October 24, 2014 by dracs
Rounding out our list of Halloween Top 5′s I come up with what I think are the best video games to play on this holiday of horrors. Just be sure to play these with the lights on.
5. The Walking Dead by Telltale Games
Paradoxically, I have placed what I would personally believe to be the best game on this list in the number five position, as unfortunately I believe the others are more suited to Halloween. Nonetheless, The Walking Dead Season 1 by Telltale Games is superb horror game and the perfect example of how video games can be used to tell an effective story.
Set in the same world as The Walking Dead comics and TV series, this point and click adventure game tells the story of Lee Everett, a convicted murderer who is on his way to prison when the zombie apocalypse happens. Soon after making his escape, he joins up with a young girl Clementine and together they must try and survive in a world rapidly going to Hell, where the shambling corpses of the dead can be far less disturbing than your fellow survivors.
The game was published in an episodic format, with your changes effecting what way the story will follow in the coming episode. Where the game really shines is in creating a real sense of investment in the different characters you come across, and then forcing you to make incredibly difficult decisions, ranging from who to give food to, to whether or not you should cut off a man’s leg to save him from zombies!
However, this is not to say that there aren’t problems with the game. Its point-and-click format mean there isn’t much exploration outside of the specific area you’re currently in and it relies heavily on quick time events. To be honest, there really isn’t all that much in the way of gameplay for this game, but then it doesn’t need it to tell its story. It might be better to describe it as an interactive story than a straight up video game.
As I have said before, zombies are something I have a particular hatred of. They creep me out more than any other classic monster and have become so overused lately that it is getting rarer to see something new done with them. Therefore it takes something pretty good to make me enjoy a zombie game and this one definitely succeeds. Be sure to check it out.
4. Left 4 Dead 2
See above regarding my statement on the quality a game has to be to make me like zombies. Left 4 Dead 2 is a very different game to The Walking Dead and in this case it’s the multi-player, rather than the story, that entices me.
Left 4 Dead 2 is your more standard zombie survival shooter. You and a group of survivors must make your way from one end of the map to the other, fighting off an endless horde of the Infected, including the horrific Uncommon ones such as Jockeys, Spitters, Boomers and of course the Witch.
The multi-player lets you and your friends take on the role of the different survivors that make up you merry band, co-operating in order to face off the oncoming horde. Alternatively, you can set up teams of players and then take it in turns with one team playing the survivors and the other team playing the Infected themselves.
It is this multi-player that I think makes Left 4 Dead 2 a particularly strong zombie game and is the perfect one to bring out if you and your mates fancy a bit of zombie killing this Halloween.
3. Five Nights at Freddy’s
Horror games are an ever popular genre for smaller budget indie developers, often relying on incredibly simple gameplay to create the maximum feeling of terror and dread. One such game has been doing the rounds of YouTube let’s play vids recently, one which I think is perfect to subject your friends to come Halloween. Can you survive Five Nights at Freddy’s?
Five Nights at Freddy’s is about as simple as a game can possibly get. You are the new night watchman at Freddy Fazbear’s Pizza, a rather run down children’s restaurant where during the day kids are entertained by happy singing animatronics.
At night though the animatronic creatures stalk the corridors. If they see you they will assume you are an animatronic outside of its skin and attempt to stuff you into another automaton, inevitably killing you as you find yourself crushed by the mechanical components.
The gameplay is simple. To survive you must keep watching the corridors using CCTV cameras, slamming your electronic doors shut if one of the creepy critter should venture too close. Careful though, as this drains your power. No power and you will find yourself at the mercies of Freddy and his friends.
Five Nights at Freddy’s is a game that I have heard will get tedious and repetitive over time. Nonetheless, it successfully builds up a creepy atmosphere, constantly wracking up the tension and playing mind games with you, before causing heart attacks with its inevitable jump scares.
This, of course, makes it the perfect game for a Halloween party. Just stick a friend in front of it and watch them squeal. In fact, I think we just came up with an idea for a new video. Warren, we have a game for you to play…
2. Silent Hill 2
Now I have to admit I was kind of torn on whether to include this one or not. After all, it isn’t exactly what I would think of as a Halloween game. This spot almost went to Costume Quest, a role-playing game by Double Fine based around dressing up and going trick-or-treating for Halloween.
However, you cannot have a list of horror games without including Silent Hill, and of the ones I have played Silent Hill 2 stands out not merely as the best Silent Hill game, but also a damn good psychological horror in its own right.
Silent Hill 2 sees you take on the persona of James Sunderland who comes to the fog shrouded town of Silent Hill after receiving a letter from his wife who died a week ago. James must go explore the town, solving puzzles and pursued by monsters, including the debut appearance of Pyramid Head, as he is forced to question his reality and exactly what happened to his wife.
Silent Hill 2 was a major step up from Silent Hill 1, a game which is still a very good horror game, but suffered from graphics limitations and terrible controls. However, what really characterises Silent Hill 2 is its focus upon the psychology of the main character.
The game does away away with the human cultists of the first game, instead making the town a force in itself which manifests James’ deepest and most repressed character faults and memories with symbolic monsters, often dripping with disturbing sexual imagery. The humans you meet this time around feel more like fellow victims of the town, trapped with their own pasts made manifest.
This game is a perfect example of just how effectively a video game can create atmosphere, drawing the player into an oppressive and constantly building sense of invasive threat. Unlike the first game, Silent Hill 2 created an almost Lovecraftian sense of horror in the unknowable force of the town, while creating a fantastic sense of isolation that later games such as Shattered Memories would fail to achieve. This is definitely one to play if you are spending Halloween in this year.
Occupying the top spot on this list we find one of the scariest games to have come out in recent years, Outlast, the indie survival horror game which sees you trapped in the confines of an asylum where the inmates are running free.
Yes, I know that’s the same premise for Batman Arkham Asylum, but there is one key difference here. You are not Batman! You are Miles Upshur, an investigative journalist who comes to Mount Massive Asylum one night after receiving an anonymous tip-off that the company which runs the asylum is performing inhumane experiments on the inmates.
Upon entering, you find the place overrun by the horribly mutilated and criminally insane patients.The guards and staff are all dead and you are trapped. Now you must make your way through this labyrinthine asylum, pursued by the horrific inmates while uncovering the disturbing story of Mount Massive Asylum. Just what is The Walrider?
With the success of games such as Amnesia and Slender, survival horror has seen something of a boom lately, especially with indie developers. In Outlast you are utterly helpless, you have no combat. All you can do is run and hide when you hear someone coming, relying on the battery-draining night vision of your camera to make your way through the dark corridors where the insane are hiding.
Funnily enough, at least for the first part of the game, Outlast’s horror comes from the opposite end of the spectrum to Silent Hill 2′s. The people after you are very much human, but almost unrecognisable as such, twisted in form and action. This game shoves your face into the darkest parts humanity and you cannot look away. However, the horror doesn’t end here as a supernatural terror begins to unfold before as you find out more and more about the experiments that were performed in the asylum.
Admittedly, the game play can get a little repetitive. You start to recognise those areas where you will most likely be safe, and get used to running and hiding. However, just when you think it will get stale, the game does a good job at mixing things up. There are “boss” type inmates, whose behaviour differs from the regular ones you come across, while later in the game your night vision camera is taken, plunging you into the dark and removing the one advantage you had over those hunting you.
I think Outlast, and its accompanying DLC Whistleblower, is the perfect game for Halloween, either alone or with friends. While the game is single player, it is nonetheless just as tense to watch as it is to play, as countless Let’s Play videos on YouTube can testify to. A simple yet effective horror experience, be sure to give it a try.
Do you like these games? What ones would you choose for your top 5 video games for Halloween?