Sunday, November 10, 2013

Steam Screams / The top 6 terroriffic games on Steam

Hello kiddies, Welcome to this weeks VERY LATE installment from the Steam of Consciousness.This (end-of-the-) week, we take a look at the top 666, I mean 6, dark or horrific video games currently being offered through steam. So, without further ado- here's the list.

6. Bioshock

As beautiful as it is distopian, the first bioshock offers up a haunting atmosphere and some genuinely unsettling moments. The world of Rapture is, as its name suggests, a land of ruin. Rapture is an underwater city based on the ideas of extreme liberty and totally independence from other human beings- but when every part of society breaks apart and the people go too far, the city becomes a crumbling nightmare that the protagonist must survive. Aside from the great atmosphere, there are some genuinely horrific parts in the game that sets itself apart from games made for the sole purpose of horror- when thinking of these moments, I am reminded of a scene in the surgeon area of the game where you come across a room where the lights shut off and you are shrouded in darkness, you proceed to wait as you hear footsteps and maniacal laughing until the lights quickly flash back on- you continue to hear footsteps and then, out of nowhere, a ghoulish looking gang starts to attack you. Heartpounding jumpscares like that were totally effective in this game because it's not a game all about being scared out of your seat- it's about immersion into this dark world. This game is truly exceptional in creating one of the best and creepiest atmospheres around.

5. Left 4 Dead 2

Ah, Left 4 Dead 2, a zombie-ripping good time. Developers Valve have put a lot of charm into this co-operative zombie shooter where you play as one of four zombie-apocalypse survivors. The team of survivors has one simple goal- to hack through hordes of zombies in order to get from point A's beginning to point B which comes in the form of a safehouse or escape vehicle. Along the way, players fight countless zombies, super-mutant zombies such as the goo-puking spitter or high flying hunter, and a series of roadblocks/obstacles that must be cleared while fighting off zombies. While the game isn't scream-out-loud scary, it's very fun and constantly stressful. The best part about Left 4 Dead is the co-operative angle: the horror really comes from ensuring you and your team's safety when running through the streets of post-apocalyptic New Orleans- the stress increases when you have to fight off a large group of zombies just to get to your teammate and save them near seconds before they die. Another part of the game that adds to the shriek factor is the special mutant-zombies- the scariest for me is the witch who cries and doesn't attack unless you make loud sounds, shoot her, or just piss her offgod that scream she has is horrific.

4. Doom

Doom- good old Doom. ID software's masterpiece was a revolutionary PC game then, and it's still a ton of fun to play now. Without Doom, horror shooters wouldn't be where they are today- the game is just that good. While games never age too gracefully in terms of looks, gameplay can often hold up over time and still be just as awesome as it was on day one of the game's release- this is certainly the case for Doom. While doom hasn't scared me, it has created an awesome looking hell-world with lots of well-designed demons. I enjoy the energy that comes from the gameplay in Doom- it's full throttle demon slaying action and it never ceases to amuse. Gamers that want good, fun, chatoic action over graphic, then Doom will prove to be a hauntingly good time.

3. Walking Dead: The Game Season One

Tell-Tale made an awesome heart-felt experience when they produced the Walking Dead video game (based on Robert Kirkman's comics more than the show). This game is a sort of point and click adventure in a zombie-wasteland where you play as Lee, a man with a troubled past over the span of five episodes. This game deals more with loss and heartbreak more than it does screams- but there is some very well-done horror in this game. One of the best horror moments in this season was when a friend of yours goes missing and, at dinner, it is revealed that the farmers you're with have made his legs into dinner which sits on plate right in front of you- a few scenes later and you find your friend without his legs trying to crawl for help. That scene was one of the most messed up and disturbing things that I've seen in games- this is impressive considering that the animation style could underplay some realistic scenes in the game, but they really don't take much away from the reality of these horrific experiences. The Walking Dead game makes you really care about the characters and situations that you find yourself in when playing the game- it helps draw out the horror when you really get to know and identify with the other survivors who get taken by unforeseen consequences. On top of the possibility of losing other survivors- the game is built around decision making and really immerses the player by allowing them to make choices that affect the outcome of the story.

2. Alan Wake

Alan Wake is a great horror game- it draws inspiration from anything and everything in suspenseful horror from Stephen King to Twin Peaks and beyond. The game is about suspense/horror/mystery novelist Alan Wake who looks to escape from his busy life and visit a quaint town in hopes of escaping- but he is far from escaping when he finds himself living out a reality based upon the pages of his new manuscript. The game breaks up into 'episodes' and begins and ends like a horror TV episode- it's a unique and unparalleled experience. Alan usually spends these episodes trying to delve deeper into the mystery of his manuscript while fighting off swarms of possessed townspeople who can be beaten with a combination of light and fire-power. While I wasn't in love with the game's ending, the journey there was fantastic and well worth playing. The game has good humor, good horror, and plenty of personality.

1. Amnesia: The Dark Descent

AUGHHH! God this game is scary. Amnesia is probably one of the scariest games i've ever played- and it's not because things pop out at you (which is scary too), but it is one of the most psychologically taxing games I've ever played. The use of sound, insanity, the stretching of rooms, the nightmare creatures that actively pursue you, and the air of unknowing make this game so scary that I can only play for minutes at a time. You play as Daniel, an Amnesia ridden fellow who, through the use of documents and journal entries, slowly recalls events of his troubled past. The game is subtle and extremely effective in making you feel unsafe, followed, and insane- which makes it one of the most paranoid experiences in gaming. This game definitely merits a top spot as one of the scariest games of all time- It's definitely worth picking up if you want some scream in your Steam.
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