a game world is also total genius – an aspect the likes of sequel Shattered Memories would build itself around – leaving Silent Hill 2 as one of the most genuinely innovative and landmark horrors of them all.
Truly great EA games are few and far between (007: Everything or Nothing, anyone?), but Dead Space took every last one of Resident Evil 4’s influences and made one of the best followups of all time. Built around in the immortally effective context of being lost in space, the ferocious Necromorphs were fantastically engaging enemies; ones that made the most of the limb-severing “strategic dismemberment” mechanic as you slowly took them down piece by piece.
It’s a toss-up as to whether you prefer the action-focussed sequel, but as for creating an environment that feeds perfectly into an overall sense of unease and survivability, attempting to make it out of the derelict Ishimura ship was a Herculean effort indeed.
Sadly EA would, well, be EA when it came to making a third instalment – turning in a Gears-lite shooter so bad it damn-near killed the franchise – but with any luck we’ll get a Dead Space 4 on current-gen hardware at some point. Because, well, Dead Space in VR?
Source – Whatculture
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